Archive for November, 2015

Student Interview: Joseph Canedo ’16, jazz ensemble

November 19th, 2015 by arouel16

Name: Joseph Canedo ’16

Hometown: Leominster, MA

Areas of Study: Music and Math Double Major

How long have you been a member of the jazz ensemble?

“I have been a member of the Holy Cross jazz ensemble as a tenor sax and soprano sax player since my freshman year. Before Holy Cross, I played in my high school’s intensive jazz ensemble, performing thirty to forty times per year. Playing in high school really developed my passion for jazz, joining the College’s ensemble was therefore an obvious choice.”

 What has your experience in the jazz ensemble been like?

“From the people to the performances my time in the Holy Cross jazz ensemble has been an exceptional experience. Mike Monaghan is a fantastic teacher, he sets a high standard of performance in the ensemble while maintaining a lighthearted atmosphere in rehearsal. The music is fun to play while also challenging my skills as a performer. Performing music I enjoy with fellow students has also been a stress relief from classes.”

What can we expect from the jazz ensemble this winter?

“We have a wide range of music lined up for the annual winter concert ranging from a tribute to Duke Ellington to a modern jazz funk chart, a jazz combo piece to a guest artist performing a piece with the ensemble. The concert will give the attendees a chance to hear a wide sampling of the many styles collectively known as Jazz.”

When is the annual winter concert?

The annual winter concert will be on Thursday, November 19 at 8:00 pm in Brooks Concert Hall.

A Bold Undertaking for the Holy Cross Chamber Singers

November 18th, 2015 by arouel16

The Holy Cross Chamber Singers, under the direction of conductor David Harris, have always sought to explore new musical territory; from performing original compositions to employing the latest techniques in vocal science. But this week, the Chamber Singers will take on a grand endeavor never previously attempted by the ensemble: an entire evening of staged opera scenes, arias, duets, and choruses. The key word here is staged. Unlike a traditional choral concert, the singers won’t be standing in uniform rows; instead, the Chamber Singers will be moving about Brooks Concert Hall, interacting with each other and using their acting skills in an interwoven plot.

“Even in some of the top choirs in the nation, choral singers have a tendency to hide behind their music folders and let the conductor be their puppeteer” says Laurel Mehaffey, resident vocologist for the Holy Cross Choirs. According to Mehaffey, who helped stage the concert, this unique experience has empowered the Chamber Singers to learn how to communicate in new ways. The Chamber Singers have had to develop their own characters and dive into the foreign language of their pieces to understand what their characters are striving to communicate. “It was amazing to see what each person’s creativity came up with,” says Mehaffey. “For many students, it was their first time thinking about building a character.”

Over the past three months, the Chamber Singers have worked tirelessly to hone their acting techniques  – a step outside many of the singers’ comfort zones. “We, the singers, have been the authors of this work” explains Teresa Murphy ’19, mezzo-soprano.  For Teresa, she had “always been much more comfortable with singing than acting,” but the “process of creating each singers’ role” was very rewarding. By the end of rehearsals, all of the singers learned how to explore the dynamic relationship between theatricality and music.

The concert, entitled Love and the Fyer, will be a tour de force of drama and music, featuring a diverse selection of operatic works from Carmen and Marriage of Figaro to choral works by Brahms and Morley. Each song will be bound together by a blissful plot filled with a healthy dose of drama and romance. For conductor David Harris and vocologist Laurel Mehaffey, the hope is that by the end of the concert, the audience will understand that “every song, written for a choir or opera, tells a story.”

-Adam Ouellet ‘16

Love and Fyer will take place in Brooks Concert Hall on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 8pm. Admission is free and open to the public. For more updates and information about the Holy Cross Choirs, check out the choir blog.


SWARM: Embrace the Discomfort

November 6th, 2015 by arouel16

My name is Ali Cristovich ’18 and I’ve been involved in theatre at Holy Cross since performing in last fall’s production of “Cloud Nine.” I love exploring new genres and performance techniques, so when I heard about SWARM and the kind of work it entailed I was really excited. While others were hesitant to audition because of the unknown, I was only intrigued.

What has it been like preparing for this performance?

I have to be honest, SWARM is unlike anything I could have ever anticipated.  Rehearsals require not only a great time commitment, but also a great deal of focus and concentration. There is no waiting backstage for your turn to hit the stage, you are constantly on your toes (sometimes on skates) and always present to the audience. It’s a much different experience than what I’m used to as an actor, but the end result is fantastic – as you will see soon.

Can you tell us about the audience participation for the show?

I could tell you, but there isn’t much to say, we haven’t had a full audience to work with yet. We’ve had rehearsals with small test audiences, including the CreateLab class to anticipate the reaction with our first real audience on Wednesday. Each time we take the stage in front of a new audience will make each performance even more unpredictable.  We are just as curious as you are to see what will happen.

Tell us what it’s been like working with Troika Ranch.

Dawn and Mark – the co-founders of Troika Ranch – have been a joy to work with.  Mark has an incredible knack for music and special effects, and Dawn never fails to lighten the mood while still keeping us focused on the piece.  I think the best part about working with them is that all of us in the cast have contributed to the making of SWARM: if we felt something could be improved or changed to enhance the experience for everyone, we were able to suggest an idea and test it during rehearsal.  It’s a lot different from a typical theatre production where only the director has that kind of power.  SWARM is just as much our show as it is Dawn and Mark’s.

If you could describe Swarm in one word, what would that be?

Discomfort. We, actors and audience members alike, have all felt it. However, the real beauty of this piece shines when we embrace the awkwardness and confusion and explore new possibilities we might not find inside our comfort zones. SWARM is an invitation to take that step: what you do with it is up to you.

-Alison Cristovich ’18

Members of Troika Ranch, Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello display their art.  Both are working with CreateLab

Members of Troika Ranch, Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello display their art. Both are working with CreateLab

SWARM runs from Nov. 5-7 and Nov. 12-14 at the Fenwick Theatre. Click here to purchase tickets and learn more about this exciting performance.

Hear Grammy Award-Winning Artist Perform Live at Holy Cross

November 4th, 2015 by arouel16
Emma Kuper '18

Emma Kuper ’18

Fall is a busy time for us all, between getting used to new clubs and extra-curriculars, studying for midterms and other assignments, not to mention all of the social events like Parents Weekend, Halloween, and Thanksgiving activities! It may seem overwhelming to be sifting through the countless invitations that are sent out to the student body every day, trying to decide which events align with our interests and will be worth our time.

I’m writing this today to let everyone know about an event that you truly will not want to miss. I know we hear that all the time, but it is not all the time that a musical group whose album received a Grammy award performs for free right on campus. This performance is in conjunction with the “Katrina Then and Now: Artists as a Witness” exhibit that is on display right now at the Cantor Art Gallery.  If you haven’t visited yet, I would highly recommend checking it out; it is a very insightful way of exploring the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

With or without the visit to the gallery, however, this musical performance offers great insight into the same theme of Hurricane Katrina. On Sunday, November 8, at 3 PM in Brooks Concert Hall, and accompanied by a chamber orchestra, the Terence Blanchard Quintet will perform “A Tale of God’s Will: A Requiem for Katrina.” This composition was written by Blanchard and the other members of his quintet as a look back upon the tragedy in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Trumpet,  piano, bass, drums, and strings combine to echo the sounds of the forces of the storm. Other sections of the composition allude to hurricanes that came before Katrina, while others offer a hopeful glimpse into the future. Finally the piece concludes with a tribute to Blanchard’s mother, who lost her home in this tragedy. The composition received a Grammy in 2008, and the album was on the billboard for top jazz albums, reaching #6.

Not only is this concert a wonderful opportunity to simply experience the sheer musical talent of these performers, the message that they bring is also important to all of us. Especially as students who were probably too young in 2005 to remember Hurricane Katrina very clearly and to understand it fully, this concert offers a chance to feel the emotions and empathize with the people and culture that were devastated by this storm.

Stay posted for more news, and on behalf of the Arts Transcending Borders team, we can’t wait to see you at the concert! – Emma Kuper ’18

Learn more about the upcoming events on campus through Arts Transcending Borders: