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ASU to host 'America's Music: A Film History'

October 09, 2012

Arizona State University is one of 12 universities selected to host America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway, a project created by Tribeca Film Institute in partnership with the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities in consultation with the Society for American Music.

Christopher Mehrens, head of the Music Library for ASU Libraries, will serve as project director for the six-week series of public programs that will feature documentary film screenings and discussions by Richard Mook, assistant professor of music history and literature in the ASU School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, about 20th century American popular music ranging from blues and gospel, Broadway, jazz, bluegrass and country, to rock ‘n roll, mambo and hip hop.

"Music is such a fundamental part of American history and identity that we often take its influence for granted,” said Mook. “This series and its discussions can change the way we hear and understand America."

According to Mehrens, the application process for the NEH grant to fund participation in the series was highly competitive. “I firmly believe that ASU received the grant because of the university’s reputation and commitment to community embeddedness, the involvement of Richard Mook as project scholar, the ASU Libraries’ past experience with public programming and, ultimately, the partnership with the Herberger Institute’s School of Music and the prestige of its music programs,’’ Mehrens said.

In addition to the 12 universities, there are 38 public libraries and nonprofit organizations also receiving the NEH grants to be sites for the America’s Music series. ASU is the only site in Arizona for the program that will include screening of  such documentary films as Ken Burns’ "Jazz, From Mambo to Hip-Hop: A South Bronx Tale;" "History of Rock and Roll;" Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues, Episode 1: "I Feel Like Goin’ Home" and "Say Amen, Somebody."

The series begins in 2013 at dates, times and locations to be announced.