Center Stage Series continues at Luther College Feb. 9

Ron McCurdy, professor of music at the University of Southern California, and his quartet will perform Langston Hughes’s “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz” for Luther College’s Center Stage Series at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall.

Langston Hughes (1901-1967) wrote “Ask Your Mama” between 1959 and 1960 and shared sections at the Newport Jazz Festival. An innovator of the literary art form known as the jazz poem during the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes died before the piece was ever staged with music as he intended. McCurdy and his quartet have brought the poem fully to life with jazz accompaniment, visuals and spoken word.

“I’m excited to bring this multimedia performance to Luther in February, especially as we’re celebrating Black History Month,” said Director of Campus Programming Kristen Underwood. “The Harlem Renaissance was an explosion of music, art and literature by Black Americans that changed our cultural landscape forever. Langston Hughes was at the center of it. I can’t wait to experience this performance in person.”

A professor of music at the USC Thornton School of Music, McCurdy has served as chair of the school’s jazz studies department and director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC. His primary instrument is the trumpet. He has released several recordings, including “Once Again for the First Time” and “The Langston Hughes Project – “Live” at the Huntington.” From 1990-99, he  served as professor of music, chair of the Afro-American Studies Department, and director of jazz studies at the University of Minnesota.

Center Stage Dinner Series

The chefs of the Norse Culinary Team are back with the popular Center Stage Dinner Series. The dinners feature a multicourse menu to complement each performance. A separate ticket is required; and the menu for Feb. 9 can be viewed at Dinner seating begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Peace Dining Room on the second floor of Dahl Centennial Union.

Both dinner and show tickets are on sale through Luther’s Ticket Office in the Center for Faith and Life, online, by emailing or by calling (563) 387-1357.

Ron McCurdy

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