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by Crystal Wu & Catherine Zachary

First Fridays is a concert series created by Arts Everywhere and the Department of Music in the fall of 2019. The series has featured pop-up performances by different student and chamber ensembles on the first Friday of each month in the rotunda of Hill Hall, as well as in different spaces across campus on other select Fridays. These informal concerts have allowed students, faculty, staff, and community members to come and go as they listened to live music of all genres and configurations.

This semester, in an effort to keep the community safe and healthy, First Fridays will look a little different. Instead of live, in-person concerts, Arts Everywhere and the Department of Music sought proposals for virtual, pre-recorded 15-30 minute programs featuring music by underrepresented voices (BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, women, etc.).

After reviewing the wonderful proposals that were submitted for our First Fridays concerts this fall, we are pleased to announce the winners below! Students researched and chose pieces by underrepresented artists who were meaningful to them and will present the pieces along with program notes about the musical works, composers, poets, and historical context.

Please join us on Facebook on the first Friday of each month to learn, listen, and celebrate the music of underrepresented composers!

Melody Zhuo and Grace He; Text Reads: Grace He and Melody Zhuo, piano, Sept 4 | 1 PMSeptember 4 at 1 pm

Grace He, piano

Melody Zhuo, piano

“Honeysuckle” from Grandmother’s Garden, Op. 97 by Amy Beach
“Ji-Dong-Nuo” by Chen Yi
“Desdemona and Salomé” from Femmes de Légende by Mélanie Bonis

Learn more about Grace and Melody’s program here.


October 2 at 1 pm

Lauren Ragsdale and Sanya Shah; Text Reads: Lauren Ragsdale and Sanya Shah, Oct 2 | 1 PMSanya Shah, soprano

Lauren Ragsdale, mezzo soprano

“Night” by Florence Price
“In the Springtime” by Betty Jackson King
“I’m a Poor Lil’ Orphan in this World” by Julia Perry
“Songs to the Dark Virgin” by Florence Price
“Sympathy” by Florence Price
“Calvary” by Betty Jackson King
“Hold Fast to Dreams” by Florence Price

Learn more about Sanya and Lauren’s program here.


November 6 at 1 pm

Collage of Gum Box members; Text Reads: GUM BOX, Nov 6 | 1 PMGum Box Ensemble
Tomer Goldhagen, trumpet
Jace Bean, guitar
Isaac Talbert, oboe
Daniel Asanov, drums and composer/arranger
Grant Holland, keys/trumpet
Harrington Shaw  guitar/bass
George Wasson, alto saxophone

“Caged Bird” by Daniel Asanov, Text by Maya Angelou
“The Mask” by Daniel Asanov, Text by  Maya Angelou
“Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” by J. Rosamund Johnson & James Weldon Johnson

Learn more about Gum Box’s program here.

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