Georgia Southern’s Zach S. Henderson Library recently hosted a six-week program series called “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway.” The series focused on uniquely American musical traditions and was a project funded by the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music.
Dates, topics, and numbers of individuals in attendance for each session are below:
July 30 Rock & Roll 
Aug. 22 Tin Pan Alley & Broadway 
Aug. 27 Blues & Gospel 
Sept. 24 Swing Jazz 
Sept. 26 Bluegrass & Country 
Oct. 8 Mambo & Hip Hop 
Aug. 2 Pladd Dot School of Rock 
Sept. 6 Chris Mitchell Band (Blues) 
Oct. 4 Songs of the Civil War* 
*Performed by Michael Lasser, Cindy Miller, and Alan Jones
Community partners included the Statesboro Arts Council and the Averitt Center for the Arts and Pladd Dot Music.
The six-week program series featured documentary film screenings and discussions of twentieth-century American popular music led by Dr. Michael Braz, assisted by community members knowledgeable in specific musical genres. Each film offered entertaining and illuminating information on aspects of a musical genre. All of the discussions lasted at least half an hour, and the conversations were enthusiastic and respectful. High points included moments when attendees with direct experience of milestones and great performers shared their memories and opinions. Our scholars demonstrated some of the key musical concepts on piano, guitar, and trumpet, with “Georgia on My Mind” for piano and trumpet duet getting a standing ovation.
A bibliography/discography was distributed at each screening and made available online via a LibGuide devoted to the series (http://georgiasouthern.libguides.com/americasmusic). The library’s holdings enhanced research opportunities available to campus and community members participating in the series. Books available for every genre included–but were not limited to–The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll by Charlie Gillett; American Popular Song: The Great Innovators 1900-1950 by Alec Wilder; Singing in My Soul: Black Gospel Music in a Secular Age by Jerma Jackson; Swing Shift: “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s by Sherrie Tucker; Bluegrass: A History by Neil Rosenberg; and From Bomba to Hip-Hop by Juan Flores.
As part of the grant, the six documentary film series from which excerpts were taken for the America’s Music showings have become part of Henderson Library collections. (For a complete list of the films, go to http://americasmusic.tribecafilminstitute.org/page/films.) More extensive showings of the documentaries to the campus and Statesboro communities during Georgia Southern’s summer school sessions are being considered.
This post is brought to you by Ann Hamilton, Assistant Dean of the Zach S. Henderson Library