As a Frederick Douglass Teaching Fellow through the Frederick Douglass Institute at Kutztown University, James initiated the now annual FDI Music Competition, in collaboration with FDI director Maria Sanelli, and funding generously provided by local businesses in Allentown, PA.
The Frederick Douglass Institute at Kutztown University will present ‘Celebrating Black Music’ at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 1, in Schaeffer Auditorium. The concert caps the Institute’s efforts to highlight the legacy of Frederick Douglass and will feature the music of black composers, including jazz, pop, classical, spoken word and hip-hop. The concert is free and open to the public.
To end Black History Month on a strong and positive note, the Frederick Douglass Institute is holding the concert to highlight the scope of the contributions of black musicians and promote an eclectic repertoire among emerging young talent. The concert will feature performers from Wilson High School, Muhlenberg High School, Governor Mifflin High School, Northampton Area High School and Kutztown University, all of whom participated in a music competition held by the Institute. These applicants submitted recordings of themselves performing works by black composers, and seven talented individuals/groups were selected and will be awarded a cash prize.
The program of the event includes works by classical composer H.T. Burleigh, contemporary composer Marques Garret, and jazz composers Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Joe Henderson and William Grant. It will also feature the music of Michael Jackson, Childish Gambino and KU student Derick Knox.