Symposium’s music extravaganza Reply

By Kayli Hertel – 1851 Staff

On Tuesday, December 4, the Music Extravaganza for Symposium took place in Yamawaki Auditorium where the Jazz Band, Chorus, Understanding the Blues Class, and the Rhythm and Blues Band all performed. The evening consisted of eclectic music that showcased the students and faculty’s talent.

“It went terrific, I was incredibly proud of the kids. Everybody played and sang well. They worked hard and it showed,” said Professor Harvey Finstein of the performers in the extravaganza.

The evening began with the Jazz Band, which is made up of faculty members Harvey Finstein, Michele Kosboth, Linda Walden, Jeff Corcoran and Ken Calhoun. When it came to choosing a set list for the performance, the band worked together in choosing songs.

“We like to choose jazz based tunes that are easy to sing and there are a couple favorites that I had that would feature some of the harmonies of the two lead singers,” said Finstein. These tunes included “Feel Like Making Love” and “Willow Weep For Me.”

After the Jazz Band, the Chorus continued the extravaganza with a mixture of foreign music as well as songs from the Broadway musical “A Chorus Line.” Each semester, Professor Allegra Martin, the Music Director of the group, chooses a language for the group to learn.

“There was one semester where I tried to do a number of different languages and I think it was just really confusing to try to absorb all that,” said Martin.

It was decided that they would choose only one language, but do a variety of pieces in that language.

“After that I thought that it would be helpful if not only could we do one language per a semester but if I did multiple pieces in that language then the kids would kind of get more familiar with it,” said Martin. In the previous years the Chorus chose Latin and Italian as the languages of choice. This semester the Chorus decided to choose French.

Students sang songs such as “Noël Nouvelet” which translates to “A New Christmas”, and “Milord” which translates to “Sir (My Lord).” Diana West, a soloist for the song “Milord,” expressed that in her time with the Chorus she has had the opportunity to sing in multiple different languages.

“In my time singing with Allegra I have sung Bemba (a dialect from Zambia), Swahili, Gaelic, Latin, Italian and French,” said West. However, it is not only the learning of a new language that can be a challenge, but also how a performer conveys the meaning of the song. “You also have to keep in the back of your mind what you are really saying,” said West.

Following the Chorus, Professor Finstein’s Understanding the Blues Class performed the song “My Girl.”

“Most of these students haven’t had a lot of music behind them and yet they were able to do a great job singing and playing,” said Finstein. The song “My Girl” was picked specifically during the class as a way to showcase the talents they honed from their hard work over the semester.

The final act of the night was a performance from the Rhythm and Blues Band. Ashlyn Curley, Gabrielle Povolotsky and Carissa Woolf performed vocals individually then later as a group while Brandon Chase and Eric Schindler accompanied them on the guitar and piano respectively.

“There was a great audience and every act was really talented. It was a good time,” said Povolotsky of the event.

When it comes to planning for Symposium the process is often a semester long experience. The members of the Jazz Band often work together when it comes to picking songs for a performance. For the Chorus, the set list initially depends on the range of voices participating. Martin said that suggestions from the students are always welcome.

“I always like to take suggestions from the kids about repertoire. I ask the kids ‘What are you interested in seeing?’” said Martin. There is a chance that next semester’s music will include songs from the musical “Les Miserables.”

Students and faculty alike are encouraged to join any of the musical groups if they would like to be trained, regardless of current music knowledge.

“We are always looking for new musicians and singers. We can coach them. We would love to grow and keep growing in both vocals and instruments,” said Finstein.

“Everyone is really friendly and it’s really fun to just get together with cool people doing things that you all love,” said Povolotsky.

For those wishing to join the Jazz Band or the Rhythm and Blues Band or any of Professor Finstein’s classes contact him at For those wishing to join the Chorus there are two sessions: one on Wednesdays from 4:00 to 6:00 and another from on Fridays from 1:30 to 3:30. Both sessions meet once a week in Yamawaki Auditorium. For more information contact Allegra Martin at

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