COOS (Castle of our Skins) is not just a group of musicians playing pieces from the repertoire or commissioning new music from composers around the world. We do that, but we do that with a goal in mind: to correct the grave problem of artists (composers, performers, spoken word artists, narrators, storytellers, etc ...) with Brown skin being underrepresented in public forums. We focus on music for the concert and chamber halls - strictly notated music for acoustic instruments and voices. Composers of this music - such as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Renee Baker, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Dorothy Rudd Moore, Fela Sowande, Margaret Bonds, Ed Bland, etc ... - have been pioneers, mentors, and big influences on composers and musicians of various backgrounds. Yet the music of these composers is basically ignored, and their influence is rarely taught in post-secondary institutions.
Similarly, the Black story in America is not given justice in history classes for elementary through high school students. February rolls around, and a couple of wonderful Black leaders are mentioned. However, this is not the complete picture, and this aspect of the American story is pushed so far into the background that it almost disappears. How does this ignorance manifest itself? This ignorance, combined with misrepresentations of Black people in the media, in twisted statistics, social media, and other forums of image, sound, and video - all of this creates children who lack the complete picture of their history, and lack a pride in who they are and from where they came. Furthermore, in their lack of a complete picture, they are bombarded by negativity, thus incubating the idea that this is who they are. Obviously this is not the story for everyone. We all have different journeys. Hopefully, these journeys will all lead to pride, awareness, and knowledge.
This is where COOS steps in. The above problem is too great to be solved quickly or by us alone! However, what we do: we give. We plant seeds through our educational series, directed by Seychelle Dunn. We present ourselves and the stories of great Black artists in the community, through house concerts, senior home recitals, presentations in schools, and more. We perform the music that has been ignored, and put it into greater contexts with spoken word. And this work will evolve into something more if we are supported! Therefore, when YOU give to COOS, you allow COOS to give.
Thank you for your donations, your word-of-mouth support, your suggestions, your kindness, your love, and your positive energy. We need all of it to continue giving.