Village Presbyterian Church highlights Black musicians in virtual course on history of spiritual songs

Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village is hosting a monthlong series called "Black Music Matters" to provide education on scriptures and spiritual songs surrounding slavery, freedom and the African-American experience. Evelyn White, pictured above, will be one of the featured guest musicians. White is a pianist and music educator in Georgia. Photo courtesy Evelyn White.

In the wake of a nationwide movement sparked by the death of George Floyd, Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village is offering a virtual class on the stories of slavery, freedom and the African-American experience, through the lens of spiritual music and scripture.

The monthlong series “Black Music Matters: Scriptures and Music of Slavery and Freedom” begins Wednesday, Sept. 9, and will occur each Wednesday throughout the rest of this month. Co-taught by Rev. Rodger Nishioka and Will Breytspraak, the course features special guests who will aim to impart their perspectives and experiences as Black musicians.

“If we’re going to say that Black lives matter, then their history matters, their culture matters, in a way that is very real as the lives they live, and not just canned neatly in a way that we want to fit into a sort of white-dominated worldview,” said Breytspraak, director of music ministry at the church.