Band directors at Spring Lake Park High School have pledged to include at least one piece by a female composer and one by a composer of color in each concert for each of the school’s bands, National Public Radio reported — and the sentiment also extends to spending decisions.
“We made a commitment this year to only buy music from composers of color,” Brian Lukkasson, one of the directors at the school outside St. Paul, Minnesota, told NPR.
Which he said has been a difficult task.
“It’s really hard to find music because there’s just not a lot of composers of color that are being published,” Lukkasson told the outlet.
Yolanda Williams, who teaches at the University of Minnesota, told NPR “in the United States there’s a very tight hold over who are the accepted composers” and said composers of color and women are shut out of the canon and often stereotyped.
Kia Muleta, a junior who is black, has been playing the clarinet since fifth grade and told NPR other students in band are usually white.
“I really, really want other students of color to be able to feel like they are welcomed and appreciated anywhere, that they don’t have to check themselves at the door,” Muleta told the outlet.
She added that the fact that the composers also are usually white affects how non-white students view their involvement in band.
“There’s a kind of an ideological segregation of who can and cannot be in band, based on who the composers are, and what the music is like,” Muleta told NPR.
(H/T: The Daily Wire)