As the week of research drew to a close, books piling, lists growing, inspiration expanding and filling our souls, we were introduced to yet another section of the archive that filled us with joy. The archives have a large filing cabinet where, alphabetically, people and organizations and ensembles and other events/items related to Black music research have folders that contain writings, press clippings, official documents, and other related material.
Firstly, I have often times - as a "classical musician" with brown skin - felt as though people like me are few and far between. I can never shake the feeling, even today - even after immersing myself and surrounding myself with other musicians, composers, and enthusiasts with brown skin - that I don't belong and that no one is paying attention. Now, whenever this feeling comes upon me, I can think of my time at CBMR. I can think of the hundreds of names I came across, knowing that this quantity of names does not represent everyone who has been involved in this work, and definitely does not represent those to come! I can think of the many events I read about in this file cabinet, spanning the gamut of renaissance and baroque music to contemporary and avant-garde expression. There are people documenting this community and its work, and those documenting it don't just exist at CBMR! It may be a simple feeling, but it is also an important feeling, and this message is one that Castle of our Skins wishes to extend to any other brown skinned "classical musician" who may also feel alone.
With Morris A. Phibbs, Former Deputy Director of CMBR
With Kirk Edward Smith, Co-Principal Conductor of the CBMR’s Black Music Repertory Ensemble and New Black Music Repertory Ensemble
(This is the last part of the BIBA Blog's CBMR series! We'd Like to Hear From YOU!)