Archive for November, 2009

A World-Class Musical Trip at NCCU

Monday, November 30th, 2009

nccuchoir2Christmas will arrive at North Carolina Central University 19 days early with a bag filled with music for everyone. The University Choir will hold its annual Christmas concert, Sunday, December 6, 2009, at the B.N. Duke Auditorium, at 4 p.m.

The program will feature Christmas tunes from Argentina, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Brazil. The director of the University Choir, Richard Banks, says, “This is a wonderful holiday recital, which brings NCCU and the community together. We take the audience on a musical journey with our own rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas. In addition, the audience and family members will hear the youngsters from the W.G. Pearson and J.W. Neal Middle Schools, under the direction of Dolli Bradford.”

Banks says there will be a hymn, Leave Us Not, Holy Lord, sung in Yoruba; and three chorals from J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and a sing-along.

For additional information about the free holiday recital at the B.N. Duke Auditorium, Sunday, December 6, 2009, at 4 p.m., please contact Richard Banks, director of choral activities at NCCU, at (919) 530-6268.

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and More at NCCU

Monday, November 30th, 2009

nccuchoir1If you like classical music, opera or the works of Bach and Mozart then consider a free performance of Magnificat, Ave Verum and Hallelujah at North Carolina Central University, Wednesday, December 2, 2009, at 7 p.m., in the B.N. Duke Auditorium, on Fayetteville Street in Durham.

Magnificat, also known as the Song of Mary, is a joyful song of praise and celebration usually sung during worship or even at Christmas. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an admirer of Bach and crafted the sacred Ave Verum for a choir. The performance at NCCU will include Ludwig Von Beethoven’s Hallelujah. The Operatorio Performance Ensemble will feature the inaugural performance of NCCU’s Centennial Choir. The concert will incorporate other familiar pieces of music like Every Time I Feel the Spirit, Hold On and I’m Going Through.

For additional information about the free recital at the B.N. Duke Auditorium, Wednesday, December 2, 2009, at 7 p.m., please contact Richard Banks, director of choral activities at NCCU, at (919) 530-6268.

NCCU Staff Reach Out to the Community

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

North Carolina Central University’s Staff Senate, Sodexo, the NCCU Academic Community Service Learning Program and WNCU 90.7 FM are collaborating to collect food donations to benefit the Durham Rescue Mission. They’re seeking help to feed hungry families during the holidays. On Friday, November 20, WNCU will broadcast live from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the McLean Parking Lot to fill NCCU vans with food. The lot is located on the corner of Nelson and Fayetteville Streets near the Alfonso Elder Student Union.

“We are a strong and compassionate group that cares about our students, faculty, and staff, but also, the community of which we are a part,” states Rebie Coleman, chair of NCCU’s Staff Senate. “During these tough economic times, we realize there is a tremendous need, so we’re calling on others to help us help them by donating food.”

The Durham Rescue Mission needs non-perishable food items including canned meats, canned vegetables, soups, sugar, coffee and tea to restock their pantries to feed hungry families in the community. On Thanksgiving Day, the Durham Rescue Mission hosts an annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner. They serve a free traditional thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings, and give away free clothing and free groceries.

“We have been blessed to have mild weather but still we have had record attendance of 199 men, women and children staying at the mission this fall,” said Gail Mills, co-founder of the Durham Rescue Mission.

For additional information or how you can help, call Rebie Coleman at (919) 530-5369.

10th Annual Fall Guest Artist Series

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

You’re Invited to the Jazz Ensemble Concert on Friday, November 20, 2009, at 8 p.m. in the B.N. Duke Auditorium, NCCU Campus.

Chancellor Nelms and Dr. Ira Wiggins invite you to an evening of legendary jazz. North Carolina Central University’s Jazz Studies Program presents the 10th Annual Fall Guest Artist Series featuring Saxophonist & Composer, Steve Wilson, and the NCCU Jazz Ensemble.

Reserve your ticket today. Visit the NCCU Ticket Office or call (919) 530-7946. Tickets are $15. For more information contact: Ira Wiggins, Director of Jazz Studies at (919) 530-7214 or the NCCU Department of Music at (919) 530-6319.

Can’t make the concert? Steve Wilson will give a master class and lecture on Friday, November 20, at noon in the B. N. Duke Auditorium, Jazz Band Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Legacy of Durham’s Black Wall Street and North Carolina Central University

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

On Sunday, November 15, 2009, The Parrish Street Advocacy Group Programming Series presents The Legacy of Durham’s Black Wall Street and North Carolina Central University at 3 p.m. in the Hayti Heritage Center on Fayetteville Street.

Chancellor Charlie Nelms will provide greetings along with Mayor William “Bill” Bell and Dr. Kimberly Moore, manager of public relations, Affinity Group Marketing.

The keynote address will be presented by Dr. Walter Weare, associate professor emeritus of history, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Based on his research, Weare will present his perspectives on how John Merrick, Dr. Aaron Moore and C.C. Spaulding supported Dr. James E. Shepard’s efforts in founding NCCU. He will also discuss the relationship between C.C. Spaulding and Dr. Shepard during the political era of the1930s in seeking financial support for NCCU and other black educational initiatives.

A panel discussion, including a question and answer session, will follow the keynote address. Panel members will include Dr. Weare; R. Kelly Bryant, retired, North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and Mechanics & Farmers Bank; Dr. Beverly Jones, retired provost and professor of history, NCCU; and Brooklyn McMillon, retired university registrar and archivist, NCCU.

This event is free and open to the public.

NCCU’s Marching Sound Machine Selected for the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade

Monday, November 9th, 2009

North Carolina Central University formally announced the unexpected selection of its Marching Sound Machine band for the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. Under the directorship of Jorim E. Reid, North Carolina Central University will take part in the famous New Year’s Day parade considered to be one of this country’s triple crown of marching band honors.Sound 1

“There is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Trophy for most outstanding college or university band, and the Tournament of Roses Parade,” said Reid. “The Rose Parade was in my 15-year plan. I didn’t intend to submit an application for another seven years.”

But Reid’s success over the course of his initial eight years as director at NCCU, particularly his band’s five consecutive appearances at the annual Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB), gained the attention of Rose Parade officials. The rumor was that he should take a chance and apply.

Indeed, NCCU simultaneously announced the band’s selection, for the sixth year in a row, to perform at the HBOB Invitational Showcase scheduled for January 30, 2010, in Atlanta, Ga. The Georgia Dome concert likely will draw 60,000 fans to watch presentations by the eight historically black college or university (HBCU) bands that tallied the most votes out of a field of 45 contestants.

For the Tournament of Roses Parade, bands are selected based on their musicianship, marching ability, and showmanship. Reid emphasizes musicianship above all else. “It’s all about their skill as musicians,” said Reid. “We don’t want to blast our audience but rather, engage them with a high quality listening experience.”

Drum Major Donald Parker, III, a senior in music education, expressed his satisfaction that “the trials and tribulations we go through” had been rewarded.

Now, the band will ramp up practices and the university will gear up to raise the approximately $2,000 per student it will cost to attend the California events. Part of the Rose Parade experience for the musicians includes assistance with float preparation, and performance at Bandfest during the three days prior to New Year’s Day, 2011. For them, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. NCCU is precluded from applying again for another four years.Sound 2

Thanksgiving Night of Jazz Masters

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

On Thanksgiving night, Thursday the 27th, WNCU will broadcast a special evening of jazz masters.

At 7pm, Ken Grady will feature vocalists ranging from the early days of jazz up until the end of World War II.

AT 8pm, Piano Jazz, with host Marian McPartland, will continue as she interviews and plays duets with WNCU’s featured artist for November, McCoy Tyner. McCoy discusses his early influences, his time with Coltrane, and much more. Tyner has released nearly 80 albums under his name, earned four Grammy’s and was awarded Jazz Master from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002.

At 9pm, WNCU will broadcast a program devoted to trumpeter, Harry Sweets Edison. Follow an in depth discussion of this jazz master and Basie alum with host Nancy Wilson from her Jazz Profiles series from NPR. Known as a masterful soloist, Edison had a distinctly spare yet bluesy approach. His career spanned a long stay with the original Count Basie band, as well as an even lengthier solo career.

That’s a Thanksgiving Night of Jazz Masters, starting at 7pm, on member supported radio, WNCU 90.7FM.

Mingus-Sun Ra Re-Broadcast

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Well, you asked for it and now WNCU is going to deliver.

On Friday, November the 27th at 8pm, WNCU will re-broadcast the Mingus Big Band and Sun Ra Arkestra concert.

This two hour live broadcast from Duke University’s Page Auditorium originally aired on September 26th and through the kind cooperation of the Mingus Big Band, Sun Ra Arkestra, Duke Performances, and financial support from our members, WNCU can bring it to you again.

So in case you missed it, it’s not too late to hear this amazing evening of two of the top big bands gigging today.

That’s the re-broadcast of the Mingus Big Band and Sun Ra Arkestra on Friday November 27th at 8pm on your member supported WNCU, 90.7FM.

McCoy Tyner

Monday, November 2nd, 2009


McCoy Turner was born 1938 in Philadelphia where he became a part of the fertile jazz and R&B scene of the early ’50s. His parents imbued him with a love for music from an early age. His mother encouraged him to explore his musical interests through formal training.

At 17, he began a career-changing relationship with Miles Davis’ sideman, saxophonist John Coltrane. Tyner joined Coltrane for the classic album My Favorite Things in 1960, and remained at the core of what became one of the most seminal groups in jazz history, The John Coltrane Quartet. The band, which also included drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison, had an extraordinary chemistry, fostered in part by Tyner’s almost familial relationship with Coltrane.

mtyner3From 1960 through 1965, Tyner’s name was propelled to international renown, as he developed a new vocabulary that transcended the piano styles of the time, providing a unique harmonic underpinning and rhythmic charge essential to the group’s sound. He performed on Coltrane’s classic recordings such as Live at the Village Vanguard, Impressions and Coltrane’s signature suite, A Love Supreme.

In 1965, after over five years with Coltrane’s quartet, Tyner left the group to explore his destiny as a composer and bandleader. Among his major projects is a 1967 album entitled The Real McCoy, on which he was joined by saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Ron Carter and fellow Coltrane alumnus Elvin Jones. His 1972 Grammy-award nomination album Sahara, broke new ground by the sounds and rhythms of Africa. Since 1980, he has also arranged his lavishly textured harmonies for a big band that performs and records when possible. In the late 1980s, he mainly focused on his piano trio featuring Avery Sharpe on bass and Aarron Scott on drums. Today, this trio is still in great demand. He returned to Impulse in 1995, with a superb album featuring Michael Brecker. In 1996 he recorded a special album with the music of Burt Bacharach. In 1998, he changed labels again and recorded an interesting latin album and an album featuring Stanley Clarke for TelArc.

In the summer of 2005, Tyner joined forces with the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York and became the first client of Blue Note Management. That summer, Tyner began work on some unique projects, including performances with tap-dancer Savion Glover and the development of the Impulse! Septet, featuring his trio with some of today’s top hornmen.mtyner4

Tyner’s partnership with the Blue Note has led to the formation of his own record label, aptly titled McCoy Tyner Music. The label is a subsidiary of the Blue Note’s In-House record label, Half Note Records. The label launched on September 11, 2007, upon the release of Tyner’s latest CD, Quartet, featuring Joe Lovano, Christian McBride, and Jeff “Tain” Watts. Recorded live on New Year’s Eve 2006, the album features a working band at its finest with some of today’s “legends in training.” Additionally, the record shows that Tyner, who now carries the torch as the only surviving member of the John Coltrane Quartet, is still at the top of his game as a composer, performer, and bandleader.

Tyner has always expanded his vision of the musical landscape and incorporated new elements, whether from distant continents or diverse musical influences. More recently he has arranged for big bands, employed string arrangements, and even reinterpreted popular music. Today, Tyner has released nearly 80 albums under his name, earned four Grammys and was awarded Jazz Master from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002. He continues to leave his mark on generations of improvisers, and yet remains a disarmingly modest and spiritually directed man.