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Professor to sing early movie songs as music series continues

The music of Broadway and Tin Pan Alley will be featured on Jan. 22 as the series "America's Music: A Film History of Our Most Popular Music" continues on the University of North Georgia's Dahlonega Campus. To complement the series, on Jan. 27 Dr. Esther Morgan-Ellis will be holding a recital of music made popular in movie theaters from 1905-13.

Dr. Esther Morgan-Ellis, who teaches music at the University of North Georgia (UNG), will sing songs made popular in movie theaters from 1905-13 in a recital on Jan. 27 in conjunction with the America's Music series.

The recital begins at 7 p.m. in the Schott Recital Hall located in the Nix Fine Arts Center on the Dahlonega Campus and is free and open to the public.

"I will be singing popular songs accompanied by period lantern slide images that were used in early movie theaters. They're really interesting and funny," Morgan-Ellis said. "I will also talk a bit about the practice and share some good quotes from the trade press."

The series, "America's Music: A Film History of Our Most Popular Music," continues at 6 p.m. on Jan. 22 with a look at Broadway and Tin Pan Alley in an episode of the Emmy-award winning series "Broadway: The American Musical." Throughout the series, which runs through Feb. 26, UNG takes a look at music that is uniquely American; all screenings will be on UNG's Dahlonega Campus and are free and open to the public. UNG also is holding several musical performances to compliment the series.

UNG is one of 50 sites selected nationwide to host the film series, a six-session program featuring documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions of 20th-century music. The Jan. 15 screening focuses on blues and gospel music and features a screening of "Say Amen, Somebody" and "Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues."

Morgan-Ellis leads discussions about the historical context and social impact of each musical genre throughout the series.

"For more than a hundred years the United States has boasted the most influential popular music traditions in the world," Morgan-Ellis said. "American popular music has had a profound global impact in the commercial, cultural and artistic spheres. This film series is a wonderful opportunity to experience some of the startlingly original and deeply passionate music traditions that have arisen in America over the past century."

The "America's Music" series explores a different musical genre's influence on American life during each session. Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, all sessions will be held in the Library Technology Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

The series takes place on consecutive Wednesdays in January and February. Participants are welcome to join any number of sessions, which start at 6 p.m. and last about 90 minutes to two hours. RSVPs are appreciated to or 706-864-1807.

The "America's Music" sessions are:

  • Jan. 29: Swing jazz is covered in an episode of "Ken Burns' Jazz" and the documentary "International Sweethearts of Rhythm."
  • Feb. 12: The histories of country and bluegrass are traced in the documentary "High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music."
  • Feb. 19: The emergence of rock and roll is featured in an episode of "The History of Rock and Roll."
  • Feb. 26: Latin rhythms from mambo to hip hop are the subject of an episode of "Latin Music USA" and the award-winning film "From Mambo to Hip-Hop: A South Bronx Tale."

"America's Music" is a project by the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint and the Society for American Music. For more information, visit the UNG Libraries website at

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