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UNH Hosts Free Jazz Series At Dover's McConnell Center

By Erika Mantz, Media Relations
March 21, 2007

The UNH Library and its New Hampshire Library of Traditional Jazz are presenting a free six-part viewing, reading and discussion series called “Looking at: Jazz, America’s Art Form.” The library is one of 50 libraries and nonprofit organizations nationwide to participate in the project’s pilot program organized by Re:New Media in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The project is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and locally by the Seacoast Jazz Society and the Dover Public Library.

“Looking at: Jazz” explores the cultural and social history of jazz as it developed as an art form in the United States. The first program, focusing on New Orleans and the Origins of Jazz, will be held Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m. at Dover’s McConnell Center at 61 Locust Street.

The showing will be on the lower level of the center with entrances through door three, which faces the Dover Public Library, and door seven, which is on the District Court side. Parking is available behind the Dover Public Library and along St. Thomas Street.

“We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the pilot sites for this series on jazz, America’s unique and historically significant art form,” said Bill Ross, professor and head of Special Collections at the UNH Library. “This program allows Seacoast residents to share in the in-depth information provided by the creators of the series and to discuss the selected films with one of the area’s fine jazz scholars. We’re also excited to have to have the newly-renovated McConnell Center host it.”

Two additional sessions have been scheduled for Sunday, April 29, and Sunday, May 20, at the McConnell Center. Those presentations will focus on the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance and Jazz Vocalists. Paul Verrette, associate professor emeritus of music from UNH, will lead a discussion of each session’s award-winning documentary. A native of Dover, Verrette is the music department’s liaison with the New Hampshire Library of Traditional Jazz. In addition, he continues to perform with regional jazz groups, and writes the program essays for the Traditional Jazz Series.

The New Hampshire Library of Traditional Jazz (NHLTJ) was established in 1978 by Dorothy Prescott, a long-time supporter of traditional jazz music in New England; it was donated to the university upon her death.

The library's mission is to preserve the history of and foster the appreciation and future of traditional jazz music as an original American art form. It maintains archives comprising thousands of recordings, hundreds of jazz-related books and periodicals, photographs, videotapes, and archival material that document the New England jazz scene after World War II. It is housed in Dimond Library’s Milne Special Collections and Archives Department. For more information visit: www.izaak.unh.edu/nhltj/

For information about the presentations in Dover contact Bill Ross at 2-0346 or jazz.collections@unh.edu. For additional information about series content, multimedia, filmographies, and essays for each segment of the series, visit: www.nvr.org/lookingatjazz/

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