Rhapsody in Black

Regina Harris Baiocchi creates musical stories

Regina Harris Baiocchi is an author, poet, educator and composer.Courtesy of artist

Rhapsody in Black - Regina Harris Baiocchi


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February 23, 2023

Regina Harris Baiocchi wanted to be a composer before she knew what a composer was. She believes that music is about the stories as much as the notes. It makes sense that she’s also an author and a poet. She has also worked as a teacher, lecturer, public relations director and artistic director. While doing those jobs, she continued to write music and poetry, and she earned several awards. Her style of composition blends classical music with other great styles, including jazz and pop. It may be hard to categorize, and she tries not to, buts she says, “I like to dip in as many wells as I possibly can.”

Musical arrangements from Regina Harris Baiocchi

Miles Per Hour

This work can be performed either for solo unaccompanied trumpet or trumpet duet. About the piece, Baiocchi says, "Listen, I have something to say about the lineage of trumpet players and their impact on literature: from Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong, "Dizzy" Gillespie, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Dr. Willie Naylor, Burgess Gardner, Lionel Bordelon, Stanley Polluck, Roy Hargrove, Tina Davis, Cora Bryant, Cynthia Robinson, Valaida Snow, Dolly Jones, to Prof. Bill Fielder, et al.”


This work is a marimba concertino in three movements: Canon, Izat and Ion. It is inspired by the great muralist Lillian Brulc's work "Communion of the Saints" which can be seen at the St. Elizabeth Seaton Church in Naperville, IL.


Baiocchi describes this work as her “musical reaction to a debilitating stroke Dr. Hale Smith suffered in 2000. It was unbearable to witness my mentor, friend and master composer rendered mute and paralyzed. Hale was such a vibrant man who loved to talk and hold court and had the goods to do so. Unfortunately, Hale subsisted in a mute, paralyzed state until he passed 24 November 2009. Fortunately, Hale’s incredible legacy speaks for him and itself.”

“Legends: John Henry”

“Legends: John Henry” is a single movement from the larger suit Bwana's Libation. It features Robert Sims, vocals, and Gregory Beyer, percussion. The lyrics of the piece tell the tale of John Henry, an African-American folkloric hero whose fame as a railroad tie smith was known and celebrated far and wide.


Host: Vernon Neal

Producer: Dan Nass

Writers: Andrea Blain and Scott Blankenship

Additional music selections: Jeffrey Yelverton

Executive Producer: Julie Amacher