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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Fortunato

May 30, 2020 – Virtual Seminar – “Thriving in Crisis: The Chick Webb Orchestra and

Save the date!

On Saturday, May 30th the Frankie Manning Foundation is proud to host special guest Christi Jay Wells Ph.D who will be hosting a special virtual seminar:

Thriving in Crisis: The Chick Webb Orchestra and the Great Depression

This will be a fascinating and engaging virtual seminar for Lindy hoppers, musicians, and jazz enthusiasts, and will lend an interesting perspective on the hard times we are all going through right now as a result of Covid-19.

  1. Saturday, May 30, 2020

  2. 12pm EDT

  3. Released simultaneously on Facebook Live & YouTube

  4. Seminar will be followed by a separate Facebook Live Q&A with Christi Jay Wells

⭐For ESL, you can follow along with the script here.

⭐The full dissertation can be found here.

For those of you in conflicting timezones, the seminar will continue to be available online after it has gone live.

Example Timezones:

About our guest speaker, Christi Jay Wells Ph.D.

Christopher J. “Christi Jay” Wells is assistant professor of musicology at Arizona State University’s School of Music and affiliate faculty with ASU’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. They received their doctorate in 2014 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where their dissertation on drummer/bandleader Chick Webb and swing music in Harlem during the Great Depression received the Society for American Music’s Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award and UNC’s Glen Haydon Award for an Outstanding Dissertation in Musicology. They have also received Videmus’s Edgar A. Toppin Award for Outstanding Research in African American Music, a Morroe Berger/Benny Carter Jazz Research Fellowship from the Institute of Jazz Studies, and the Irving Lowens Article Award from the Society for American Music. A social jazz and blues dancer for over a decade, Wells regularly places highly in blues dance competitions and is a frequent lecturer and clinician at national and international events, having recently taught blues and jazz dance classes and lectured on dance history in Seoul, South Korea and Hong Kong. Professor Wells is currently writing a book about the history of jazz music’s ever-shifting relationship with popular dance (under contract with Oxford University Press) and has published articles in the journals Women & Music, Jazz & Culture, Journal of the Society for American Music, and Daedalus as well as providing multiple chapters on jazz dance history topics for volumes in the Oxford Handbook series.


We are so lucky to have Christi Jay Wells speak on this subject. Their PhD dissertation Chick Webb won a major award: The Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award from the Society for American Music. We’re really looking forward to this!


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