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Community and Campus Days exhibition explores music of Ohio River Valley

ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 16, 2006) -- The music of the Ohio River Valley was the theme of Ohio University's fifth annual 2006 Community and Campus Days and it's safe to say that the topic was explored to the fullest. Paschal Younge provided a display of African instruments. Photo by Pat Cambridge.

On Saturday, Oct. 14, the annual Community and Campus Days exhibition was held at Old Nelson Banquet Hall and featured table exhibits that included everything from books, paintings, photographs and other artifacts that displayed some of the history of people of color in the area. 

Many of the display tables displayed musical instruments used by people in the region whose origin can be traced to Africa such as the banjo, dulcimer and various types of drums.

Patrons were entertained throughout the day by local musicians and singers who performed folk, jazz and gospel music. Several Ohio University students performed a Copoeira exhibition for the audience. Copoeira is a martial arts form that originated in Brazil that combines dance, acrobatics and music with fighting techniques. The club at Ohio University meets on Saturday at 2 p.m. on the College Green. 

Zelma Badu-Younge leads African dances to music provided by her husband Paschal Younge. Photo by Pat Cambridge.Ohio University couple Paschal Young and Zelma Badu-Younge performed traditional African music and dances with the aid of some of their students. 

Two Native American exhibitors from Ohio, Marshall Lucas of Logan, and Richard Haithcock of Beavercreek, performed some of their tribes' traditional dances and songs for the audience. Lucas was representing the Notoweega tribe while Haithcock is a member of the Suponi tribe. They explained to the audience that they are cousins to each other and many of the local Native American population are members of tribes that migrated to Ohio from the Carolinas.

Other exhibitors included Athens area residents Ray Abraham, Mildred Vore and Richard Greenlee. Abraham's table displayed many old records and CDs from some of the great African American entertainers and a collage of many of Athens' accomplished African American citizens. Vores' table held a collection of old church hymnals as well as other music paraphernalia. Greenlee, chair of Ohio University's Department of Social Work, performed on his banjo and shared information about the origin of the banjo in Africa on his display table.

A photo of the Heritage Chorale from their Friday night concert. Photo by Pat Cambridge."The day got off to a good start when the Heritage Chorale gave a rousing performance of ["Lift Every Voice and Sing"] the Negro National Anthem this morning," said coordinator of the African American Research and Service Institute Deanda Johnson. "We had some nice new exhibits, including two from local Native American groups. There was also some great music performed. Next year, we want to build on this year and will likely focus the Community and Campus Days events on the women of color in the Ohio River Valley because many of their accomplishments have been overlooked."

Representatives from Ohio University's College of Medicine were also in attendance, providing free blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level screenings. 

Opening ceremonies included statements by master of ceremony and Ohio University Professor Vibert Cambridge, Athens City Mayor Ric Abel, Provost Kathy Krendl and Vice President of the Multicultural Genealogical Center Robert Daugherty.

"Community and Campus Days 2006 was probably the best we've had in terms of programmatic content," Cambridge said. "This was an extremely powerful year for the event starting with Thursday's presentation by Art Cromwell. The displays were absolutely fantastic. It was surprising to see all the artifacts that related to music in the Ohio River Valley. In terms of substance, this event was very powerful."

Community and Campus Days culminate on Tuesday, Oct. 17, with a 7:30 p.m. performance by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans at Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium. For tickets, call 740-593-1780.

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