At the Grand Holiday Opening of the Northeastern Crossing, I had the honor of meeting and listening to Castle of our Skins, a fantastic group of young musicians. The mission of this group is “Celebrating Black Artistry through Music,” which they do by performing classical compositions by black composers.
I knew very little of black composers--except for Scott Joplin--until my education on the history of black composers by Castle of Our Skins. The founders, Ashleigh Gordon and Anthony Green, conducted research at the Center for Black Music Research in Chicago where they compiled music and the history of the composers.Through this research they founded Castle of Our Skins and created programs around it for children and elders. In creating these programs, they have brought together an amazing group of talented musical artists including Breana Bauman-violin, Olga Petramanskaya-Bell-violin, Javier Caballero-cello, and Shaw pong-Liu-violin. The performance itself was a teachable moment for me. I learned that there were actually black composers. This is important because it is a part of our history and culture that I knew nothing about. We are part of the classical genre of music. Young people who are interested in music might be able to see these composers as role models and be encouraged to pursue composition in their own lives. I was compelled to do my own research on more black classical composers, and I hope that you will too! Catch Castle of our Skins at their next “Edu-tainment” performance at 2:30 pm on October 29 at the Roxbury YMCA, and be inspired.