Sacred Music: A Journey to Freedom

Trainer: Dr. Ruth Bass Green, educator, piano and voice teacher, and church musician, is the founder and president of the Hazelle Catherine Bass Institute for the Arts ( For over 50 years, Ruth has served underprivileged and privileged students and adults across diverse fields of age, race, and gender. As a music educator, Ruth is a spokeswoman for the legacy of Negro Spirituals and the priceless contribution they bring to the genre of music in the Americas. Ruth’s teachings and travels 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. Ruth received a BA in Music Education from California State University, a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, and a doctorate in Educational Studies from UMass Amherst.

Class Description: This workshop is designed for participants to hear and enjoy the musically gifted pianist Dr. Ruth Bass Green play selections of sacred songs and Negro spirituals that inspired and motivated the enslaved people and later Civil Rights activists to work for social justice and freedom for all. Ruth will describe the differences in the genres of spirituals, gospel, and secular songs and the role that the technique “call and response” provides to blend the spoken word with choral style music. The workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to delve deeply into the authentic sound and message of the music, and to see how the experience of listening and singing helps them open their hearts and minds to become advocates who will embrace diversity and inclusion in their communities.