Soundings to bring controversial events

Courtesy photo

Voice, a female acapella group, will be one of many Soundings events next semester.

If you’ve ever thought of Soundings as a boring series of concerts and lectures, the spring semester’s line-up of events will have you thinking again.

It includes a half-concert, half-lecture by a musician who talks about his creative experiences with marijuana, a talk by Planned Parenthood’s vice president of public policy, an improvisational comedic Broadway show and a Bobby Kennedy impersonator.

Not so boring, right?

“My goal is to make Soundings modern and relevant,” said Jessica Cowden, manager of Arts Reach, Soundings and arts communication. Cowden officially took the position in October and has high hopes for what students can get out of Soundings.

She said she wants students to go to events thinking, “I don’t know if I’m going to hate it or love it, but I know something I didn’t before.”

This semester will include several controversial events covering very relevant topics.

The “Confessions of a Marijuana Eater” concert and talk with Bobby Gosh will come with a disclaimer stating the views presented do not reflect the views of Castleton University, but the value of having this interesting perspective presented far outweighs the negatives, she said.

“Some events this spring are controversial, but I think that’s appropriate in a college setting,” Cowden said. “The mission of Soundings is to fulfill the vision of a liberal arts education and expose students to a range of events and experiences they might not have access to.”

Students were surprised to hear that this event will be presented at the University.

“I think it sounds weird,” said freshman Jeremy Bauer.

But will he be attending?


“I think it’s cool that there’s a variety of  Soundings events next semester and that there’s one on marijuana because people our age can relate to that more and it’s more in the norm nowadays,” said sophomore Shannon Fischer.

There are also many comedic events coming up including James O’Hagan-Murphy, who has a one-man show impersonating Bobby Kennedy. Murphy is an old friend of Jess and Rich Cowden from Denver.

“Broadway’s Next Hit Musical” is another show sure to bring out some laughs. The show is like an improvisational comedy where the audience can add suggestions, but it’s presented in the form of a musical.

Among some of the more traditional Soundings events is a performance by David Gaschen, an actor who played the Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” for many years on Broadway. Voice, a female a capella group from the UK, will also perform.

Next semester’s line-up will also include the theater department’s production of “American Idiot,” featuring music from the band Green Day.

Fischer thinks these events might make students more interested in the Soundings offerings.

“I think these ones will attract more college students and they will feel like they won’t have to be forced to go because it will actually be interesting with a variety of events instead of the normal singing and instruments,” she said.

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