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Ethnically diverse music to visit Chapel

Jan. 23, 2004

By Jessica Barton, reporter

Imani Winds, an award-winning wind quintet known for their ethnically diverse musical interpretation of traditional chamber music, will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Roxy Grove Hall as a part of the Baylor School of Music's Distinguished Artist Series.

Formed in 1997, the band, whose name means 'faith' in Swahili, won the Concert Artists Guild Competition in 1999. Its members currently serve as artists-in-residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York.

'They look and sound like they have a different, unique style of music instead of just playing the traditional stuff,' Zandra Pe÷a, a Brownsville sophomore, said.

Consisting of flutist Valerie Coleman, oboist Toyin Spellman, bassoonist Monica Ellis, French horn player Jeff Scott and clarinet player Mariam Adam, Imani Winds' is a contemporary band whose mission is 'bridging the European and African musical traditions, exploring repertoire from diverse cultural backgrounds, and reflecting upon their rich experience as classical musicians of color,' according to the group's Web site.

Members of the quintet are involved in various music educational programs including Imani Winds' founder Coleman's work as a faculty member of the Juilliard School of Music Advancement Program and The Interschool Orchestras of New York.

Scott was recently appointed to the horn faculty at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and Adam serves on the faculty of the Harlem School of the Arts and the CMEA Uptown Music School.

Ellis is also on the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music Advancement Program, and Spellman is a founding member of Divercity, a group that tells stories while using instruments and music as an integral part of the story-telling process.

Imani Winds is the Concert Artists Guild's first Educational Residency Ensemble. The group is playing at Baylor as one of its appearances on college campuses, which will include performances at Georgia Tech and Purdue University.

'Often, we remember how when we were in school, how it really helped us when we saw ensembles come in that were young or youngish, positive and had good things to say about the music world so it was really helpful to us as college students,' Spellman said. 'So it's really nice to return the favor and come back.'