CBU honors renowned bassist with honorary doctorate degree
Photos by Sam Butler
Riverside, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2022) – Music ensembles from California Baptist University filled a Corona church’s sanctuary on Feb. 5 with jazz music in celebration of Black History Month—and in honor of renowned bassist Marshall Hawkins.
During his career, Hawkins played with jazz performers such as Betty Gray, Shirley Horn and the Miles Davis Quartet. After years of touring, Hawkins focused his efforts on education. In 1988, Hawkins founded the jazz program at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Currently, Hawkins teaches master classes for the CBU jazz program.
Midway through the concert at Northpoint Church, Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, president of CBU, awarded Hawkins with an honorary Doctor of Music Performance degree. Ellis spoke of Hawkins’ lifetime musical and educational achievements.
“The life and career of Marshall Hawkins reflects a strong work ethic and positive commitment to faith and serves as consistent with the values promoted by California Baptist University,” Ellis said.
“God is good all the time,” Hawkins said after receiving the honor.
The evening included Traivon Williams, adjunct professor of music, reading a poem by American author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. The Marshall Hawkins Seahawk Modern Jazz Orchestra took center stage as it entertained with songs such as “When Sunny Gets Blue” by Marvin Fisher, and the black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The CBU Jazz Ensemble and Strings showcased their talent by performing songs such as “Jeeps Blues” by Duke Ellington, and “‘Round About Midnight” by Thelonious Monk.
Dan St. Marseille, associate director of bands for Shelby and Ferne Collinsworth School of Music,
spoke of how jazz compelled him at a young age and spoke to his soul.
“I know that jazz was the reason I am standing here today on this stage,” St. Marseille said. “The African American way of playing music infuses sounds of nature and personal experience into what you are doing, and hearing that through jazz music motivated me to become a musician.”
To learn more about the School of Music and upcoming performances, please click this link.