The Black Album Mixtape Block Party Event Brings Together Art With Purpose

Award-winning actress and playwright Regina Taylor hosted the final event, "The Block Party," for the Black Album Mixtape series at the Music Center on Friday, April 5.

The live event featured performances by a diverse ensemble of artists, including musicians, singers, dancers and comedians who performed their original work on stage. The evening concluded with Taylor announcing the winners of the Black Album Mixtape contest, which garnered submissions from artists across many discplines. 

Taylor, serving as the emcee for the Block Party, expressed her admiration for the participants and emphasized the importance of speaking out on essential issues. She praised the Black Album Mixtape winners for connecting their art with purpose in this current historial moment. 

 “Now is not the time to be silent,” said Taylor. “Everyone from students to faculty to community members stood together and lifted their voices on the essential issues in this moment in our history. I am so proud of each creative collaborator—writers, dancers, singers, and filmmakers connected their art with purpose.” 

The 2024 Black Album Mixtape Contest Winners

  • Nicholas Tremulis (part-time Columbia professor) 
  • Ted Roth (current student)
  • Bread on Fork - a Recording & Performance Ensemble (a course in the Music Department for students to form a band and create original music with Nick Tremulis and Typhanie Monique - Columbia professors and advisors)

Band roster appearing in their winning entry:  
Bea Fuadin - Vocals 
Mary James - Vocals 
Stephen Ryan - Guitar 
Matt McGrath - Bass 
Sam Nesin - Guitar 
William Penne - Drums 
James Gotshall - Producer 

  • Kalil Sims - community participant who was part of the "Reel Black Film Festival" hosted by a student organization "On the Outside Films"
  • Uri Blunt - (current student) submitted work as part of the course "Chicago Performs: Theatre Through Our Lens"
  • Cassandra O’ Neal - Columbia Professor and ensemble director for R&B Ensemble: Showcase (A Music deptartment ensemble) 

Band roster appearing in their winning entry:  
Kacie Brown 
Rani Bynum 
Danielle Crim 
Bea Fuadin 
Belmaris Garcia Gomez 
Sabrina George 
Celeste Guman 
Elijah Jagours 
Isaac Meier - keys 
Marcel Lockhart - drums 
Jayson Verrett - guitar 
Tim Wenzl - bass 

  • Bill Boris - Music Department Faculty/Associate Chair, and ensemble director for The Fusion Ensemble (Winner of the Curator's Choice Award)
Band roster appearing in their entry:  
Danny Lock - vocals 
Jayson Verrett - Guitar 
Miles Pretel - keyboards 
Dante Nottoli - bass 
Paris Catura - drums 

Program Highlights from Black Album Mixtape

Taylor collaborated with Columbia College Chicago to produce the Black Album Mixtape throughout the fall and spring. The collaboration showcased a series of socially minded events for students, faculty, staff and the community to engage in thoughtful dialogue about various topics. 

  • "Black Bone China Dinner" the kickoff event that featured dance,music and theater performances from Columbia students. The dinner included a "Food for Thought" symposium with notable African-American thought leaders sharing their opinions on what has changed and what hasn’t changed since Black Lives Matter.
  • "Creating Waves" dinner which included artists, teachers, and community leaders discussing how to teach the next generation to think creatively and perserve the world's non-reniuable resources. 
  • "Mental Health on College Campuses" online webinar with Columbia professors Susan Imus and Jessica Young 
  • "Benefit Concert at New Life Center" raised funds to support mirgrants in Chicago
  • "Final Block Party" with Regina Taylor and the winning submissions for the Black Album Mixtape contest.