Interfaith Lunch: Healing Spirits through Music

by Office of Community and Belonging

Gatherings & Meetings

Wed, Nov 11, 2020

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM EST (GMT-5)

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A very special IFL during these tumultuous times, with Latrina Denson and Dr. Ruth Bass Green! Hear sacred songs and Negro spirituals that inspired and motivated the enslaved people and later the Civil Rights activists who worked for social justice and freedom for all. Dr. Ruth's teachings and travel abroad, in Europe and Africa fueled her determination to cultivate a deeper passion for the transformative personal and social power of the arts. She is unerring in her devotion to the idea that "music is a healing, cross-cultural gift and bridge" that can grow connections at profound levels of heart, mind, and spirit. Through music, you will learn about songs and the "spoken-words" that will motivate you to embrace diversity and inclusion in your community.


Latrina Denson's profile photo

Latrina Denson

Latrina L. Denson, Associate Dean of Students, Community and Belonging, is the daughter of parents who served as ministers of music in various Southern Baptist Churches and spent most of her life studying both classic and gospel music. She was the Sunday School musician in middle school and high school. An aspiring classical pianist and contemporary soul vocal artist as a child, Latrina minored in vocal performance and piano at the University of Louisiana In Monroe.

Latrina feels that music was and still is her guide to spirituality and the connection to the higher power; it's the universal language which transcends all differences while telling the stories of those who are often unheard. 

Ruth Bass Green's profile photo

Ruth Bass Green

Dr. Ruth Bass Green, an active educator, teacher of piano and voice and church musician, is the founder of the Hazelle Catherine Bass Music Institute, and the director of the “Women Of Excellence” Choir at St. John’s Congregational Church, Springfield, MA.

Dr. Bass Green started her teaching career as a preschool teacher for Project Head Start in 1965 at the Pasadena Community Action Head Start Program, Pasadena, California. Her supervisor’s attention was drawn to the curriculum that Ruth designed using the arts as a teaching tool to assist the preschoolers gain pre-reading skills via songs, rhymes, story- telling, dance and creative movement. Thus, she was invited to Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, CA to teach her technique to other Head Start Teachers in the southern region of California. Ruth had earned a BA in Music Education at California State University, Los Angeles, CA, yet, it was the experience working with adults at Pacific Oaks that motivated and inspired her to attend graduate school and receive a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education and a doctorate in Teacher Training at the University of Massachusetts, School of Education Program, Amherst MA. (1981). Her background and experience in Early Childhood Education gave her the opportunity to serve as Director of two Head Start Programs: one in Hartford, CT and the other in Springfield, MA respectively.

In 1993, Ruth served as Dean of Sophomore Studies and Multicultural Affairs and Lecturer in the Psychology and Education Department at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. She taught courses in Multicultural Education to prospective student teachers enrolled in the certification program.

Since her retirement from Mount Holyoke in 2006, Ruth devotes her time and energy at the Hazelle Catherine Bass Music Institute as the primary teacher of piano and voice to students ranging in age from preschool, middle school, college and senior members of her community in Amherst, MA. All students are presented in recital annually to share their accomplishments and musical talents with family and friends.

Ruth has given concerts in South Africa, Kenya, and Senegal. In her first CD, Dr. Bass Green’s compassionate, melodic piano arrangements of select spirituals and sacred songs can be heard and will soon be released and available for all to enjoy. 

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Office of Community and Belonging | Website | View More Events
Co-hosted with: Community and Inclusion

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