Artist Highlight – Alphonso Sanders

Artist Highlight – Alphonso Sanders

alphonso-sandersDr. Alphonso Sanders is the Chair of Fine Arts and Director of the BB King Recording Studio at Mississippi Valley State University.  He received degrees in music from Mississippi Valley State University, Valdosta State University, and the University of Mississippi. Dr. Sanders has performed at many recognized festivals including the Netherlands North Sea Jazz Festival; Montreux Switzerland Jazz Festival; Lucerne Switzerland Blues Festival; Mobile Jazz Festival; Ontario Canada Southside Shuffle Festival; and many of the Delta Blues Festivals. He has performed with such artist as Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry, Mulgrew Miller, JerryJemmot, Rhonda Richmond, Cassandra Wilson, Paula West, Debra Brown, Bobby Rush, David Lee Durham, The Four Tops, and David “Honey Boy” Edwards among others.  As a Fulbright Scholars, he studied abroad in China exploring Chinese music and visual arts. He is recipient of the 2010 MAC Folk Arts Fellowship; the 2011 Mississippi Humanities Award and is published in Big City Rhythm & Blues magazine 2011 (UK); the book “Musicians Up and the Delta”; and “Down In The Woods” a documentary of the legendary bluesman Willie King.  He is also an award winner in the 2009 and 2010 International Blues Challenge and was selected by the Delta Blues Society as the 2013 Blues Musician of the Year. His most recent recording projects are “Mississippi Influences” and “Twice As Nice”. For the past 30 years as a musician, he has been involved in music composition and songwriting, covering various styles of jazz, blues, folk, gospel, and country and is currently involved with the HWY 80 Songwriters Festival, Meridian, MS as a facilitator and performer. He often performs as quest artist and bandleader with the “Yalobushwackers” on Thacker Mountain Radio and is the founder and host of First Thursday’s Jazz/Blues Night at the BB King Museum.  

How old were you when you discovered music?

By accident after baseball practice at 16 years old I found someones trumpet, I got in the band the following year

What has been your most memorable performance thus far? 

There is something memorable about performing each time I realize that someone is listening to me make music. I don’t know of one particular concert that stands, but whenever I’m playing with good musicians I find myself being most creative.

Do you think music and other art forms are important in public education? 

YES, YES. YES!!!!! Name a subject other than the arts that gives focus to one’s soul.

If you could sell someone on arts-in-education with only one sentence, what would that be? 

Can you imagine a world without sound, movement, color, or design? Without the arts the world would be void.

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