2020 International Conference


Keynote Speaker

Photo: Ysaye Barnwell

Dr. Ysaÿe Maria Barnwell

The Children’s Music Network is thrilled to announce that our keynote speaker for the 2020 CMN Annual Conference is Dr. Ysaÿe Maria Barnwell!!

Dr. Barnwell is a master teacher and choral clinician in African American cultural performance. A member of Sweet Honey in the Rock for 34 years, she’s been a commissioned composer on numerous choral, film, video, dance and theatrical projects including Sesame Street. She has published 2 books for children: “No Mirrors In My Nana’s House”, illustrated by Synthia Saint James and “We Are One” illustrated by Brian Pinckney. She will present an address about music in the Civil Rights Movement and the African American community, and provide a workshop on “Building a Vocal Community®: Singing in the African American Tradition.”

Dr. Barnwell’s Interactive Workshop | Saturday, October 3, 2020 | 2:30–4:00 pm

Building a Vocal Community®: Singing in the African American Tradition

There is an awesome power in the human voice and when uncommon voices are blended for the common good, they become a ‘vocal community’ at its best. Masterfully led by Dr. Ysaÿe M. Barnwell, singers and non-singers alike will share the common experience of learning in the oral tradition and singing rhythms, chants, traditional songs from Africa and the Diaspora, and a variety of songs from African American culture including spirituals, ring shouts, hymns, gospels, and songs from the Civil Rights Movement. The historical, social and political context will be provided as an introduction to the songs. Throughout this experience, the group will explore from an African American world view, the values imbedded in the music, the role of cultural and spiritual traditions and rituals, ways in which leadership emerges and can be shared by and among community members, the nature of cultural responses to and influences on political and social struggle, and finally the significance of a shared communal experience in ones’ personal life. All that is required is a willingness to sing.