Last modified: Thursday, October 21, 2004
African American Arts Institute kicks off 30th anniversary with "Potpourri"
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's African American Arts Institute will kick off "30 Years of Excellence" with the 11th annual Potpourri of the Arts in the African American Tradition concert on Nov. 6.
This will be a dynamic display of the institute's three performing ensembles, with a grand finale collaboration of all three groups. It will begin at 8 p.m in the IU Auditorium.
Tickets are $10 for IU Bloomington students and $15 for the general public and are available from TicketMaster (812-333-9955) and the IU Auditorium Box Office, located at 1211 E. Seventh St. (812-855-1103).
Potpourri of the Arts was created to bring together a diverse range of African American performance styles. This year, the concert will launch a year of celebrations and performances to honor the accomplishments of the AAAI over the past three decades. The African American Choral Ensemble, the African American Dance Company and the IU Soul Revue each will tell a part of the institute's story through their performances.
The institute was an initiative of the late Herman Hudson, a linguistics professor who was the founder and dean of the IU Department of Afro-American Studies (now the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies). Hudson sought to develop an academic experience, based on soul music performance, that would tap into the musical talents and interests of African American students.
In 1971, he recruited Portia Maultsby, now a prominent ethnomusicologist, to teach black music courses at IU and to develop a soul music ensemble. The IU Soul Revue continues to give high-energy performances under its current director, Tyron Cooper, and it is the only collegiate credit-bearing ensemble in the nation that performs urban black popular music.
The arts institute was founded later in 1974, as Hudson recognized the need to manage ensemble performance activities. The dance company also was founded in 1974 and continues to reinvent itself through innovative choreography steeped in dance traditions from cultures throughout the African diaspora. It is directed by Iris Rosa, who has led it since its inception.
The choral ensemble was born a year later, with a legacy of superb vocalists and rich harmonies, singing spirituals, gospel music and formally composed music by and about African Americans. The choral ensemble and its three small a capella groups are directed by James Mumford, who has been with the institute for more than 20 years.
Potpourri will showcase all of these groups with individual sets, followed by a grand finale with all three groups performing together.
Throughout the 2004-05 year, the AAAI will celebrate its history through a full schedule of 40 performances, as well as special events, fundraisers and exhibits. The institute has grown from humble beginnings to an organization that has involved thousands of students and reached audiences locally and nationally. Its past members have gone on to performing careers with Britney Spears and on Broadway. The AAAI has carved a niche for African American arts and culture at IU, and Potpourri will be a tremendous display of this talent.