By Luce Cada '23
Notre Dame’s Facing History Student Leadership Group has been hosting a speaker series for Black History Month featuring many African American women from different careers and perspectives. Facing History members Rupali Batta ‘22 and Madeleine Lloyd ‘23 recently led an event that featured Tanya Fitzgerald, a Christian-Contemporary singer-songwriter and recording artist. She is also the sister of Ms. Fitz, a current math teacher at ND. Fitzgerald shared many of her experiences as an artist in the modern world and attendees learned a lot about what music means to her.
Fitzgerald’s musical career has been centered around jazz, praise and worship. She has toured with many artists as a background or lead vocalist including MC Hammer, Stanley Jordan, and many more. When she was a child, her father played piano so she grew up surrounded by music. She mentioned that she focused on Gospel music primarily due to her upbringing in the church and that “Gospel chose [her].” She sings to “get a message of hope and healing and love and peace and faith out to other people” and to serve her community. She is also the founder of a non-profit organization called Zāmar Schoolhouse Project, Inc. that focuses on promoting creativity with young learners. Service is very important to her and many of her current projects tie back to her own family and its history. Fitzgerald believes it is essential to embrace your own history and legacy and learn all you can about other cultures as well. When racial injustice is prevalent, she says it is “vital” to take control of how society is rewriting history.
Tanya Fitzgerald answered many questions from the hosts and the audience and even shared her beautiful voice with the attendees. Her story was very inspiring and taught viewers a lot about music and service. Like many artists, the pandemic has affected her ability to produce music, especially because she strives to be someone that wants to do what no one else is doing. But she mentioned that she may release a few songs later this year, so make sure to follow her on social media for updates!