Arts Encounter #1


Cooper Klares

Sung Sunday Evening Prayer with Hendricks Chapel Choir and Organ


Prior information:

This service was only introduced to Syracuse last semester. It is a non-denominational service that is meant to bring people together every week for half an hour. The service is entirely sung by the university’s own Hendricks Chapel Choir. Even though I don’t consider myself very religious, the service will be non-denominational, and I will go into it with an open mind, and just think about taking in the ceremony as an experience that will be peaceful and enjoyable.


During the event:

The organ started with an prelude to the entire performance. It was very interesting watching the organ player because I have never really gotten to see very many organ performers. I never really realized how involved one’s entire body is involved, because not only are here 2 separate keyboards (one on top of the other), but there are also knobs that you push and pull to change the timbre, as well as bass pedals which require you to use your foot to play, and they look like an keyboard for your feet. The ceremony took place in Hendricks chapel, which has a big rounded ceiling in which the organ resinated.

A view of the altar of Hendricks Chapel from down the aisle.

Then the organist stopped, and the choir proceeded into the chapel. They walked in 2 lines down the aisle, and then they made their way onto the altar. The way that they organized themselves on the stage was very cool, because when they reached the altar, they did not just line up, but they kind of weaved in and out of the lines and then got themselves organized and it had a cool effect. Then, they started reciting some prayers. Some of them were hymns, where they invited the rest of the audience to sing along using the chapel’s hymn books. Most of the time though, it was a sort of “call and response” type thing between one of the members of the choir, who recited the prayer in song, and then the rest of the choir, responding to the choir member’s instruction or statement.

The choir singing at the altar of Hendricks Chapel

I wish I had done a little bit more research on the songs that they would be singing, and the kinds of prayers that they would be doing that night, because some of the times, it was a little difficult to hear what they were saying and I did get a little bit lost during some of the prayers, but it was still a very cool experience. It was very peaceful to listen to, and there were only 3 or 4 other people present at the service, so it was kind of a time to personally reflect on what the prayers meant, and just listen to some really nice singing and organ playing.


Unit 1 Project

Music has had its way of raising the people’s voices in history. It is very important to society and should be a thing that everybody can use to express themselves and their beliefs. I have had many good experiences with live music. One of my favorites being the time that I saw Ed Sheeran live at Forest Hills Stadium in New York. I really enjoy listening to his style of pop music because he sings about real emotions that he has experienced, and ones that are easy to relate to. The emotions that he presents in his lyrics and his acoustic instrumentation were reflected greatly in the way that he gave his performance and I loved that. I remember how shocked I was at the fact that he was filling massive stadiums like Radio City Music Hall, and Madison Square Garden with just his voice and a guitar. This is a very special musical feat, considering there are millions of singer/songwriters who solely play with their guitar and their voices. What makes Sheeran’s music so special? There is a real underlying message to his music that is effectively delivered in this style. His music talks about the real, raw emotions that he has experienced throughout his past relationships, and for the most part they are very relatable. The correspondence between the simple, acoustic instrumentation along with his genuine emotion makes for the perfect recipe for popular music.

Man proposes to his girlfriend with a little help from Ed Sheeran at one of his concerts.

That same emotion is very important all throughout pop music. It is important because those emotions need to be presented into things that are relevant in present times. A lot of Ed Sheeran’s music is about love, which is something that will most likely never go away. Because of his incorporation of relationships in his music, most people would associate his music with love, and other emotions linked to love. Music has a special quality, in that listeners can associate certain events and beliefs with certain music playing. But it is not only musical association that powerful, but the messages in the music itself. For example, the 1963 March on Washington was a very important time in history. It is where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream Speech.” According to an article from the New Yorker, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the march, this march brought “nearly 250,000 men, women, and children, mostly African-American, to the nation’s capital.” Not only were there speakers at this march, but there were also many musicians who were also pushing for jobs, and freedom. One of those singers was Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan, was a very popular singer, who started off as a folk rock singer, but overtime, his music got extremely popular and fell into the pop music category. At the march, Dylan sang his song “Only a Pawn in Their Game” which is a retelling of the death of American civil rights activist and NAACP field secretary, Medgar Evers. A song like this, in front of a large crowd of African American people looking for change, is very powerful and it can cause a spark of inspiration in a group of people who is looking for inspiration to make important changes in their lives. Sometimes, speeches and discussions can only be processed for so long in somebody’s mind, and then they just become regular thoughts and ideas. While on the other hand, music is a completely personal experience, and it can be processed by everybody differently, and it is often, much easier to feel and is more effective in delivering a message than anything else.

Music is not only effective in delivering a powerful message to the people, but it is also used as a tool to relate to one another. Often when meeting somebody new, one of the first things we ask about each other is what kind of music the other likes. From there, we decide if we can choose to associate ourselves with each other (country, no thank you!) But music is used to appeal to certain audiences. For example, a store would not play heavy death metal in a children’s clothing store. That would only scare away the children, and their parents. Quite frankly, that might scare everybody away, but you get the idea. In the 2016 presidential election, music was a big tool amongst all candidates. According to The Guardian, each presidential candidate had their own mix of tunes to try to appeal to their voters. For example, trying to appeal to her demographic, Hillary Clinton created a playlist that was “mostly female-led pop ballad bangers – such as Perry’s Roar and Stronger by Kelly Clarkson” and it could be heard from far outside of the venues she was speaking at.

Pop singer Katy Perry and Hillary Clinton
Pop singer Katy Perry and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump had chosen a rather eclectic selection of music, ranging “from the Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar to the Phantom of the Opera to the Hulk Hogan theme song.” Ted Cruz, who was a candidate from Texas, as well as an evangelical, played country music and Christian pop. The music the candidates was carefully chosen. Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, an assistant professor in music at Georgia College says, “Music, as I see it, is the candidate’s attempt to constitute their identity in sound. To sonically construct themselves in a way that appeals to the voters but also offers insight to who they are and what they stand for.” That being said, the song choice of each candidate was not just what they had in their top 10 on their ipods, but it was carefully selected for many different strategical reasons.


Music is a universal tool for communication around the world. People use it to make themselves feel happy, or sometimes they need a song to cry to. Music is something that everybody has, and everybody can make. The use of music in expressing one’s self is such an important skill. People use it to quietly express how they are feeling to themselves, or sometimes it is used to express ideas and beliefs to entire crowds of people. No matter what it is being used for, it is a very viable, and effective tool in today’s world.

Sources Cited:

Jamieson, Amber. “Pop for Politics: How Candidates Brand Themselves with Music.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 01 Mar. 2016. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.

“Dream Songs: The Music of the March on Washington.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 16 July 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.