National music conference will feature free gospel concert and academic papers March 15-18

About 500 music scholars from around the world will attend the March 15-18 annual conference of the Society for American Music (SAM) in Charlotte and Davidson, which is being hosted by Davidson College. SAM is a scholarly organization dedicated to the study of U.S. music. Davidson College Professor of Music Neil Lerner serves as secretary of SAM, and, as the chair of the local arrangements committee, helped organize this year’s conference.

More than 120 papers on U.S. music will be read at the conference. It will also feature a Friday morning panel of eminent African-American composers and a Friday evening presentation of an Honorary Membership to traditional music legend Doc Watson.

While most of the conference activities will be in Charlotte and open only to registrants, the public is invited to the Davidson campus on Thursday, March 15, to attend four sets of papers and a free gospel concert.

From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. that day, the public is invited to attend any of four scholarly sessions on diverse topics of American music research. The sessions are “Hip Hop and Local Histories” (Hance Auditorium, Chambers Building), “Sacred Tunebooks” (Lilly Gallery, Chambers Building), “Spirituality in Celluloid (Tyler Tallman Hall, Sloan Music Center) and “Negotiating Nationalism in theNineteenth Century (Semans Lecture Hall, Belk Visual Arts Center).

A “GospelSHOUT!” concert that evening begins at 8 p.m. in the Duke Family Performance Hall of the Knobloch Campus Center. It will feature three prominent examples of southern religious roots music: The Cockman Family (bluegrass gospel), Men Standing for Christ (an African American a cappella quartet), and Cedric Mangum & Company (a trombone shout band).

GospelSHOUT! is co-sponsored by the Davidson College Friends of the Arts , the Department of Music, and the Levine Museum of the New South, and there is no charge to attend. For more information email or phone Neil Lerner (, 704-894-2850). For more information about SAM and the conference, consult this webpage: