The Fisk University Choir (est. 1879) will present its annual Spring Concert next Sunday, April 10, 2011, at 5 p.m. in the Fisk Memorial Chapel.  The Fisk Choir is Tennessee’s oldest university choir of its type, and this year’s program will feature special musical guests Kyla Harris, Minister of Music at Cathedral of Praise, and Gale Jones Murphy, pianist and Minister of Music at the Riverside Chapel Seventh Day Adventist Church.  Additionally, University Organist Dr. Anthony Williams and pianist Dr. Philip Autry will accompany the choir. 

 The University Choir has just completed its recruitment spring tour through Georgia and Florida, and is in great anticipation of a wonderful concert which is free and open to the public.


Fisk’s 82nd Annual Spring Arts Festival will be held March 24-27, 2011 on the University’s campus. Highlights for this year’s festival will include a full concert by the Fisk Jubilee Singers® , the opening of the Wilson-Thompson Art Collection, a concert and 90th birthday celebration honoring acclaimed pianist and former Jubilee Singers Director Dr. Matthew Kennedy, Fisk Stagecrafters’ presentation of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls” and Fisk University’s Annual Student Art Exhibit.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers will present a full concert on Friday, March 25th at 6:00p.m. at Clinton B. Fisk Memorial Chapel. Founded in 1871, the Jubilee Singers have long been acknowledged as the world’s premier  a capella performers of the Negro Spiritual. Since 2008, the Jubilee Singers have earned two Grammy Nominations and have been awarded the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s most prestigious award for artists and arts patrons. The concert is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, March 26th at 6:00p.m. and Sunday March 27th at 3:00 p.m., The Fisk Stagecrafters will present acclaimed playwright Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.” Shange’s stage play, originally written in 1975, was adapted for the Tyler Perry film of 2010. Admission is $10 at the door for adults and is free for Fisk students with a student I.D.

A 90th birthday celebration and musical extravaganza will honor acclaimed concert pianist and former Jubilee Singers Director Dr. Matthew Kennedy on Sunday, March 27th at 7:00p.m. in Clinton B. Fisk Memorial Chapel. In addition to Kennedy, current and former Jubilee Singers will perform during the event. The concert is free, however, all who attend are encouraged to donate gifts to the Matthew Kennedy Scholarship fund.

Fisk University Galleries will premier “Collecting is Our Legacy: The Wilson-Thompson Collection” on Friday, March 25th at 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday, March 26th at 3:00p.m. The collection’s 48 works include paintings, prints and sculptures by 21 African-American artists including Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett and Jacob Lawrence. The collection is owned and co-curated by former Howard University professor Dorothy Wilson and her son Lamar Wilson. A light reception will be provided. Admission to the gallery is $10 for persons aged 18 to 60 and is free for Fisk students, faculty and staff and youth under 18. Senior admission is $6.

Fisk’s annual student art exhibit “See No Art, Hear No Art, Speak No Art” will open on March 24th in the Aaron Douglas Gallery on the third floor of Fisk’s John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library. Featured student artists and curators are Bobby Bracks, Hunter Sims, Morgan Woods, Velshannae Haynes, Michael Ewing and William Kirkpatrick.

Fisk’s Spring Arts Festival, now in its 82nd year, is one of Nashville’s longest running celebrations of the arts. Featured artists and lecturers in the event’s history have included Langston Hughes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Aaron Douglas and Duke Ellington among others.

Fisk alumna, professor and medical director and national media medical correspondent Dr. Lisa Thornton (’87) will give the lecture “Why Fisk Matters: Lessons From a Physician’s Journey” at the University’s Global and Community Engagement Lecture Series on March 2nd at 4:00 p.m. in the Appleton Room of Jubilee Hall. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Dr. Thornton is the co-host and medical consultant of Lifetime’s weekly magazine show, “Health Corner” and has appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” as a medical correspondent and is a frequent guest host on the ABC News Now web cast, “Healthy Life”, which airs daily on ABCNews.com.

Dr. Thornton has provided over 15-years of service and dedication in the field of pediatrics. As the director of pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation for Kids Rehab, a joint program between Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and LaRabida Children’s Hospitals in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Thornton and her staff specialize in the treatment of children with disabilities. As an educator, Dr. Thornton is assistant professor of orthopedics, pediatrics and rehabilitation at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.

Fisk Professor and Chair of Life and Physical Sciences Dr. Steven Morgan will lecture on the University’s contributions to the natural sciences at the 15th annual Piersen Lecture Series on February 24th at 7p.m. in the Appleton Room of Jubilee Hall. The lecture is free and the public in encouraged to attend.

“We are honored to have a scholar and educator of the stature of Dr. Morgan,” said Dr. Reavis Mitchell, chair of the faculty assembly and the department of history at Fisk University. “Morgan’s Reseach has placed him in the forefront of American higher education and know that his presentation on the history of research will highlight the excellence that our university has contributed in the natural sciences.”

“The lecture will discuss our 80 year history from our department’s establishment in 1929 by renowned physicist Elmer S. Imes, to our most recent collaborations with institutions such as NASA and Oak Ridge Laboratories,” Dr. Morgan said.

Dr Morgan serves as Chair of the Department of Life and Physical Sciences and also as a mentor in the in Fisk-Vanderbilt MS-PhD Bridge Program in material sciences. His own research interests are the linear and nonlinear optical properties of glasses, the optical properties of semi-conductors, and applications of vibrational spectroscopy to condensed matter physics. He is also expert in Infrared and Raman spectroscopy. He is a funded investigator of the Center for Physics and Chemistry of Materials, Fisk University.

The Piersen Series, named in honor of the late William Piersen who chaired the Fisk University Department of History for fifteen years. The series is a lecture and performance initiative that exists to provide primary research information on Fisk University and is sponsored by the departments of history and political science at Fisk University. In the tradition of past lecturers, Dr. Morgan will receive the Ridley/Jones prize as crafted by acclaimed Nashville artist and professor Ted Jones.


LOS ANGELES – “Smiley & West” is ready for takeoff. After a four-month pilot process in more than 60 markets across the country, listeners and stations said “We want more!”


That’s why broadcasting icon Tavis Smiley, Smiley Radio Properties and Public Radio International are pleased to announce that “Smiley & West” is now officially a weekly program.


Alisa Miller, President and CEO of Public Radio International says, “Tavis Smiley and Cornel West bring a rare dynamism and authenticity to conversation, and a heart-felt dedication to invite listeners to take part in the exchange of ideas and bring wisdom to thought-provoking topics. Smiley and West underscores PRI’s commitment to offer new places to discover our diverse, interconnected world, and to stimulate important conversations in American society, and we are excited to distribute it to audiences nationwide.”


What started as an experiment on October 1, 2010 has become an online and offline phenomenon. Co-hosted by Tavis’ longtime friend and collaborator, Princeton professor Cornel West, “Smiley & West” is not just a radio program. It’s a seven-day-a-week conversation on the Speak Out Network via the website www.smileyandwest.com, social media like Twitter and Facebook, and an “old-fashioned” Speak Out Network hotline. 


Each week Smiley & West engage in deep dialogue in the “Hot Stuff” as they dissect the hottest news of the moment. Listeners get to turn the tables in the “Take ‘Em To Task” segment and challenge Smiley & West on something they said. The second half of the show features “icons and issues”, in-depth, 30-minute conversations with legendary leaders, artists and thinkers – and folks on the front lines of issues close to the hearts of Smiley & West.


In just the first four months, Smiley & West spoke with comedian Garry Shandling, bluesman Buddy Guy, Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, funkmaster George Clinton and playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. They also tackled issues like mass incarceration with law professor Michelle Alexander, education reform with Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp, the Great Recession with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, healthcare reform with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Haiti with author Edwidge Danticat and the mid-term elections with New York Times columnist Frank Rich.


In celebration of Tavis Smiley’s 20 years in broadcasting, “Smiley & West” is the latest innovation in a long, distinguished career in television, radio, publishing and new media.


A common theme to emerge during the pilot process was the need for a movement. A movement built on the ideas, morality, and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., bending in the direction of social justice. “Smiley & West” is a virtual meeting place for that movement, putting the “public” back in public radio. The program’s listeners reflect the multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic audience of the 21st Century.


“Smiley & West” can already be heard in more than 80 communities across the country including major markets like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philly and San Francisco. An aggressive carriage strategy for 2011 will build on the energy created by the 20th anniversary celebrations for Tavis Smiley and public events with Smiley & West.


Smiley & West also have more than 200,000 Twitter followers and more than 150,000 Facebook fans which allows this program to bring together its radio and new media audiences in a unique and engaging way.


Join the ongoing conversation known as “Smiley & West” and help write America’s next chapter. Each Friday afternoon, a new program is available to stream at www.smileyandwest.com or download as a podcast at http://goo.gl/JIqvl. Or click http://goo.gl/4PAvz for a map and calendar of stations that carry the one-hour program.



About Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley is host of the nightly talk show TAVIS SMILEY on PBS and “The Tavis Smiley Show” from PRI. Smiley launched America I AM: The African American Imprint, a world-class exhibition celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and the world in early 2009. The exhibit is on a four-year, 10-city tour. Smiley is also the author or editor of 14 books, including The New York Times best-sellers Covenant with Black America and What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, and his most recent, Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise. In 2009, Tavis Smiley was named to TIME’s list of 100 “Most Influential People in the World.” For more information, visit www.tavistalks.com.


About Cornel West

One of America’s most provocative public intellectuals, Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his “ferocious moral vision.” Currently the Class of 1943 Professor at Princeton University, Dr. West burst onto the national scene in 1993 with his bestselling book, Race Matters, a searing analysis of racism in American democracy. Race Matters has become a contemporary classic, selling more than half a million copies to date. In West’s long awaited life story, BROTHER WEST: Living and Loving Out Loud, he offers a compelling exploration of his heart behind the human mind. Themes include Faith, Family, Philosophy, Love and Service. Cornel West has published 19 other books and has edited 13 texts. Dr. West graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and has a Ph.D. from Princeton.


About Public Radio International®

Celebrated as a driver of innovation in public media, PRI was founded in 1983 to diversify and expand the content available on public platforms, enabling U.S. listeners to “hear a different voice™” and to connect with one another and the larger world. PRI leads by identifying critical but unmet content needs and partnering with producers, stations, digital networks and funders to develop multi-platform resources to meet those needs. By creating an environment in which innovation can thrive, PRI supports the creation and distribution of content that would otherwise be unavailable and that brings new voices, global journalism and cultural perspectives to the American public. PRI content is available on pri.org and via podcasts, and

Congratulations to Fisk alumna, educator and former Florida State Senator Frederica Wilson (’63) as she was recently elected as United States Representative for Florida’s  Congressional District 17.

“My years at Fisk prepared me well for a career in public service. Fisk taught me the value of maintaining a standard of excellence and equipped me with the knowledge and skills necessary to give back to our community,” Wilson said. “I am proud to be a part of a legacy that includes my brother Thirlee Smith, Jr., the first African American reporter at the Miami Herald, Congressman John Lewis, Board of Trustees member Donna Rice, and many others. I applaud Fisk for continuing this tradition for a new generation of young leaders.”

As state senator, Wilson worked with Governor Charlie Crist to grant voting rights to individuals convicted of non-violent felonies after completion of their full sentence. She also worked with former Governor Jeb Bush to reform the implementation of Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test ( FCAT.)

As an educator, Wilson has served in District 17 as a principal in addition to being named as member of the school board. During her board tenure, she founded the initiative “5000 Role Models of Excellence”, a drop-out prevention and academic excellence program, which has awarded over $5 million in college scholarships to graduating high school seniors among underrepresented populations.  The program currently operates in 110 Miami-Dade County schools and assists over 6000 youth.

Professor of Music and University Organist Anthony Williams will be featured in concert at Cambellsville University on February 8th.

Dr. Williams will perform works by J.S. Bach, John W. Work III and Florence Price.  Dr. Williams has performed throughout the United States, Central America and Europe and is also the author of “The Keyboard Music of John W. Work II” published by Edwin Mellen Press.

Click here for more information.