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"I, Too, Sing America" – Exploring the Repertoire of Margaret Bonds and Langston Hughes

March 31, 2020

Mary Trotter (DMA, collaborative piano) will be unable to perform her scheduled recital, “I, Too, Sing America,” at the School of Music due to recent event restrictions. Passionate about her subject, Trotter instead will present the lecture portion of the recital over Zoom on April 5 at 2 pm. Read more about the development of her project and the upcoming lecture below. 

What is your name, year, and program? 
MT: Mary Trotter, 3rd year DMA in collaborative piano, secondary area: music education. 

What area is your specialty and what ensembles are you in?
MT: While I love various forms of instrumental music, I have also always had a love for words. I spend most of my time working with singers; I love getting to spend my days delighting in the wonderful magic that happens in the marriage of text and music. I play for various voice students and the Women’s Chorus. 

What inspired you to develop this recital program? 
MT: Three years ago, I realized I did not know many African-American art song composers, so I decided to educate myself. I uncovered an entire portion of the repertoire that is not frequently performed. I soon became especially fascinated by the friendship of Margaret Bonds and Langston Hughes and began to explore the songs they collaborated on together. 

What are you most excited for the audience to experience in your lecture?
MT: I am excited for the audience to hear songs that are rarely, if ever, performed. I am excited for them to know the name of Margaret Bonds and to know her incredible music. And I am excited that people get to hear her speak for herself, through readings from her letters to Langston.

What surprised you about studying at the University of Minnesota School of Music?
MT: When I began my studies in my secondary area of music education, I wandered into Dr. Hamann’s class entitled “Historical Research in Music Education.” As a performance major, I spent most of the semester wondering what I had gotten myself into. I had neither a degree in history nor in music education. Two archival research trips later, I am infinitely grateful for the surprising ways I have utilized the skills I learned in that class. It equipped me to pursue this research project and made it possible in ways I would never have imagined three years ago.

The lecture portion of "I, Too, Sing America" will be presented over Zoom on April 5 at 2 pm. For further information on how to attend the lecture virtually, please visit the Facebook page here.