Neil Lehrer and The Spector of Early Cinema Music in Early Video Games Thursday, Feb. 21, 4:15 p.m. Room 30: Bernhard Music Center Musicologist Neil Lerner teaches at Davidson College in North Carolina. He has published on a wide variety of topics relating to music in screen media, including music in film, television, and video games. This lecture is sponsored by the Class of 1960 Scholars Fund and is free and open to the public.
Visiting Artist Ballaké Sissoko Sunday, Feb. 24, 3 p.m. Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall: Ballaké Sissoko is one of Mali's leading musicians and has collaborated with accomplished artists from Toumani Diabate and Taj Mahal to Sting and Elvis Costello. The sweet harp-like sounds from his 21-stringed kora touch audiences all over the world.
Williams Gospel Choir Friday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m. Community Gospel Choir in Williamstown: The Williams Gospel Choir hosts a benefit concert. A free-will offering will be raised in order to help the choir with its trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to minister and do community service. If you have never seen the Gospel Choir perform, now would be a great opportunity to experience their music live. MIDWEEKMUSIC MIDWEEKMUSIC Series starts, Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 12:15 p.m. Chapin Hall stage: MIDWEEKMUSIC is a series that lets every listener and performer relax and share music in a different way. Open to any student, these concerts are an eclectic mix featuring bits of everything that goes on in the practice rooms below the stage.
If you have never visited MIDWEEKMUSIC, you might wonder how we can host chamber concerts in a hall that holds 900. Creating the required intimacy for audiences of 25 to 50 people on the stage is surprisingly simple, and the sound and atmosphere are glorious. From your seat on the Chapin Hall stage you can enjoy the music, the architecture, the mood, and the food. Bring your lunch, bring a friend, and experience how Williams makes music. Visit music.williams.edu to sign up for a spot.
The next Berkshire Symphony Student soloists are Patrica Ho '16, cello Casy McLellan '14, percussion Elaina Pullano '15, mezzo soprano Robert Yang, '15, cello. The soloists will appear with the Berkshire Symphony on Friday, April 19, in Chapin Hall. Interview
Interviewer Ian McLean '13 recently spoke with Will Speer '13. Will is a Math and Music Double Major and is one of the two music majors in the class of '13, together with Meghan Landers, who was interviewed recently. He is assistant conductor for choir director Brad Wells, sings in the choir, and is a member of the all-malea capellagroup the Williams Octet.
Ian: What led you to decide in favor of a double major of math and music?
Will: Music has always been my main extracurricular activity, so I decided to go into theory 103 and 104 [the introductory music theory courses] when I got here. Professor Gollin is fantastic, and I think he inspired me to continue with music. I knew after 103-104 that this was something I wanted to continue with. Math has always been my favorite academic subject. It's really analytical and requires a lot of critical thinking. It's a rigorous subject, and the feeling of accomplishment when you finally understand a concept is great.
There's also a certain beauty to math, which is really clean and rigorous.
Ian: Where do you plan to go after Williams?
Will: I'm applying now for math teaching jobs at private and boarding schools. I really like teaching in general, and I've always liked teaching-related things: directing the choir and the Octet, leading my high school math team, teaching tennis - I really enjoy the instructional role. It's great sharing something I'm passionate about with other people.
I really like the idea of working at a boarding school because of the feeling of community, and you're more involved outside of the classroom as well. I think beyond teaching it would be cool to maybe coach tennis or do something with music - maybe some choral directing, but I'm really excited about teaching math.
Ian: You went to South Africa with Brad Wells over Winter Study last year. How would you describe that experience?
Will: It was awesome. It was so cool. We learned to sing South African music, and we sang at a lot of churches. The people were always really friendly and welcoming, and they were thrilled that we were learning their music. The audiences would get up, cheer, and dance while we were singing, which is very different from the concert experience in America. The people were all really nice, and it was really cool that everybody sings. They don't have the stigma against singing badly that we do in the US, and it seems like everybody sings, and it comes naturally for them to do so.
Ian: What got you started with choir and choral directing here at Williams?
Will: In high school I always thought of myself as more of a violinist, and choir was secondary. It shifted at Williams, and I realized I liked getting involved with the choir more. During my first year here I sang in the chamber choir, and it has this great sense of community, which I really liked. I took Brad's choral conducting class and he asked me to be his assistant conductor this year. Last semester I directed a piece, and I've been leading warm-ups and sectionals this semester. It's been interesting staying with choir for the last four years, since it started out with a large group and now it's down to only about 30 members. The smaller group is more intimate, and everyone knows everyone, which is nice. We're singing Mendelssohn's Elijah this semester, which is normally sung by much larger ensembles. Larger groups can be a lot more difficult to hold together, so I think this gives us the chance now for a clean, high-level performance.