Blues, rap, folk songs, chants and more: Music of Social Change arrives Nov. 20 at Manchester

Two spell-binding performers of "The Music of Social Change" will bring their lessons to the Manchester University stage on Wednesday, Nov. 20. The public is invited to the free program at 7 p.m. in Cordier Auditorium.

The Rev. Robert Jones Sr. and Matt Watroba – collaborators for more than 20 years – will take the audience on an inspirational 90-minute journey of America’s inspiring music. They are the whole package: singers, musicians, storytellers and teachers.

The pair will begin with 1840s spirituals and progress through songs of the Underground Railroad, the Industrial Revolution and early blues, this musical journey travels through jazz, bluegrass, work songs, chants, gospel, R&B, rap and hip-hop.

This performance and a score of others are part of a faculty-led initiative at Manchester that emphasizes Values, Ideas and the Arts (VIA). The community is welcome to share in the experiences.

For more than 30 years Rev. Jones has championed American roots music and stories with the message that our music can teach us a great deal about where we've been, who we are and where we are going. Learn more about Rev. Jones at

Watroba is on a first-name basis with most of the major folk musicians on the North American continent. His songs of compassion, inner strength, humor and everyday living take his listeners on memorable journeys. Learn more about Watroba at

While in town, the musicians also will take their program to Manchester Jr./Sr. High School and Manchester Intermediate School. And, they will meet with an MU class in American History and perhaps jam with MU student and faculty musicians. Rev. Jones also will speak and perform in Petersime Chapel at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21. The public is invited to join that special campus worship.

The visit has several Manchester University sponsors, including the Peace Studies Institute, Religious Life, the Department of History and Political Science and VIA.

November 2013

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