Christal Brown teaching

Music brings a family together

Quarantine project by Nick Stubblefield ’10 BM – the cover of a tune his parents wrote. Nick says, “It’s neat when music can bring generations together. In this case, it brought my parents together with me. I come from a musical family that wrote a number of songs back in their day. They pitched that I cover one of their songs from the 1980s — No Access. It’s a great tune (lyrics by my mom Cindy, music by my dad, Jerry “Lightnin’ Stubblefield). Theirs was hard rock. Mine is jazzy RnB.”

Wilson Kimber

Distinguished Alumnus Presented Award from Society of American Music

Distinguished Alumnus Marian Wilson Kimber (BA ’83) was recently awarded the Sight and Sound Subvention from the Society for American Music for her work “In a Woman’s Voice: Musical Readings by American Women Composers.”

This project will be a video recording of musical readings for spoken word and piano by women composers, performed by Marian Wilson Kimber, reciter, and Natalie Landowski, piano. It is based on the work in Wilson Kimber’s book, The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word (University of Illinois Press, 2017). The influx of female performers into elocution during the Progressive era resulted in women’s dominance of spoken-word compositions, which were frequently performed for audiences in women’s clubs from the 1890s to the 1940s. The texts treat stereotypically feminine topics—fashion, courtship, or domestic life—often in satirical tones, supported by musical commentary in the piano. Composers such as Phyllis Fergus and Frieda Peycke created works that specifically appealed to women while subtly resisting existing gender norms. Wilson Kimber and Landowski have been performing these works for several years to warm response in academic settings and for the music’s original audience, women’s groups; this recording will help further the rediscovery of this practice.

Marian Wilson Kimber is Professor of Musicology at the University of Iowa. She has published numerous articles about women in music, Felix Mendelssohn and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, and recitation in concert life. Her book, The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word (University of Illinois Press, 2017) won SAM’s H. Earle Johnson Subvention, as well as a subvention from the American Musicological Society. With pianist Natalie Landowski, Wilson Kimber is a founding member of the duo, Red Vespa, which is reviving the performance of comic spoken word pieces by women composers. Red Vespa has delighted audiences in Kansas City, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, DC, and has appeared at Ohio State University as the William A. Hammond Lecture in the American Tradition.

Source: Society for American Music Bulletin

School of Dance Alumna Giving Greensboro “Something Our Community Needs Right Now”

School of Dance Alumna Princess Johnson, founder of Royal Expressions Contemporary Ballet, is taking her company’s Juneteenth Arts Celebration online.

“The entire Greensboro community will benefit from watching it as we all seek healing and reconciliation in our varying ways,” Johnson said.

Read more in this Greensboro News and Record Article.

Photo from News and Record article. Princess Johnson talking with Ryan Deal, Executive Director of Creative Greensboro, at a recent rehearsal for the Juneteenth Arts Celebration.

School of Dance Alumna Organizing for Change

Melanie Greene (’13 MFA Dance) is a dancer and writer who hosts the Dance Union Podcast, with dancer J. Bouey. When the document titled “An Open Letter to Arts Organizations Rampant With White Supremacy” began circulating on the internet, Greene and Bouey used their podcast to begin dialogue and action to make a difference.

Their work is featured in this New York Times article, A Model for the ‘Dance World We Want’.

Photo: A mural in downtown Greensboro by artist Raman Bhardwaj

A Message from the Dean

Dear CVPA Colleagues, Students and Families, and Alumni,

I am outraged by the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others by those who are sworn to protect. I am disheartened and angry at the violence shown against those who are peacefully protesting the widespread and systemic racial injustice in our country. It is a time to take action and to redouble our efforts to fight racism and to eradicate it from our College, our University, and ultimately our society.

Together we can build a College of Visual and Performing Arts at UNCG that is committed to dismantling the legacy of white supremacy in higher education; that is steeped in a sense of justice and equity through our policies and our practices; that protects the dignity, individuality, and safety of our students at every turn; and that is actively anti-racist in our decision-making. We must overturn the dominant paradigm and build a new system founded on equality and respect for all. We have made mistakes in the past. We have a long way to go. But our efforts to live up to these non-negotiable standards have begun in earnest.

We must have a diverse faculty representing our society at large, providing professional mentoring for all of our students and broadening our curricular perspectives. We must ensure that our faculty and staff fully reflect, respect, and advance the values of our College to fight against racism and for equality. Last fall we implemented a new set of policies and procedures to diversify our faculty and staff. All search committees have an underrepresented faculty member or a current or past member of the CVPA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and student members. The EDI Committee drafted a “Successful Practices” document, which together with the new procedures have become the backbone of the search process. Every search committee member is required to complete Diversity EDU training to address implicit bias. We spend time with every faculty search committee in reviewing how to run an unbiased search, and any search that does not have a diverse pool of applicants is extended.

As a result of this intentional, shared effort involving faculty, staff, and students, 3 of our 9 searches this year resulted in hiring professors of color, and 2 of our 5 staff searches resulted in hiring staff of color, thus reversing a trend of declining numbers of professors and staff of color. Our work is not over, and we have just begun. We have set goals for next year and where we aim to be in five years.

We are committed to listening to our students and to decolonizing our curriculum. At the very soul of the UNCG CVPA is a diverse student body rich in talent, individualism, and creativity. To cultivate fully the capabilities of this incredible student body, the academic environment must be culturally inclusive, safe, and responsive. Individual dignity, mutual respect, and a deep understanding of who we are vital to our creative success. We can and will do better to ensure that our students find in our College a place that holds itself to the highest, most rigorous standards in all these areas.

I am acutely aware that we need to do more. I know that there are very immediate, pressing issues related to certain actions of our faculty and staff regarding treatment of our students. The voices that have until now been unheard or silenced and the issues that until now have been ignored or dismissed are now front and center as we look at our College. I and others are actively addressing these issues that have been raised recently on social media and in other communications. We take your feedback to heart and are investigating fully and fairly. We will not tolerate racism in our College, and all of us must take actions to reflect this commitment.

Racism will not be tolerated in our College, and my hope is that we can turn our personal anger into positive collective action. I look forward to working with you in this fight for justice and equality.

Sincerely,

bruce d. mcclung, Dean
College of Visual and Performing Arts

Photo: A mural in downtown Greensboro by artist Raman Bhardwaj