Inspirational Chorale and U of A's Jeffrey Murdock Featured on Nationally Televised PBS Program

U of A Department of Music professor Jeffrey Murdock and the U of A's Inspirational Chorale recently appeared on the PBS's show Now Hear This "Florence Price and the American Migration." The episode premiered on April 15

Now Hear This host Scott Yoo began his expedition in Arkansas in order to learn more about African American composer Florence Price. During filming, Yoo sat down for a one-on-one interview with Inspirational Chorale director and Grammy-winner Murdock to discuss the spiritual music that surrounded Price during her time in the South. 

"In west Africa, a lot of music was used as a form of communication, and it was no different in the United States," Murdock said in the episode. "Many of these songs, which ostensibly were used in praise and worship to God, were actually used as a means of escape."

After the interview, the Inspirational Chorale performed the song, "Wade in the Water," and Murdock explained how pieces of music like this were often coded with another meaning. 

"...As the captors would be closing in, 'Wade in the Water' would be a clarion call to say, 'Hey, it's time to get into the water so that the dogs won't catch your scent.'" 

He went on to explain that "Wade in the Water" also represented the last body of water enslaved people would have to cross before they reached freedom. 

"These slaves, these singers, these early musicians used this music to sustain themselves, but also as a means of escape to freedom," Murdock said. 

Inspirational Chorale members included in this performance were Markell Cox, Dekarius Dawson, Gloria Deveraux, Joshua Evans, Ethan Godfrey, Jessica Higgins, Jayla Lee, Stacee Lyles, Willie Rollerson, De'Von Smith and Kristen Smith.

The full episode of "Florence Price and the American Migration" on Now Hear This is available for streaming on the PBS website

 
Contacts

Britt Graves, administrative specialist III
Department of Music
479-575-4701, music@uark.edu

Headlines

Arkansas Capital Scan Unveils Growth, Shortcomings in Investment Landscape

Venture capital dollars flowing into Arkansas-based startups have more than quadrupled annually since 2020. 

Andrew Ruegsegger Documents Over 100 Plant Species at the U of A's Oak Knoll

Ruegsegger, a fourth-year anthropology student, collected botanical species from the Oak Knoll site, a mixed landscape of oak savanna, tallgrass prairie, wetlands, dry uplands and Cato Springs Creek.

WE CARE Rounds of Applause Create Culture of Recognition, Unify Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff in the College of Education and Health Professions nominate colleagues to recognize "those who go above and beyond their job requirements and demonstrate extraordinary care."

Undergraduate, Graduate Students Invited to Join Spring Course: 'How Did The Holocaust Affect...?'

The seminar course will investigate how the Holocaust continues to affect society today, including through the lenses of music, gaming, immigration law, mathematics, African and African American studies and more.

First-Generation Graduate Reception

The celebration reception for U of A first-generation college students and their families will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, with remarks and stole ceremony at 5:30 p.m. RSVP to attend.

News Daily