Clinical Center News
May / June 2024

Healing through Music

HU's Music Department showcase a special performance to celebrate Black History Month at the CC

HU's Music Department Performing in the Atrium

To celebrate Black History Month, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Advisory Committee (DEIAAC) and the Office of Communications & Media Relations' Music in the Atrium series joined forces to present a special performance featuring the vibrant music of Howard University's (HU) Music Department.

The Feb. 27 event marked the first time a historically black college or university (HBCU) performed at the CC and featured student ensembles SAASy, the HU Jazz Singers and critically acclaimed Afro Blue, as well as classical voice soloists. The groups were backed by Kit Young and Samuel Prather on piano, Herman Burney Jr. on bass and Kelton Norris on drums.

Entitled "A Journey Through Song of the Underground Railroad," the moving, hour-long performance included classics such as "My God is So High," "Wade in the Water" and "Deep River" alongside two original compositions from Afro Blue, "The Trauma Express" and "Henry Box Brown," among other highlights.

The concert, hosted by HU alumnus and Clinical Center Acting Executive Officer, Ila Flannigan, drew a large audience, including Capt. Toni Jones, Clinical Center Patient Representative. She described the performances as "soul stirring, uplifting, and an unforgettable celebration of struggle, triumph and commitment to freedom for all people."

"Hearing and seeing these young people tell these stories in traditional and contemporary reimagined ways laced with respect was particularly special," she said, "because it emphasizes the importance of passing down our history in a way our children can understand, honor and keep it alive to ensure it isn't lost or passed off as irrelevant."

Following the concert, HU Assistant Music Director Tyree Austin reflected on the event. "To see the students sing songs of and inspired by our ancestors is always such a powerful experience," he said. "It directly connects and reminds us of where we have come as a people and what more we still have to do to bring change in this world."

- Janice Duran

You are now leaving the NIH Clinical Center website.

This external link is provided for your convenience to offer additional information. The NIH Clinical Center is not responsible for the availability, content or accuracy of this external site.

The NIH Clinical Center does not endorse, authorize or guarantee the sponsors, information, products or services described or offered at this external site. You will be subject to the destination site’s privacy policy if you follow this link.

More information about the NIH Clinical Center Privacy and Disclaimer policy is available at