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School Of Music Documentary Series Spotlights Artists with Unique Stories

As part of the TLU School of Music's Official Heartbeats of Freedom Documentary Series, the department will screen three unique and powerful stories of music as a catalyst for change against systemic legacies. Through a partnership with GOOD DOCS and GOOD TALKS, the series features films that offer powerful educational experiences to students and communities everywhere. Each film will be available for screening for a period of 14 days on TLU Cinema. As part of the series, there will be a Q&A Zoom session with the director of each film.

TLU School Of Music Director Dr. Doug Boyer was inspired to offer all students the chance to engage with visiting artists and performers in the age of COVID-19.

"In a normal academic year, the TLU School of Music would be hosting visiting artists that work with, engage, and challenge our students," he said. "However, one thing we can safely do is host a documentary series. We also knew we wanted to talk about music and how it can serve as a catalyst for change against systemic legacies. Each film tells a unique and powerful story using music as its central theme. We hope attendees enjoy the films, but also take advantage of the interactions we are providing with the filmmakers."

Boyer also says the Q&A sessions are opportunities to engage with the directors, discuss the films and their geneses, and ask some difficult questions about very complex issues connected with systemic racism.

Heartbeats of Freedom Documentary Series

River City Drumbeat

Monday, February 8

River City Drumbeat is a powerful story of music, love, and legacies set in the American South. Edward "Nardie" White devoted his life to leading the African-American drum corps he co-founded with Zambia Nkrumah in Louisville, Kentucky three decades ago.

Singing Our Way To Freedom

Monday, March 8

Singing Our Way To Freedom chronicles the life and music of Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez from his humble beginnings as a farmworker in Blythe, California to the dramatic moment when he received one of his nation’s highest musical honors at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

A Man And His Trumpet: The Leroy Jones Story

Monday, April 12

In a city full of brilliant musicians, Leroy Jones, trumpet virtuoso and consummate New Orleanian, is a musician’s musician. A Man And His Trumpet: The Leroy Jones Story follows Jones's life journey as he came up playing on the streets of the Saint Bernard Projects, quickly establishing himself as one of NOLA’s most sought after trumpeters.

Assistant Professor of Voice Dr. Liliana Guerrero also adds that this is an opportunity for students to see the lasting impact that music can have on people's lives.

"Music helps us understand each other. It's a common language that we can use when words fail to adequately express what we're trying to say," she said. "Music has long been used as a form of protest or as a call to action. It's an easy way to disseminate the will of the people in an ear-catching way. In addition, we often look to music to get a glimpse into the history of a people and their dance rhythms, poetic meter, or the display of religious traditions, such as the call and response format used in the African-American spiritual. All of these anthropological aspects of what makes up a person's culture is encompassed in the art of making music."

Guerrero hopes attendees will leave feeling inspired by the ways people have used music to express themselves and the needs of their community.

"I also hope anyone who does not come from a similar background will be able to empathize with stories that they have never heard before and see that though we all come from different backgrounds, we share a few common interests as human beings," she said. "Meaningful interests like the urge to communicate with one another and the desire to be free."