Dr. Charles E. Sykes has extensive experience as a music teacher, conductor, performer, and arts administrator. He is Executive Director of the Office of Multicultural Initiatives, Adjunct Professor in IU’s Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology and the Department of African American & African Diaspora Studies, and a research associate with the Archives of African American Music & Culture. An established authority on the Detroit era of Motown Record Corporation, he has developed a course on the subject.
Dr. Cooper is a two-time Emmy award nominee and holds a BA degree in music education from Bethune-Cookman University (BCU) as well as a MA in jazz studies and Ph.D in ethnomusicology both from Indiana University (IU). Along with his academic studies, Cooper’s expertise in arts and culture stems from decades of his participation during recordings and live performances as music director, guitarist, vocalist, composer and arranger for various national artists such as A Taste of Honey, Marietta Simpson, Angela Brown, Donnie McClurkin, Dionne Warwick, The Soulful Symphony, Walt Whittman and The Soul Children of Chicago, Kathy Taylor and Dorothy Norwood among others. He has transmitted his knowledge to diverse student bodies where he served on the music faculties of BCU, IU and Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI). He not only shares his expertise within academe, but also has become a sought after industry insider. This is evident in the fact that in 2012 Cooper was nominated for two Emmy awards for his work as talent and composer for the PBS documentaries, "Open Door: China In Indiana" and "Musical Threads: Expressions of a People." Dr. Cooper is also co-owner of Art Salad Productions, a company that develops and provides support for multicultural arts education within various community and academic settings.
Iris Rosa is a Professor at Indiana University, Bloomington in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, and the Director of the Indiana University African American Dance Company. Her specializations are teaching and choreography from the perspective of the African American and African Diaspora. Ms. Rosa has worked, studied and taught with the Ghana Dance Ensemble, from Ghana and Afric Azolou from the Ivory Coast, and studied dance in Puerto Rico and in Havana, Matanzas and Guantanamo, Cuba. She has been a choreographer for musicals at the Phoenix Theatre, Civic Theatre, American Cabaret Theatre and Theatre on the Square. She has also worked on international and community projects at the historical Madame Walker Theatre Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ms. Rosa is also the director of Sancocho: Music and Dance College, a performing ensemble which focuses research on African derived music and dance from the Caribbean and Latin America and Seda Negra/Black Silk Dance Company. Courses include, African American Dance Company, Dance in the African Diaspora, Black Dance History.
As a singer, pianist, composer, director, conductor, lecturer, and teacher, Dr. Wise regularly serves for orchestras, opera companies, and choral festivals throughout the nation and abroad. He went on to Denison University (Granville, Ohio) where he earned a B.F.A. in Music. He did additional studies in Opera, Art, and German at the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, Austria, and in African-American History, Music, and Dance at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California. He completed an apprenticeship in the business and recording of Gospel Music with the Walter Hawkins Corporation in Oakland, California. Dr. Wise earned a Masters in Music Education, Ohio Teacher's Certification and Doctorate in Music Education from The Ohio State University.
Rev. Wise has served as a church musician for more than 30 years and has appeared on radio and television, recorded 22 albums, performed with opera singers, orchestras, dance companies, professional recording groups, and has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, as a singer, dancer, pianist, composer, choral director, lecturer, and teacher. Dr. Wise has penned more than 600 compositions many of which are available through the Raymond Wise Gospel and Choral sheet music series. His Anthology of 21 Spirituals for the 21st Century has received national and international acclaim.
Joii studied here at Indiana University where she received her BA and MA degrees in African American Studies with a music concentration and Arts Administration, respectively. She brings a background in African American music and culture to her position. Her journey through the Institute began as a student in the Choral Ensemble. Later as a graduate assistant, she was Booking Agent for all three ensembles. In addition to her post as Performance Manger for the African American Arts Institute, Joii currently serves as Director of Performance Development for Art Salad Productions. The conglomerate of her experiences has allowed her to become an expert in event booking and planning, drafting contractual agreements, marketing, tour design and artist development and management. Joii’s skills have supported numerous events featuring James Brown, The Temptations, and Con Funk Shun among others.
Photo credit: Natasha Komoda