In honor of Black History Month, Rowan faculty members collaborated Wednesday night in the Boyd Recital Hall to perform “Adeline Tomasone and Friends: African Music for Flute,” as part of the College of Performing Arts’ Faculty Spotlight Series.
Professor of flute, Adeline Tomasone, led the performances by telling the audience background knowledge of each song. She also played the flute in every piece. Eileen Grycky, Assistant Professor of Flute at the University of Delaware, was a special guest playing the flute in the song “Filaments” by Jeffrey Mumford with Tomasone. Douglas Mapp, Professor of Jazz and Commercial Music Performance, was on the bass. Lourin Plant, Assistant Professor of Voice, spoke in the first song of the night. Dean Witten, Professor of Percussion, played the drums and spoke of its importance in Africa’s culture.
Plant said, “When the rivers arise,” in the opening song of the three part “Rivers” by Cynthia Cozette Lee. The professor was dressed in a bright green outfit from Africa to represent his culture. Tomasone wore beads throughout her performance that were a tribute to Africa as well.
Witten, who was on the drums, spoke to the audience about the type of drum he was using and its significance to Rowan University. He told everyone that W. Clarke Pfleeger, whom the Pfleeger Concert Hall is named after, traveled to Nigeria in the 1970s and brought back musical instruments, like the ‘talking drum’ Witten was using during his performance. When Pfleeger retired he offered the instruments to the university as long as they were used to further the education of students.
“Drums and culture go together like peanut butter and jelly,” Witten proclaimed after the show. “They play things that people recognize and know what it means. It means for the hunters to come home, or the new moon is going to rise.”
Witten went on to explain that drums exist without music because their utility as vehicles of communication in various African countries.
The audience consisted of many students coming out to support their professors. Every beginning and end of a song was met with applause and cheers from the audience.
“I love seeing her go out and be an active performer,” senior flute major Sierra Keyes said of Tomasone, who was her flute professor, “I really loved ‘Foxey Lady’. Professor Tomasone introduced me to extended techniques that I would use in my own performances so it was really cool to hear her do it herself.”
There were also audience members who traveled to the show to hear good music, like Toni Bonnette of Haddonfield, NJ, who saw an ad in the Courier-Post Newspaper about the show.
When asked what interested her about the show she explained, “Just the diversity of it, I loved the first piece and the integration of different elements to it,” referring to the song “Rivers” by Cynthia Cozzette Lee.
The night ended with the song “Junk Man Rag” by Lucketh Roberts. Tomasone joked with the crowd before performing about Roberts. “He was a rich man, let that be a lesson to you all.”
Tomasone was very interactive with the crowd and her fellow performers throughout the night by telling jokes and embracing the performers after songs finished.
After the show Tomasone explained, “I just really wanted to play with my friends and have a good time.”
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