EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 23, 2013

Libraries to offer talks on American music

Memorial Library in Andover and Langley Adams Library in Groveland will feature free presentations titled “From Slave Spirituals to Hip Hop: The Social and Political History of American Music” by Northern Essex Community College history professor Kevin Comtois of Methuen as part of Black History Month.

The presentation is part of the college’s speakers’ bureau which provides speakers free of charge to area nonprofits. Comtois is a musician who received his master’s in American Civilization from UMass Boston, and in 2005 he received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study jazz with an expert on the evolution of jazz in America.

The Langley Adams presentation is Jan. 28 at 6:30 and the Memorial Library presentation is Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Using recorded music, film clips and still images the presentation will trace the evolution of American popular music from the early slave spirituals, through the hugely popular minstrelsy in the late 19th century, to the blues and jazz that developed at the opening of the 20th Century, to the Rock n Roll that was created in the late 40s and early 50s, to the convergence of topical folk music with Rock, and ending with various strains of American popular and topical music of today that resulted from that convergence. Throughout the presentation an emphasis will be placed on the social and political context of the music and the messages the songs were attempting to convey.

Tower Hill neighborhood meeting Jan. 30

LAWRENCE - The next general meeting of the Tower Hill Neighborhood Association will be held Wednesday Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at OLGC Parish Judson Hall, directly behind St. Augustine’s Chapel, 526 Lowell St.reet.

Several newly elected and sitting officials have been invited talk about their plans while in office. Attendees will also be able to speak to representatives from the police and fire departments. Light refreshments will be available. For additional information call THNA President, Dan Clark, 978-902-0595 or email, thna@thnalawrence.com. All THNA meetings are open to the public.

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