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William L. Dawson and Tuskegee University’s Legacy of Music 2012 Dawson Lectureship Tuskegee University Chapel 1:00 PM, Saturday, March 31 By: Dana R.

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Presentation on theme: "William L. Dawson and Tuskegee University’s Legacy of Music 2012 Dawson Lectureship Tuskegee University Chapel 1:00 PM, Saturday, March 31 By: Dana R."— Presentation transcript:

1 William L. Dawson and Tuskegee University’s Legacy of Music 2012 Dawson Lectureship Tuskegee University Chapel 1:00 PM, Saturday, March 31 By: Dana R. Chandler, TU Archivist March 31, 2012 Tuskegee University Archives

2 Dawson Biography Born in 1899 in Anniston, Alabama Attended Tuskegee as an Agriculture Major After graduation, accepted position as Director of Music, Kansas Vocational College, Topeka While there, studied orchestration and composition at Washburn College in Topeka Director of Music, Lincoln High School, Kansas City 1925, Graduated with honors from the Horner Institute of Fine Arts 1927, graduated with Masters of Music, American Conservancy of Music Post-graduate study, Chicago Music College 1930-1955, head of Music Program, Tuskegee University Died, May 2, 1990

3 Dawson’s Legacy of Accomplishments

4 Accomplishments Composer: - Composition, Trio in A, for violin, cello and piano performed at graduation program, Horner Institute of Fine Arts - 1932, Negro Folk Symphony, Leopold Stokowski and Philadelphia Orchestra - Numerous other orchestral and choral pieces Musician: - First chair, trombonist, Chicago Civic Orchestra Other: - Bandmaster designate for the 1933 World’s Fair - Conducting, editing, arranging and performing for radio broadcasts. Tuskegee University Choir: - 1932-33, Four weeks at the opening of Radio Music Hall in New York - 1932, White House for President Hoover - 1933, White House for President Roosevelt’s birthday - 1937-51, Carnegie Hall,

5 Dawson’s Passion “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name Regarding Dawson, Prof. De Lerma writes: “He was virtually the entire music faculty at Tuskegee from 1931 to 1956.”

6 Negro Folk Symphony The three movements of the symphony are entitled: The Bond of Africa, Hope in the Night and O, le' me shine, shine like a Morning Star! Michael Fleming explains that Dawson revised the work after visiting Africa. He also provides some of the composer's remarks: After a trip to West Africa in 1952, however, the composer revised it to embody authentic African rhythmic patterns, and it was in this form that Stokowski recorded it, and it is most frequently played today. The symphony can be appreciated purely as a musical work, without any knowledge of the melodies or feelings that form its background. 'This Symphony is based entirely on Negro folk-music. The themes are taken from what are popularly known as Negro spirituals, and the practiced ear will recognize the recurrence of characteristic themes throughout the composition.' Evans, Arthur Lee. The development of the Negro spiritual as choral art music by Afro-American composers, with an annotated guide to the performance of selected spirituals. Graduate paper (Ph.D., music) University of Miami, 1972. 264p. LC 73-5837; RILM 76/13629.

7 The Chapel’s Singing Windows More than decoration, they are testimony to the importance of Tuskegee’s musical legacy!

8 There were others… Music was important from the very beginning: Booker T. Washington required singing, especially ‘spirituals,’ by everyone in attendance at the weekly Chapel worship services.

9 Washington and Music From the 1909 Catalog: – The regular Sunday Evening Chapel Exercises at 6:30, are unique in rendition, affording great inspirational value to students, faculty and workers. The large pipe organ, the orchestra, the choir, and the school combine to make these services vitally interesting, and frequently visitors from afar drop in to enjoy the beautiful singing of the spirituals by the choir. “Sing the old songs,” said Mr. Washington.

10 He goes on to state: – “There is no part of our Chapel exercises that gives me more pleasure than the beautiful Negro melodies which you sing. I believe that there is no part of the service more truly spiritual, more elevating. Wherever you go, after you leave this school, I hope that you will never give up the singing of these songs. If you go out to have schools of your own, have your pupils sing them as you have sung them here, and teach them to see the beauty which dwells in these songs.”

11 Prior to the coming of Dawson… Instruction in all things music (according to the 1909 Catalog) included: – Bands: a. Beginners and concert band. These played for military formations, concerts and social functions held by the school. – Orchestra played for all religious services held in the Chapel. – Choir

12 Music Department Although Dawson started the School in 1931, music had been taught at Tuskegee at least as early as 1886. Music classes in 1910 included instrumental music and voice.

13 The Tuskegee Singers In 1884, Washington organized the institute’s first singers. Sent out to “promote the interests of Tuskegee Institute.” Reorganized in 1909

14 Captain Wiley’s Singers William Wiley’s Choral Group sang throughout the community during the 1950s and 60s.

15 Paul L. Dunbar and The Tuskegee Song In honor of Tuskegee University's 25th Anniversary in 1906, Paul Laurence Dunbar was asked by Founder, Booker T. Washington, to write a poem. The Tuskegee Song was written by Dunbar and a melody, suggested by Dunbar, was replaced at a later time by the present tune composed by Nathaniel Clark Smith, Tuskegee University Band Director.

16 The Tuskegee Song Tuskegee thou pride of the swift growing south We pay thee our homage today For the worth of thy teaching, the joy of thy care; And the good we have known 'neath thy sway. Oh, long-striving mothers of diligent sons And of daughters, whose strength is their pride, We will love thee forever, and ever shall walk Through the oncoming years at thy side. Thy hand we have held up the difficult steeps, When painful and slow was the pace, And onward and upward we've labored with thee For the glory of God and our race. The fields smile to greet us, the forests are glad, The ring of the anvil and hoe Have a music as thrilling and sweet as a harp Which thou taught us to hear and to know. Oh, mother Tuskegee, thou shinest today As a gem in the fairest of lands; Thou gavest the heav'n blessed power to see The worth of our minds and our hands We thank thee, we bless thee, we pray for thee years Imploring with grateful accord, Full fruit for thy striving, time longer to strive, Sweet love and true labor's reward.

17 Dunbar Penned Many Others Written for the dedication of Dorothy Hall, April 23, 1901.

18 The Glee Club CA. 1900, The Happy 24 Glee Club, Tuskegee University

19 The Tuskegee University Band The Band was begun in 1894 through the efforts of Charles A. White. Band Masters or Director of Bands include: N. Clark Smith, Frank L. Drye, Lucius R. Wyatt, Ronald J. Sarjeant and Warren L. Duncan (current) just to name a few.

20 The Tuskegee University Crimson Piper Band Honda Battle of the Bands winners Performed at football games and parades

21 The Concert Band Perform at Dawson Institute Graduations Chambliss Children’s House Band

22 The Choir (The Golden Voices) The Choir was developed by Washington in 1886, for music at vesper services and for special occasions. The group below appeared at the opening of Radio City Music Hall in New York City, 1932.

23 The Choir Photo taken in the original Institute Chapel, spring 1946, prior to the choir’s journey for a performance at the unveiling of the Booker T. Washington bust at the New York University Hall of Fame for Great Americans. During this trip they also sang at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The Tuskegee University Choir has been under Directors such as: Huston Johns (the first Director), Elizabeth Morse, Portia Pittman, William L. Dawson and, of course, our very own Dr. Wayne Barr.

24 The Choir’s Popularity With the choir’s debut on “The Edgar Bergen Show,” 1950, their fame spread very quickly: – 1953, “The Kate Smith Show” – 1952, “The Ed Sullivan Show” – 1953 and 54, “The Eddie Fisher Show” – 1954, “The Frontiers of Faith” – 1954, “The Arthur Godfrey Show” – 1955, Recorded Album, “The Tuskegee Institute Choir Sings Spirituals Over the years, they have appeared at many other important venues.

25 The Others… Organist (first noted in program from 1971 Band Managers Cleaners Seamstresses

26 Carver, the Musician George Washington Carver was both a singer and musician. Played accordion and piano Often helped with Chapel Services Taught piano

27 Tuskegee Influenced Music Washington, as the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901, was the first African American ever invited to the White House. The visit was recalled in the 1927 song by Banjo Blues Musician Gus Cannon, titled "Can You Blame The Colored Man" “Can You Blame The Colored Man,” Gus Cannon (1927)

28 Tuskegee Influenced Music

29 Booker T. Washington White (November 12, 1909 – February 26, 1977), better known as “Bukka” White, was an American Delta blues guitarist and singer.

30 The Commodores The members of the Commodores all attended Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. The original lineup consisted of William King on trumpet, Thomas McClary on guitar, Ronald LaPread on bass, Walter “Clyde” Orange on drums, Lionel Richie on saxophone and Milan Williams on keyboards. At loss for a name for their new group, Orange gave King a dictionary and told him to pick a name – and the word he chose was “commodore.”

31 Tuskegee Influenced Music Lionel Richie’s highly acclaimed and slightly Country album, “Tuskegee,” had an instantaneous 20,000 sales during a Home Shopping Network appearance by Richie, and pre-sales charts show "Tuskegee" possibly besting Madonna's "MDNA." Chris Willman, “Lionel Richie Goes Barely Country for 'Tuskegee‘” The Wrap – Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:32 PM EDT

32 Music Continues

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