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UNI hosts first-ever Iowa meeting of the National Association of Negro Musicians

March 16, 2003

Darryl Taylor, associate professor of music, (319) 273-5879
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- For the first time in its 84-year history, the National Association of Negro Musicians Inc., (NANM) will meet in Iowa, on the University of Northern Iowa campus. Delegates from the NANM Central Region will gather Thursday through Saturday, April 24-26, for meetings, performances and competitions.

The George Walker Society, a UNI student music group with a focus on bettering inter-racial communication, will host the event. The group, and visiting baritone Mark Rucker, will entertain delegates at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Russell Hall Auditorium. The performance is free and open to the public.

Robert Koob, UNI president, will be the keynote speaker at noon, Friday, April 25, in the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. Other Friday highlights include a 10 a.m. master class with Rucker; a 2 p.m. lecture-recital by Lucius Weathersby, UNI alumnus and dean of the College of Fine Arts at Dillard University, New Orleans; and a 7 p.m. scholarship organ competition.

At 3 p.m., there will be a panel discussion, 'Life After Graduate School,' featuring Joy Harrell, UNI alumna and professional musician; Jason Jackson, UNI alumnus and adjunct professor at UNI and Wartburg College; and Raymond Tymas-Jones, former director of the UNI School of Music, now dean of fine arts at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

'One doesn't readily think of black musicians when one thinks of Iowa,' said Darryl Taylor, UNI associate professor of music and director of the George Walker Society. 'We could easily have booked the conference with musicians from Chicago, Detroit or Cleveland. But we really wanted to focus on the Iowa connection.'

NANM was founded in Chicago in 1919, and is the oldest organization dedicated to the preservation, encouragement and advocacy of all genres of African American music. It's goal is to develop higher professional standards of all music through lectures, conferences and conventions. NANM has given more than 170 scholarships and awards to young musicians including Marion Anderson, Williams Dawson and Florence B. Price.

The conference is supported by the UNI College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Center for Multicultural Education, and the UNI President's office.

Registration for the conference is $40 for NANM members by March 30, and $45 after that date. Cost for non-members is $75. Send registrations to Darryl Taylor, associate professor of music, 110 RSL, UNI, Cedar Falls, IA 50613-0246. For more information, call Taylor at (319) 273-5879.

The event is part of the university's month-long Arts in April celebration that kicks off with a daylong festival March 29 in the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. The festival is supported in part by a grant from the Iowa Arts Council, KUNI Radio and KWWL-TV.

Arts in April grew out of UNI's 125th anniversary celebration in 2001 highlighting the many arts and cultural pursuits at UNI. In addition to the performing arts, UNI will host exhibits, lectures, films, family-centered events, observatory programs and special dining opportunities.

The complete Arts in April schedule is available on the Web at