Six senior music majors have been working all term on their capstone projects, the culminations of which will kick off in the Taylor Lounge on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Each project is very different from the others, with each creator having a unique career aspiration.
Drummer and senior Josh Calef, who intends to professionally pursue jazz music, focused his capstone on Art Blakey’s signature move: the press roll. Calef observed through his studies that Blakey utilized the press roll often but for very different reasons in different situations, including leading, accompanying, transitions and tempo changes.
“It really intrigued me that the same musical device can accomplish the opposite things,” he said. “I found myself thinking: What is it about the roll itself that can do this?”
The main thing he took away from reading interviews with Art Blakey is the drumming icon’s assertion: “Let the punishment fit the crime.” It was this line that stuck with Calef as he built his project.
Calef currently drums for the Cherry Street Jazz Combo and found himself applying his studies of Blakey to his own drumming with the group. His verbal articulations of drum lines and jazz melodies only go so far. The best way to understand his application of the press roll is by listening.
“I have a selection where I’m playing a song with my group and the song is a more modern, open sounding song. I don’t do a press roll but I transition in a way that ‘fits the crime’ so to speak.”
Senior Michelle Orr took a different approach for her capstone, which began as a final project following the Dance Program’s Ghana trip in December. She has created a minimalist piece titled “In Transit” that includes African rhythms.
Orr also collaborated with senior Evelyn Langley to add dancers to the mix. Their composition will serve as the opening act at Terpsichore Dance Collective’s “Fractal Fusion,” which will take place on Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Rehearsals for the piece have made the project a little more work right at the end of the term.
“Things have been just crazy this week. Someone informed me at the last minute that they were no longer able to perform. It just became too much of a time commitment for them the weekend before finals,” Orr said.
Despite week nine setbacks, Orr is confident that the performances of her capstone will go well.
“I really like the collaboration aspect. It fell together really nicely,” Orr said.
Senior and nontraditional student Stephanie Campbell also encountered setbacks in pursuing her project, which focuses on music rehabilitation in prisons. Campbell’s struggles have been of the institutional variety: Namely, awaiting paperwork to go through with Galesburg’s Henry C. Hill Correctional Facility, which is a medium to maximum security prison for men.
The title of Campbell’s project is “A Music Educator Goes to Prison,” the end goal of which is to establish a college club that will regularly visit the correctional facility and provide instrumental and vocal instruction for inmates.
At first, Campbell had proposed a completely different project but mentioned the prison idea “in the last two minutes of a Skype interview with [Associate Professor of Music] Sarah Day-O’Connell.”
“In the back of my mind was this little picture that I saw on Facebook. … [I]t was rehabilitation through the arts. A theater group goes to prisons and works with inmates. … [I]t really struck me as interesting,” she said.
So far she has met with the facility’s Warden of Programming to tour the prison and set up a music room and equipment. She has also met some of the inmates.
The next step for Campbell is to present her research thus far and to recruit members for her club and start realizing her vision of musical rehabilitation for Henry Hill’s inmates.
“I will have the sign-up sheet there because I need enough interested students to form the club so we can set up funding and start the application process,” Campbell said. “Personally, I will continue to work with the prison whether or not the club remains because I am passionate about it.”
4:30 p.m. — Stephanie Campbell, “A Music Educator Goes to Prison: Offering Rehabilitation Through Music at Henry Hill Correctional Facility”
4:45 p.m. — Josh Calef, “‘Let the Punishment Fit the Crime:’ Context, Analysis, and Influence of Art Blakey’s Press Roll”
5:00 p.m. — Catie Peck, “Being Female in Male Musical Spaces: Strategies of The Bangles vs. Bikini Kill”
5:15 p.m. — Kailee Gawlik, “Creating Monsters: The Use of Silence in Maria Schneider’s ‘Dance You Monster to My Soft Song’”
5:30 p.m. — Rob Durgin, “The Knox Saxophone Quartet: A One-Step Process of Composition”
5:45 p.m. — Michelle Orr, “‘In Transit:’ Composition for Dance, Percussion, Strings, and Voice”
Editor’s Note: Michelle Orr is the Senior Photo Editor for TKS.