High school band buys only ‘composers of color’
Band directors at a Minnesota high school include at least one piece by a composer of color and one by a female composer in each band concert, reports NPR.
“We made a commitment this year to only buy music from composers of color,” says Brian Lukkasson, one of the directors at Spring Lake Park High near St. Paul.
The school displays composers’ photos. Photo: Evan Frost/MPR News
It’s difficult to find band music by non-whites, he said. “There’s just not a lot of composers of color that are being published.”
“I really, really want other students of color to be able to feel like they are welcomed and appreciated anywhere, that they don’t have to check themselves at the door,” said junior Kia Muleta, who plays the clarinet. Students feel “a kind of an ideological segregation of who can and cannot be in band, based on who the composers are, and what the music is like.”
This year, the band is playing Of Honor and Valor Eternal, a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen by Ayatey Shabazz, a black composer from Mississippi.
Should kids be encouraged to think of music as being racial or gendered?