New Harmonies Music Exhibit to be Sponsored by UWG

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A traveling exhibition that explores the early traditions of American music opens in Bremen, Ga., at the Warren Sewell Library on Feb. 9. The exhibit, “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music,” will remain through March 23 and is sponsored by the University of West Georgia. The exhibit has been touring in Georgia since 2012.

The exhibit will give visitors an opportunity to learn about American history and culture through the origins and evolution of American music. Consisting of eight colorful interactive displays, the exhibit features stories, photographs and musical objects. It also includes a listening station where guests can hear samples of roots music.

“Visitors can expect to be immersed in the rich history of American roots music,” said Dr. Keith Hebert, co-director for the center for public history and assistant professor of history. “Roots music is the baseline for contemporary American music—its source. They will learn more about west Georgia musicians such as Thomas Dorsey, Hugh McGraw and the United Shape Note Singers.”

Dr. Ann McCleary, UWG professor of history, is the state scholar for the exhibit. McCleary and Susan Foreman, a UWG graduate student, produced a catalog for the exhibit that contains a history of Georgia roots music traditions. The pair has traveled statewide to assist communities with preparing and developing programs for the exhibit, and they have assisted the Georgia Humanities Council with promoting the exhibit.

“The exhibit interprets the story behind the development of sacred, country, string, immigrant, protest music, blues, jazz and rock and roll,” Herbert added. “Visitors will find out more about figures such as Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Muddy Waters and more. The exhibit is a highly interactive experience.”

The “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music” exhibit was created by the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program. The program seeks to bring Washington D.C. quality museum exhibits to small towns nationwide.

In addition to the roots music exhibit, the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir will perform a selection of American folk hymns and songs at the new Hamilton-McPherson Fine Arts Center in Bremen, Ga., on Sunday, Mar. 10.

“Music is a central part of all of our lives,” said Hebert. Music is what helps connect Americans together and forms the basis for a shared national experience. While we may not all share the same musical taste, everyone can agree that music has the power to motivate and inspire.”

For more information on New Harmonies or to listen to examples of Georgia’s musical styles, click here.