Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Press Release

Tubman Oratorio Anchors Summit

Arcata – The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra featuring Faye Carol will perform Shelby’s jazz oratorio, “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman,” to inaugurate Humboldt State University’s 2008 Social Justice Summit on Friday, March 7.

Shelby, the Bay Area bassist, composer and educator, will lead a 15-piece big band with four singers, led by Ms. Carol, San Francisco’s acclaimed jazz and blues singer. She began her career in the 1960s as a vocalist with Bay Area R&B and funk bands and was vocal teacher and director of the Music in the Community program at the Black Repertory Group in Berkeley from 2001 to 2003.

“Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman” eulogizes the life of the Maryland runaway slave (1819 – 1913) who was a conductor of the Underground Railroad, a spy for Union forces and a leading abolitionist admired as the “Moses of Her People.” Mr. Shelby’s oratorio continues his thematic exploration of black history and social justice through music.

Premiered last May at the Yerba Buena Festival, “Bound for the Promised Land” won immediate critical acclaim as an “epic” that combines “fine composition, tight arrangement, technical virtuosity and chemistry.”

Shelby is an instructor at the Berkeley Young Musician program at San Francisco State University and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. A 2006 Fellow with the Resident Dialogues Program of the Committee for Black Performing Arts at Stanford, he is the 1991 winner of the Charles Mingus Scholarship.

Performing jazz and teaching the genre’s history, Shelby strives to present the art “as a distinctly American historic narrative [and] create dialogue about American experiences.” Telling African American stories through performance, he says, “helps shape the future of all American performing arts.”

Shelby’s oratorio epitomizes the theme of this year’s Social Justice Summit, “Reclaiming SOUL!” The performance will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Van Duzer Theater. Registered conference participants will be admitted free. General admission will be $15.00, admission for seniors and students with HSU I.D. will be $10.00

Co-partners of the Shelby jazz performance include HSU’s MultiCultural Center, organizer of the summit; the non-profit Redwood Jazz Alliance, which invites national and international musicians to the Redwood Coast, in collaboration with Humboldt State’s Department of Music; and HSU’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and its Department of World Languages and Cultures. Major funding also is provided by the Office of the President and the Diversity Program Funding Committee.

Details of the March 7 performance are at

Information about, and registration for, the Social Justice Summit is at The summit coordinator is Mona Mazzotti at 707/826-3369 or

HSU News & Information


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