Section: Arts

Kenyon Harmony project connects campus through music

In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s difficult for students to adapt to completing school from home and to find ways to separate work from other pastimes. In the past few weeks, Kenyon students have devised creative ways to be productive, one of them being the Kenyon Harmony Project.

This semester, Professor of Music Ted Buehrer has been teaching Music and Entrepreneurship (MUSC 325.00), which is about the myriad of career opportunities available to musicians. Buehrer organizes video calls with alumni who are in music fields, and informs his students about professional musicians who are creating new types of revolutionary careers in the industry.

The Kenyon Harmony Project was created as a result of this class, according to an email written by Leah Dunbar ’20 to the Collegian. Dunbar, the executive director of the project, wrote that the class originally planned to put on an educational festival for kids in the local community. However, after this plan was derailed by the COVID-19, the students of MUSC 325 talked over alternatives. “We could do a more traditional class about 21st-century musicianship and organizations, or we could turn on a dime and go forward with a new project idea,” Dunbar wrote. “We thought that shifting to a virtual music initiative allowed us to fulfill that need in our community, to keep collaborating musically with Kenyon people even though we are all quarantined.”

The final product, which should be completed in May, will be composed of three parts, and students, staff and alumni are encouraged to get involved in as many parts as they wish. The first part is the Kokosing Farewell, a montage of video submissions of people singing the quintessential Kenyon College tune. This is meant to be “a virtual choir of all sorts of Kenyon folks, brought together to sing this special song in a difficult time,” Dunbar said.

For the second part of this project, participants send a video of themselves performing solo acts or multi-track ensembles that they have made in quarantine. Finally, the third part will be a collaboration between the writers and musicians of the Kenyon community: Poets and writers are asked to submit a piece of writing focused on the idea of “harmony.” The authors of the pieces can choose to either film themself reading it, or have it matched to a musician who will create a musical adaptation. “In creating the works,” Dunbar wrote, “I hope people get to enjoy the process of music making and preparing even if they’re doing them in quarantine.” The deadline to submit files is April 25.

Not only does this project offer music students a forum to work with others in the same position, but it also reminds the community of the unfaltering Kenyon spirit. “This is in no way a replacement for the traditional Senior Sing,” Dunbar wrote. “However, we do think that this project will impact those who are involved in campus music (either through performing/watching), as well as seniors whose time for on-campus performances has ended abruptly.”

To submit your videos or ask questions, email kenyonharmonyproject@gmail.com.

To stay updated on details about the project, its Facebook page is Kenyon Harmony Project, and it can be found on Instagram @kenyonharmonyproject.

Additional details can be found in this folder:  https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1v3-qom9lbWJxFf1soVGcjxesk_P5tqw6.

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