The Spring 2014 Think Tank collaborated with internationally acclaimed, female African-American a cappella Grammy Award winning ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock (SHIR). The ensemble celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2014 and has produced over 20 CDs, 12 compilation CDs, 2 DVDs, a PBS American Masters special, numerous videos and a songbook. SHIR mission is to educate, entertain and empower. They preserve the traditions of African American vocal music and address critical issues of democracy, freedom, racism, and economic and social justice. To make their performances accessible to all, they perform with a sign language interpreter in the ensemble. They have performed both internationally and nationally and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Arsenio Hall Show. They have performed with folk legendries such as Pete Seeger, and performed Live! Jazz at Lincoln Center and Live at Carnegie Hall. Students will work with members of the ensemble in analyzing critical issues, following performance engagements, and evaluating current practices.
- December 2013 – students selected to join the Think Tank attend the Dec. 5th performance in Columbus at the Capital Theatre.
- January 2014 – students meet with members of the ensemble to determine deliverables. Issues the Think Tank will work to resolve. Historical information will be shared and researched.
- February 2014 – students will travel to California to attend the premiere of 40 and Fierce and interview ensemble members to better understand issues facing the group. Students will begin to develop a case study with recommendations for resolving identified issues.
- March 2014 – students will develop recommendations for the ensemble based on identified issues. Students will present process of working with the ensemble at the Arts and Business Research Symposium March 12-14 at University of Wisconsin Madison Boltz Center for Arts Administration – The Arts Business Initiative.
- April 2014 – student will present recommendations to ensemble members and present at the 7th annual OSU/IU Joint Student Conference in Folklore and Ethnomusicology April 4-5 at The Ohio State University.