Exploring America’s music via film

Jan 02, 2013
“Say Amen, Somebody,” directed and produced by acclaimed filmmaker George T. Nierenberg, will be excerpted during the first America’s Music session at Camden Public Library.

Camden — America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway, a new music appreciation series about uniquely American musical genres including blues and gospel, Broadway, jazz, bluegrass and country, rock ‘n’ roll, mambo and hip-hop, will be offered Sundays at 3 p.m., Jan. 13 through Feb. 17 in the Picker Room of Camden Public Library, Atlantic Avenue.

Camden is one of 50 sites nationwide, and the only site in Maine, selected to host this program series, which features documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions. The Town of Camden, in partnership with Bay Chamber Concerts and the Camden Public Library, was awarded $2,500 and $1,000 grants to host the six-week series.

The free community program is a project of the Tribeca Film Institute, in consultation with the American Library Association and the Society for American Music, and is made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Local musician Glenn Jenks, with special guests, will present the six sessions focused on musical genres deeply connected to the history, culture and geography of this country. Films include Ken Burns' masterful “Jazz” and “Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues.”

The sessions’ topics are as follows: Jan. 13, The Blues and Gospel Music; Jan. 20, Tin Pan Alley and Broadway; Jan. 27, Swing Jazz; Feb. 3, Bluegrass and Country Music; Feb. 10, Rock; and Feb. 17, From Mambo to Hip Hop. The series is not meant to offer an all-inclusive treatment of 20th-century American popular music. Instead, each screening and discussion session will examine an important American musical genre in the context of key social and historical developments, with events in American music history acting as a catalyst for that examination.

“We are thrilled to participate in this exciting program that will help introduce different types of music, show how modern music has been influenced by older styles and bridge gaps among generations” said Brian Hodges, Project Coordinator and Camden Development Director.

The documentary films shown will become a part of the Camden Public Library’s circulation. For more information about this event and to obtain copies of program materials, contact Hodges at 236-3353 or bhodges@camdenmaine.gov. For additional “America’s Music” related performances and other events, visit librarycamden.org, baychamberconcerts.org and camdenmaine.gov.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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