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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Kacey Deamer at 8:38PM
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Blog posting written by Kacey Deamer, Journalism and Environmental Studies '13, FLEFF Intern, Binghamton, NY

This past Wednesday night, Feb 22, music professors Dr. Brad Hougham, Assistant Professor of Performance Studies (Voice), and Dr. Debbie Martin, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Performance Studies (Piano) discussed their plans for "The Concert for Microtopias" to be held on Tuesday, March 27.

In Ithaca College's Whalen School of Music, about 40 other FLEFF interns and some FLEFF staff listened to Houghman and Martin both discuss and demonstrate what we can expect from the concert. "The Concert for Microtopias" will feature performances by  Hougham and Martin, as well as outside musicians. 

As the professors shared their musical selections, I was most struck by Houghman's discussion of performing Wade in the Water. He played Big Momma Thornton's version for us on YouTube and discussed the story behind the song's lyrics. An African-American spiritual song, Wade in the Water is traced to the suffering of slaves.

"I grew up on a cattle ranch so this type of suffering is not something familiar with," Houghman said. "So my challenge is how can I sing this music? What right do I have to sing this?"

Houghman, who grew up in rural Canada, explained that it is incredibly difficult to perform a song such as Wade in the Water when he doesn't have those experiences to relate to. As someone who appreciates music and integrity, I was moved my Houghman's discussion of finding that balance between performance and pretend.

FLEFF is a different environment. An interdisciplinary festival, FLEFF hopes to cross boarders and encourage discussion. So I ask you: what are your expectations of FLEFF and how has the FLEFF Intern Voices blog changed those expectations?

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