Celebrating Black History Month
A new exhibit entitled "The Beautiful Music that Surrounds You" has been installed in the Library atrium. The nine-panel display celebrates the life of John W. Work, III, of Fisk University. He was born in 1901, in Tullahoma, Tennessee, to a family of professional musicians. He attended elementary and high school at Fisk's Daniel Hand Training School. He later earned degrees from Columbia and Yale before returning to Fisk, where he taught and directed the Jubilee Singers.
Work began composing while still in high school and continued throughout his career, completing over one hundred compositions in a variety of musical forms—for full orchestra, piano, chamber ensemble, violin and organ -- but his largest output was in choral and solo-voice music. Among many notable accomplishments was his work in recording African-American hymns and folk music in the 1930s and 1940s.
The papers, photographs and records reproduced in the display are archived at the Center for Popular Music. The exhibit was created by the Arts Center of Cannon County with support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Tennessee Arts Commission. A companion CD of music recorded by Work has been released by Springfed Records, a project of the Arts Center.