We are thrilled that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette appointed Dr. Mark DeWitt as the first Dr. Tommy Comeaux Memorial Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Traditional Music in the School of Music at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
DeWitt earned a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from UC Berkeley. He has previously taught at Ohio State University. His doctoral research was on Cajun and zydeco music in Northern California.
His book, Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California: Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World, was published in 2008.
DeWitt plays the Cajun accordion, bass, a bit of piano and sings.
The mission of the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music is to stimulate interdisciplinary research on the foundations and diversity of traditional music worldwide and to advance the preservation, instruction, and performance of traditional music with an emphasis on traditions that have developed in Acadiana. New classes and programs continue to be developed with involvement from musicians in the community.
Goals for the Chair and the programs it will sponsor are fourfold. The chair will:
1. Foster teaching, learning and creative activities in traditional music.
2. Encourage, develop, engage in, and disseminate cross-disciplinary research on traditional music.
3. Serve the campus, the community and beyond by advocating and promoting scholarly and artistic exchange in traditional music through conferences, performances, workshops, and other means.
4. Lead the traditional music program at UL Lafayette in such a way that it has the resources necessary to achieve its goals and serves as a model for traditional music programs elsewhere.
(Goals last revised in March 2012 Comeaux Chair Advisory Board meeting.)
Want to see the actual chair? One chair is in the lobby of the School of Music's Angelle Hall. To sit and rock in a duplicate chair, visit Dr. DeWitt in his office on the second floor of Angelle Hall, Room number 247.