Three colleges within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System will jointly honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. with a virtual presentation. The presentation will be performed by Dr. Kathy Bullock, an educator, scholar, speaker, singer, choral arranger and conductor who specializes in African American music and culture, including gospel, spirituals and classical works by composers from the African diaspora. The theme for the event is “The Urgency of Creating the Beloved Community.” The sponsoring colleges are Hazard, Southeast and Big Sandy Community and Technical Colleges.
Dr. Bullock is a Professor Emerita of Music from Berea College. She teaches, performs and conducts workshops and other programs on African American music throughout the United States, Europe and Africa. Bullock earned a Ph.D. and master’s degree in Music Theory from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and a bachelor’s degree in Music from Brandeis University, MA.
Bullock taught several courses including Music Theory, African-American Music, World Music and other courses in music and general studies at Berea College. She also directed Berea’s Black Music Ensemble, a choral ensemble that specializes in African American sacred music, developing a small student-run ensemble into an accredited and diverse course that averaged seventy students each semester. Additionally, she designed and led new international study courses in Ghana, Zimbabwe and Jamaica. In her role as administrator, she said she actively participated in the college’s governance structure throughout her tenure, serving as chair of the department and a member of primary governance committees.
Bullock received many acknowledgments for her contributions to Berea College. In particular, she said, she was awarded the highly coveted Seabury Award for teaching, and was later made an Honorary Alumni of the college. Although she has now retired from full-time teaching, Bullock recently joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky School of Music as an adjunct, teaching and providing master classes in African American music. Explorations of musical connections between African American culture and West African and Appalachian cultures, and workshops on spirituals and gospel music are included among Bullock’s presentations. Other subjects presented include “Issues of Race and Diversity in the Teaching and Performance of African American music,” the “Music of the Civil Rights Movement” and “African American Women and the Women’s Suffrage Movement.”
Bullock said she teaches and performs at schools, universities, churches and community organizations, providing programs and workshops for organizations such as the Kentucky Humanities Council, the Swananoaa Singing Camp in North Carolina and the Findhorn Foundation in Forres, Scotland. Recently, Bullock was the first artist at the John C. Campbell Folk School to teach a program on Appalachian and African American Musical Connections. Other research projects include an edition of art songs and spirituals by contemporary African-American composers.
In response to the 2020 pandemic, Bullock created a series of inspirational videos online, performing songs of faith and hope. In all of her work, Bullock said she shares infectious joy and inspires heartfelt connections as she celebrates the transcending power of love and spirit through music.
Also partnering in this event are the Appalachian Arts Alliance, Southeast Kentucky African American Museum and Cultural Center, Inc., Pathfinders of Perry County and local churches. During this event, the Southeast Kentucky African-American Museum and Cultural Center is joining with local organizations to present a video presentation celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The video presentation, “Community Voices Speak: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.,” will be shown during HCTC’s virtual program.
If anyone would like to take part in the video presentation, whether it be performing a reading, song, or sharing thoughts on the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr. on your life or generation, please contact Emily Hudson as soon as possible by Messenger or by calling, (606) 233-1828. For those wishing to hear Dr. Bullock on Jan. 18 at 10 a.m., via Microsoft Teams Meeting, call, (859) 286-5834. The conference ID is 615 298 053. The link is, https://bit.ly/3shm9fB.