‘Voices of Spring’ represents social, cultural implications

By: AMANDA DEE – Staff Writer

“How do the arts shape perceptions of social issues? How do they create cultural, political and personal change?”

Vocal and instrumental artists-in-residence of the University of Dayton Department of Music will answer these questions Feb. 15 in “Voices of Spring: Songs of Revolution, Remembrance and Renewal.” The performance will be hosted in, as artist-in-residence Jim McCutcheon called it, “the wonderfully intimate” Sears Recital Hall in Humanities from 4 to 5:30 p.m., free of cost.

Soprano artist-in-residence Andrea Chenoweth Wells created “Voices of Spring” – a “nod” to composer Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” that all first-year students attended in the fall as part of the Rites.Rights.Writes. initiative of the Graul Chair for Arts and Languages. According to its website, the year-long Rites. Rights. Writes. initiative examines “how artistic explorations of critical human rights issues impact global humanity” through events and experiences across UD campus.

Artists-in residence John Benjamin, Philip Farris, James Leslie, McCutcheon and Wells are the “voices of Spring.”

“[It is] the first performance to feature all the artists-in-residence together as soloists,” Wells said.
McCutcheon will perform guitar music with piano and voice, as well as a solo original piece. Leslie will play percussion. Benjamin and Farris will incorporate piano. Wells’s voice will complement their instrumentation.

Together, the artists-in-residence touch on genres ranging from romantic Latin music to traditional art songs and arias to experimental jazz, Wells said.

“The unifying themes reflect ideas of revolution against society, remembrance of days past and the renewal exemplified by Spring,” she said.

According to Wells, Professor Phillip Farris will offer commentary throughout the program to help students understand these themes and “how all these pieces fit together.”

Voices of Spring represents perspectives on the social and cultural implications of religious rites, human rights and written text, according to its website. Wells said these perspectives often are represented in the way composers treat words as lyrics; this treatment affects how the audience understands those words.

Wells said “most songs are about human rights in one way or another…the right to love, to fight, to know things, to be happy,” including Voices of Spring.

Voices of Spring, as part of Rites.Rights.Writes. initiative, atttempts to answer the question, “How do the arts make us human?”

For more information, contact Wells at (937)229-1236.