2018 Black Music Symposium: Shaping American Music

The 2018 Black Music Symposium starts this week. This year's symposium, titled "Shaping American Music," features workshops, lectures and concerts in the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center. All events are free and open to the public.

The Department of Music at the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is proud to host two legendary musicians — Lee Finkelstein and Bobby Harden — as guest artists for the 2018 symposium. Finkelstein and Harden, original member of the Blues Brothers Band, will give a groove workshop, present a lecture called "Life on the Road," and will be featured performers at the Blues Showcase Concert.

2018 Black Music Symposium Schedule

All events in the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 31, 11:50 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.
    Groove Workshop with Lee Finkelstein and Bobby Harden
  • Thursday, Feb. 1, 1-2:30 p.m.
    1 p.m. – "Music and Social Movements," Jeffrey Allen Murdock
    2 p.m. – "Life on the Road," Lee Finkelstein and Bobby Harden
  • Thursday, Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.
    Blue Showcase Concert
    with Lee Finkelstein, Bobby Harden, Jake Hertzog, Drew Packard, and UAMusic Students
  • Friday, Feb. 2, 1 p.m.
    The Future of Jazz at UA
    UAMusic Jazz faculty will discuss the growth of jazz at the University of Arkansas
  • Friday, Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m.
    Inspirational Chorale and Inspired Soul in Concert

For more information on the Black Music Symposium, contact Jeffrey Murdock and Jake Hertzog.

Meet the guest artists

Lee Finkelstein

When New York drummer Lee Finkelstein got the call to cover Dave Garibaldi's chair for a string of gigs with Tower of Power, he had every reason to feel well prepared. In a career spanning over 20 years, Finkelstein has built up a reputation as one of the funkiest and most versatile drummers in town, playing with artists as diverse as Ben E. King, Donna Summer and Bill Cosby. (Finklestein was the studio drummer for The Cosby Show.) And, oh yeah, he is the co-founder, drummer and leader of the 12-piece Funk Filharmonik, which for 18 years has been serving up soulful dollops of the music of none other than Tower of Power.

As for Finkelstein's work with TOP, the drummer embarked on what he calls "an educational, ass-kicking, and humbling experience." He had two day's notice, no rehearsal and only a soundcheck to get acclimated to the band. "Garibaldi has some of the biggest shoes on the planet to fill," Lee says. "I raised my seat and changed the position of my snare so I could play with more of an edge — they kept telling me to 'push more.'" During my soundcheck/rehearsal, I went for a Funk Filharmonik fill that I usually do, and it was like someone pulled the plug on a treadmill and five guys kept running — I had to cop the Garibaldi fill. After the fourth show I was getting on the bus and thinking to myself that it felt great. Just then saxophonist and leader Emilio Castillo turned to me and said, "Man, you sounded great tonight.' It really felt good to get that confirmation." (from Modern Drummer)

Bobby Harden

Bobby Harden, New York City's acclaimed soul/rhythm and blues singing sensation, is thrilling audiences as lead singer of the world-famous Original Blues Brothers Band. Led by music icons Steve Cropper and Lou Marini, the band keeps alive the tradition started by John Belushi and Dan Akroyd. From Marrakech to Munich, Tokyo to Moscow and Hong Kong to his home in New York's Greenwich Village, Harden is a classic example of what it is to be a true soul/rhythm and blues crooner.

Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, the fertile soil that also gave rise to legends such as: The O'Jays, Ohio Players, Bootsy Collins and Bobby Womack, Harden started his own musical legacy while residing in Houston. Today, the "Big Apple" is now proud to claim Harden as its own "Soul Man in Residence."

Simultaneously in the past Harden has also shared the stage with soul legends Solomon Burke, Eddie Floyd, Ben E. King, Robert Cray, Delbert McClinton and Howard Tate. He was also a member of the famous New York City band and legendary horn-section session men, The Uptown Horns.

Harden's premier musical passion and talent though, lies within his own wonderful music, as shared with the world on his own record Soul Purpose. An even more extraordinary musical plateau is about to be reached with the soon to be released River of Soul album, with invaluable assistance by music guru and musical director of the Saturday Night Live Band, Leon Pendarvis.

Harden is a natural entertainer, and his enormous personality immediately connects with his audience. He's as compelling performing at the Obama Inaugural, Lincoln Center, headlining the Calgary Stampede in front of 16,000 cheering Canadians, or in Torino, Italy, for 20,000 as he is in intimate nightclubs. Harden's phenomenal eight-piece Soul Purpose band is an amazingly tight, funky band of brothers and sisters who help whip audiences into the frenzy known as a Bobby Harden show.


Justin R. Hunter, administrative specialist III
Department of Music
479-575-4702, jrhunte@uark.edu


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