Portland Playhouse Performances Portland Oregon Events

PuzzleWatch: African American Music Influencers

Celebrate the world premiere of Damien Geter's 'An African American Requiem' with a crossword puzzle about Black music influencers, past and present.


Promotional image for Damien Geter’s “An African American Requiem.”

This month in Portland, a sold-out Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall audience witnessed the long-awaited performance of An African American Requiem by Portland composer and singer Damien Geter. The performance on May 7 by Resonance Ensemble, Kingdom Gospel Choir, other local singers, and the Oregon Symphony was broadcast coast to coast.

This crossword places Geter at the center and surrounds him with other African American music influencers, past and present, across multiple musical genres. 

There may be names in this puzzle that are unknown to you … as yet. Let your discovery of the unknown artists in the puzzle lead you to learn more about them, the times in which they lived and the music they made. To help with that exploration, a list of the artists in this puzzle is provided below with links to more information.  But don’t worry, puzzlers—you’ll still have your work cut out for you in solving it.

Enjoy the puzzle. Enjoy the revelations. And enjoy the African American Requiem, which remains available on the All Classical Portland website through May 21.

Marian Anderson, Anton Armstrong, Louis Armstrong, Kathleen Battle, Sam Cooke, Ruby Dee, James DePreist, Damien Geter, Moses Hogan, Billie Holliday, Mahalia Jackson, Jay-Z, Jubilee (Singers), Ulysses Kay, George Shirley, Charlie Parker, Leontyne Price, Otis Redding, Smokey Robinson, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Tina Turner, Denzel Washington

African American Music Influencers – Click here for an interactive puzzle you can fill out in your web browser

Download the puzzle as a printable PDF

Download the answer key

Daryl Browne is a music educator, alto, flutist and writer who lives in Beaverton, Oregon.