Music series kicks off at library

WARREN – “Broadway and the Tin Pan Alley” will be the next music forms to be discussed as part of the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library’s “America’s Music: A Film History of Popular Music From Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway” series taking through May 18.

This week’s free program will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday and will feature a film screening and discussion of the documentary “Broadway: The American Musical, Episode 2 – Syncopated City (1919-1933).”

Dr. Kenneth J. Bindas, professor and chair of the history department at Kent State University, will introduce the film and then lead an audience discussion. He will be on hand for each of the presentations.

The six-part series features documentary film screenings and discussion about American musical genres including jazz, bluegrass and country, mambo and hip hop, and rock n’ roll.

Cheryl Bush, public relations manager of the library, said attendees at each of the six sessions will get a ticket to be entered in a drawing for four admission tickets to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

Other programs are “Country and Bluegrass” at 2 p.m. April 20, “Swing Jazz” at 6 p.m. April 30, “Latin Rhythms and Mambo to Hip Hop” at 6 p.m. May 7 and “Rock” at 2 p.m. May 18.

Bindas said during the recent blues and gospel music program that people sang to share a spiritual message and their feelings of what they believed in. He said in the 1930s and 1940s when the blues artists were recording, a division developed between blues or spirituals.

“They felt that certain songs were blues and certain songs sung in church were spirituals,” he said,

Cossell Burton of Youngstown said when she hears the music, it brings back memories of her childhood.

Donna Nickel of Austintown said she remembers the gospel songs that were featured in the film “The Color Purple.” Bindas said gospel music was driven by women singers within the church. Women found a prominence and influence in gospel as singers and choir leaders in churches.

“Many churches were trying to get people to accept this type of music. It was often a difficult task for many churches to come to,” he said.

“In the 1930s and 1940s, there wasn’t much ethnicity in the South. There was more diversity in the North. In the South, you had black and white,” Bindas said.

But there was a different type of blues being sung in the Mississippi Delta than in South Carolina.

“Southern music served as a foundation for American gospel because it didn’t really have a whole lot of challenges. When it came to the North, it had distinct style,'” Bindas said.

He said the blues and gospel songs have influenced many of the musical styles over the years.

For information on the series, call 330-399-8807, Ext. 128.