Jerry Zolten, Penn State Altoona, wins Meling Award

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from Penn State Altoona NOW:

ALTOONA - Educator, author, musician, music producer, and American roots music and popular culture guru Jerry Zolten will receive the spring 2010 Kjell Meling Award for Distinction in the Arts and Humanities at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 15.

An Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State Altoona, Zolten's courses include the art of communication, the cultural roots of rock 'n' roll, and stand-up comedy as social history. In addition to two textbooks, numerous articles, and CD liner notes, he is the author of the award-winning book "Great God A'Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds/Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music." Zolten has also produced two CDs, "Wreckin' the House" and "Beautiful Stars" and is the co-producer, writer, and host of several nationally syndicated public radio program specials, including "Chimpin' the Blues," "Boppin' with Pekar," and "In the Spirit," a history of African American Gospel.

His latest published work is a chapter, "The Beatles as Recording Artists," in the "The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles." Zolten is currently developing several projects including a book about African American preachers on phonograph records during the Depression era, an authorized biography of the Blind Boys of Alabama, and a documentary film about the Jewish community in an industrialized Western Pennsylvania town in the 1960s.

Zolten will be honored with a ceremony at 7 p.m., in the Paul R. and Margery Wolf Kuhn Theatre of the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts, then present a lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

Penn State Altoona initiated the Meling Award in 2006 to honor the memory of its longtime associate dean for Academic Affairs, who passed away in 2005. The award is intended to memorialize Meling's love of literature and language and his unwavering support as an administrator for the development of Penn State Altoona's faculty as scholars and artists.

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