New Episode of Digging Detroit! Inside Detroit’s Music Vault at the DPL


In Episode 3, Digging Detroit’s Thomas J. Reed, Jr. joins curator Romie Minor as they explore the fabulous treasures inside the Detroit Public Library’s E. Azalia Hackley Collection (link).

The collection and its corresponding concert started in 1943 by Detroit musicians and artists to honor the legacy of Ms. Hackley, a former Detroit Public School teacher who went on to international fame as an artist and instructor, particularly for shedding light upon the significant musical riches of the African American culture.

The 71st concert (info below) will be held Wednesday, February 11th at 7pm at the Detroit Public Library’s Main Branch, 5201 Woodward Avenue, Detroit.  Mr. Minor also conducts lectures throughout the year on topics touching upon the collection.

The 71st Annual E. Azalia Hackley Collection Concert

“An Evening Inspired by the Collection”

Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 7:00 p.m.

Clara Stanton Jones-Friends Auditorium


Main Library  | 5201 Woodward Avenue | Detroit, Michigan 48202

Performers Include…

Alvin Hill  

Alvin Hill is a technology-based artist whose work combines sound, still image, video, projection, movement, light, physical computing, interactivity, and DJ arts.   He studied classical violin and piano from the age of four, and then shifted his focus towards technology while completing his BA at Dartmouth College, where he studied electro-acoustic composition with Jon Appleton.  He earned his Masters in Media Arts from the University of Michigan.  He has performed at the Alvin Ailey Theater (NY), the Cranbrook Science Center (MI), the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (Washington D.C.). Hill has taught classes in multimedia performance at the University of Michigan and Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China. He returns to the DPL to present an audio-visual performance inspired by music and composers featured within the Hackley’s archives. His website is:

Masters of Harmony featuring Mr. Kelly Thomas

Masters of Harmony is a four-person a cappella gospel group from Detroit featuring the city’s oldest performing musician, Mr. Kelly Thomas.  Born in Alabama in 1913, Thomas migrated to Detroit in 1922 and began performing gospel music in 1926.  In addition to performing live and on radio, and recording in the studio for ten decades, Thomas is also a World War II veteran and retired auto-worker.   His group will perform selections from their regular set, which is deeply inspired by music and traditions that the Hackley helps preserve and commemorate.

Pamela Wise featuring Wendell Harrison

Pianist Pamela Wise began playing the piano at age five in Ohio, but has been a Michigan musician now since 1979.  Her repertoire ranges from gospel and jazz to Afro Cuban.   In addition to her work as a freelance musician, she also serves as Music Minister at her church, the Shrine of the Black Madonna Pan African Orthodox Christian Church of Detroit.  Wise’s husband and talented Michigan Jazz Master reed instrumentalist, Wendell Harrison, will join her on stage for a program inspired by the Hackley Collection. Their personal websites are: 

For more information, please call 313-481-1339.

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