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ASU Gospel Choir director Jason Thompson to give TEDxASU talk

The School of Music assistant professor will explore gospel music in his March talk

Jason Thompson, assistant professor in the School of Music, has been selected to speak at TEDxASU: Boundless in March.

Jason Thompson, photo by Tim Trumble

Thompson, who leads the ASU Gospel Choir in the School of Music, part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, will explore gospel music in his talk.

“The theme of this year’s TEDxASU event is ‘boundless,’ and I’m of the belief that you can’t fully understand what boundless means without first thinking about its associated boundaries,” Thompson said. “My work in the resurgence of the ASU Gospel Choir is an excellent example of the relationship between being bound and being boundless. To that end, my TEDx talk will focus on boundaries, particularly the cultural boundaries … that are common in the gospel music community and evident through racial identification, religious affiliation and musical distinction."

Thompson said reflecting on boundaries shaped his view on how a gospel choir operating in a university setting may expand traditional notions of race, religion and music.

His reimagined view of gospel choir participation at the university level reframed selectiveness into opportunities for all voices, he said. His talk, which is titled, “The Gospel of Musical Inclusion,” will explore “dialogues about the effects that race and racial perception may have on cultural legitimacy in gospel music, notions of community beyond a particular religious doctrine, and the idea of gospel music moving from the margins to be fully acknowledged as music worth educative pursuit.”

TEDxASU: Boundless will be held March 31 at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Organizers say the event will be attended by more than 600 people, ranging from political leaders and ASU faculty to members of the greater ASU and Phoenix communities.

For more information visit tedxasu.com.