By: Rebeka Porter
The Division of Fine Arts and Communication held “The Poetry of Music” Choral Concert on Oct. 8, 2016, at the Connie Niemann Center for Music. A showcase of poetry and music illustrating the connections between the two.
The poems and choir pieces were carefully selected to show the beauty of how music and poetry work in harmony. Guest speakers included students Abigail Carpenter (a sophomore) and Whitney Brown (a freshman). Guest faculty members included Barbara Schleppenbach, , Terry Sherer, and Michael Keller.
“I feel like the concert was the perfect fusion of music and literature, and really added to the effect that a poem has on a person. In a way, both being a participant in, and an observer of, the aspect of having both poetry and music really rejuvenated and revived the positive effects both have on me. I walked away from the concert filled with energy and positivity,” Carpenter said.
This was the first time the Music and English department collaborated together. The concert featured famous poems as well as original poems written by students. Once each poem was read out loud, an accompanying choir piece was performed by the choir students.
“I thought it was a neat idea to incorporate poetry into the choir performance. Before the concert I had not taken the time to think about the importance of words utilized in poetry and how they can correspond to lyrics in songs…I definitely think the pieces interacted well with each other,”Elizabeth Kuenzi, a senior at QU, said.
Combing poetry and musical performances can unveil a deeper meaning.
“Reading aloud always changes one’s perspective on a work, and it should become more of a habit. That said, I was surprised that I found much to rediscover in the Cummings poem. The strategic use of vowel sounds and the play of wit struck me in a very fresh way. It’s a love poem, but it’s also a meditation on language and the ways we use words to bind hearts,” Schleppenbach said.
Just like the students performing their pieces, Schleppenbach made sure to practice before her performance.
“The students were so well prepared, and they deserved my ‘A’ poetry-reading game. I practiced carefully by listening to recordings of the poets and by considering words to emphasize, dynamics, and pace. I tackled the readings like musical works, and I tried to match my interpretations to those presented by the choir,” Schleppenbach said.
The concert attracted a lot of QU students and Quincy residents to the performance. After the concert, food and beverages were served in the lobby.
“My scholarly work has largely been about poetry and poetics, and musicality is an essential part of poetry. I’m hoping for future collaborations,” Keller said.
Upcoming events include:
Jazz Ensemble Concert: Nov. 13, at 3 p.m.
Band Pops Concert: Nov. 20, at 3 p.m.
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” Choir Concert: Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.