Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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In the work of preservation the Calhoun School has done some notable work. Its edition of these songs is a distinct credit to itself. The singing of this music at this school, in spirit at least, could not be surpassed.
Tuskegee Institute has lately begun to collect and publish these songs, showing marked progress in development. Mrs. Jennie C. Lee has done a good work in this line. Her choruses interpret and render this music with splendid effect and she herself understands it as very few people do. A most interesting work was done by N. Clark Smith, in stamping this music with some distinctive features. Tuskegee has probably the broadest opportunity of any of the schools for this work. It is in a locality wealthy in folk songs and its fif�teen hundred students are a fruitful source as well as a fine force for the production of them.
Atlanta University and Talladega College have both contributed to the work of preservation through their attitude and through their different musical organizations.
One of the most interesting points in this matter is that schools all over the country are beginning serious study of this music. Public schools, especially in the South, are beginning to use it; all of which means that the folk song of the American Negro is rising to new life.
Musical organizations that have helped to preserve this music, in one way or another, are numerous, some worthy, some not. Many organizations caught by greed for "easy money" have toured this country, aping and badly imitating the companies who, in the right spirit and from the best motives, have sung these songs. These spur�ious "Jubilee Singers" have done the world no good; in fact, they have so maltreated and lowered the folk music that it will require much time and effort to raise it again to the respect due it. They have prostituted it to base desire for lucre. Happily, however, some companies separate and apart from any institution, have maintained a high standard in singing this music. The most prominent of those now before the public is the company of "William Singers." It is composed of four male and four female voices, well balanced and well trained. These singers have a high ideal and are a positive force for good.
Among the individuals who are or have been angencies of preser�vation may be named, George L. White and Professor A. K. Spence,