Symposium: Get your funk on today through Friday at UD

Funk enthusiasts can dance and learn more about Dayton’s ties to the musical genre starting today through Friday at the University of Dayton Funk Symposium.

Events scheduled this week are free and open to the public, starting at 2:30 p.m. today as David Webb, Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center president and chief executive, takes the stage with Keith Harrison and Clarence "Chet" Willis of the Ohio Players at Sears Recital Hall.

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"Young people need to know about funk music that's important," Webb said in a prepared statement. "That's why we are partnering with the University of Dayton, the Graul Chair and the department of music. This combination is a great fit for the Dayton community. It's all about educating our public's knowledge of the history of funk music."

Scot Brown, associate professor of African-American studies and history at the University of California, Los Angeles, will deliver the keynote address at 7 p.m. tonight in the Jesse Philips Humanities Center's Sears Recital Hall.

Credit: Contributed by the University of Dayton

Credit: Contributed by the University of Dayton

"The working class is the engine of a lot of creativity," Brown said in a prepared statement. “At that time, working-class folks could come right out of high school and go into job situations where one income, from one person working at a company, could support an entire family. The proportion that people would spend on housing was more reasonable compared to what they made. All these factors were a big part of that context for funk music to really thrive through the 1970s."

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The event includes guided tours of the newly opened Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center and the "Land of Funk" murals in downtown Dayton.

Other highlights include performances by Scotland musician Jesse Rae and speakers Dayton visual artists Willis "Bing" Davis and Morris Howard, as well as faculty from Duke University, University of Michigan, Tulane University, University of Kansas, the California College of the Arts, among other institutions, according to the university.

A Funk Dance Party is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Kennedy Union ballroom. Tickets are required as space is limited.

For more information, visit the symposium website here.

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