Choral collaboration combines biology with music

Image from the forthcoming choral concert on Oct. 20.

New choral director Meredith Bowen is using an unlikely source to guide an upcoming concert – biology.

The focus of the concert, titled “I Can See the Light,” is nature and climate change.

“Choral music is different from band or orchestra music because it has text, which tells stories,” Bowen said. “I stumble upon pieces that share similar stories, which is how I program concerts. Sometimes it starts with a story I want to tell, sometimes it begins with one piece of music that sparks my interest and other times a number of pieces rise to the top of my piles of music and present themselves as a story.”

To Bowen, the story is simple for this concert.

“I want to educate those who don’t know about climate change and show the tools we have to reduce those effects,” Bowen said. “My hope is that people are moved to small, everyday actions they can take to help save our planet. We will model this one way by providing the program projected on a screen rather than printed on paper.”

To achieve this goal, Bowen partnered with Professor Lauren McCarthy, a new faculty member in biology.

“Lauren took my ideas to her ecology lab, where students found images that represented the music,” Bowen said. “They created slides based on the music. They also wrote text for it in easily digestible paragraphs.”

Bowen has a goal for her choral programs at Radford University.

“I believe in this world of technology that we are not becoming more connected, but rather, disengaged,” she said. “I believe choral music has the power to bring people together and that most people yearn for that connection.”

The collaborative concert is at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the Performance Hall in the Covington Center. Members of the percussion ensemble will also play in the concert.

For a full list of events, visit the College of Visual and Performing Arts webpage.

Oct 12, 2016
Max Esterhuizen
(540) 831-7749