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Notable music composer James Cockerham to kick off book tour at Livingstone Sunday


Book launch features a stage production

April 18, 2023

SALISBURY – Livingstone College alumnus James V. Cockerham is adding the title of author to his decades-long journey as a recognized African-American music composer.

Cockerham will kick off his book tour on the campus of his alma mater, Livingstone College, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, in Varick Auditorium with Kay Wright Norman as mistress of ceremony.

Cockerham knew his life-long love of music was a story that needed to be shared. His debut book, Looking: Past, Present, Future, is a collection of stories told from a creative writer’s viewpoint.

Cockerham is maximizing the momentum of his 2019 performance of his orchestral arrangement of “Fantasia on Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The arrangement was performed by the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra at the historic Carnegie Hall in 2022. It was the first time in the venue’s history for an all-black symphony orchestra to perform.

He is also the recipient of the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award by Gospel Choice Music Awards.

Inspired by the music program at his beloved alma mater, Livingstone College, his book release will coincide with Livingstone’s “All Steinway School” initiative music program to achieve the honored status to bring funding, awareness and support. Portions of the proceeds will benefit this project.

Livingstone College

Cockerham lends his creativity to the book tour as much as he does his book and music, making this noordinary book tour. Cockerham has taken songs from his seventh album, “Looking,” and turned them into a book that has become a stage production. String and piano introduce a choir singing Cockerham’s original composition, “Seasons,” while an orchestra, storytelling, dramatic presentations and instrumental music bring the book to life on stage.

The book tour/stage production will tour other HBCU campuses as a fundraising project for their music programs respectively.

Cockerham is a Wilkesboro, NC, native. His album, “Looking,” was released in 2021. It is a multi-generational, multi-genre collection of social-conscious music featuring iconic music industry greats to include PJ Morton, Algebra Blessett, Regina Belle and many others in a first-time collaboration with the newly-formed record label The Dirty Glasses, LLC. The latter is a partnership formed with his son, Brian Cockerham and Ethan Gouldbourne, who are notable musicians and the music producers behind the album.

To purchase tickets for the Looking experience and/or to order copies of the book, Looking: Past, Present, Future visit www.coprorecords.com or you may purchase tickets at the door.


About Livingstone College

Livingstone College is a private historically black college that is secured by a strong commitment to quality instruction, academic excellence and student success. Through a Christian-based environment suitable for holistic learning, Livingstone provides excellent business, liberal arts, STEAM, teacher education and workforce development programs for students from all ethnic backgrounds designed to promote lifelong learning, and to develop student potential for leadership and service to a global community. For more information, visit www.livingstone.edu.


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