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NMU music faculty engage in virtual outreach efforts

Mark Flaherty performing “Bye Bye Blackbird.” (Courtesy photo)

MARQUETTE –Northern Michigan University music department faculty members are using YouTube to expand their educational and entertainment outreach. Erin Colwitz began a “Women in Music” video lecture series and Mark Flaherty launched an NMU Jazz “Tune of the Week” performance series.

“Our hope is that we can contribute something to our students, for NMU and the Marquette community by sharing what we know,” Colwitz said in a news release. “We are creating community thanks to technology.”

The first episode of Colwitz’s “Women in Music” focuses on one of the first-ever known female composers, Hildegard of Bingen from the Middle Ages. Hildegard was a saint, poet and one of the first identifiable composers in the history of Western music.

“Most folks know very little about her and her contributions,” Colwitz said. “She was very much ahead of her time.”

Flaherty’s “Tune of the Week” series features a different jazz standard each episode. On the first, he discusses the American classic, “Bye Bye Blackbird.” The tune was composed by Ray Henderson in 1926 and has been performed by countless jazz musicians over the years. Flaherty plays a rendition on his trumpet in the episode.

“This is a tune that I’ve played for a long time, and I’ve always really liked it,” he said. “I’ve performed it with full big bands and combos, and I often use it as a demonstration piece in classes or when I visit middle schools and high schools. It’s catchy and upbeat; seemed like a good place to start.”

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