News Archive

Friday, October 30, 2015 - OU World Music program marks 40th anniversary with Nov. 6 concerts

Bernard Woma, (second from left) will return to OU for two concerts celebrating the 40th anniversary of OU's World Music program.
A 40th anniversary should be celebrated with gusto, and the World Music program at Oakland University intends to do just that on Friday, Nov. 6, with two 40th Anniversary Concerts featuring two guests. Both Ghana’s master musician Bernard Woma and Professor Emeritus Marvin (Doc) Holladay, who established OU’s World Music program in 1975, will play with the African Ensemble, the Steel Band and the World Percussion Ensemble.

Today, Doc Holladay lives in retirement in Ecuador, but he continues to work on music, and he will perform on saxophone and percussion with the students. He first came to OU after completing a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University where he explored the African roots of jazz. OU’s inaugural 1975 concert featured a performance on the university’s new Ghanaian drums, featuring Ghanaian master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, who also blessed the drums with a traditional libation ceremony.

Bernard Woma is a master of the gyil, the Ghanaian xylophone. He has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Maya Angelou, Yo Yo Ma, and Glen Velez, and performed for international dignitaries such as Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II. 

Today, OU’s world music program is flourishing. Ensembles directed by Mark Stone and Patrick Fitzgibbon will play at both anniversary concerts on Friday, Nov. 6. The first performance, set for 10 a.m., is a Kids’ Concert, and families and groups with children of all ages are welcome. The second concert is at 8 p.m. Both concerts will conclude with a composition written especially for the anniversary by Mark Stone. It will feature both guest artists and all the student groups.

Both concerts will take place in Varner Recital Hall, which is located on the Oakland University campus. Maps of the campus are available at or by searching for "Varner Hall" on a smartphone. Ample free parking will be available.

Tickets are $6 for the 10 a.m. concert and $8 for the 8 p.m. concert. They may be purchased online without service fees at or by phone at (800) 585-3737. They can also be purchased at the Varner Box Office on OU’s campus.

Schools interested in group discount information should contact the Oakland box office at (248) 379-3013. Tickets ordered online or by phone can be picked up at the box office one hour before the performance begins.

Complete ticket information is available at

For more information on Music, Theatre and Dance programs and performances, call (248) 370-2030 or visit