Friday, May 31, 2019

Passing of Former NOBLE National President - Police Chief Jimmy L. Wilson

One of four brothers, Wilson was born in 1946 in Durham, North Carolina. He joined the United States Army in 1964, serving for four years and traveling to Turkey as an intelligence officer. Back in the United States in 1968, he was hired as a patrolman by the Washington, D.C., police department. In 1974 he earned a bachelor's degree in administration of justice at Washington's American University, and he later pursued graduate studies there. As an administrator, he would lobby vigorously for educational opportunities to benefit the officers under his charge.

As a Washington police officer, Wilson several times found himself in the line of fire in cases that made newspaper headlines. Rising through the ranks in the city's sixth police precinct and reorganizing the department's homicide investigations unit, Wilson headed investigations into the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, during which he was responsible for the arrest of shooter John Hinckley, and into a 1982 Potomac River airliner crash that killed 79 people. He also led investigations of terrorist activities. 

Career: Washington, DC, police department, patrolman, homicide investigations supervisor, internal affairs investigator, 1968-86; Washington, DC, sixth police precinct deputy chief, 1987-92; Jackson, MS, police department, chief of police, 1992-94; Canton, MS, police department, chief of police, 1994-97; Suffolk, VA, police department, chief of police, 1997-2001; Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA, chief of police, 2003.

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) National President 2002-2003.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Music Institute of Chicago Gala Honors Wynton Marsalis

2019 Dushkin Award recipient Wynton Marsalis performs with Music Institute Jazz Studies faculty and students. Photo by Bob Carl.


The Music Institute of Chicago, one of the nation’s most distinguished and respected community music schools, welcomed 300 guests to its 2019 Anniversary Gala on Monday, May 20 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. The event raised more than $850,000 from a combination of table sponsorships, ticket sales, and outright contributions.

The evening included a cocktail reception, followed by an elegant dinner and awards presentation. Musical performances took place throughout the evening, representing every area of the Music Institute. Highlights included a New Orleans brass band procession; young musicians from the Community Music School; award-winning students from the Music Institute’s renowned Academy, a training center for gifted pre-college musicians; young string students from Third Coast Suzuki Strings, a violin program on Chicago’s Northwest Side in collaboration with the YMCA of Metro Chicago; and a surprise finale performance by 2019 Dushkin Award recipient Wynton Marsalis alongside Music Institute students.

2019 Dushkin Award recipient Wynton Marsalis (second from R) with members of the Music Institute Jazz Ambassador Combo. Photo by Ana Miyares.

The prestigious Dushkin Award, established more than 30 years ago and named for the Music Institute’s visionary founders, Dorothy and David Dushkin, recognizes international luminaries in the world of music for their contributions to the art form, as well as to the education of youth. This year’s recipient, Wynton Marsalis, is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator, and leading advocate of American culture. He has created and performed an expansive range of music for groups ranging from quartets to big bands, from chamber music ensembles to symphony orchestras, and from tap dance to ballet, expanding the vocabulary for jazz and classical music with a vital body of work that places him among the world’s finest musicians and composers. Marsalis has won nine Grammy Awards, was the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize (in 1997), and was honored with the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2015. Marsalis serves as the managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and is the director of Jazz Studies at the Juilliard School in New York City.

Music Institute of Chicago
The Music Institute of Chicago is dedicated to transforming lives through music education. Founded in 1931, the Music Institute has grown to become one of the most respected community music schools in the nation. Offering musical excellence built on the strength of its distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services, the Music Institute is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Pre-collegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS). Each year, the Music Institute’s teachers reach thousands of students of all ages and levels of experience. Music Institute locations include Chicago, Evanston, Winnetka, Lincolnshire, Lake Forest, and Downers Grove. In addition, the Music Institute is proud of its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools through its Arts Link program. The Music Institute offers lessons and classes, and concerts through its Community Music School, Academy, and Nichols Concert Hall.

For information, visit

Eric Conway: Day 10 - American Embassy Visit and Bob Chilcott Choral Masterclass!

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Day 10 was our last full day in London! The first activity of the day was to tour the newly constructed United States Embassy in London. The cost of the structure was a whopping one billion dollars! I was told that the building was not constructed via taxpayers funds, but sales of properties in London, in a very exclusive district. We arrived, and were told that we could not bring any cameras or electronic devices into the facility, however, the embassy photographers would capture our visit. We were greeted by Kim Dubois, one of the embassy’s public affairs officers, who happened to have lived in the Baltimore area, and attended Milford Mill High School. She made us feel very much at home in the embassy, and gave us a personal tour, with detailed descriptions of much of the commissioned art work in the building. Much of the Embassy staff was on high alert as they were preparing for President Trump’s visit in the coming days. Despite this fact, many embassy staff members were on hand to hear our three-song segment. We were given a small reception of tea and biscuits (cookies). All from our group received a gift from the embassy of a US/Great Britain pin, embracing the relationship between the two countries.

After the embassy visit, the group went to the famous Piccadilly shopping area to discover yet another section of this world-class city. While in the Piccadilly area, we felt like we were in New York - Fifth Avenue with many high-end stores on hand. We all went our various ways to either eat lunch or to buy the last souvenirs of the tour.

We then walked to the building where we would have a masterclass with none other than the English acclaimed composer/arranger Bob Chilcott. We arranged to have this session with Bob Chilcott since we were in his home city of London. We chose Chilcott because of his reputation for insightful comments with choirs, but also because we perform much of his music. We performed two of his compositions for him: “Steal Away” and “Londonderry Air”. He was quite complimentary of the sound of the group. He gave some great comments to the choir and me to use in future performances. He reminded us that as beautiful as the sound was, the words are tantamount to telling the story of the compositions. He was the perfect ending to a great week of concerts.

After the masterclass, we went back to the hotel to quickly turnaround for our farewell dinner. We took a ferry across the Thames to the other side of the river, which was no more than five minute ride. We enjoyed a succulent last English meal in a restaurant called Smotzensky's. Knowing that we were going to have a 4AM wake-up call for our morning flight back to the US, we knew we had to get back to the hotel, right away to pack and make sure that we did not leave any trinkets behind in our hotel rooms. What a great last day in London!


See our performance of Eric Whitacre's Sleep during the Masterclass below:


John Malveaux: Brittany Olivia Logan in "The Journey of Harriet Tubman" Aug. 4

Brittany Olivia Logan

John Malveaux of 

Soprano Brittany Olivia Logan will sing “Harriet” in Ron Kean’s The Journey of Harriet Tubman Sunday August 4th, Disney Concert Hall.  Brittany is a graduate of CSU-Long Beach currently studying opera at University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) - National Society of Black Engineers

The National Society of Black Engineers’ Signature SEEK Program
Will Be Held in 12 U.S. Cities in 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) will present the 13th iteration of its Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) this year at 14 sites in 12 U.S. cities. SEEK, the nation’s largest summer program geared toward African Americans and other students from groups underrepresented in engineering, will take place beginning in June. The free, three-week program provides hands-on, team-based engineering design activities for students in grades 3–5. The students are guided by mentor-instructors, most of whom are undergraduate members of NSBE.

“With engineering being such a vital part of the world economy, it is crucial that blacks contribute to the diversity in engineering. SEEK is one of NSBE’s most effective tools to show our youth that engineering is a way of life!” said NSBE National Chair Jocelyn Jackson, top-ranking officer of the 24,000-member, student-led organization and an incoming doctoral student in engineering education research at the University of Michigan. “The excitement our students show at the weekly SEEK competitions and the STEM skills they demonstrate when leaving the program are a foundation they can build upon throughout middle school, high school and college during their development into engineers.”

Simone Douglas and her twin brother, Stephan, were among 300 elementary school students who participated in SEEK in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio, in 2008 and 2009. Today, Simone is a mechanical engineering senior at North Carolina A&T State University and a Google “Build Opportunities for Leadership & Development (BOLD)” intern. She is one of many current college students who remember SEEK as an important element of their academic success. Stephan is a civil engineering major at North Carolina A&T and a civil engineering intern at Marathon Petroleum.

“(SEEK) was a ton of fun, and I remember that,” Simone said. “I think the biggest takeaway was working in a team to solve a problem at a young age, with exposure to the bigger picture. It makes you more well-rounded, character-wise, growing up, being able to work together with other people….”

Since its launch in Washington, D.C., in 2007, SEEK has served nearly 23,000 students in 25 cities. The program requires the commitment of the students’ parents or primary caregivers, whose participation has contributed greatly to SEEK’s success. Tests given just before and after the program in 2017 and 2018 showed statistically significant increases in SEEK students’ knowledge of engineering and their ability to see themselves as future engineers.

Strong corporate, government, nonprofit and academic partners have bolstered SEEK and nurtured the program since it was established with a $1-million grant from Battelle in 2007. Major sponsors in recent years have included Bechtel, Chevron, Dow, Ford, GM, Nissan, Northrop Grumman and Shell, among many others. School districts and community organizations across the country host the SEEK programs by providing facilities, meals and medical staff. Research of SEEK is funded by the National Science Foundation.

“Our country has much work to do to reach NSBE’s goal of graduating 10,000 new black engineers annually by 2025, however, the number of African-American engineering graduates has been rising significantly in recent years,” says NSBE Executive Director Karl W. Reid, Ed.D. “We believe SEEK is contributing to this positive trend. Giving our youth exposure to science, technology, engineering and math concepts, and engineering role models, is improving the image of engineering and expanding the knowledge of engineering careers in black communities across the country.”

A listing of the SEEK programs for 2019 follows. More information about SEEK is available at


Cities                                               Start Date                 End Date
Atlanta, Ga. (all-girls)                        June 10                      June 28
Birmingham, Ala.                              June 3                        June 21
Chicago, Ill.                                       July 15                       Aug. 2
Detroit, Mich.                                    July 15                       Aug. 2
Houston, Texas (Site 1)                    June 10                      June 28
Houston, Texas (Site 2)                    July 8                          July 26
Los Angeles, Calif.                           TBD                            TBD
Minneapolis, Minn.                           June 17                      July 5
New Orleans, La.                             June 10                      June 28
Oakland, Calif.                                 June 10                      June 28
Pittsburgh, Pa.                                 July 15                       Aug. 2
Sacramento, Calif.                           July 15                       Aug. 2
Washington, D.C. (all-girls)             June 24                      July 12
Washington, D.C. (coed)                 July 22                       Aug. 9

*Dates are subject to change.

With more than 600 chapters and more than 24,000 active members in the U.S. and abroad, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. NSBE, founded in 1975, supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” For more information, visit

Sign up to follow NSBE on social media.

The African Concert Series London Continues to December 5, 2019

Press release from Antony Barlow

Curated by award-winning pianist REBECA OMORDIA

Following the success of the first programmes of African Art Music at the October Gallery, earlier this year, curated by Artistic Director Rebeca Omordia, a further seven have been scheduled up to December 2019.

Omordia’s aim was to establish a platform for African Art Music, the richly diverse genre of music that originated in Ghana and Nigeria, which forms a bridge between Western classical music and traditional African music.

The October Gallery is in Old Gloucester St, Bloomsbury, London WC1, and concerts begin at 7.30pm and last until 9.00pm. Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased via Eventbrite or on the door.

The programmes take place every month on June 20, July 17, September 19, October 6, November 1 and 29 and December 5 and feature composers from Nigeria, Uganda, Morocco and Guadeloupe including Godwin Sadoh often referred to as the father of modern Nigerian Art music, Justinian Tamusuza blending traditional Ugandan styles with Western classical, the celebrated Ayo Bankole and Joseph Boulogne, the first African-American composer to be performed by a major orchestra.

Artists participating are the award-winning pianist Adam Heron (June 20); the celebrated Chineke! Ensemble (July 17); the highly acclaimed Decus Ensemble (August 27); Unchenna Ngwe and Rowland Sutherland – Music for Woodwind (September 19); Nadine Benjamin, Nigel Foster and Michael Harper – Songs by Women composers of African Descent (October 6); Marouan Benabdallah – Piano music from the Arab World (November 1); Glen Inanga – Nigerian Odyssey; Chineke! Chamber Ensemble – ‘Nonet’ by Samuel Coleridge Taylor with Rebeca Omordia at the piano (December 5).

Rebeca Omordia was born in Romania to a Romanian mother and a Nigerian father. She is prize-winning classical pianist and is a great advocate of Nigerian classical music, which featured on her recent acclaimed CD ‘EKELE’ (HTGCD 188) including Ayo Bankole and Fred Onovwerosuoke.

Further details of each programme:



June 20th - Adam Heron
The award-winning pianist, who reached the final of the BBC Young Musician of 2018, will perform a programme of music by Kwabene Nketia, Akin Euba as well as by Albeniz and Bartok.

July 17th - Chineke Chamber Ensemble 
The Ensemble comprises principal players of the celebrated Chineke! Orchestra, founded in 2015 by Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE. They will perform the String Quartet No 3 in G minor by Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint George. Today the Chevalier de Saint-Georges is best remembered as the first classical composer of African ancestry. The programme also includes the String Quartet in G Minor by Florence B Price, the first African-American to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra.

August 27th – Decus Ensemble 
They will be playing The Egba Musical Totem for String Quartet by the Nigerian composer Godwin Sadoh, who is often referred to as the father of modern Nigerian Art Music, and blends Yoruba and Igbo aesthetics into his work.  This will be followed by Mu Kkubo Ery ‘Omusalaab (On the Way of the Cross) by Ugandan, Justinian Tamusuza. His music blends western classical and Ugandan traditional styles, and he is now recognized as one of the leading contemporary African composers.

September 19th – Unchenna Ngwe (Oboe, Cor Anglais), Rowland Sutherland (Flute) and Yshani Perinpanayagam (Piano)
This programme features music for woodwind including The Republic Suite for flute and piano by J H K Nketia from Ghana; Visions for flue and piano by Bongana Ndodana Breen from South Africa and finally Six sketches for Oboe and Piano by Fred Onovwerosuoke from Nigeria.

October 6th – Nadine Benjamin (soprano), Nigel Foster (piano) Michael Harper (speaker)
This is a special programme for Black History Month and will include songs by women of African descent.

November 1st – Marouan Benabdallah (piano)
‘Arabesque’ – Piano music from the Arab World performed by the internationally famous Moroccan pianist playing music by Salim Dada from Algeria and Nabil Benabdeljalil

November 29th  – Glen Inanga (piano) Nigerian Odyssey
This programme will include Egun Variations and the world premiere of Fugal Dance by the eminent Nigerian composer Ayo Bankole.

December 5th – Chineke! Chamber Ensemble and Rebeca Omordia
Bringing the 2019 series to a thrilling close Rebeca Omordia will join with Chineke! Ensemble to perform Samuel Taylor Coleridge-Taylor’s ‘Nonet’ in F Minor. 

The concerts are at 7.30pm and tickets @ £10.0 can be obtained from Eventbrite or go to 

Clipper Erickson performs works of Margaret Bonds & R. Nathaniel Dett on YouTube

Clipper Erickson writes:

Just uploaded! Recorded live at Westminster Choir College, you can now watch Clipper's passionate and sparkling interpretations of:

Margaret Bonds' Troubled Water

George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue

R. Nathaniel Dett's As His Own Soul & Madrigal Divine

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Eric Conway: Day 9, First full in London and last concert of the tour - Gresham Centre

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Day 9 was the day for the Morgan contingent to tour London, the capitol city of England. What a great city, with over nine million inhabitants, close to twice as many as the entire country of Scotland. We all slept well in our Doubletree Docklands hotel, which gave us all their signature cookies upon arrival. Our hotel was almost directly on the Thames river. If you opened the window, you could hear the water, and see the corporate park across the river.

The organizers arranged for our group to have a tour of London from an Afro-Caribbean perspective, so local experts joined our group in the morning for a bus tour of the many neighborhoods/boroughs in London. I found that London is similar to Baltimore in some ways, but of course on a much larger scale. Baltimore has many neighborhoods and communities throughout, as does London with as many as thirty-two boroughs. Much like many American urban areas were there is a delineation between two different sides of the tracks, in London the delineation was between what side of the Thames river that you lived on.

Some of the famous boroughs that we visited were Brixton, Deptford, and Castle Station. We made stops in the iconic Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. We were surprised to discover that Martin Luther King, Jr. now has statue among the many other saints on the outside of Westminster Abbey - which shows the international appeal of our African-American martyr. After our three hour bus tour of London which could take over an hour to drive from one side of city to the other, we had a hour-long ferry ride up the Thames River seeing all the buildings and sites from the water. There is no better way to city, than by boat.

At the end of the cruise down the Thames, we de-boarded in the very famous Greenwich, England. Greenwich is known around the world as being the home of the Prime Meridien. This is where zero degrees longitude resides. All time zones are based against this point either plus or minus from the Prime Meridien. For example, Baltimore is -5 hours from Greenwich, however, Helsinki, Finland is plus 2 hours. The equivalent point in latitude is the equator, which is zero degrees latitude. Many of us have compasses on our smartphones which calibrate against these two axes. This was exhilarating for me to be at a point where the compass read zero point zero point zero degrees longitude! See attached. We ate lunch in Cafe Rouge and had a very typical fish and chips meal for our group lunch.

We then had an hour to prepare for our last concert at the Gresham Centre at St. Anne’s and St. Agnes Church. The presenter was a bit concerned because although the concert was free to the public, you needed to make a reservation to attend. The concert was oversubscribed by about fifty. Luckily, we had enough seats for the capacity audience. The space was quite intimate and the crowd was by far, the most enthusiastic of all of our audiences. At the conclusion of the concert, we had to hurry back to the hotel to try to get to the restaurant for supper. To the surprise of our choir, our college president, Dr. Wilson who accompanied the choir to the UK, treated the choir for dinner after the concert!

Tomorrow was our last full day in London, which included many activities, including a visit to the American Embassy and a choral masterclass by the acclaimed British choral/arranger, Bob Chilcott!


Link to video of 2nd half of Gresham St. Church!