The Vermillion Rotary Club held its regular weekly luncheon meeting at the Freedom Forum on the USD campus on Tuesday. President Roger Kozak presided and opening prayer was led by Rev. Robert Grossman. Our song selections were It's a Grand Old Flag and Home on the Range led by Joe Edelen with Larry Schou doing the piano accompaniment.
During sergeant-at-arms Al Praveck's "tell to tell it" session, several Rotarians mentioned summer travel, one as far away as Ireland, where a "heat wave" had taken temperatures into the high 70s.
Our program this week was given by associate professor of musicology at USD, Dr. David Moskowitz. Dr Moskowitz combines a unique background with a unique place in world music studies today. He was born in Yugoslavia, from where he was adopted into an American family near Pittsburgh, PA. He received his undergraduate and master's degree at Ohio University, and a doctorate in musicology from the University of Kansas. He presently serves as an associate professor of musicology at USD, but has also made a solid mark in the musicology publishing field.
With a bachelor's degree in violin performance, and an expressed love for the music of Mozart, one might expect another professional devotee of long-haired 17th and 18th century compositions. Nevertheless, Dr. Moskowitz's scholarly interest is not there, but in popular music of the Caribbean islands, and especially of Jamaica.
Dr. Moskowitz's other favorite composer is the great Reggae musician Bob Marley, reigning monarch of the Kingston, Jamaica, Calypso scene during his short career that ended with an untimely death at the age of 36.
Moskowitz was able to study at Marley's former home, now a museum, in Kingston, in preparation for his doctoral thesis, and he has now become a world-class expert on the subject of Calypso. In November 2005, he published a 195,000 world encyclopedia of Calypso titled Caribbean Popular Music: An Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady and Dancehall.
He is presently writing a biography of Marley, written on the basis of Marley's best music, in order to complement other, more standard biographies. He has also co-authored with Anita Herzfeld The Limonese Calypso as an Identity Marker a chapter about the unique music of the Gulf Coast of Costa Rica.
We thank David Moskowitz for sharing his musical insights with us on a rare and exciting subject.
Our meeting closed as usual with the singing of the first stanza of My Country ?Tis of Thee.