Orangeburg Musicians’ Integrative Community (Music) Project

Today officially begins phase 1 of a project that I conceived this spring: the Orangeburg Musicians’ Integrative Community (Music) Project has received generous funding from the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research at Claflin University. By attracting new resources to Claflin University, documenting living musical traditions in Orangeburg County, and using this data to create new platforms for collaboration, the Orangeburg MusIC Project will foster community interaction and measurably enhance the unique characteristics of our shared Orangeburg Community.

In this first phase, I’ll be working with student co-investigator Akilah Morgan on a survey of musicians in Orangeburg County. It will take both paper and electronic forms. We will have a link up for the electronic version by the end of this week.

I chose the ambitious scope of the county (rather than the city) for a variety of reasons. First, a huge part of the African-American community lives quite close to the two HBCUs in Orangeburg neighborhoods that nevertheless lie outside the city limits. The politics of this reality are complex, but the active inclusion of near neighbors need not be. Second, because it will contain a non-random sampling of musicians within this population, this survey will still need a relatively small number of respondents in order to facilitate subsequent research.

We hope to collect 200 responses within these first six weeks. We will continue using the same survey tool after that time period. However, these initial responses will articulate some of the contours of musical communities within Orangeburg County.