Curb Institute Fellows Learn Spiritual History

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Publication Date: 6/18/2007


The first five fellows of the Mike Curb Institute of Music at Rhodes have immersed themselves in the history of music in Memphis and the Mid-South, researching topics as diverse as a federal music project in the Bluff City during the 1930s and the stylistic features of Memphis rap music today.

Last week visiting lecturer Paul T. Kwami, who holds the Curb-Beaman chair at Fisk University, spoke to them on the topic, “Music within the African-American Church.” In the process he recounted the moving history of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, which he directs.

The Curb Fellows and their projects are:

  • Lindsey Cloud ’08, the only music major of the group, who is looking into the WPA Band that was part of the federal project referenced above.
  • Brian Darrith ’08, a neuroscience major, hopes to discover the intersection of secular and spiritual themes in the blues.
  • Sarah Eldridge ’09 intends to build an archive of the music of Burnet Tuthill, a Rhodes legend who was also a founder of the National Association of Schools of Music.
  • Cord McLean ’09 is researching gospel quartet music in Memphis. He is an anthropology/sociology major.
  • Laura Vansickle ’07 , an English major, is tackling the Memphis rap style challenge.

The fellows are pictured here with Mr. Kwami and Rhodes president Dr. William E. Troutt.