Reflection On Our Songs Know Who We Are, By Dr. Ysaye

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A Reflection on Symposium 2016

This response primarily rests on my view of music and how Dr. Ysaye’s presentation, Symposium 2016: “Our Songs Know Who We Are”, enlarged my experience of the sense of unity I receive in polyphonic music. A large part of my reflection involves my involvement with music in the Unitarian Church and back in Lesotho. First, I will introduce the readers to Alex Pollard, a choir member with cerebral palsy. [1] Second, I will present a Basotho women’s choir during a harvest season. [2] Third, I will share my adventures in a local choir. Finally, I will cast a reflection about these settings in relation to my perceived notion of polyphony.

Contrary to my belief that singing in a choir emulates harmony, Alex Pollard’s
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For over three months or so, we had been working on Faure’s Requiem with one of the most prominent composers and directors. So, the rehearsals were intense it took the extra time to concentrate on the details of my first soprano lines. Because at the time I did not own a vehicle, a friend in the choir who used to give me rides offered me a ride that day. We arrived for the rehearsal late. Upon arrival, her alto section readjusted themselves to make room for her to stand. My soprano section did not move. I walked to the front of the choir and sat in a pew. I recall asking one of the choir managers if my section would move so that I could stand by them. Her response echoes in my ears with her saying: “you are stuck with the …show more content…
Ysaye’s presentation at the Symposium 2016, my songs know who I am. I recall one Unitarian activist who informed me that he ought to approve my speech at church on , “Cutting Through Racism With Opera”. He said Leontyne price, Nina Simone and several others had sung opera before me and therefore I could not speak of Opera as a told against racism. He said the topic was inappropriate because racism is only a subcategory in class warfare. Even though he is a fellow activist on police brutality I declined all his offers to preserve my right to define who I am and what singing opera means to me. My grandmother was the first to sing opera in my family. The villagers thought she sounded like a goat, but that did not stop her. The Catholic Church, of which she was a staunch member, did not stop her. This story of my grandmother on insistence on defining who she was parallelled her story of defying female genital mutilation in my family. After my grandfather’s death, she was afraid that tribal patriarchs would take over her family and send my mother to lebollo, where she would be mutilated. Therefore, she and my mother fled on horseback to a village which was about 25 hours away. I am united with her in that purpose. Even though she finished her phrase in mortality, years ago, I continue my phrases in polyphony and in the unity of the song she

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