Multimedia concert to be held at NSU

Farm Forum

Northern State University will host the Langston Hughes Project, a multimedia concert performance of Hughes’ kaleidoscopic jazz, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The concert, called “Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz,” will be the first multimedia event presented in the newly renovated Krikac Auditorium on the NSU campus.

“Ask Your Mama” will be brought to life by the Ron McCurdy Quartet. McCurdy, a professor of music in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, has a connection to Northern. He directs the Walt Disney All-American College Band in Anaheim, Calif. NSU graduate Kelsey Pickford played in that band in summer 2010.

Langston Hughes was a poet, social activist, playwright and novelist who lived from 1902 to 1967.

“Ask Your Mama” 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, McCurdy says on his website. The 12-part epic poem draws musical cues from blues, Dixieland, gospel, boogie woogie, bebop, progressive jazz, Latin “cha cha,” Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso and African drumming, according to a news release.

Videography links Hughes’ words and music with images of “Ask Your Mama’s” people, places, events and artwork.

“Together the words, sounds and images recreate a magical moment in our cultural history, which bridges the Harlem Renaissance, the post-World War II Beat writers’ coffeehouse jazz poetry world and the looming Black Arts performance explosion of the 1960s,” says McCurdy’s website.

McCurdy will also give a presentation on Hughes at noon Wednesday in the Beulah Williams Library Rotunda. Both events, which are free and open to the public, are sponsored by the NSU School of Fine Arts, Beulah Williams Library and NSU Multicultural Affairs Office.

For more information about McCurdy and the Langston Hughes Project, visit