Students Perform Poetry-Songwriting Collaboration

By Ritik Shrestha ’22

 Student performers at CC are pushing the boundaries of expressionism with exciting pieces.

An example of this innovation can be found in the collaboration between the Art of Songwriting course taught by Assistant Professor of Music Iddo Aharony and Contemporary Poetry taught by Professor of English Jane Hilberry. With the help of artist Reiko Yamada, CC’s innovator-in-residence, both classes have come together to create a workshop that allows students to explore the relationship between songs and poetry and how both aspects can be combined to open a whole range of possibilities in performance.

Aharony explains that “language has music in it, and music has language, so the overlapping nature of these the two fields means they really aren’t that different.”

Through four sessions, students have participated in a variety of activities such as learning how to communicate and collaborate without speaking, studying different aspects of performance, and using the poem “Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbertas inspiration to create their own project. Even though these workshop topics might not be similar to each other, they were designed to show students how the dividing lines between fields can be blurred to create one unified piece. “One of the most fruitful ways is to collaborate,” explains Hilberry “it requires everyone to bring their skills together but also give up some control.”

Students in the songwriting and poetry workshop are enthusiastic about the whole experience. When asked about her experience, Maya Day ’20says, “the workshop has taught me how to collaborate and mix mediums, and it has expanded the possibilities of poetry for me.”

Now that the block is coming to an end, the students of this workshop are taking the skills they have learned and presenting them in a final performance called “Broken Songs: A Poetry and Songwriting Collaboration,” Saturday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m. in Packard Hall.

Groups of students will finally be able to show off the pieces they have been working on for the last few weeks. When asked about the content of the show, the instructors were hesitant to give many details but stressed that audience members should come in with an open mind about what a performance is because  the poets and songwriters of the class have merged their talents to produce a show that is far from traditional. “Each performance is special and shouldn’t be missed because it will never be replicated in exactly the same way,” remarks Yamada.

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