MSU Libraries, music department offer American music series

Loading Map....

Through a $2,500 national grant, Mississippi State University Libraries is sponsoring a five-part series during the fall semester featuring documentary screenings and scholar-led discussions of 20th century American popular music.

MSU is among 50 sites nationwide selected to host “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway,” which is free and open to all.

The programs are designed to educate general audiences about uniquely American musical genres, including blues, gospel, Broadway, jazz, bluegrass, country, rock n’ roll, mambo, and hip hop.

A Tribeca Film Institute project completed in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint and Society for American Music, “American Music” is made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Exploring the Human Endeavor program. For more, visit

The campus events represent a collaboration between the library system and MSU music department. With each film screening, musically talented individuals from the campus and Starkville communities will be demonstrating elements of genres being featured.

Performers will include Jason Baker, Michael Brown, Lynn and Peter Infanger, Joe Ray Underwood and Tara Warfield.

The first program takes place Oct. 1 at the Starkville Public Library on University Drive. To begin at 7 p.m., it will focus on swing jazz, including selections from two documentaries: Ken Burn’s “Jazz,” featuring episode six “Swing: The Velocity of Celebration”; and Jezbel Productions’ “International Sweethearts of Rhythm.”

“We are thrilled to participate in this exciting program that will help introduce different types of music, show how modern music has been influenced by older styles, and bridge gaps among generations,” said Stephen Cunetto, library systems administrator and project coordinator.

“We also are very pleased that Dr. Michael Brown, MSU music department head, will lead a discussion following each screening. Dr. Brown will facilitate a discussion about the humanities themes found in the film,” Cunetto said.

All beginning at 7 p.m. in the Mitchell Memorial Library auditorium, the four other fall semester programs include:

–Oct. 15, “Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Episode 1, Feel Like Going Home,” with demonstrations by Warfield, assistant professor and the department’s voice area coordinator.

–Oct. 22, Rachel Liebling’s 1994 award winning documentary “High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music,” with demonstrations by Underwood, professor emeritus of counseling and educational psychology.

–Nov. 5, Susan Steinberg’s 1995 documentary “The History of Rock n Roll: Episode 6, Plugging In,” with demonstrations by Baker, an associate professor and the department’s director of percussion studies.

–Nov. 12, a two-part event, including “Latin Music USA, Episode One: Bridges” by Pamela A. Aguilar and Daniel McCabe and “From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale” by Henry Chalfant, Elena Martinez and Steve Zeitlin. Steel drum demonstrations will be provided by Lynn and Peter Infanger of the Starkville First United Methodist Church’s music ministry.

For more details on the campus series, contact Cunetto at 662-325-8542 or, or visit