All the world’s a stage, and students singing works inspired by story exchanges are on it. After Professor Christine Cusick of Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA introduced story exchanges into her curricula, they started happening all over campus. And now, Assistant Professors Joseph Domencic and Stefan Zubal have incorporated them into their Musical Theater Vocal Performance and Dance classes. The professors and students prepared original performances around “Empathy as Strength” and “Lending Our Voices,” and our hearts won’t stop skipping.
Seton Hill University Assistant Professor Joseph Domencic, director of “Lending Our Voices,” wrote this for the evening’s program:
Last September, I was introduced to the work of Narrative 4 organization through Seton Hill’s “Be the Story: Mission in Action” event organized and led by Dr. Christine Cusick. I was immediately drawn to the beauty and goodness of their mission to “break down barriers and shatter stereotypes through the exchange of stories.” I was also excited about the possibility of incorporating that work into my acting classes.
At the core of the program are “story exchanges” in which individuals are paired off in order to share their personal stories. Afterwards, each tells their partner’s story as if it were their own. This simple but powerful exercise is promoting empathy and action across the world. It is also at the heart of what we do as actors. Every time we take on a role and tell another’s story, we are collaborators in this movement of empathy.
The recital we are sharing today is a variation of the story exchange, adapted for the Musical Theatre Vocal Performance Class. In this variation, the students chose individuals whose stories they thought worth sharing. Then they wrote monologues for those individuals, in most instances in their subject’s actual words. Finally they each chose a song to sing as that person. Today, they will share those stories and songs with you.
We’re raising our voices in praise!
More from Narrative 4 around the globe:
5/5/17 – Forging Connections in the Heartland (a BBC report)
4/28/17 – Bridging the Middle School Divide
4/21/17 –A Culture of Caring in South Africa
3/14/17 – Empathy in Israel
3/7/17 – Student Leaders SCHout for Diversity
2/3/17 – Connecting at UConn