Discovery Day to Feature Noted Expert on African American Music | Benedictine College

Discovery Day to Feature Noted Expert on African American Music

Portia Maultsby to Offer Keynote Address on April 15

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Benedictine College’s Discovery Day, an annual event when the school cancels its classes and meetings to allow for student presentations and a special keynote presentation, is set for Wednesday, April 15. This year, the featured keynote speaker will be Dr. Portia Maultsby,’68, Laura Boulton Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology and Director Emerita and Research Associate of Archives of African American Music and Culture at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her presentation is set for 1 p.m. on April 15 in the ’O'Malley-McAllister Auditorium on the Atchison campus. It is free and open to the public.

Her Discovery Day keynote presentation will focus on the overview of the study of Ethnomusicology and is titled, “The Field of Ethnomusicology: The Study of World Cultures through Music.” The presentation will include a discussion of her current research project, “African American Music in Global Context: Gospel Music in the Netherlands.”

Maultsby has concentrated her studies on African-American religious and popular music and is highly regarded in her field. She is the co-editor of “African American Music: An Introduction,” which is one of the common college textbooks used to study Ethnomusicology. Her work has earned her an international reputation and much of it has been published both in American and European journals. Additionally, she has given lectures throughout the world including the United States, England, the Netherlands, Russia, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.

In 1992, she was profiled in Rolling Stone magazine and has served as a researcher, curator, and consulting scholar for museum exhibitions and multimedia productions, most notably for BBC, PBS, and NPR.

Maultsby received her Bachelor’s degree in music from Mount St. Scholastica College, now Benedictine College, and holds a Master’s degree in musicology and Doctorate in ethnomusicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In her early years as a student teacher at Mount St. Scholastica College, Maultsby taught music theory to high school students, one of whom was Dr. Ruth Krusemark, now Mother Evangelista Kremmeter Professor of Benedictine Traditions and Values and chair of the Benedictine College Music Department.

“Maultsby is one of the world authorities on African-American music, pure and simple,” Krusemark said. “Her reputation is prestigious worldwide and you can see that in the number of articles she has written and awards she has received.”

One of Maultsby’s most notable achievements is the 2012 presenter of the Charles Seeger Lecture, the centerpiece of the annual meeting of the Society of Ethnomusicology and one of the highest honors in the field. Other awards include the 2009 Distinguished Faculty Award from the College of Arts and Science at Indiana University, senior visiting scholar in residence at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History from 1984-1985, and an honorary doctorate degree of music in 1985 from Benedictine College.

Discovery Day encourages students to reflect on life’s great questions and to develop their abilities to find solutions to the problems facing the world. Each year the event allows students to create and present original projects that have been researched outside of the classroom. All presentations during Discovery Day are free and open to the public.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.