Weber to touch on Freedom Singers' role in 1960s civil rights movement

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany State University assistant professor of music Deanna Weber will be the featured speaker Thursday along with the Freedom Singers at the Albany Civil Rights Institute's monthly Community Night.

Weber, a Freedom Singers historian, will address the role of the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) Freedom Singers group that originated in Albany in 1962 during the heyday of the civil rights movement.

The talk will be based on Weber's D.M.A. dissertation completed last year at Boston University.

Weber's scholarly work focuses on the musical and political events in Southwest Georgia that led to the formation of the SNCC Freedom Singers by four young talented African-American vocalists.

The singing group traveled throughout the United States serving as musical ambassadors for the civil rights movement.

Weber's work analyzes how the Southwest Georgia cultural landscape was changed by the civil rights movement and how music, particularly freedom songs, played an important role in that transformation.

In her research, Weber has also examined the extent to which the civil rights repertory, including freedom songs, is currently used in music classrooms and the implications of that for the teaching of tolerance and respect for various peoples and cultures.

Weber earned a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts from Stetson University, an M.Ed. degree in Music Education from Columbus State University and a D.M.A. degree from Boston University.

An accomplished mezzo-soprano, she has performed numerous roles in opera, oratorio and music theater, and has appeared in recitals throughout the southeastern United States.

Weber has directed productions ranging in style from opera to jazz for various college and community organizations. At ASU, she currently teaches music theory, applied voice and music education courses.

The May monthly Community Night will begin at 7:30 p.m., at ACRI, 326 Whitney Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

Part of Weber's presentation will be illustrated by the ACRI Freedom Singers, who will perform excerpts of a number of freedom songs.

The ACRI Community Night scheduled June 23 will feature African-American historian Charles W. McKinney Jr., who will discuss his new book "Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina."

On June 1, the civil rights museum will host a reception at 6 p.m. for the SNCC Southwest Georgia Project's 50th Anniversary Reunion, which will be held June 2-4.