America’s Music in Film: Special Program at UD.

Info posted from the University of Dayton – FilmDayton reprints as a service to the community, but all questions should go to

University of Dayton Libraries and ArtStreet will host a program series called “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway” between January and April 2014. This film viewing and discussion series will focus on uniquely American musical traditions and take place over the course of twelve weeks. The six sessions focus on these uniquely American musical genres: blues and gospel, Broadway, jazz, bluegrass and country, rock ’n’ roll, and mambo and hip hop. The program is free and open to the public; attendees may attend the full series or select individual sections to attend. Due to limited seating – registration is required.

This program series, which is a project by the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music. “America’s Music” has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway” uses a mixture of films and scholar-led discussions to illuminate the audience’s understanding of American culture.

Due to limited seating, registration is required in advance. Please complete the registration form.  For more information please email


Schedule of Events

Unit 1: The Blues and Gospel Music

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Explore the birth of the blues from its African roots to its eventual prominence in places like Memphis, Chicago, New York and beyond.

Films: Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues (2004) Episode 1: Feel Like Going Home and Say Amen, Somebody (1983)

Scholar: Dr. Jim Hiller

Unit 2: Tin Pan Alley and Broadway

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The 100-year history of musical theater and the story of its relationship to 20th-century American life.

Film: Broadway: The American Musical (2004) Episode 2: Syncopated City – 1919-1933

Scholar: Dr. Jim Hiller

Unit 3: Swing Jazz

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spans nearly a century of jazz styles, while also highlighting America’s first integrated all-women swing band.

Films: Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns (2000) Episode 6: Swing, The Velocity of Celebration

International Sweethearts of Rhythm: America’s Hottest All Girl Band (1986)

Scholar: Dr. John McCombe

Unit 4: Country Music, from Bluegrass to the Nashville Sound

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Traces the emergence of bluegrass from Appalachian descendants of Scotch-Irish settlers into a popular subgenre of country music.

Film: High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music (1994)

Scholar: Dr. Jim Hiller

Unit 5: Rock

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Moving between past and present to explore the birth of the blues out of the Mississippi Delta.

Film: History of Rock ‘N Roll (1995) Part 6: Plugging In

Scholar: Dr. John McCombe

Unit 6: From Mambo to Hip Hop

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How mambo—the Cuban hybrid of traditional danson fused with syncopated Afro-Caribbean rhythms—migrated to New York City from Havana in the 1940s and broke social and musical rules.

Films: Latin Music USA: Bridges (2009) and From Mambo to Hip Hop (2006)

Scholars: Dr. John McCombe and Dr. Thomas Morgan


See the published participant guide online.

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