LOGAN – As part of its nearly week-long observance of the Juneteenth holiday, Utah State University is joining forces with the Lyric Repertory Company to present “The Roots of American Music.”

That free event is slated for 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 20 in the Taggert Student Center Ballroom on the campus of Utah State University.

“The Roots of American Music” will feature two guest performers from the Lyric Repertory Company, Equity actors Herb Newsome and Brandon Foxworth.

Newsome is the author of Break It Down, a one-man show that traces the evolution of Hip Hop music. Break It Down was performed as part of the Lyric Repertory Company’s 2023 season.

The interactive workshop promises to explore the impact of African-Americans on the landscape of American music.

“From the plantation fields to present day,” Newsome explains, “we will take you on a sensory journey where you will hear, see, feel and sing, plus get up and dance.”

Newsome adds that workshop will be “a celebration of music that will sooth the soul.”

Newsome will perform this summer in the Lyric productions of Hay Fever and Driving Miss Daisy, while Foxworth performs in Sheer Madness.

The traditional celebration of the Juneteenth holiday by members of the Afro-American community began 14 months after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865 and nearly four years after President Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth commemorates the anniversary of the date when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in the last Confederate hold-out state of Texas in 1865 to announce that the Civil War was over and all remaining slaves must be freed.

The holiday was first celebrated by members of the Black community in Texas exactly one year later on June 19, 1866.

The Taggert Student Center is located at 650 North, 800 East on the USU campus.

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