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19th Annual Documentary Series Concludes with ‘Thunder Soul’ Apr. 23

The Oklahoma City University Film Institute’s spring documentary series "Why Art Matters" concludes at 2 pm Apr. 23 with Mark Landsman's Thunder Soul.

Thunder Soul poster

In the late 1960s, musician and composer Conrad O. Johnson took a job as Music Director at the predominantly black Kashmere High School where he would go on to transform the school’s struggling jazz band into a full-fledged funk powerhouse. The Kashmere High School Stage Band and their dynamic leader would soon become legendary and world-renowned, culminating when the band won Most Outstanding Stage Band in the Nation at the highly prestigious All-American High School Stage Band Festival in 1972 – the very same year segregationist Governor George Wallace would announce a run for the presidency. Presented by Jamie Foxx, Thunder Soul follows the alumni from the band, who return home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for the 92-year-old band leader.

The series is sponsored by OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature.

The screening begins at 2:00PM at the Kerr McGee Auditorium in the Meinders School of Business at NW 27th Street and McKinley Ave. A discussion will follow the presentation for those who wish to stay. Admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated.


-"A greater argument for music education in our secondary school curriculum can’t be made than Mark Landsman’s doc about a Texas high school funk band that tore up the music scene from 1968 to 1977." Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter

-"This is one of those rare, beautiful movies that takes you everywhere you want it to. You’ll cheer, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and most importantly, you’ll want to dance… Easily one of the best movies I’m going to see this year." Josh Olson, Ain't it Cool News

-"Landsman’s documentary flips the script to become a film of unflinching heart that will have you cheering with adulation and tearing up when things turn to heartbreak." Travis Leamons, Inside Pulse

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