Sousa Archives Celebrates Black History Month with Renée Baker and the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project Ensemble


The University Library’s Sousa Archives and Center for American Music will explore America’s evolving artistic dialogues of race and identity for this month’s Black History Month. The three days of special programming kicks off on February 24, 2019, with a special premier performance of Composer Renée Bakers’ new film score composed for the newly discovered 1930 silent movie, Borderline.

Borderline, Kenneth Macpherson’s visually-compelling movie about interracial and LGBT relationships during the 1920s, stars Paul and Eslanda Robeson. The film’s showing will be accompanied by a live performance of Renée Bakers’ thirty-member Chicago Modern Orchestra Project ensemble. Following the showing of the film there will be a discussion with Renée Baker and the audience about her work on the movie and her continuing interest in reviving historical silent movies with her new film scores.

In addition to the Borderline screening, there are two historic silent movie showings on February 24 and 25, lectures by Renée Baker on her work as a composer and conductor for the University’s cinema studies and music students on February 25 and 26, and children’s educational programming for Urbana’s King Elementary School students on February 26.

For more information about these educational and public engagement programs, please contact the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at (217) 333-4577 or Or, visit

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