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USD hosts The Langston Hughes Project multimedia show on April 9

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The Langston Hughes Project, a multimedia concert performance of Langston Hughes’ kaleidoscopic jazz, is coming to the University of South Dakota for an 8 p.m. performance on Tuesday, April 9 at Farber Hall inside of Old Main.

The performance, “Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz,” is Hughes’ homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. A 12-part epic poem, “Ask Your Mama” is scored with musical cues drawn from blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie woogie, bebop, progressive jazz, Latin “cha cha,” Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso, and African drumming.

This unique musical experience, which is free and open to the public,  also utilizes engaging videography during the performance to link the words and music of Hughes’ poetry with topical images of “Ask Your Mama’s” people, places, events, showcasing the visual artists Hughes admired and collaborated with over the course of his distinguished career. The words, images and music recreate a magical moment in cultural history, bridging the Harlem renaissance, the post-World War II beat writers’ coffeehouse jazz poetry world and the looming Black Arts performance explosion of the 1960s.

The performance is brought to life by the Ron McCurdy Quartet. McCurdy is professor of music in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California and is past-president of the International Association for Jazz Education. Additionally, he is the director of the National Grammy Vocal Jazz Ensemble and combo, and also serves as director of the Walt Disney All-American College Band in Anaheim, Calif.

This event at USD is sponsored by the Beacom School of Business, Center for Teaching and Learning, College of Arts & Sciences, College of Fine Arts, Department of English, Office of Institutional Diversity, Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of the Dean of Students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News