Foraging in the Forest: Student Projects at Drew

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by Nina Campli, Assistant Student Life & Arts Editor

This week’s Foraging in the Forest focus is once again on the arts, but a different branch: music. If you have not heard of Ben Schneider (‘19) then you have obviously not been to an acapella concert or spent five minutes in the music wing of the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts.

This semester, Schneider is taking an independent study in conducting with Interim Director of Choral and Vocal Studies, Matthew Webb. This is a continuation of last semester’s independent study with previous Director of Choral and Vocal Studies, Dr. Jason Bishop and he will continue it until he graduates.  In this independent study he continues to foster his love for conducting through the development of relevant skills that will help him as he grows into a better conductor and musician. Schneider stated he wanted to do this study because “the field that I am interested in, choral conducting, requires a developed skill set for me to audition for grad school, and there aren’t enough courses here at Drew in that particular area of study to prepare me.” He describes conducting as using and understanding every aspect of music including performance, vocal health and even a few administrative things, “This is extremely in line with Drew’s liberal arts ideology, because in order to become a good conductor, I need to be good at everything else the department has to offer, too.” He added, “This independent study is a place where I can begin using the knowledge and skills I’ve gained in other music classes to create an informed performance of the piece I’m conducting.”

This semester Schneider will be conducting two pieces: one with Alta Voce, the treble choir, and one in Chorale, the chamber choir. For Alta Voce, he is conducting an arrangement of“Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” the popular southern gospel piece. For the Chorale, he will conduct a piece called “Joy,” in which Webb will be helping with the accompaniment of the four hand piece, composed by Hans Bridger Heruth.

If you want to see Schneider’s conducting skills go to any one of the acapella concerts this semester or the Choral Concert on April 21 at 8 p.m.

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