Whittier College News Release


For Immediate Release - February 18, 2000
Media Contact
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Black History and Heritage Celebrated at Whittier College


"Black Heritage: History, Music and Dance" will be presented at the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts beginning at 7:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

The program features a narrative interweaving of instrumental music, vocal selections and poetry while tracing the African American experience in its transition from Africa to America and its transformation of American perspectives. The concert is free and open to the public. No tickets will be sold, but seating is limited and will be offered on a "first-come, first-served" basis.

Originally called "The History of the Black Man in Narrative and Song," the program was written to fulfill the requirement of a Project Demonstrating Excellence (PDE) when Eleanor J. Smith was a doctoral student at the Union Institute, and combined her musical background and knowledge of the history of African Americans. Smith performed both the narration and the music, with a flute and piano accompanying the vocal portion of the concert. Joining Smith in the Whittier College presentation are Sharletta Richardson, Linda Zellars and Geneva L. Kinarde Woode.

Music in the program includes African drum work, spirituals such as "My Soul's Been Anchored in de Lord" and "I Feel Like My Time Ain't Long," in addition to jazz, traditional hymns and protest songs.

Eleanor Smith majored in music education with an emphasis on piano and voice, and her Ph.D. is in African American studies with an emphasis on history. She has published widely on the African American experience, particularly on African American women and education. She has served as chancellor at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside, as provost and vice president for academic affairs at William Paterson University in New Jersey and as dean at Smith College in addition to various faculty and administrative positions at the University of Cincinnati. Smith also served on many national higher education committees and boards and provided similar services for several community organizations.

Sharletta Richardson has been teaching instrumental and vocal music in the San Diego Unified School District for 23 years. She received a B.S. in instrumental music from Virginia State University and her masterŐs degree in music education from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Linda Zellars has taught dance in the Cincinnati public school system, at the Arts Consortium in Cincinnati and at various social agencies in that city. Currently, she is director of the dance ministry at her church and she manages a residential treatment program for women who go through drug court in Cincinnati. She has incorporated dance therapy classes to help clients use dance as one of the tools to help them in sobriety. Geneva Kinard Wood is a pianist, composer and educator who has performed with James Brown, Odetta and the Temptations as well as serving as assistant pianist for the Cincinnati Symphony, the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra and the Middletown Symphony. She is teaching high school vocal music and theory as well as serving as assistant minister of music at Quinn Chapel A.M.E. She received a bachelorŐs degree in piano and music education from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

Located 18 miles east of Los Angeles, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering traditional liberal arts majors and strong pre-professional programs taught in the context of the liberal arts. Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Costa Mesa.

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