African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina Makes Stop at University of Mount Olive

MOUNT OLIVE – Inclement weather canceled the first event back in February, but the University of Mount Olive is excited to announce that The African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina, a living history project spearheaded by the NC Arts Council, has been rescheduled for Monday, March 24, 2014.  The event will start with a lecture and end with a FREE Concert by Bill Myers and the Monitors.

The NC Arts Council says, “These musicians reflect their home communities, and their sounds transcend time and place.  They are an integral part of our state’s heritage.”

At 11:00 AM in Southern Bank Auditorium on the University campus, Michelle Lanier will use her background as an oral historian and folklorist to describe the way the Music Trail project began and continues to evolve.  Lanier is the director of the NC African American Heritage Commission and senior program director of Traditions and Heritage at the North Carolina Arts Council.

Jazz, choral, and gospel musicians from on and off campus will perform throughout the afternoon culminating in a special concert by nationally acclaimed saxophonist Bill Myers and his band the Monitors at 7:30 PM at Mount Olive Assembly Hall, located at 207 Wooten Street in Mount Olive.  The concert will follow the Music Trail in song, from church music to Broadway tunes, with commentary by Myers.  Myers is a powerful interpreter of African American music traditions in his community and the state.  He represented North Carolina at the 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.  In May of this year Myers will be awarded the prestigious North Carolina Heritage Award.   As the co-founder and longtime leader of The Monitors, launched in the late 1950s, Myers combines vernacular musical styles of eastern North Carolina into a tightly-wound, supremely danceable sound that defies simple categorization into jazz or rhythm and blues.  The Concert is FREE and the public is invited to attend.

“Cultural awareness, living history, compelling speakers, and great music will highlight our celebration at the University of Mount Olive,” says Mary Kerstetter, coordinator of the event.  “We hope that our campus academic community, local schools, and Wayne and surrounding County residents will take advantage of our African American Music Celebration day of events.”

All of the events are free and are supported in part by a Grassroots Grant from the Arts Council of Wayne County.  For more information on the event, contact Mary Kerstetter at or call 919- 920-3955.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College. For more information, visit