Spirituality of Rock and Roll

Dr. Lauren Onkey
VP of Education and Public Programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Sunday, Sept. 22
Dean’s Forum: 10:10 a.m.

Today, more often than not, people tend to engage in music in one of two ways — either as a discipline that requires serious study or as a popular medium that expresses the sentimentality of a generation. Rarely, do we acknowledge the centrality of music to life itself. Music, as hinted at by Plato in his dialogue Timaeus, is instrumental (pun intended) in the transformation of Life as a harmonious whole. Thus, it is music that invites humanity to transcend itself and apprehend a vision of the uni-versal — the oneness that is Life.

Rock and Roll is the genre of music that has had such an effect upon our society. In fact, Rock and Roll has played a pivotal role in the realization of the values and imperatives of the Freedom and Consciousness movements within our larger society. Today, Rock and Roll continues to influence our society and culture. Dr. Lauren Onkey, VP of Education and Public Programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will discuss the influence and impact of Rock and Roll on our society and how music influences how we view and engage our world.

Dr. Onkey is responsible for developing educational programs and materials in the Museum’s award-winning pre-K, K-12, university and adult programs, on site and through distance learning. These programs reach more than 30,000 people annually. She also oversees the Museum’s Library and Archives, located on the Metro Campus of Cuyahoga Community College. Additionally, she orchestrates the Museum’s Community Outreach program and Community festivals. Onkey is executive producer of the Museum’s American Music Masters series, conducts interviews for the Museum’s many public programs and teaches rock and roll history courses at Case Western Reserve University.

Onkey joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 2008 after 14 years as an English professor at Ball State University in Indiana. Her research and teaching explores the intersection of popular music with cultural studies, literature, and women’s studies. She has published essays and book chapters on Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, U2, and Bruce Springsteen, and has presented numerous papers at national and international literature, cultural studies, and pedagogy conferences. Her book, Blackness and Transatlantic Irish Identity: Celtic Soul Brothers, was published by Routledge Press in 2009. Onkey lives in Cleveland with her husband, Bob Nowatzki.