Music Conference open to UH System Community

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The University of Houston is alive with the sound of music.

It’s played through the speakers at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, listened to through iPods, performed in the Moores School of Music, and it makes the commute to and from campus more enjoyable.

Music, its impact on society and its role in defining cultural identities will be the focus of “Music Across Boundaries,” the UH Scholarship and Community Conference.

Presented by the UH Faculty Senate, this day of presentations and performances will take place Sept. 26 in the Hilton University of Houston Hotel’s Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom.

“Music means different things to different people,” said Joe Kotarba, UH Faculty Senate president and professor of sociology. “This conference addresses music on several levels, including its relevance in different cultures, its role as an entertainment commodity and the actual science behind it.”

Kotarba, who conducts research on popular music, co-organized this event and is one of the presenters. He will present findings from his recent study, “Mapping the Varieties of Latino Music in Houston,” in which he and students observed Houston’s Latino communities to learn how music relates to their different cultures.

Other members of the UH faculty also participating in this conference include Elizabeth Brown-Guillory, professor of English; Howard Pollack, John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Music; Joseph Evans, professor of voice; and Monica McHenry, associate professor of speech communication.

McHenry and Evans will offer insight on the most natural of musical instruments, the voice, during their presentation “The Science of the Singing Voice.”

“Many people think singers open their mouths and angelic forces take over,” McHenry said. “We will talk about breathing, using the voice, articulating and other applications that most people do not think of when it comes to singing.”

Other presenters will include popular music scholars Phillip Vannini, associate professor of communication at Royal Roads University in Canada, and Theodore Gracyk, professor of philosophy at Minnesota State University-Morehead, who will discuss the issue of authenticity in popular music.

Additional guests include local jazz group the Free Radicals, critic Rick Mitchell, author Roger Wood, blues artist Sonny Boy Terry Jerome and composer Brad Sayles.

To register or to view a complete list of panels and presenters, visit the “Music Across Boundaries” Web site at http://www.coe.uh.edu/scc/.

Every other year, the Faculty Senate hosts the Scholarship and Community Conference, which focuses on issues relevant to the entire university community.

“This will be a great day of music and conversation,” Kotarba said. “It literally has something for everyone, so I encourage the community to attend what promises to be a wonderful experience.”

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