The North Star Project, Summer Report Number Fifteen, Piazza Navona, Italy, Music – a Universal Language
Kendra Souther Update 1: Music – A Universal Language
Music is a language that anyone can understand. As a person who has always been involved in the arts, theater and choir specifically, the previous is a phrase that I’ve heard constantly but never fully understood until recently. This past May I had the opportunity to tour Italy with my college choir. At first I was apprehensive about visiting a country where English was not the first language. This wasn’t due to ignorance of another country that didn’t speak English but because of the repertoire my choir would be performing was all in English and I wasn’t sure if those attending our concerts would be able to appreciate our singing because they didn’t understand. I quickly realized that this was not the case.
At our first concert, the setting was a beautiful church on the Piazza Navona. The crowd was full of Italians who seemed eager to hear us sing. If I had to put an estimate as to how many gathered in attendance I would say that there were close to 150 people. Throughout the concert the audience’s faces were engaged as the choir told a story through music. Although I am sure that many had no idea what we were saying, no one person reflected this. After our set we received a standing ovation and were hailed with praises as we left. This set the stage for the rest of the tour. Throughout the other towns we went to, the appreciation of our music continued. There were many times I found myself tearing up while singing from the atmosphere that was created with the choir and the engagement of the audience.
Music is a language that anyone can understand. I have fully lived and seen this. I left Italy with a new appreciation for the arts and the impact that it can have on humanity. No matter what language one speaks, music is a force that moves past all barriers. It is experiences like the ones I had in Italy that give me hope for a better tomorrow.
The North Star Project: Collaboration between The Middle Ground Journal Student Interns, The College of St. Scholastica, and North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies Classes, 2013-2014 School Year Summer Reports.
Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:
This summer we will re-tool and re-design the collaborative program, drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This summer The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here throughout the summer, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.
Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, June, 2013
(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 6, Spring, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.