Snaps for Blues Night and Poetry Jam

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    By Heather Palmer

    The BYU Multicultural Student Services is sponsoring the Blues Night and Poetry Jam, giving students a chance to get their snap on tonight, Feb. 10, 2006.

    The annual event is taking place, in part, to celebrate Black History Month, but also to highlight the work of several important African American writers and artists.

    In addition to the poetic rhapsodies, Afterhours, a local jazz band from Salt Lake, will be featured to punctuate the night with some happening harmonies. Participants of the event will have the unique opportunity to read poetry on stage from African-American artists such as Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou and other classical and contemporary African-American writers.

    “African Americans developed the blues,” said Carrie Scott, lead singer and manager of Afterhours. “The blues turned into jazz, and a mixture of cultures made it America”s own unique sound.”

    The creation of something unique is an appropriate theme to the aims of the Multicultural Student Services, which strive to provide an opportunity for students to feel individual worth, as well as to cultivate an appreciation for diverse cultures, talents and backgrounds.

    One of the objectives and values of the Multicultural Student Services is to “serve and educate the community through a display of talents and self-expression in organized programs, which include students from all walks of life.”

    Alongside the poetry jam and jazz music, and in keeping with the objective to “educate the community,” Davita Washington, Multicultural Student Services coordinator, will deliver informational segments on the history of jazz, poetry and blues.

    Washington said she her aim is to provide relevant, historical information on the connection between jazz, poetry and blues, and how it has laid down the roots of the past, which have become the blossoms of the present in African-American history.

    “Jazz and blues history started from slavery times,” Washington said. “It continues to develop and influence jazz and blues today.”

    Through the sharing of music and words, the Multicultural Student Services hopes to give students a taste of tradition and culture from the past that are still shared, developed and nurtured today in African-American roots.

    Students are invited to come out and support Black History Month and dip into African-American jazz music and poetry. The Blues Night and Poetry Jam will be held on Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. in the Wilkinson Student Center Main Ballroom. The cost of the event is $2 with BYU student ID and $4 without.

    (For comments, e-mail Heather Palmer at )

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