Throughout the month of February, KUHF will broadcast several hour-long special programs that pay tribute to Black History Month. The specials honor the rich history of the African-American story in Texas and the United States.
On KUHF-88.7 FM/HD1/KUHF.org, Houston Public Radio presents two specials.
This documentary explores Depression era music born in black colleges in the U.S. The era’s most famous bands are profiled in this program, including the influential Prairie View Co-eds. The program features interviews with surviving band members, scholarly commentary and archival sound.
“Ralph Bunche Profile in Peace”
The remarkable life of Ralph Bunche is explored in this conversational documentary. The African-American Nobel Prize winner excelled in the world of diplomacy, negotiating for the United Nations for 25 years after World War II. This program includes interviews with historical and academic figures and archival audio recordings.
On KUHF-88.7-2 FM/HD2/KUHF.org, Houston Public Radio presents a five-part series called “Every Voice and Sing”. It’s hosted by NPR’s Michele Norris. The series explores the fascinating and little-known history of choral music and choirs at historically Black colleges and universities.
This episode explores the founding and the growth of Black colleges, and the birth and development of their choirs. Some of the colleges include Fisk, Hampton, Morehouse and Wilberforce. “Every Voice and Sing” looks at how early directors and their touring choirs built a loyal following with a repertoire of spirituals, jubilees, and classical music. This show also examines what vital roles women played in the establishment of these groups.
Episode 2: “The Legend Grows”
In this episode, “Every Voice and Sing” explores the lives, work and accomplishments of some of the college choir directors and composers; such as William Levi Dawson at Tuskegee Institute, and R. Nathaniel Dett, first at Hampton Institute, then later at Bennett College. Early and current female Choir Directors at Bennett, Tuskegee and Talladega are also profiled.
Episode 3: “And Sing!”
(KUHF HD-2 Broadcast Date: 2/17/2008 Time: 7:00 PM)
This episode explores the rising arc and initial changes in Black choral music by looking at the Benedict and Kentucky State College Choirs, as well as early professional choirs. “Every Voice and Sing” examines the work and influence of composers and directors including John Work, III, Eva Jessye, Hall Johnson, and Harry T. Burleigh. The program also looks at how an artist like Paul Robeson and venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Hollywood Movies spurred the music to national and international acclaim.
Episode 4: “A Different Drummer”
(KUHF HD-2 Broadcast Date: 2/24/2008 Time: 7:00 PM)
This episode, “Every Voice and Sing” looks at the origin of Gospel Music, primarily through the life of Thomas A. Dorsey. The program traces its struggle for acceptance in Black churches and colleges from the 1930s onwards. The show concludes with an examination of Gospel Music’s various forms from the traditional Gospel Blues of Thomas Dorsey, to Shirley Caesar, Cissy Houston, Richard Smallwood and Take-6. Included is a profile of Marian Anderson and a brief preview of the hip-hop Gospel explorations of Kurtis Blow and Hell’s Most Wanted.
Episode 5: “A Joyful Noise!”
(KUHF HD-2 Broadcast Date: 3/2/2008 Time: 7:00 PM)
In the final episode, “Every Voice and Sing” explores the careers and influence of such choral directors as Frederick Hall and S. Carver Davenport at Dillard, University. Also, Drs. Nathan and Roland Carter, James W. Norris, William Henry Caldwell, Moses Hogan are examined plus new-generation Directors including Eric Conway and Damon Dandridge. The program explores how they, and others, have come to terms with the power and reach of gospel music. Additionally how rhythm & blues/pop artists like Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, and Ray Charles, the jazz-based style of Take 6, and the World-Music sound of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, all connect to this black choral tradition and what it all means to the future of the music.