NEC Perspectives Forum | NEC: 50 Years Apart

After facing the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy, NEC responded musically throughout Black communities in Boston and expanded its Jazz and Community Services department. The expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and Kent State massacre in the spring of 1970 ignited a period of unrest at NEC that encouraged students to rethink their musical and life purposes. While the events and circumstances of 50 years ago can't be compared to today, some of the questions our current students are asking are similar. This NEC Perspectives Forum, on Monday, August 17th at 8pm ET, will feature Cheryl Susheel Bibbs '70 MM to share her reflections of NEC during the challenging times of the 1970s, discuss what our community of musicians can accomplish in our uncertain times, and ideate changes at NEC that could give voice to the contributions of African-Americans in classical music and better support our students of color.

More about NEC Perspectives Forums:

The NEC Perspectives Forums provide opportunities for the NEC community to explore how we all can make a better NEC and ensure it lives up to its commitment of Cultural Equity and Belonging. By listening to the experiences and perspectives of our students, alumni, faculty and staff, we will explore ideas that will have a positive impact on our community and build a more hopeful future for our current and prospective students.

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In 1969, NEC President Gunther Schuller established the “Afro-American Music and Jazz Studies Department”, the first nationally accredited program of its kind in the United States. The institution had...

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The establishment of a jazz program at NEC influenced the culture of teaching and making music across the institution in many ways. In actuality, the new opportunities provided complex challenges...