Spelman College Jazz Program: Gone but Not Forgotten

Spelman College Had a Jazz Program?

Indeed, from 1983-2017, Spelman College had one of the country’s few jazz programs at an all-women’s college. As a track inside the music major, the jazz program offered courses like improvisation, and jazz composition and arrangement. There even was a Jazz Ensemble. Saxophonist Tia Fuller (pictured above) is an alumna of the program.


I believe that the Spelman College Music Program would greatly benefit from the revival of this program, maybe not on an institutional level, due to limited enrollment, but on an level that involves the Atlanta University Center institutions.

The Current State of the Spelman Music Program

As a cello-playing music minor, I find that the music department is very voice-oriented. Most of the faculty are singers, who teach the students who are (for the most part) all singers.


The Glee Club remains the most popular music ensemble, but there are two others: the AUC Orchestra, and Noir, the contemporary music ensemble.


I feel like there is less support for students who play instruments versus singers. It is a somewhat isolating experience when all the singers in your music seminar know each other, yet you’ve never had the chance to interact with them outside of music seminar.


While we have the AUC Orchestra, and I treasure the relationships I’ve created through it, most of the students in the AUCSO are not music students.

How the AUC Would Benefit

Having a large consortium-wide ensemble would mean that those who play in the marching band, orchestra, or sing could join. It would be a great way to enforce AUC unity.


Pellegrinelli, Lara. “Spelman College Quietly Eliminates One Of The Country’s Few Jazz Programs For Women.” NPR, NPR, 15 May 2018, www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2018/05/15/611280239/spelman-college-quietly-eliminates-one-of-the-countrys-few-jazz-programs-for-wom.


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