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Drummer and Composer William Hooker at Hudson Valley Community College on Friday, Nov. 3

In a unique presentation, internationally-known drummer and composer William Hooker accompanies a 1920 silent film, “Within Our Gates,” the oldest film by an African-American filmmaker known to survive, and facilitates a post-film conversation focusing on social and cultural issues that remain relevant nearly 100 years later. Hooker’s performance/discussion is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 3 at noon and again at 6:30 p.m. in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium on the Troy campus. Both sessions are open free to the public.

“Within Our Gates,” directed by Oscar Micheaux, portrays the hardships, duplicity and amazing reversals of fortune a black schoolteacher experiences on a journey north to raise funds for her school. Despite the director’s graphic depictions of racial injustice and violence, the film ultimately delivers an uplifting message of racial pride and self-respect. (The 79-minute film is not recommended for all audiences due to violent content.)

William Hooker started drum lessons at age 10 and says “I consider myself a ‘jazz musician.’ My work fits in the jazz tradition because it's based on improvisation, it's based on learning one's craft.” On his more than 60 CDs, Hooker’s compositions range from jazz to "new" and experimental music. He has performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Atrium at Lincoln Center, Wadsworth Atheneum, and presented his work at numerous festivals including the JVC Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, and CMJ Music Festival, Vilnius Jazz Festival (Lithuania), and Experimenta Argentina. Hooker has received commissions and support for his work from the NYS Council on the Arts and Meet the Composer, as well as from colleges and universities such as Oberlin, Fordham, Columbia, NYU, Boston University, Princeton and Dartmouth. Accompanying musicians have been Billy Bang, David Ware, William Parker, Thurston Moore, David Soldier, Roy Campbell, DJ Spooky, Steven Bernstein, Zeena Parkins, Lee Ranaldo, Jason Hwang, Sabir Mateen, Elliot Sharpe, David Murray, Ted Daniel, JD Parren and many more.


Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 85 associate degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences, and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of nearly 11,500 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 75,000 alumni.