Semenya McCord


McCord earned her B.A. in Music Education at Knox College and her M.M. in Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University. She spent over twenty years in New England working with Young Audiences of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the New England Foundation for the Arts, providing school programs and residencies for all ages. Her work includes tributes to Martin L. King, Jr., Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Diversity in the Arts, as well as histories of jazz, gospel, and rap. She has received awards from the City of Boston and, along with renown cellist Yo-Yo Ma, received the 1997 “Artist” Commonwealth Award from the Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences & Humanities. She is an active member of IAJE and MENC.

Artistic Statement: 

I am excited about the bridges that I've seen music build across cultures and generations when experienced in a sharing and caring manner. From my Midwest upbringing and beyond, I have been surround by a diverse range of music, from the folk songs of summer camps, the classical arrangements of school choirs, and the spontaneity of blues and gospel songs to my own classical training in college and the freedom of improvisation I find in my current jazz endeavors. These musics provide memorable, creative activities that enhance student and adult communities, and I love facilitating these experiences. Strongly based in the music of the African American experience, I explore ways to understand and celebrate our total American history.

Residency Type: 
Individual Artist

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