Keith Dippre, professor of music at Methodist University, would say Yolanda Rabun has high energy. She is a busy woman. From her photo, Rabun is dynamic and soulful, her tipped black hat is pulled over her face and she’s giving off a sort of Alicia Keys vibe. Rabun, who hails from Raleigh, is a jazz and gospel singer and is the next artist in the Friends of Music Guest Artist Series at Methodist University. During most days, however, Rabun is running her own law firm.
Rabun is just one of a few strong, female artists coming to perform at Methodist through the Friends of Music Guest Artist Series. Her concert will take place on Feb. 10 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. As always, this concert, as well as others through the Friends of Music Guest Artist Series, will be free.
“We want to serve the community that way and bring in quality guests,” Dippre says. “To have access in our community, we need to offer things that are free from time to time and educational. So that people, families and not just adults, but kids from every background can come and see music performed at a high level and see what it means to be at a high concert.”
This year, and in the future, Dippre and the members of the board are hoping to reinvent what the series was before COVID. Like a lot of programs and businesses, they are rebuilding.
“But strong and better,” he says. And this year, the focus has been on bringing female artists into the spotlight. According to Dippre, they have done quite a bit of that this year.
They will also host performer Liz Broscoe, a dummer from Lake Tahoe. Broscoe is known for leading drum circles and “connecting through rhythm.” Typically the board will bring in more local artists. Dippre did not give mention as to why Broscoe was selected to come but admitted that it was unusual to have someone come from so far away. The board does aim for a variety of performers.
“We are trying to find a cross section of different artists. We are trying to find artists of all different backgrounds. We don’t want just one style of music,” he said. “We want to reach many different sectors of the population.”
Part of the outreach for the Friends of Music Guest Artists Series is bringing the performers into the community and into schools before the event. Rabun, for example, will be visiting The Capitol Encore Academy before her concert.
“We escort them to a local school so they can talk to and do a demonstration in front of young people.”
Dippre and others are hoping that the unrestricted access to seeing concerts and performers will help stoke the love of music, and particularly live music, in the community.
“People are less inclined to see live music. Everything is at home. Everything is on your phone. We are getting more and more like that,” he says. “The experience of seeing a live concert is something a lot of people miss out on.”
The Friends of Music Guest Artist Series does this through using local grants and donations from the community.
Rabun will perform Feb. 10 from 7:30 to 9:30 and Liz Broscoe’s concert will be on March 24 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Matthews Chapel. Admission is free.
Visit www.methodist.edu/about-mu/arts/friends-of-music/ for more information.