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Oct. 6, 2020

MSU Music showcases Black composers, kicks off West Circle Series

College of Music artists from across genres will pay tribute to the contributions of Black composers through an online event kicking off the 11th season of the Joanne and Bill Church West Circle Series. “Lift Every Voice,” Celebrating Black Composers premieres at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 12, on the MSU College of Music Livestream Channel. The broadcast will include new recordings captured at MSU’s Fairchild Theatre. 


The concert theme, “Lift Every Voice,” illustrates the range and depth of Black composers and their influence on centuries and styles of music. Featured compositions include a classical violin and piano sonata, works for saxophone and piano, ragtime, arias, spirituals and America’s music — Jazz.


MSU artists on the program are Gwendolyn Dease, marimba; Jon Weber, vibraphone; Yvonne Lam, violin; Deborah Moriarty, piano; Joseph Lulloff, saxophone; Mark Rucker, baritone; Sadie Rucker, piano; Xavier Davis, jazz piano; Rodney Whitaker, jazz bass; and Randy Gelispie, jazz drums. The concert’s story guide will be Stephanie Anthony, director of the Office of College Access Initiatives at MSU Outreach and Engagement. 


While COVID-19 has restricted live-audience performances this year, the College of Music is providing concertgoers the chance to experience performances through its Livestream and YouTube channels. Online options include recordings of brand new performances from beloved series and ensembles, and rebroadcasts of some of our live concerts from previous years.


In addition to Joanne and Bill Church West Circle Series, other broadcasts this fall include the MSU Federal Credit Union Showcase Series and Jazz Artists-in- Residence, plus the new Music for Social Justice series and new Artist-Faculty Spotlight series which features popular performances from previously recorded concerts.


Viewers can also experience streamed performances from a variety of MSU ensembles, including lectures by visiting artists and scholars. All events are free and open to the public.  


An additional West Circle Series Concert is upcoming for broadcast later this fall. “Celebrating Ludwig Von Beethoven, 250 Years” will honor the legendary composer for his ever-present impact on the music world. The concert features MSU musicians and was rescheduled from March due to the pandemic. The broadcast will also premiere on the MSU College of Music Livestream Channel, at 7:30 p.m.,  Monday, Dec. 7.


The entire West Circle Series is sponsored by Joanne and Bill Church who are joined by concert sponsors Provost Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D and Thomas V. O'Halloran, Ph.D, Byron and Dee Cook, April Clobes and Glen Brough, and Andrea Wulf in supporting this event. While previously ticketed, events this fall are free-of-charge and available to the public through Livestream. For information, as well as a list of online events, visit, or call the College of Music box office at (517) 353-5340. 


Patrons and donors who have enjoyed the talents of faculty, students and visiting artists are encouraged to show their support of music during this challenging time. Please consider donating what you would have spent for season tickets or to attend a concert. Visit MSU’s secure, online giving site to make your gift ( For more information about donating or sponsoring events, email or call the College of Music Advancement Office at 517-353-9872. 

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