Sep. 26, 2012 by Lauren Rubenstein
On Aug. 31, “Where We Live,” a program on WNPR public radio, featured two segments about music at Wesleyan.
Rob Rosenthal, provost, vice-president of academic affairs and the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, and his son Sam Rosenthal, a writer and musician in New York City, discussed a new collection of Pete Seeger’s personal writings that they co-edited. The book is Pete Seeger: In His Own Words (Paradigm Publishers).
They described the experience of combing through decades of Seeger’s writings in the folk singer’s Beacon, NY home while he hovered nearby. “He would drop in from time to time to see if we had dug up anything interesting, or to tell us a story,” Sam Rosenthal recalls.
“[Seeger] wanted a complete picture. We say in the book, he said to us at the beginning, ‘Don’t make me a saint, I’m not a saint,’” says Rob Rosenthal. He later adds that Seeger “had no problem with us using anything we wanted” to include in the book.
Later in the show, Pam Tatge, director of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts, discussed MiddletownRemix, a project that’s part of the yearlong exploration of Music & Public Life at Wesleyan. The project invites all members of the Wesleyan and Middletown communities to explore, share and remix the sounds of Middletown throughout the year. It uses location-based cell phone technology, a database, and a web application allowing individuals to record and store sounds and images of Middletown and position them in a digital map.
The result, Tatge says, will be “a tour of the acoustic identity of Middletown.”
“We want to break down the conventional barriers between audience and composer, and democratize what it means to make music… This way, we really try to elevate the artist and the composer in everyone,” she explains.
More information on MiddletownRemix is available here.