Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Rufus Muller

Project Advisor 2

Alexander Bonus

Abstract/Artist's Statement

**Sr. CONCERT. 1 Objective: To explore double-consciousness via the re-appropriation of a Southern church service. By using a combination of musical styles, textures, and ensemble arrangements, I aimed to recreate the sensations of having double-consciousness based on the 1st chapter of The Souls of Black Folks” by W. E. B. Du Bois (chapter title: Of Our Spiritual Strivings).

Why A Church Service?

  • I feel that double-consciousness is still very prevalent today in the black community in America, however, it is something that manifest differently based on one’s background and experience. I also believe religion had (and still has) a huge influence on the experience/sensation of double-consciousness. Among many other things in the present-day black community, this can be traced back to the physical and psychological damage inflicted upon the enslaved population.

  • I think this is something more black people should know about so I chose a church service because I once heard a guy say: “If you want a message to reach/ be heard in the black community, use the pulpit.”

  • A church service also worked as a way to naturally incorporate the text in a pre-existing structure. Using the text of Du Bois in place of scriptures/religious text also removes the possibility of offending individuals who may closely relate to sacred text from the Bible.

Opening/ Incorporation of Blackout Poetry?

  • Du Bois refers to the imaginary barrier between the black and white world (in America) as “The Veil”. I felt it was a fitting concept to apply to the text that pertained to double-consciousness. Due to the extreme polarization that exist between racial groups in America, especially up until at least high school, there is a “veil”- an invisible barrier of sorts- that keeps us separated.

    • *The product of a fellow Interlochen Alumni (creative writer) from Detroit, MI.

Structure of the Show

  • Song selections were chosen based on their relationships to the placement of the service church (slightly condensed) that I grew up being familiar with in The South.

    • (Ex.) The processional is intended to be a song that is upbeat and sets “the mood of worship’ during a Sunday morning church service. The Congregational Hymn is usually a song that the entire congregation is familiar with, so I chose “What A Wonderful World” because it refers to the beauty of the natural world and is one that I felt to be popular (regardless of background/race).


Artist Statement:

My approach to my second senior concert was to put together a show that was more reflective of who I am as individual and artist; with some insight to my past and experience at Bard. I decided to design the show in two halves: a comical first half and a more serious second half. By including a mix of my original compositions (electronic and acoustic), collaborations (short film music), and song covers, my goal was to create a version of my personal narrative that has followed me throughout my Bard career. I have often been asked by my peers: why hadn’t I pursued a career as a comedian? This was often very frustrating for me internally because my relationship to music is very intimate and it has been an unpleasant reality being unable to play the harp- which was my primary instrument prior to attending Bard. Without access to a harp through my first five semesters, I was forced to venture into other aspects of music which I also showcased in this show- which included vocals, composition, electronic music, and producing. In presenting all of these elements and showcasing my musical capacities, I share the journey and sensation of my growing pains as an artist and individual as a member of the Bard community and the music department at Bard... an experience that I would describe as “present yet removed.”

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