by Alexa Schmidt, Features Editor
Andy Bauer, the director of Performing Arts, is running the fourth consecutive album class in the spring semester. The album class focuses and studies a particular album throughout the semester, and their final exam includes performing for the student body at the end of the semester. The album of choice is Carole King’s “Tapestry.”
Bauer had specific reasons in mind for choosing this particular album, taking into account that the music of Carole King has become much more prominent in recent years because of the show “Beautiful” on Broadway.
“Another factor that came into play is that the first two classes we did were “Abbey Road” and “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” which were really very male-oriented in terms of the vocals. And so I have all these very talented girls here and they seem to signal that an album like “Tapestry,” would be something that they would really like to do. And I just sort of leaned in the direction of doing tapestry last year but we did the original album class last year. So, it just kind of naturally fell into place,” Bauer said.
Junior Alliso Powers is taking the class for the first time, and will be playing guitar and providing background vocals. Powers joined the class because she knew her friends were taking the class, and wanted to expand her horizons as an instrumentalist and vocalist.
“I don’t really know much about Carole King, but I’m really excited that Andy chose an album that was written and recorded by a female artists. I know in the past Andy has picked Beatles albums and as iconic the Beatles are, I’m really excited that we’re going to do an album that’s by a woman. As for the album specifically, I know a few songs on Tapestry and I’m really excited to learn more about Carol’s vision when the class begins,” Powers said.
Senior Audrey Sabatino has never taken the class before, but hopes to bring her vocal talents to the class. In addition to being a Performing Arts scholar, Sabatino is a music minor.
“First off, I think the whole concept of the album class is so cool and unique. I’ve never heard of a class like this before at other schools. I’ve gone to all of the other album class performances and always knew I wanted to take part in one before I graduated,” Sabatino said.
In addition to weekly class, the participants have rehearsals and other meetings outside of the required time.
“This class will require a lot of work outside of when the class meets, but I’m ready and excited for it. Learning new music has actually always been a way in which I relieve stress. That isn’t to say the class won’t be stressful, but rather that I’m excited to take on the challenge,” Sabatino said.
Bauer noted that the album class is starting to “take root as an established class here at the college and it’s kind of something that’s now expected to happen.” This coming semester will have fifteen performers, which will be the largest class Bauer will have taught. Although smaller classes are ideal, Bauer is excited to work with the students on analyzing “Tapestry.”
“The whole concept of analyzing a piece, and then applying the knowledge that you gain from your analysis to a performance is really a unique thing. I mean there’s a lot of classes where you analyze stuff and you sit in the classroom and you talk about it, but then when you actually do the music that you’re talking about, I think that’s really cool and really amazing. And I think there couldn’t be a better understanding on the part of the students doing it any other way. So that’s that’s really what the innovative factor is, you know, classes that we actually perform the music that we study,” Bauer said.
“And it also brings in a lot of people who would not necessarily play music together because they have a common goal, the love for the particular album we’re doing or maybe they just have to take a class to satisfy the requirements. So we always have an interesting chemistry that sort of comes out of the out of the class, and a lot of great memories in the class,” he said.
Powers and Sabatino look forward to building relationships and discovering more about themselves and others.
“I’m really excited to learn more about myself as an artist and Carole as an artist. And I’m also really excited to get to know others in the class I don’t know too well and even the friends that I do have in the class I’m excited to learn more about their musical ability and their musicianship,” Powers said.
“The coming semester is my last one at Manhattan College, which is of course bittersweet. But from the class itself, I’m really looking forward to seeing how this class helps me grow as a musician, as corny as it sounds. Also, I can’t wait to work with such an incredibly talented group of people,” Sabatino added.