CROSSING THE WATERS INSTITUTE.org

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Griot Women

Griot Women Productions was created to assist women of color writers and performance artists by providing a platform to present works in progress and new works through staged readings and presentations.


Another offering of Griot Women Productions is an Artists in Residency Program to present the play “Crossing The Waters, Changing The Air” by Ingrid C. Askew

Resident Artists:

Director :  Ingrid C. Askew

Choreographer :  Amai Myrna Munchus    •   Musical Director :  Dr. Ruth Bass Green


Bios

INGRID ASKEW Executive Director of Crossing the Waters,  is an African American actress, stage director, educator, and cultural activist. Ms. Askew lived in Cape Town, South Africa for ten years and knows South African culture and society well. She has run drama, storytelling, and writing programs for South African youth and has hosted American artists to work with youth in the townships; she has also worked with youths in schools and community groups in the US. A founding member of New World Theater Ensemble at the University of Massachusetts, and a founding board member the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School.


1998-1999 Ms Askew co-founder and director of the historic year long walk known as the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage; retraced the Transatlantic slave route in reverse from the United States, the Caribbean and Brazil to West Africa, and ended in South Africa. Fifty walkers from the United States, Japan, Chile, the UK, France and Australia accompanied her on that historic journey. The Pilgrimage is featured in the PBS series This Far by Faith: African American Spiritual Journeys.


M. AMAI CLARICE MUNCHUS is a teacher with many specialties in the arts and spirituality, grassroots interaction living in diverse communities, extensive international travel and community-building to create opportunities for healing and transformation on a global scale. From 1998 to 2008, she lived, worked, and traveled in more than 20 countries around the world. She returned to the United States in 2008 after spending nearly a decade living bi-continentally between the US and Africa, and working in a variety of settings. Her activities in Africa consisted of community-based humanitarian service, including HIV/AIDS prevention and education, teaching dance, peace and social justice activism, cultural and spiritual activism, rural health development, and workshop facilitation. With a wealth of experience as a teacher, dancer, activist and spiritual leader, Ms. Munchus serves others through mind, body and spirit integration; and assists them in moving their lives and communities from where they are to where they’re going.   


DR. RUTH BASS-GREEN is a church musician, best known for improvisations at the grand piano, Hammond and pipe organ of sacred songs and spirituals. Her musical journey as a pianist, and most importantly as a church musician, was nurtured and blossomed through the tutelage of her mother, Hazelle Catherine Bass, her first piano teacher. and the late Garfield Tucker, former Minister of Music at Christ Temple Church, Los Angeles, CA.


Ruth received a BA in Music Education from California State University in Los Angeles, CA in 1971. She moved to Amherst, Massachusetts the same year to attend graduate school at the University of Massachusetts School of Education where she subsequently earned a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. In 1981 she received a doctorate in Educational Studies.


Her career as an educator brought her to Mount Holyoke College as Dean of Sophomore Studies and Multicultural Affairs and Lecturer in the Psychology and Education Department. She retired from Mount Holyoke in 2006 to devote her time and energy to the Hazelle Catherine Bass Music Institute where she continues to teach private piano and voice lessons to  students ranging in age levels from preschool to college students and senior adults. 


In her work as music educator, she is a spokeswoman for the legacy of the Negro Spirituals and the priceless contributions they bring to the ongoing healing of African Americans and beyond. Ruth’s debut in 2011 as musical director for “Crossing the Waters, Changing the Air” (a work inspired by the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage), written and directed by Ingrid Askew and Choreography by Amai Myrna Munchus,  brought her to another level of her career as an artist and lover of  the spirituals and sacred songs of her African American heritage. She has performed her music  in far away places such as Durban South Africa, Kenya and Senegal. Currently, she is Minister of Music at Faith Congregational Church, Hartford, CT and the organist for the Hermenia Gardner Bi-Semester Service at Amherst College, Amherst, MA.


Dr. Ruth is the president of Bass Sister’s Music, www.basssistersmusic.comand The Hazelle Catherine Bass Institute for the Arts.


Ruth’s CD: “Spirituals, Reflections and Meditations” can be purchased at CDbaby.com