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Book Talk (Iowa)

November 20, 2019 @ 4:15 pm - 5:15 pm CST


Author and musician Randye Jones will discuss her new book, So You Want to Sing Spirituals: A Guide for Performers.

Although the book covers a range of subjects related to studying concert spirituals both for solo voice and choral forces, Jones’ current plan for the talk is to focus on the question of whether non-Black students should study and perform these songs. The presentation will spend some time on historical concerns, on points to consider when deciding whether to study spirituals, and on some thoughts about using dialect in performance.

“The Negro spiritual, both as folk music and as written for concert performance, is an original American music that has influenced the development of much of the music we hear and perform today. Yet, white students and teachers have all too often felt they did not have ‘permission’ to perform these songs. It’s my goal to not only help spark even greater interest in Negro spirituals beyond the African American community, but to encourage musicians of all racial backgrounds to feel comfortable as they develop a performance practice that geniunely honors the spiritual,” Jones  stated.

While researching for the book, Jones drew from resources at the libraries of Grinnell College, which encouraged enhancement of their score, recordings, and books collections in the area of concert spiritual performance. Jones plans to share a bibliography of materials available in the libraries as well as to have some of this material on display for the talk.

Jones’ book talk will serve as an opportunity for attendees to participate as well—after all you can’t talk about singing without doing some.

The book talk is free and open to the public.

Accessibility notice: The main entrance of Burling Library is wheelchair accessible, and the event is in a location with a hearing loop. If you require an additional accommodation in order to attend or fully participate in this event, please send a request for accommodation to Randye Jones at research@artofthenegrospiritual.com by January 5, 2020.


November 20, 2019
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm
Event Category:


Grinnell College Libraries
Grinnell College American Studies


Burling Library Lounge, Grinnell College
1111 6th Ave.
Grinnell, IA 50112 United States
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