It’s as much fun listening to George Dor talk about the upcoming 2012 Black History Month concert as it is hearing him perform, and that’s saying a lot.
On Feb. 23, audiences will have a chance to do both when Dor, associate professor of music at the University of Mississippi, joins several UM student ensembles to present a musical commemoration called “Celebrating 50 Years of Integration.”
The free public event is set for 7:30 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium. The program features performances by the African Drum and Dance Ensemble directed by Dor, the UM Steel Band directed Ricky Burkhead, associate professor of music, and the UM Jazz Ensemble directed by Michael Worthy, associate professor of music. The evening also features special performances by music graduate students Caline Waugh (soprano) of Jamaica and Fred Dunlap (percussionist) of North Carolina. Oxford resident Guelel Kumba, on vocals and guitar, rounds out the performers.
Dor, a native of Ghana, said he wanted to do something “truly special to mark the university’s 50th year of integration.”
“This is more than a celebration of black history; it’s a celebration of history, period,” he said. “When the University of Mississippi opened its doors (to minorities) in 1962, it offered hope for the entire state. I simply want to celebrate that hope and this university’s growth with song and music.”
And because Dor had a song in his heart, he decided to write an original composition about James Meredith, the man who opened doors at UM.
“Imaginative Reflections and Celebration” touts Meredith’s sacrifice and bravery, Dor said.
“Mr. Meredith was instrumental in making Ole Miss what it is today, an outstanding university opened to anyone who wants the best in higher education,” he said. “My composition is an acknowledgment of his sacrifice and is a small way to thank him for his dedication.”
Dunlap said he is proud to have been recruited to spotlight an African-American artist for this year’s Black History Month celebration.
“I was floored when Dr. Dor called and said he wanted to highlight a work by James H. Latimer and that he wanted me to perform,” said Dunlap, a native of Sanford, N.C. “Latimer’s ‘Variations on the Westminster Clock Theme’ is an outstanding composition. Its music and melody can truly be heard on pitch drums.”