Blind Boys of Alabama perform Oct. 16 in Fayetteville

Blind Boys of Alabama perform Oct. 16 in Fayetteville

The Blind Boys of Alabama are bringing the “good news” to Fayetteville for the second annual “Good News and The Blues” fundraiser benefiting the educational nonprofit Music Moves.

“This is an opportunity for us to put on an historic presentation and performance of gospel and blues and to also talk about Music Moves — what we’ve done in the community and what we continue to keep doing in the community,” says Anthony Ball, vice president of Music Moves. The evening, he adds, will be a “holistic presentation of what Music Moves is.”

“This is our main fundraiser for the year,” adds Reginald James, president of Music Moves, whose mission is to “make Black music accessible to students and to communities through performance and education.” “Good News and The Blues” will provide an educational context through the performance by The Blind Boys of Alabama.

“Great music is timeless,” James says of the five-time Grammy Award-winning group, recognized as living legends of gospel music. “To still be able to communicate with different communities, different cultures and subcultures 50 years later, that says a lot so, we wanted to highlight that and to show the multi-generational aspect that music has with culture and their messaging, of course.”

“They’ve had different messages, they’ve had different sub-messages, even in their music. I’m sure you’ve heard about that before, that a song might be about something — you might be talking about peaches or ‘Strange Fruit’ or whatever it is, but there’s also another meaning that might be under that underlying meaning. For this group, they’ve seen a lot. And I think that they’ll be able to share [that], even as our country experiences some of the same things that they experienced 50 years ago, they’ll just give us a fresh perspective on music and its ability to relate to culture and to society.

“I think one of the one of the largest, I guess, gaps between Black music and art is is the ‘why,’ why the world enjoys it. The world loves it, but they don’t always know ‘the why’ behind it. And I think this event is going to give us a chance, which is why the educational piece is so important so that we can get began to dive into ‘the why’ behind the music — the passion that you hear, the lyrical sounds that you hear, even some of the rhythms that you hear — why do you hear those particular rhythms — and so I think the why component will be made a little bit clearer for everyone.”

The Blind Boys of Alabama will demonstrate those concepts through their performance.

Music Moves has been responsible for several music performance throughout Northwest Arkansas over the last two and a half years including a Freedom Festival Celebrating Juneteenth in Springdale, the Soul Nite concert series, the Railroad Jazz and Blues Block Party in Rogers as well as performances for the Forest Concert Series at Crystal Bridges.

They’ve also partnered with Crystal Bridges’s CB to You mobile learning lab to take performances and hands-on learning opportunities to kids in the area.

“We go with them to take that program to their after school areas, whether it be Boys and Girls Club or some other program that they might have,” James says. He adds that the Music Moves curriculum is also being used in Fayetteville schools this year.

Director of choral studies at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Dr. Jeffrey Murdock, who is also a Grammy award winner, created lesson plans and on-site presentations “on the influence of the African Diaspora on every genre of music in America and how it relates to music today,” His grad students help present that curriculum along with teachers in local schools.

James calls Murdock a “unicorn in Northwest Arkansas,” citing his ability to lead his students in performance of “everything from Beethoven to stuff that we would consider even urban gospel” at “level of proficiency and expertise” not achieved by many others.



Good News & the Blues

WHAT — The Blind Boys of Alabama will perform during the main fundraising event of the year for Music Moves. There will be a presentation about the work of the local educational nonprofit and food from Eat My Catfish.

WHEN — 6-9 p.m. Oct. 16

WHERE — Fayetteville Town Center, 15 W. Mountain St.

COST — $75


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