Spanish guitar builder Antonio Marin gives Stacy Grant '08, Michelle Hart '08, and professor Randy Zwally a tour of his shop in Granada, Spain.
Students capture and broadcast the sounds of Spain
“Usually the students write about what they see and maybe take photos, but here they were keenly observing with their ears,” says Randy Zwally, the director of guitar studies and a senior lecturer in music at Messiah, who along with Spanish professor Kim Yunez led 20 students on a cross cultural trip to Spain in May, 2008. This team of professors, who also led a trip to Spain together two years before, added a unique aural component to this year’s trip.
Two students with music backgrounds were asked to capture the sounds of Spain with digital recorders. “If you were a journalist for a radio station, you would listen in a different way,” explains Zwally. The students assigned to this project, Michelle Hart ’08 and Stacy Grant ’08, developed new listening skills as they created an “audio postcard” of their trip, preserving the memory in a way that journaling and photography cannot.
The recordings were made possible through a partnership with the WITF FM 89.5 —a public radio station— which broadcasts Classical Air, a classical music morning show hosted by Cary Burkett. Knowing that the show often played classical guitar music, Zwally thought Burkett might be interested in hearing about the upcoming trip to Spain, home of the modern classical guitar. Burkett, intrigued by the trip, loaned the students a digital recorder and assigned them as roving reporters.
Hart and Grant’s experiences in Spain allowed them to capture a wide variety of sounds, from the ringing of cathedral bells to the roar of the ocean waves. “And of course, the music,” says Zwally. “I was attracted to the music [of Spain],” he says, “and that’s how we began to collaborate, because the history of the guitar is very much tied up with the history of Spain.”
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