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Columbia College Chicago
Genius Without Borders

Genius Without Borders

The Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago presents

Genius Without Borders:
A Symposium in Honor of the Genius of Ray Charles

March 7-8, 2009

Paper sessions, lecture-demonstrations, and panel discussions on Ray Charles’s compositions, musical influences, life, and legacy

Join keynote speaker David Ritz, scholars and authors James Austin, Stanley Crouch, Fredara Hadley, Tammy Kernodle, Diane Pecknold, and Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr., former Raelett Dr. Mable John, and musicians who performed with Charles’s band, including Marcus Belgrave (trumpet) and John Bryant (drums). The Ray Charles Foundation is collaborating with the CBMR to create a small exhibit of select Charles memorabilia.

Sponsored by Concord Music Group, Chicago Defender, Mesirow Financial, NBC 5, S. USA Life Insurance Inc., The Palmer House Hilton Hotel, U.S. Cellular, and WVON 1690 AM.

Program of Events













Wednesday, March 4

6:00–9:00 p.m.
Screening of the movie Ray

Prescreen talk by Ray Falzone, Columbia College Film and Video Department, "Life As Myth/Myth As Life: The Story of Ray"
For Columbia College Chicago students
Film Row Cinema, 1104 South Wabash, 8th floor

Saturday, March 7

8:00 a.m.
Registration open and Ray Charles memorabilia available for viewing

Film Row Cinema Lobby, 1104 South Wabash, 8th floor

9:00–10:00 a.m.: Session 1
"Hallelujah I Love Her So": The Gospel of Ray Charles

Horace Maxile (CBMR), moderator
Fredara Hadley (Indiana University), "'I Choose to Sing the Blues': The Impact of the Gospel Sound That Was and the Gospel Singer Who Wasn't"
Tammy Kernodle (Miami University of Ohio), "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning: Ray Charles and the Theology of Soul"

10:15–11:15 a.m.: Session 2
Playing with Ray: Charles Band Members Panel

David Ritz (Ray Charles biographer), moderator
Marcus Belgrave
John Bryant
Dr. Mable John
Chuck Parrish
Ernie Vantrease

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Session 3
"Genius + Soul = Jazz"

Stanley Crouch (author and African-American cultural critic)

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

2:00–3:00 p.m.: Session 4
"Blue Genius": Ray Charles's Rhythm and Blues

Lecture-performance featuring Dr. Guy's MusiQologY
Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr. (University of Pennsylvania)

3:15–4:15 p.m.: Session 5
"Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music"

Michael Gray (Country Music Hall of Fame), moderator
James Austin (Independent Producer), "How Modern Sounds in Country and Western Affected Top 40 Radio"
Diane Pecknold (University of Louisville), "How Ray Charles Made Country Modern"

7:30–9:00 p.m.
Ray Charles Tribute Concert
CBMR New Black Music Repertory Ensemble

Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street: enter on west side of building via the Plymouth Court entrance

Sunday, March 8

10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Session 6
The Business of Ray Charles: Past, Present, and Future

J. Dennis Rich (Chair, Department of Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management, Columbia College Chicago), moderator
Tony Gumina (President, Ray Charles Marketing Group)
Valerie Ervin (President, The Ray Charles Foundation), by videotape
Jerry D. Rothman (Legal Counsel for The Ray Charles Foundation)

1:00–3:00 p.m.
Luncheon and Keynote Address

David Ritz, keynote speaker
"The Right Reverend Ray: His Spiritual Legacy"
Hilton Chicago, Waldorf Ballroom

Event Sponsors

Chicago Football Classic
Concord Music Group
Chicago Defender
Mesirow Financial
Northern Trust
S. USA Life Insurance Inc.
The Palmer House Hilton Hotel
U.S. Cellular
WVON 1690 AM.