More Than Rhythm: A Black Music Series returns February 2

Dr. Tammy Kernodle performing “She Sang Freedom.” Photo provided.

Dr. Tammy Kernodle opens season 3 with performance of “She Sang Freedom”

Columbia, S.C. – The Columbia Museum of Art presents More Than Rhythm: A Black Music Series Featuring Tammy Kernodle, the season three premiere of the popular free concert and conversation program, on Friday, February 2, at 7:00 p.m. Hosted by ethnomusicologist Dr. Birgitta Johnson, the series takes attendees on a musical journey through multiple eras of Black musical expressions with live performances and intimate educational opportunities.

The evening features musician, musicologist, and Miami University Distinguished Professor of Music Tammy Kernodle, who joins us for a trio performance of “She Sang Freedom,” chronicling the journey of Black women as the producers of great music over the last four centuries. Prior to the concert, she discusses her unique approach and illustrious career with Dr. Johnson.

“I am so happy Dr. Kernodle is coming back to Columbia and bringing her critically acclaimed piece ‘She Sang Freedom’! It is a feast for the ears, mind, and spirit,” says Dr. Johnson. “Tammy holds court at the piano and takes you on a musical journey through the many voices of freedom that have inspired millions to fight for change and a better world.”

Dr. Tammy L. Kernodle is an arranger, pianist, singer, and scholar whose work concentrates on the contributions of African Americans to classical and popular music. A native of Danville, VA, Kernodle attended Virginia State, where she majored in choral music education with a concentration in piano. Upon graduation, she attended The Ohio State University, where she earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in musicology. Dr. Kernodle has since taught and lectured at institutions including the University of North Carolina Chapel-Hill, University of Kansas, UCLA, and Florida State University. Her scholarship has been featured in a number of anthologies, journals, and encyclopedias.

Considered an expert in African American music, jazz history, and gender studies, Dr. Kernodle has served as scholarly consultant to institutions including the BBC, National Public Radio, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland), and the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. Most recently she was part of the team that constructed the inaugural music exhibitions at the National Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington, DC. She is the president of the Society for American Music.

Dr. Kernodle has served as choir director, instrumentalist, and consultant in the area of gospel performance practice for over 30 years. This work has allowed her to serve on the music ministry teams for congregations of varying denominational affiliations throughout the country, and to collaborate on a number of theater productions, including serving as musical director and arranger for Down in Mississippi: A Gospel Play with Music, written by Guggenheim Fellow and celebrated playwright Carlyle Brown and commissioned by Miami University (2009). Kernodle is the University Distinguished Professor of Musicology at Miami University, where she teaches American music, African American music, and gender studies in music.

“By joining forces with Dr. K, we get to kick off More Than Rhythm season three, Black History Month, and Women’s History Month in multi-genre musical celebration!” adds Dr. Johnson.

Series host Birgitta J. Johnson, Ph.D., is a jointly appointed associate professor of ethnomusicology in the School of Music and African American Studies Program at the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include music in African American churches, musical change and identity in Black popular music, and community archiving. She has published articles in the Black Music Research Journal, Ethnomusicology Forum, Liturgy, Oxford Bibliographies in African American Studies, and the Grove Dictionary of American Music.

Dr. Johnson’s more recent publications include a chapter about 21st-century gospel archiving in The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation, a chapter about gospel remixes of Beyoncé songs in Beyoncé in the World: Making Meaning with Queen Bey in Troubled Times, and sacred themes in the music of Outkast in An OutKast Reader: Essays on Race, Gender, and the Postmodern South. She has been quoted or featured in media and news outlets such as Rolling Stone Magazine, NPR, Vox, Public Radio International, and South Carolina ETV.

A multi-instrumentalist and singer, Dr. Johnson has performed professionally and/or recorded with artists and ensembles from a variety of genres including the Southeast Symphony Orchestra of Metropolitan Los Angeles, the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Francisco Aguabella’s AfroCuban Folkloric Group, and the ESPY Awards with Justin Timberlake, The O’Jays, Yolanda Adams, Talib Kweli, and BeBe Winans. At USC she teaches courses on world music, hip-hop, the blues, African music, Black sacred music, Beyoncé, and the history of ethnomusicology.

More Than Rhythm: A Black Music Series Featuring Tammy Kernodle
Friday, February 2
Galleries and bar open at 6:00 p.m.
Conversation at 7:00 p.m.
Concert at 8:00 p.m.
Free admission

Learn more and register at

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