Thursday, April 28, 2016

Brennan Center For Justice: Top Economists at White House Explain How Mass Incarceration Hurts the Economy

America’s out-of-control system of mass incarceration is a tremendous drain on our nation’s economy — but there are several cost-effective ways to reduce crime and incarceration rates, members of the Brennan Center's Economic Advisory Board said at a White House event Monday.
The discussion was held in collaboration with the White House, the Economic Advisory Board of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, and the American Enterprise Institute.
Video of the event is below and can be found here.

The Brennan Center’s Economic Advisory Board is a bipartisan group of 10 top economists and includes former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, among other professors and political advisors. The group came together in February to support the Center’s data-driven approach to ending mass incarceration.
Brennan Center Board members Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Peter Orszag joined senior administration officials and experts to discuss a new report from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers assessing the economic impact of the criminal justice system.
The group, including Council Chairman Jason Furman and Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, said current policies do not make best use of limited resources. Instead, they advocated for smarter policing, and more job training and reentry programs. Other speakers included Brennan Center President Michael Waldman, American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks, Third Point LCC Founder and CEO Daniel Loeb, Center for American Progress Director of Criminal Justice Policy Todd Cox, and The Economist's David Rennie, who moderated the discussion. 
“America’s criminal justice system is a burden on the economy,” said Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a member of the Brennan Center’s Economic Advisory Board, president of the American Action Forum, and a former economic advisor to John McCain. “Not only do taxpayers spend billions per year to send people to prison for far too long. This time in prison also means lost income for families and lost job prospects upon release, which create disruptions to our economy and labor force.” 
“The government should fund policies that are proven to work instead of funding ones that don’t,” said Dr. Peter Orszag, a Brennan Center Economic Advisory Board member and the former Congressional Budget Office director. “The evidence strongly suggests certainty of punishment is more important than its severity in fighting crime, and that we can reduce recidivism through targeted support for those exiting incarceration. So we need to devote resources to smart policing, reentry programs, and treatment — not funneling more money into longer prison sentences. There are much better ways to reduce crime while promoting economic opportunity and public safety.”

Sphinx Organization grants $150,000 to help transform the careers of 18 artists with 2016 MPower Artist Grants

John Malveaux: Berklee Jubilee Celebration Orchestra, conducted by Julius Williams, in "The Legacy: An Overture of African American Spirituals" live (YouTube 10:18)

Maestro Julius P. Williams, Composer, Conductor and Professor, has a website at and is featured at

John Malveaux of 

Maestro Julius Williams conducts Berklee Jubilee Celebration Orchestra - The Legacy: An Overture of African American Spirituals"

Published on Apr 25, 2016
The Berklee Jubilee Celebration Orchestra, conducted and arranged by Julius Williams, performs a tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers with "The Legacy: An Overture of African American Spirituals" live at Boston Symphony Hall.

"The Legacy: an Overture of African American Spirituals"

Vocals: Donna McElroy
Conductor & Arranger: Julius Williams
Violin 1: David Wallace, Sumeet Sarkar, Gabriel Dubreuil, Begisu Gokce, Miranda Harvey, Sarah Hubbard, Kelly Jozwiak, Yeonsong Kim, Thomas Krumm & Tim Reynolds
Violin 2: Elizabeth Anderson, Taylor Baldwin, Carolyn Kendrick, Lily Lyons, Tania Mesa, Kathleen Parks & Praxton Smith
Viola: Melissa Howe, Sandra Choephel, Gerson Eguiguren Martinez, Jenny Frantz, Brendan Klippel & Hui Qi Ng
Cello: Eugene Friesen, George Crotty, Parker Ousley & Roman Soto
Bass: Susan Hagen & Irais Brito Hierrezuelo
Harp: Charles Overton
Timpani: Phoebe Chou
Flute: Kaegan Gregory & Keren Satkin
Oboe: Lindsey Stein
Bassoon: Daniel Beilman
Clarinet: Micahel Norsworthy
Alto Saxophone: Nadav Ben-Ozer
Trumpet: Scott Bell, Joseph Epstein & Jesse Francese
French Horn: Jonathan Foo & Mackenzie Oprean
Trombone: John Faieta & Angel Subero
Tuba: Jordan Hope
Drums: Macston Maccow
African Percussion: Joe Galeota & Alexis Soto

Recorded live at Symphony Hall, Boston

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance Summit Filling Up [U-of-M Dean of Music, Aaron Dworkin, will speak of success of Sphinx Organization]

The Voice of Branch County, Coldwater, Michigan

             Photo provided by Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alleance

                  Aaron P. Dworkin

Randall Goosby

April 27, 2016

HOLLAND (WHTC) -- The May 17 Summit on Race and Inclusion could draw more than 800 people to to Hope College's campus from across Michigan and several Midwestern states.
Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance founder Gail Harrison says this 15th annual summit is all about taking action to improve diversity, building on last year's theme of understanding implicit bias.
Speakers come from all walks of life -- business, like the Kellogg Company and Spectrum Health Butterworth, community, schools, government and church.
U-of-M Dean of Music, violinist Aaron Dworkin, will tell how founding the Sphinx Organization helped double the number of Latino and African American musicians in national orchestras.
Closing the conference will be Sphinx alum and Juilliard violin student Randall Goosby, who will speak as well as perform.

Twitter: Threeon3Presents "An Afternoon of Opera," Sun., May 15, 2016, 3 PM; Marsha Thompson, Patrice P. Eaton, Bernard Damon Holcomb, Barry Robinson

Three on 3 Presents announces on Twitter that An Afternoon of Opera on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 3:00 PM will feature:

Marsha Thompson, Soprano
Patrice P. Eaton, Mezzo Soprano
Bernard Damon Holcomb, Tenor
Barry Robinson, Baritone

Tickets may be purchased at Eventbrite

Three on 3 Presents is sponsored by Mount Morris Community Improvement Association

Comment by Twitter: 

@AfriClassical Thank you so much for sharing! [@3on3Presents]

Second Annual Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts Masquerade Ball Thursday, May 19, 2016, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lepercq Ballroom

Derrick Adams, The Rockefeller Foundation & Studio One Eighty Nine Founders Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah To Be Honored
Featuring Benefit Paddle8 Art Auction Curated by Mickalene Thomas
Honorary Gala Chairs: Maxwell, Estelle, Bevy Smith and more confirmed to attend
(New York, NY—April 26, 2016) The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), is excited to celebrate its 16th anniversary of serving the community through the arts with its 2nd annual MoCADA Masquerade Ball, to be held Thursday, May 19, 2016, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Lepercq Ballroom. The annual Spring Gala is a fundraiser that will benefit the museum as it embarks upon a new capital campaign to raise monies for community programs and to continually fund the development of their new larger museum in Brooklyn.  To purchase tickets, please click here.

The MoCADA Masquerade Ball will celebrate individuals who have positively influenced the Contemporary African Diasporan Arts and the community, including Derrick Adams for the Artist Advocacy Award The Rockefeller Foundation for the Philanthropic Advocacy Award and Studio One Eighty Nine Founders Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah for the Social Justice Advocacy Award. The MoCADA Masquerade Ball is set to feature confirmed Honorary Gala Chairs: Singer/Songwriter/Producer Maxwell, Grammy Award winning international recording artist and songwriter Estelle, and Television Personality Bevy Smith with many other celebrity and VIP guests expected to attend in support of the museum.

The MoCADA Masquerade Ball is underwritten by several generous corporations committed to supporting the community. The evenings sponsors include Cholula Hot Sauce, Fox Audience Strategy, Habana Outpost and JetBlue.

MoCADA will also partner with Paddle8, the award winning online auction house that offers museum-worthy works and contemporary collectibles, for an unprecedented online auction curated by Mickelene Thomas that will include works from artists such as Renee Cox, Sanford Biggers and Carrie Mae Weems. The online auction will commence prior to the gala on May 5th and conclude post event on May 19th.  For more information, please visit

MoCADA uses art to strengthen community, both locally and internationally. Through exhibitions and programming, MoCADA incites dialogue on pressing social and political issues facing the African Diaspora, and fosters a dynamic space for the creation and continuous evolution of culture. Serving both youth and adults, MoCADA challenges the traditional definitions of the "museum", using art to impact lives both within its physical walls and throughout the wider community.


About MoCADA

The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) was established in 1999 as Brooklyns first and only museum dedicated to the creation and interpretation of contemporary Black arts and culture.  Starting from humble beginnings on the fourth floor of a Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone, MoCADA has since expanded from a grassroots startup with a social justice mission, to an internationally-recognized arts institution. Now located in Fort Greene, the museum has established a reputation for cutting-edge exhibitions and programs that cross artistic disciplines and create opportunities for emerging artists. MoCADA has produced over 60 exhibitions and 500 public programs, expanding from the museums main gallery to the streets, parks, schools, and public housing of Brooklyn and beyond, challenging the boundaries of the traditional museum to build community and increase public access to the arts.

For More Information Contact:

Tiasia OBrien
P: (718) 230-0492

FINAL DAY TO RESERVE YOUR SEATS | Ritz Chamber Players Hat Luncheon | Epping Forest Yacht & Country Club!

The Black Composer Speaks: A Roundtable Discussion on Diversity, Inclusion and Access in Experimental New Music, 3 PM Thursday, April 28, DuSable Museum

 Jeffrey Mumford

Seth Parker Woods

WHO:                    Saudia Davis is a social entrepreneur and will lead a discussion with Stephen Burns, Artistic Director of Fulcrum Point New Music Project; Kahil El’zabar, Artistic Director of Chicago Academy of Music; Rami Gabriel, fellow at the Center for Black Music Research; Jeffrey Mumford, composer and educator; Roberto Quinones, Managing Creative Director of Chicago Academy of Music; Augusta Read Thomas, composer University of Chicago and head of Ear Taxi Festival; and Seth Parker Woods, composer and cellist.
WHAT:                  The discussion will address diversity, inclusion, and access within the context of new music during a free open-to-the-public roundtable discussion co-presented by The DuSable Museum of African American History and Fulcrum Point. Inspired by the late David Baker’s treatise The Black Composer Speaks, the event will address a variety of topics concerning the black musical experience, compositional matters and aesthetics.
WHEN:                  Thursday, April 28 at 3:00-4:30 p.m. (event)
Media is invited to attend and film the event
WHERE:                DuSable Museum of African American History (740 E 56th Place, Chicago)
MORE:                  Presented in partnership with The DuSable Museum and Fulcrum Point, a Chicago leader of diverse new music by presenting multi-media performances, generating educational programs, as well as commissioning and recording innovative works. See Fulcrum Point in concert with PROCLAMATION! The Black Composer Speaks at The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave, on April 29 at 7:30pm.
Through multi-disciplinary concert performances and educational programs, Fulcrum Point seeks to encourage audiences to make cross-cultural connections between new music, art, technology and literature, gaining greater insight into today’s diverse world. For more information on Fulcrum Point and its programs visit

Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia Orchestra's Spring Concert is Saturday, April 30th, 5:00 PM, First Congregational Church Commons, 125 Ellis St., Atlanta

David E. Robinson III writes:

The 2015-16 school-year is wrapping up.  It is so sad that the music world lost singer, Natalie Cole, David Bowie, Glenn Frye, Maurice White, and a few days ago, Prince (and Billy Paul).  What would the music world be without these wonderful pioneers?  They were great entertainers and creative innovators. 

First of all, the Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia Orchestra's Spring Concert will take place this coming Saturday, April 30th, 5:00 PM at the First Congregational Church Commons located at 125 Ellis St., Atlanta, GA 30303 - "The Elements of Spring" paying tribute to Earth, Wind, & Fire's, Maurice White, founder and one of its lead singers.  Tickets are $15.00 for adult and $10.00 for child.  The music of this talented group were full of positive, inspirational messages of humanity bringing people together of all races, nationalities, and so on.  The voices sound like a choir.  They used real musical instruments.  The repertoire for this concert will include, "Shining Star," "That's the Way of the World," "September," "Boogie Wonderland," "Reasons," "After the Love is Gone," and many others.  I have been up many late nights writing (arranging) this music.  We have been holding a number of rehearsals preparing for this performance.  Please bring your family; invite your friends, co-workers, etc.  Although you are bringing your children, this concert is really for you - the adults that grew up listening to these wonderful classics.  I was in high school when their first hit came out.  I made it through college listening to them, attended one of their concerts after graduation, and wrote marching band tunes.

Next, all of a sudden we hear of the shocking news on the death of Prince.  Many of us still cannot believe it.  Many memories of my days in graduate school and beyond into my teaching profession.  I also wrote marching band arrangements of his tunes for some high schools and colleges.  

Sinfo-Nia's 27th annual two-week Summer Camp will take place June 13-24, 2016:Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.  We do offer drop-off as early as7:30 AM and pick-up as late as 6:00 PM.  Tuition is $350.00 per student plus $40.00 for the two required T-shirts.  However, we are offering our "Early-Bird" Tuition Discount Special of $300.00 per student if it is paid-in-full by May 31, 2016.  We also offer additional discount for anyone enrolling more than one child in their family.  

Tribute to Prince:  Our Summer Camp Concert on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 6:00 PM will be a Tribute to Prince.  We will perform a number of his songs.  He was an entertainer that played 27 different instruments.  With what we are seeing in schools cutting out instrumental music programs in public schools across the U.S. (including metropolitan Atlanta), many children are missing out on this wonderful opportunity for success in academia in any field of human endeavor.  many of our leaders have had some training in music.  Many students in high school have remained for graduation because of music, even the ones that are not enrolled in music who love listening to their peers play it.

Open House and Pre-Registration for Summer Camp will take place on Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 12 Noon.  This will be an opportunity for students to sit in with their instruments to get a "sample" of the fun they could have in Camp.  They can play through some of this exciting music (I may have a few Prince songs ready by then).  If the parents like what they hear and the students feel comfortable, they can register for the Camp.  We will have application packages and parents can make a down payment.  

Performance Tour to Rio-de Janeiro, Brazil:  Originally we had planned on traveling to Jamaica this July, but will do so next summer 2017).  We are looking to travel to Rio this summer due to a conference there.  We are looking to secure funding to assist in the cost for each child to go.  We are planning to take some college students as well as some are looking for a "study-abroad" program this summer.  We are looking to collaborate with a few youth orchestras there and possibly a college or two.  We will perform some Brazilian bossa nova and samba, which will be taught in our Camp.  By all means, we will perform the music of Natalie Cole, Maurice White (Earth, Wind, & Fire), and Prince as they are loved all over the world.  If you know of any college or high school students who are interested in this trip, please contact Mrs. Alycia Robinson at (404) 428-3804.

I have attached (white - saves ink) fliers that you can download and make copies.  You may certainly forward this e-mail message to your friends, family, co-workers, etc.  If you have relatives that live out of town that play instruments and would like to attend our camp, they are certainly welcomed as long as they have a place to stay in metro Atlanta (like with you and your family).  In the past we have had students from the following states to participate: North and South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado, California, Florida, and Kentucky.

We hope to see you at our Spring Concert this Saturday if you can make it. Again, this concert is really for you, the adults.  Consider this concert a portion of the "soundtrack" of your life.  Have a wonderful day.

David E. Robinson III
Founder & Artistic Director
Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia

Please check out our website at
Included are some awesome music videos
On Facebook, "Like" "Sinfo-Nia" (Musician/Band) and you will see more videos.
YouTube videos - look up "Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia" "PROCLAMATION! THE BLACK COMPOSER SPEAKS" April 29, 2016 "also includes Alvin Singleton's striking 'In Our Own House'"

Alvin Singleton

AfriClassical has recently posted information on the works of Jeffrey Mumford (becoming...) and Jessica Montgomery (Voodoo Dolls) which will be performed at ‘Proclamation! The Black Composer Speaks’ Friday, April 29, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at Promontory Chicago.  We have since learned from Chicago On The Aisle of an Alvin Singleton work which is also on the program: 

(CHICAGO, March 10, 2016) – Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Chicago’s leader in New Art Music led by Stephen Burns, proudly presents “Proclamation! The Black Composer Speaks,” a dynamic concert program showcasing the broad spectrum of new art music from the African American perspective at the Promontory Chicago, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave., in one performance only, Friday, April 29, at 7:30 pm.
Based on the award-winning treatise of the same name by symphonic jazz composer David Baker, the double bill incorporates music by three generations of African American composers. 

The program also includes Alvin Singleton’s striking “In Our Own House”... 

The website of Alvin Singleton gives this description of the work:

soprano saxophone, trumpet, snare drum and piano
Commissioned by pianist Karen Walwyn for her Dark Fires (Vol. 2) Albany Records recording with Rodney Mack, Branford Marsalis, & Jason Marsalis.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Michigan Men's Glee Club: "Seven Last Words of the Unarmed," by Joel Thompson is inspired by the dying words of seven unarmed black men (YouTube 3:37)

Dr. Eugene Rogers
Director, Michigan Men's Glee Club

Joel Thompson
Composer, Seven Last Words of the Unarmed

Aaron Dworkin
Dean, School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Love, Life & Loss

Published on Apr 19, 2016
While honoring the finest traditions of the University of Michigan to challenge the present and enrich the future, the Michigan Men's Glee Club takes a bold step forward to engage audiences in thinking deeper about race and violence - among the most polarizing issues facing our country throughout its history.

Seven Last Words of the Unarmed

You’ve heard their names in the news. Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Kenneth Chamberlain. Amadou Diallo. John Crawford.
These men are the subjects of a powerful multi-movement work by up-and-coming Atlanta-based composer Joel Thompson titled “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed.”
The song was recently premiered by the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club under the direction of Eugene Rogers, associate director of choirs and professor of conducting at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
Known for selecting songs that promote musical “ubuntu”—a peace concept widely popularized by late South African president Nelson Mandela—Rogers says that “Seven Last Words” challenged students to allow themselves to see the world through the eyes of others.
“Great art should do more than entertain—great art should provoke thought and critical discourse, engage the audience, and build a safe, strong sense of community through the exploration of important issues,” Rogers said. “This is why I choose to include repertoire in my programming that focuses on themes surrounding social justice.”
Thompson, who met Rogers while workshopping his composition in 2015, was initially inspired by Iranian-American artist Shirin Barghi’s #lastwords project. From more than a dozen of Barghi’s illustrations containing the dying words of unarmed black men shot and killed by authority figures, Thompson chose seven statements that aligned most closely with the classical structure of Joseph Haydn’s “Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross.”
“I wanted to process my personal feelings about being a young black man in this very racially tense time we’re living in,” Thompson said. “I also wanted to figure out a universal way to remember these men who had lost their lives too soon.”
The song’s seven movements represent the last words of seven different men:

  • “Why do you have your guns out?” – Kenneth Chamberlain, 66
  • “What are you following me for?” – Trayvon Martin, 16
  • “Mom, I’m going to college.” – Amadou Diallo, 23
  • “I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting.” – Michael Brown, 18
  • “You shot me! You shot me!” – Oscar Grant, 22
  • “It’s not real.” – John Crawford, 22
  • “I can’t breathe.” – Eric Garner, 43
Each movement is distinctly different, borrowing influences from musical theater, Bach, Brahms, and even aleatoric music—a style of music where an element of the composition is left to the spontaneity of the performers, which can be heard as students repeat Oscar Grant’s last words “You shot me! You shot me!” in Movement V.
The group has performed the piece, paired with Rogers’ arrangement of “Glory” from the film “Selma,” several times as part of this year’s roster of songs that convey themes of “love, life, and loss,” and “hope in the midst of struggle.”
As part of his teaching process, Rogers had his students—who represent various ages, races, religions, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds—write essays about their reactions to the piece.
The responses were varied. For African-American students, the experience presented a personal struggle. Other students expressed feelings of guilt, hesitation or fear of the polarization of the subject matter.
“The deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown had a great impact on me and how I view my own mortality,” wrote Wesley Fields, U-M SMTD student. “I was unsure if I could handle the emotional weight of conveying such a powerful message that was very much tied to my own racial identity. I spent many early rehearsals holding back tears and blocking myself off from the piece. Consequently, I was too afraid to audition to be a soloist in the third movement.”
Ryan Carrell, U-M engineering student and glee club president, reflected on how performing the work made him rethink the controversial news reports.

“Every time I heard ‘Mom, I’m going to college,’ I felt a pang of guilt,” he wrote. “I had fallen prey to a common byproduct of media coverage. I had based my personal judgments on a single instance in the lives of these men. Like many others, I had come to conclusions from sound bites and 140-character tweets. These seven quotes, free from commentary and forensic file re-enactments, offered a new story. There was human life in this story. I chose to embrace the work as a remembrance of lost possibilities.”
Regardless of their differences, they all rallied around one key theme.
“I think that these songs made us all realize that this is not just a black issue or a white issue,” said Daniel Passino, U-M SMTD student, lead “Glory” soloist and a contestant on NBC’s reality singing show The Voice. “We all agree that every human life is valuable.”
“I am really proud of the way that our students opened themselves up to this experience,” Rogers said. “I was very conflicted about presenting this piece to them because I did not want it to be misinterpreted purely as a political statement. In the end, we practiced ‘ubuntu’—we listened to each other, and we grew together through song.”

The U-M Men’s Glee Club is currently preparing for their first tour of South Africa in the group’s 156-year history, where they will perform these songs for audiences in Potechefstroom, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Before their departure, they will premiere a 30-minute documentary about the song at 7:30 p.m. April 27  in Angell Hall’s Auditorium A. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Dr. Eugene Rogers, SMTD Dean Aaron Dworkin and members of the U-M Men’s Glee Club.The screening is free and open to the public.
“Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” and “Glory” will be available on iTunes, CD Baby, Spotify, Apple Music and all other streaming outlets on April 22.

Comment by email:
Absolutely fantastic... thanks so much Bill!!  Aaron  [Aaron P. Dworkin]

Monday, April 25, 2016

James Lee III: "Thurgood's Rhapsody" "is a celebratory and adventurous piece on the life of...Thurgood Marshall" for World Premiere by Baltimore S.O., June 9-11, 2016

James Lee III

Recently we learned that composer James Lee III 
had been commissioned to compose one of ten 
pieces in honor of the Centennial of the Baltimore 
Symphony Orchestra, to be given its World Premiere
under Marin Alsop, Conductor, on June 9-11, 2016.  
We were intrigued to learn that the title was 
Thurgood's Rhapsody, so we asked James Lee if he 
could tell us something about the work.  He kindly 
provided the following Program Note:


Thurgood's Rhapsody is designed to be a concert opener 
or an encore piece. The work is a celebratory and 
adventurous piece on the life of former Supreme Court
Justice Thurgood Marshall. I chose to use an idea of
opening the piece with the oboe since it is this 
instrument that tunes the orchestra before starting to 
play a concert. This oboe represents the “tuning in” to 
unity and justice as one remembers the famous landmark 
decision of Brown v the Board of Education.  

The work then proceeds to present a kaleidoscopic scene 
of events in the life of Justice Marshall including his work 
as a lawyer in the South, his work at the NAACP, various 
social interactions and ultimately his success and the 
many milestones in his life.
--- James Lee III