Music history film series starts Tuesday at SLU

Southeastern Louisiana University’s Sims Memorial Library will host a free, six-week series on the film history of music starting Tuesday.

Offered in conjunction with the Tangipahoa Parish Public Library, Hammond Regional Arts Center, and 90.9 KSLU radio and titled “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway,” the program is a series featuring documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions to enlighten audiences about uniquely American musical genres. Styles covered include blues and gospel, Broadway, jazz, bluegrass and country, rock ’n’ roll, mambo and hip-hop.

Southeastern is one of only 50 sites in the nation to host the program, which will run through March 28. Beth West, program coordinator and systems, technologies, and distance librarian at Sims Library, obtained the grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which made the program possible.

“America’s Music is a national grant initiative that provides DVDs of carefully selected compelling documentary films, discussion guidelines, original essays by eminent scholars, extensive resource guides and Web support,” she said.

Professor and Head of the Department of History and Political Science William Robison will serve as the project scholar and lead the discussions, following a 30-minute video documentary, scheduled each Tuesday from 6:30 — 8:30 p.m. in Sims Library, room 240 beginning Tuesday through March 26.

The video and lecture program schedule is as follows:

Tuesday: Blues and Gospel.

Feb. 26: Broadway and Tin Pan Alley.

March 5: Swing Jazz.

March 12: Bluegrass and Country.

March 19: Rock.

March 26: Hip Hop and Mambo.

West said several supplemental programs are also scheduled during the series and include:

March 7, 2 p.m., Pottle Auditorium: “Recomposition: From Popular Song to BeBop Tunes — includes music by Danny Acosta on guitar and Richard A. Schwartz on saxophone.

March 14, 1 p.m., Sims Library, 3rd floor: “Women and Jazz during World War II” featuring Kimberly Guise, curator at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, who will talk about women’s roles during the war as it relates to the music of the time.

March 20, 7 p.m., Vonnie Borden Theatre in D Vickers Hall: “What Makes a Hit Song” with communication professor Joseph Burns and a panel of musicians.

“America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway” is a project of the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music. “America’s Music” has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.”

A complete schedule of the program series can be found at http://www.selu.libguides.com/americasmusiccalendar. For information, contact West at (985) 549-5935 or via e-mail at Elizabeth.West@southeastern.edu.