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SMC holds language week recital

Katie Kohler | Tuesday, November 27, 2007

To bridge the gap between cultures and facilitate language study, the modern language and music department at Saint Mary’s will host a multicultural vocal recital tonight as part of Modern Language Week.

The recital, which will include music in French, German, Italian and Spanish will be performed by seniors Crystal Buck, Megan Bolander and McKayela Collins. The show will be at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater.

Marianna Hahn, coordinator of many of this week’s events and German professor at the College, said this as an important way of linking cultures.

“Culture is a major component in my teaching of foreign languages,” she said. “And teaching German, one cannot ignore the major contributions of Germany and Austria to music.”

This is the sixth year Hahn collaborated with the music department to incorporate music into cross-cultural teaching. In prior years, Hahn encouraged her students to perform for the rest of the class.

“In the beginning of each academic year, I like to know of the talents of my students and give then the opportunity to share them in class,” she said. “I had students who played piano, violin, cello, flute and gave a presentation on the history of the piece they played as well as the life of the composer.”

The success of the recitals, most specifically this year, was contingent on the students in Hahn’s classes, she said. This is the second year the formal recital has taken place.

Hahn’s formal involvement with Modern Language Week started last year when she had three vocal performance majors in her French class, she said.

“The idea of singing for the students in the class expanded to a recital for all Saint Mary’s students and faculty,” she said.

The goal of this year’s recital, which will be presented to a much larger audience, is twofold.

“The goal was not only to entertain, but also to combine their music major with the foreign language they study and to show how the two are interrelated,” Hahn said. “This is an interdisciplinary engagement that exposes all students who study a foreign language to the language outside the textbook and classroom.”

Hahn and her students are eager to continue this tradition in the coming years, she said.

The recital will feature the four foreign languages taught at Saint Mary’s and will be mostly arias from operas, Lieder and Spanish zarzuelas.

Buck sees the recital as a way to showcase both the study of modern languages and music.

“The program offers inter-departmental bonds and encourages students, especially those in music, to pursue the study of modern languages,” she said.

The music for the recital was chosen to represent the languages offered at Saint Mary’s and to show the language through song, Buck said.

She said she hopes for continued success of the recital.

“The overall message is that music is an important part of the culture of modern languages,” she said. “And for songs having text, language is exceedingly important in music.”

Other events for Modern Language Week include a German-themed dinner tonight at the Noble Family Dining Hall, a French mass at LeMans Chapel at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, various film screenings and a poetry reading by Yanira Paz at 4 p.m. on Friday in Dalloway’s.