Visual Arts Students Collaborate with Juneberry Chorus
TA’s Visual Arts teacher, Karyn Neubauer, includes a multimedia unit in her curriculum every year. So when Patricia Norton, director of the Upper Valley Music Center‘s Juneberry Choral Program, reached out with an idea to incorporate multimedia art into the group’s next choral performance, it felt like a perfect fit.
Juneberry Community Chorus, one of Juneberry’s choral programs, is a roughly 70 voice group, with singers ranging in age from twenty-something to octogenarian. The group performs twice per year at the Lebanon Opera House, with the next performance scheduled for January 2020. For this performance, Juneberry commissioned a piece by local composer Travis Ramsey, based on the Wallace Stevens poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” In describing the piece, Norton notes that Ramsey “has done an inventive job ‘word painting’ the different feels of each stanza.”
Because the Lebanon Opera House has a large screen that can be used on stage, Norton thought it might be interesting to pair with local students to create art that can be photographed and viewed behind the chorus. Karyn Neubauer and her art students agreed, and have been working on the project this fall.
Norton visited the class in October to talk about the project, discuss the poem’s visual elements, and sing some of the concert’s score with students. Students were then asked to respond to the poem and the music, choosing one stanza or line as a focus. With a variety of materials–papier mache, beads, paint, corrugated cardboard, and the score itself, among others–students set to work.
The results, still in progress, show the different ways students reacted to the literary and musical elements they were given. At the Lebanon Opera House on Sunday, January 12, at 4:00 p.m., we look forward to seeing all the pieces come together in Juneberry’s choral performance. For more information on Juneberry Community Chorus and the Juneberry Choral Program, visit them on the web at https://uvmusic.org/programs/ensembles/juneberry.