Oklahoma City University | Documentary Series Shows its ‘Thunder Soul’ Skip to content

Documentary Series Shows its ‘Thunder Soul’

"Thunder Soul" poster

The Oklahoma City University Film Institute’s documentary series will close its 19th year at 2 p.m. April 23 with Mark Landsman’s “Thunder Soul” in the Kerr McGee Auditorium of Meinders School of Business. The school is located at N.W. 27th Street and McKinley Avenue.

Admission is free. The series is supported in part by the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Endowment Fund and endowments through Oklahoma City University and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

In “Thunder Soul,” musician and composer Conrad O. Johnson took the job as music director at Houston’s predominantly black Kashmere High School in the late 1960s. He went 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 became world renowned, leading to popular recordings and a national title in 1972 – the very same year segregationist Governor George Wallace announced a run for the presidency.

Presented by Jamie Foxx, “Thunder Soul” follows the band’s alumni, who returned home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for the 92-year-old band leader. A review in the Hollywood Reporter stated: “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.”

The theme of this year’s season is “Why Art Matters.” Tracy Floreani, the director of the documentary series at OKCU, said the theme is intended to illuminate the continuing importance of the arts in society, education and human experience.

A discussion session will follow the film screening for those who wish to participate. For more information, visit the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature website at okcufilmlit.org.

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