St. Paul, Minn. – Gary D. Hines, Music Director and Producer of the three-time, Grammy Award-Winning Sounds of Blackness and a 1974 Macalester graduate, will be the 2016 commencement speaker at the Macalester College graduation ceremony.

Commencement will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 14, at the college.

“Since he founded the Sounds of Blackness at Macalester over 40 years ago, Gary Hines has been responsible for making the kind of music that both lifts people up and brings them together,” said President Brian Rosenberg. “We are very proud of his many accomplishments and look forward to having him as our commencement speaker.”

Whether it’s pop, hip-hop, rhythm & blues, jazz, Latin, rock, blues, reggae, ragtime, classical or gospel, Gary Hines can do it all.

He has recorded, performed, toured, written for and appeared with: Quincy Jones, Jimmy “Jam” Harris & Terry Lewis, Prince, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Johnny Gill, Patti LaBelle, Sting, Dolly Parton, Danny Glover and Jordin Sparks to name just a few.

Along with the Sounds of Blackness, Hines has performed in every major city in the U.S. and, abroad in Africa, England, Holland, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, Jamaica, Martinique and The Bahamas.

Hines has conducted countless music workshops, seminars, lecture-demonstrations and master classes across the United States and internationally about the history, impact and evolution of African American music and culture.

The recipient of such honors as a Grammy, International Time For Peace Award, and the Minnesota Music Academy Awards, Hines has also received the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame Award, Golden Scroll For The Promise of Greatness Award, the Macalester Distinguished Citizen Award, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters also from Macalester.

Sounds of Blackness began on Macalester’s campus more than four decades ago. Last year, Turck Formal Lounge was renamed “The Sounds of Blackness Lounge.” At the renaming ceremony, Hines recalled practicing in the lounge at times when the music building was full.

Sounds of Blackness latest CD, “The Sounds of Blackness” won a 2012 NAACP Image Award.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,138 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at

March 11 2016

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