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Hughes brings Harlem Renaissance to Valdosta

Langston Hughes’ dream will no longer be deferred as the African-American Studies Program will host “The Langston Hughes Project” tonight in the Student Union Theater at 7:30 p.m.

This event will be a multimedia presentation by The Ron McCurdy Quartet, featuring Dr. Ron McCurdy, professor of music and jazz studies in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.

The performance will feature spoken word, a jazz ensemble and images to accompany the music from The Harlem Renaissance and will pay homage to people who have battled against inequality during the 1960s.

Dr. Shirley Hardin, director of African-American Studies and professor of English, said that this program will serve another goal.

“Its purpose is to reacquaint America with its shared cultural heritage, especially its literary and musical heritage,” she said.

There will be musical pieces from blues, boogie-woogie, bee-bop, cha-cha, Dixieland, German Lieder and Jewish liturgy.

It will also include a brief tribute to Whitney Houston, the long-time singer who recently died due to unknown causes Saturday in Beverly Hills, Ca. at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

This will be the first time that VSU will host this event, and attendance is free to the general public.

Dr. McCurdy believes that students will receive the opportunity to absorb themselves in a personal experience. “Students will have a chance to engage in ‘critical thinking’ and examine their own existence as it relates to the rest of the world,” he said.

“The Langston Hughes Project, Ask Your Mama: 12 Mood for Jazz” was created by Dr. McCurdy himself when he was asked by the curator of the “Weisman Art Museum” at University of Minnesota to form a program for the music section in the museum.

Dr. McCurdy thinks highly of Hughes calling him a “connoisseur of jazz music.”

“Langston was a storyteller,” he said, “People ask me if he were alive today, what would he be. He would be a rapper…like Common.”

This is because both speak on important issues in society.

Along with performing during this project, Dr. McCurdy will host a Jazz Master Class for the VSU Jazz Studies students and David Springfield, asst. professor and director of jazz studies.

Co-Sponsors for this event include the Office of Social Equity, Department of English, Department of Music, and Division of Student Affairs.

“The Langston Hughes Project” is just one of the many events that Dr. McCurdy is a part of.

Over the weekend, he hosted a series of concerts for the pre-Grammys activities.

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