Choral Commissioning Consortium Intro
Virtual Choir with Michael Intro
“The Outside Looked at Hard Enough is the Inside”
- Support New Music
- This project is befitting of the time we live in – a strong message relating to acceptance and subverting the narrative by an artist one hundred years ago
- Open to choirs of multiple voicings.
- 5 songs, 4 minutes each (program one, several, or all five songs)
- Reduced participation fee to adapt to compromised budgets (please help spread the word, if you can!)
- Team includes: Margaret Sartor, Alex Harris, photographers, curators, authors; Dr. Sherry Boyd, Humanities Professor, North Lake College; Shantel Sellers, author and lyricist, Michael Bussewitz-Quarm, composer; with Tina Sayers, Mapleseed Creative Consulting, LLC.
- 10% of composer’s commission fee will be donated to National Association of Negro Musicians https://www.nanm.org/about (NANM provides encouragement and support to thousands of Black American musicians, many of whom have become widely respected figures in music and have contributed significantly to American culture and music history.)
VIDEOS: Discover the Journey
MUSIC: Rehearse and Sing!
5 movements for a total of 20-22 minutes, based on portrait photos from Hugh Mangum’s collection. Participants may choose to program one movement, multiple movements, or the entire song cycle.
This will provide an online option to allow for continuity of the project in the event the school year is interrupted.
This project is also cross-curricular, and each choir will receive additional PDF sheet with prompts for the subjects of History/Social Studies, Language Arts, Photography/Art, plus possible additional subjects.
Rehearsal tracks will be made available.
Margaret Sartor and Alex Harris will be providing additional photographs from Hugh Mangum’s collection so that each choir can present a video montage of the photos for their virtual or live performance of “Where We Find Ourselves”.
Please read Margaret Sartor’s interview excerpt below for attributions to the above quotes.
“Hugh Mangum’s striking and insightful portraits offer a unique sightline into the lives of a wide range of people at the turn of the twentieth century, a turbulent time in the history of the American South. Even in the best of times, trust and empathy are rare between strangers; in an era of racial terror, the evidence of these feelings in Mangum’s portraits of people from all walks of life throughout North Carolina and Virginia, is remarkable. And the lives behind these portraits, like the scattered facts we know about the artist, are, in many ways, the more compelling for their incompleteness. The gaps in our understanding lead us to consider more carefully what we know or, more importantly, what we think we know. Hugh Mangum’s attentiveness to the details of his sitters’ dress, demeanor, and expression created portraits that allow us, by scrutinizing those details, to see into the deeper, invisible layers of human complexity. Or, as the poet Marianne Moore put it, the outside looked at hard enough is the inside.”
“Part of the mystery and loveliness of these images is precisely that boundary between what we know and what we can only imagine or hope. Published here for the first time, Mangum’s portraits and his multiple image glass plate negatives confirm how collections of historical photographs have the power to subvert traditional historical narratives. His portrait of the people of the American South during the rise of Jim Crow confounds the idea of the “color line” and the accepted narrative of separate black and white worlds.”
“Mangum’s clientele were racially diverse and from a wide range of economic backgrounds, and his multiple image glass plate negatives indicate that an unbiased and open-door policy existed in his studio. In an era of violent Jim Crow segregation, this racial diversity is surprising; that Mangum’s portraits are also as insightful, as democratically seen—as existentially revealing as they are—is extraordinary. The people in these portraits stare back at us across a hundred years of time’s passing, through the indelible marks of damage and disregard and yet, in their familiarity and personal presence, these individuals seem as though they stepped off the sidewalk into Mangum’s studio only yesterday. We may think the difference of a century considerable, but these portraits suggest that the distance between then and now, them and us, is a lot closer than we might expect. Hugh Mangum’s photographs point to the possibility of a better world than the one we thought he lived in, a world that may only have existed in the eyes of Mangum or people like him. His vision offers us a welcome perspective, a new way to imagine the way it was—and how we might see our way to the future.”
Margaret Sartor, The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University To see some of the photos, and more about the exhibit at Nasher, please go to: https://nasher.duke.edu/exhibitions/where-we-find-ourselves-the-photographs-of-hugh-mangum/
Lyrics by Shantel Sellers with Michael Bussewitz-Quarm, inspired by the panel discussions with Margaret Sartor and Alex Harris of The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Dr. Sherry R. Boyd, and Tina Sayers.
Meet the Team
Margaret Sartor is a photographer and writer whose past projects include What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney (with co-editor Geoff Dyer) and the best-selling memoir Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing up in the 1970s. Her photographs are in many permanent and private collections and have appeared in Aperture, DoubleTake, Esquire, Harper’s, and The New Yorker, among other publications. At CDS, Sartor teaches the seminar Photography in Context: Photographic Meaning and the Duke Photography Archive. “Given the centrality of photography in our culture,” she explains, “it seems increasingly important to examine the assumptions that govern our understanding of the medium. In this course, students will analyze bodies of photographic work, taking into consideration their own response to the images, the historical moment in which the pictures were made, the personal history and artistic sensibility of the photographer, the tools of the medium, and the ways in which all of these factors come together to create a meaningful depiction of the world.” Currently, Sartor’s own work, as a writer and a photographer, focuses on her family and childhood home of Monroe, Louisiana.
Alex Harris is a photographer, writer, and teacher. He has photographed for extended periods in Cuba, the Inuit villages of Alaska, the Hispanic villages of northern New Mexico, and across the American South. He taught at Duke for almost forty years through the Sanford School, the Center for Documentary Studies, and the Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts Program until his retirement (professor emeritus) in summer 2019. He is a founder of CDS (1989) and of DoubleTake magazine (1995) and was creative director of CDS’s Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program. Harris’s awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography, a Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship, and a Lyndhurst Prize. His book, River of Traps, with William deBuys was a 1991 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. Harris’s work is represented in major museum photographic collections and his photographs have been exhibited widely, including two solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York. As a photographer and editor, Harris has published sixteen books, including The Idea of Cuba (2007), Why We Are Here: Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City (2012), with E. O. Wilson, and, with Margaret Sartor, Dream of A House: The Passions and Preoccupations of Reynolds Price (2017) and Where We Find Ourselves: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum, 1897–1922 (2019). He is currently photographing in the South with a commission from the High Museum in Atlanta.
Dr. Sherry R. Boyd
Throughout the years, Sherry has built a diverse career in teaching, directing, conducting diversity workshops, distance education workshops, and acting. She has performed for Casa Mañana, Dallas Theatre Center, Theatre Three, and regional theaters on the east coast. Sherry has taught students from elementary school through undergraduate students in public and private institutions. She received her BS in music, MA in theatre from Texas Woman’s University and currently completing her dissertation on Theatre and Distance Education for the M.A. She graduated in August 2016 from Texas Tech University with her PhD in Fine Arts. At present, Sherry R. Boyd is the Humanities Coordinator for North Lake College in Irving, Texas, a member of the distance education faculty professional development team and chair of the Teaching and Learning team.
Chantal Sellers, a native of Michigan, is a historian and writer with an eye for the stone left unturned. Her work is rich in spirituality and imagery, often encompassing the plight of the oppressed, the miraculous beauty of the natural world, and the uncommon courage of the common person. As a Native American (Anishinaabe-kwe), Chantal’s greatest endeavor is to give voice to those whose history might otherwise be forgotten. Her work has appeared in numerous publications. She recently completed her first novel.