Adrienne Baker: FlutePursuit

Music is life. Live.

We Are All In This Together, Reflections on the Service for Erica Garner

Yesterday I, along with many others of the public, gathered to support Erica Garner's family in their mourning at the service to pay their respects to Erica Garner

I'd never been to a service for a public figure before and it was powerful to see the impact that she had on her community. Strangers she hasn't even met, who came to mourn all the same at this tragic loss.

Al Sharpton spoke, and he reached my heart with his words. I was skeptical of what he would have to say; I have not always agreed with his approach, opinions, prescriptions for what we as a community should do to combat the institution of racism in our country. And that is precisely what he spoke about. He spoke about the strength of Erica, her determination, and her way to fight oppression, which was at times very different from his own. Yet, he made it clear he supported her all the same. He spoke of how different movements have existed at the same time yet we are all going in the same direction.

And that hit me, because his call to us in her memory was one I feel passionately about and have always gotten behind: we are all in this together. He says when they [the police] shoot us, they don't ask what religion we are, etc. They don't ask those deeper questions. So, we must uplift each other, lest we do their tearing down of ourselves for them.

Maybe that is what we can make 2018 about.

Black Artists You Should Know: James Weldon Johnson

Some people are defined by a singular skill or specific contribution to society. Then there are those of us who have so much to give, their impact can be found across multiple disciplines touch a wide away of groups and people. Such is the case with composer, playwright, teacher, author, and poet James Weldon Johnson.

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August 2017 Project Announcement

I am very eager to share with you plans for a project to highlight women's equity for equal work. We need your financial support to bring this project to fruition.

This project seeks to promote and celebrate the works of African American Women composers and bring attention to the opportunity and pay disparity that exists across a broad range of professions. Additionally, by presenting this program with cohort of all women performers, we will be giving opportunity to women in classical music to share what they have to offer with their community.

Most people are aware that, on average, women's take home salary is less than what a man makes. The disparity by ethnicity is not any more encouraging. To white women's 79% of a man's average salary, African American women make 63%. While Asian American women make more, on average, it is still less than a man, at 79% (see the National Organization of Women for complete demographic information). In classical music, the representation of African Americans, let alone women, is also disparaging. In 2015, 4% of those employed by American orchestras, men and women, were musicians of color.

By bringing attention to this disparity, this project will also provide artist opportunities to women by presenting a concert of works by Female African American composers, presented by a cohort of high quality women musicians.

Your donation will cover costs to produce this concert, including costs to pay the musicians a decent and fair wage for two rehearsals and one 45 minute concert of chamber works, production costs, publicity, and space rental. Grassroots work by community artists is not possible without your support. In order to ensure we meet our production timeline, we must raise the needed funds by December 15th. This project is also able to accept non-cash donations and welcomes support in the from of rehearsal space, volunteering, and matching gifts. 

Thank you in advance for your support of this project! Please do sign up for my newsletter to know how the project is developing.

Donate now to promote the works of Black Women Composers!

This project is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of this project must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Pretty Little Salma: an Educational Debut

 Dir. of Marketing and Programming Lynn Duvall introducing  Storytelling Through Music

Dir. of Marketing and Programming Lynn Duvall introducing Storytelling Through Music

It was that time of year once again for Free Fun Fridays in the city of Boston. I am thankful to the Museum of African American History for allowing COOS Educational Director Seychelle Dunn-Corbin and I to debut my new educational seminar Storytelling Through Music. Participants laughed, sang, and solved problems with us as we learned how music can be used to enhance Niki Daly's Pretty Little Salma. An Africanized retelling of Red Riding Hood, Niki Daly's tale allowed us to introduce to audiences how music can be used to symbolize objects and enhance the movements of the actors on stage. This gave a new meaning and life to how music can be used to represent the emotions that music can convey.

Storytelling Through Music was well received by our debut audience! They watched with trepidation as Mr. Dog (convincingly played by Ms. Dunn-Corbin) tricked Salma (played by yours truly) to turn over her favorite distinctive trinkets so that he could impersonate Salma at Granny's house. After our galvanized group effort to save Granny from Mr. Dog's clutches, thanks to help from the audience, they got to celebrate with us once Salma had been reunited with her family.

All and all, Seychelle and I had a wonderful time wearing our acting hats and look forward to sharing Pretty Little Salma with more audiences to come this COOS season.

Pretty Little Salma is published by Clarion Books and is available for purchase on amazon.

 Seychelle and I in costume as Pretty Little Salma and Mr. Dog!

Seychelle and I in costume as Pretty Little Salma and Mr. Dog!

Want to bring Storytelling Through Music or another one of the COOS educational seminars to your school or community center? Contact Educational Director Seychelle Dunn to schedule a performance!