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Arts & Life

Max Schulte / WXXI News

You could hear the bells, bouncing off the brick buildings and the frozen Genesee River. Students from the University of Rochester Carillon Society rang them from high atop the University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees Library. Twelve rings a minute, 500 in total, to honor the half-million Americans who died of COVID-19 so far.

Sophomores Valerie Battista and Kayla Gunderson and senior Claire Janezic played them. 

During a lesson on the civil rights movement and Rosa Parks, a young Latino boy asks, "Where did we sit on the bus?" His teacher couldn't answer the question. That boy is now an adult, and he's performing a one-man show about his experience as a first generation American. Brian Quijada's performance, available through Geva Theatre, is a remarkable and entertaining blend of music, dance, storytelling and truth.

We preview his performance and talk about growing up in two cultures. Our guest:

University of Rochester

Ibram X. Kendi, best-selling author and anti-racist activist, addressed recent pain and anger in Rochester over the Daniel Prude investigation during a talk on Wednesday night.

The author of "How to Be an Antiracist" gave a virtual talk as part of the University of Rochester’s 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address.

Kendi commented on this week’s announcement that a grand jury will not indict the Rochester police officers involved in the incident last year where Daniel Prude suffocated and later died.

The Cinema Theater in Rochester announced Thursday that it is closing its doors...at least for now. Movie theaters across the country are navigating restrictions, including films being streamed on digital platforms, rather than screened in brick-and-mortar spaces. What does it mean for the future of movie theaters?

Our guests discuss it:

Max Schulte / WXXI News

When Aurelien Bouche Pillon stands on the shore at Sea Breeze Pier, he is constantly scanning the water.

Pillon is checking to see if the conditions are right for surfing. Even in the dead of winter, he can sometimes be spotted just off shore, surfing Lake Ontario.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has a new music director. Andreas Delfs is a native of Germany and has held chief artistic posts with orchestras in Europe and North America. He has been a frequent guest conductor of the RPO.

Delfs joins us this hour to discuss his work, his priorities for the RPO, and the orchestra’s 2021 season – one of its most diverse. Our guests: 

  • Andreas Delfs, music director for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Jeff Tyzik, principal pops conductor for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Juliana Athayde, concertmaster for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

Max Schulte / WXXI News

If you're in Cobbs Hill on a snowy day, you might just see an unfamiliar sight. Two dogs pulling Pippa Kohn through the streets, or through the park, on her kicksled.

Provided

Right now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, with no end in sight, Alan Murphy imagines the plight of songwriters as a familiar philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

“I imagine, especially now, everybody wonders, ‘What am I doing?’” Murphy says. “Not, ‘What’s the value of it?’”

The falling tree, and the songwriters, are making vibrations in the air. It’s your ear that converts those vibrations into sound. And if there’s no one on the receiving end, did the sound even exist…?

The seventh season of PBS' "Finding Your Roots" with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. offers another series of compelling stories about well-known people tracing their family ancestries. The episode that airs tonight features music artist Pharrell Williams, who learns some painful truths about his ancestors. Like many African Americans, Williams was unable to find much information about his genealogy due to a dearth of records before emancipation.

This hour, we talk with the lead genealogist from "Finding Your Roots" about the new season, about the challenges African Americans face in tracing their ancestries, about resources available in the process, and we hear from two women who found their roots. Our guests:

  • Nick Sheedy, lead genealogist for “Finding Your Roots,” season seven 
  • Cheryl Wills, award-winning journalist, anchor for Spectrum News NY1, and author of “Emma,” “The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills,” “Emancipated: My Family’s Fight for Freedom,” and “Die Free – A Heroic Family Tale” 
  • Teej Jenkins, host of WXXI’s “Arts in Focus,” and producer for WXXI-TV 

For more information about "Finding Your Roots" and resources to help trace your ancestry, click here.

What kind of effort do school districts make to teach Black history? The West Irondequoit School District is moving beyond the usual, often narrow approach. As part of a new video series through the Our Voices Project, students are educating their peers and the public about lesser-known Black historical figures.

Do you know about the lives and legacies of Jeremiah Hamilton, Bass Reeves, Afeni Shakur, and Maria Stewart? You will with our guests: 

  • Jackie McGriff, director and producer for the Our Voices Project
  • Courtney Shouse, parent, and member of the Education Task Force for Eliminating Racism and Seeking Equity (E.R.A.S.E.) 
  • Tyleea K. Payne-Harley, member of the Irondequoit High School Mosaic Club, who portrays Maria Stewart in the Our Voices Project
  • Selena G. Eyob, member of the Irondequoit High School Mosaic Club, who portrays Afeni Shakur in the Our Voices Project
  • Justin R. Connor, member of the Irondequoit High School Mosaic Club, who portrays Bass Reeves in the Our Voices Project

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