Scranton Audience Listens and Learns Interdependence

Sep 24, 2009

The roughly 100 people in attendance did much more than listen at the Houlihan-McLean Center on September 16 during The University of Scranton's celebration of Interdependence Day.

Led by internationally renowned composer, commentator, author and conductor Rob Kapilow, "All You Have To Do Is Listen" featured Magdalyn E. Boga, soprano, and The University of Scranton Concert Choir in an evening of musical performance and audience participation aimed at illustrating the concept of Interdependence to those in attendance. The event was presented by Scranton's Department of Performance Music with support from the Office of the Provost and the Office of Equity and Diversity.

Any fears of a bashful audience fell silent once nearly all in attendance joined in on The University of Scranton Choir's rhythmic clapping to their opening performance of "Walking in the Light" in an impromptu example of musical interdependence.

In keeping with the production's title, though, audience members only listened while The University of Scranton Choir filled the otherwise hushed room with an impressive rendition of "Danny Boy."

In a break from the music, Kapilow began his explanation of Interdependence by reading a few quotes, including one he heard a Japanese princess say while in the country for a speaking engagement on interdependence, "Foreign relations begins with the person sitting next to you."

And so it did, as Kapilow asked for each member of the audience to turn to his or her left or right and introduce themselves to those seated beside them.

Once acquainted, the audience found themselves to be useful accompaniment to Kapilow and Boga during their performance of Musetta's Aria from Giacomo Puccini's four-act opera, "La Boheme."

After performing the song once with Boga's striking vocals to familiarize the audience with it, Kapilow dissected the motions of his hands on the piano to break down the song for the audience, who he had tap their thighs in unison with his tapping the keys.

Kapilow then broke down the vocals for the audience line by line. Before letting them sing, however, Kapilow had them sing a scale together with Boga and then on their own.

"How did you stay together?" Kapilow asked the audience after they successfully performed the scale as requested. "You did it by listening. The key to musical interdependence is listening."

After Kapilow finished his lesson on the song for the audience, he and Boga treated them to a full rendition of the song they teased them with pieces of for more than twenty minutes. Afterward, the audience roared.

Following the Puccini portion of the performance, Kapilow invited the audience to join The University of Scranton Choir in another performance of "Danny Boy." After dividing the audience up by vocal range, Kapilow taught each group their respective parts of the song's first two lines. When it came time for them to sing together, however, Kapilow cleverly withheld his composing gestures in order to show the audience the importance of listening to interdependence.

"There's a wisdom of crowds when people listen to one another," Kapilow said.

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