Beating the Blues with Broadway on “Oberlin Stage Left”

By Megan McLaughlin

One of my favorite things I’ve watched online since the beginning of social distancing has been the playful banter between Opera Theatre Professor Chris Mirto and Musicology Professor Jamie O’Leary in their “Oberlin Stage Left” stream, Beat the Blues with Broadway

Started by Oberlin Conservatory in mid-April, the new series of livestreams hosted by Conservatory faculty ranges in format from documentary viewings to question and answer sessions with guests. Beat the Blues with Broadway is a carefree discussion about some of the hosts’ favorite choreographers and singers, complete with interactive audience participation and clips from different musicals.

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A Zoom Call With Auto-Lola

By Amari Newman

On April 17th, I conducted an interview with aspiring Hip-Hop and Experimental artist Auto-Lola. This was the inaugural installment of a weekly series of Zoom interviews that SleepWalker Radio, a show on Oberlin College’s WOBC-FM radio station, will be conducting over the next month. We were also joined by fellow SleepWalker members/affiliates Musa, Quentin, and Sara.

I Zoomed into our meeting room and encountered a smiling Auto eager to discuss. This was the first time either of us had done a virtual interview, and this had been planned since January. The interview was originally scheduled for Mid-March to follow his performance at Oberlin’s Dionysus Disco. Unfortunately, two days before his Friday night show, the College announced that all large gatherings would be canceled and students would have to leave campus by the end of the weekend due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

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Album Review — Ma Quela Idea

By Lilyanna D’Amato

Every day, somewhere around four in the afternoon, I have the same conversation with my Mom. I wander into her office to tell her that I’m bored, she scolds me because she hates the word “bored” (it is “forbidden” in this house) and says that if I’m so unimaginative she will certainly dream up something for me to do. After five weeks of my nonsense, she finally did. 

Much to my dismay, I was sent to unpack the boxes in the basement, the contents of which haven’t seen the light of day since 1998. So, that’s how I spent my Saturday, up to my neck in junk. Or so I thought. On my sixth box, I uncovered my Dad’s collection of 80s CDs. At first I saw some familiar, albeit dusty, favorites — Prince’s Sign “O” The Times, Bowie’s Tonight, Marvin Gaye’s Midnight Love — but as I sifted through the piles, I found a few I had never seen before. Among them was a 1981 four-track EP from Italo disco artist Pino D’Angiò called Ma Quale Idea, the vivacious tech-pop album I never knew I needed.

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#Livingroomtoday is fostering community amidst COVID


By Quentin Zimbalist

Created in 2015 as a way to connect internet friends via art and comedy, Livingroomtoday eventually became a “Cohesively organized, simultaneous IRL/virtual event bringing together musical performances,” according to Michael Brown, a longtime listener. Discontinued after 2017, the series was recently revived by New York-based videographer and event planner Nick Blanco. I attended the March 26th concert, and after its fashionably late start, I had a great night watching a stream filled with surprises

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Dana Jessen and Aaron Dilloway — “The Quarantine Concerts”

By Tyler Smith

Due to the abrupt halt of live events because of the pandemic, Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio (ESS) has begun an online series titled “The Quarantine Concerts.” The concerts, held on the streaming platform Twitch, involve artists from all over the world. With each artist given a half-hour slot to perform whatever they desire, every concert results in a diverse musical jumble. Earlier in April, ESS featured improvised sets by Oberlin professor Dana Jessen, and by Hanson Records owner Aaron Dilloway.

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Review: Giselle on

By Megan McLaughlin

The Opéra National de Paris’s 2007 production of Giselle makes it abundantly clear why the French are known for ballet. The new choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot brings a breath of fresh air to the score of Adolphe Adam’s tried and true 1841 “ballet-pantomime.” Giselle recounts the tale of a peasant girl in the Middle Ages who dies after having her heart broken by a Duke. Streaming now on with a duration of just under two hours, Giselle is a great quarantine activity for those looking to nourish their childlike sense of wonder.

The ballet opens with Duke Albrecht (Nicolas Le Riche) disguising himself as a peasant to court the lovely villager Giselle (Laëtitia Pujol). The two fall fast in love, chasing each other around the village square and engaging in playful gimmicks before joining in a capricious pas de deux. Their love dismays Giselle’s mother, who thinks the gamekeeper Hilarion (Wilfried Romoli) is a far better match. 

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Free For All — Album Review

free for all art

By Damani McNeil

In the pantheon of Jazz musicians, Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers hold a special place, and perform a critical function. Releasing 47 studio albums over a 35 year span featuring scores of members in myriad combinations, Blakey’s Jazz Messengers have served as a living archive of jazz, recording some of the most iconic snapshots of the state of the genre and it’s most prolific artists. Situated in between the release of Ugetsu (1963) and Kyoto (1964), Free For All is one of the group’s most legendary offerings, and also one of their most beautiful.

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Pho — Album Review

ari lennox pho art

By Damani McNeil

Through her successes on Shea Butter Baby and Revenge of the Dreamers III, Ari Lennox’s early buzz has bloomed into one of the most promising young careers in music. Known for her silky, seductive voice and well put-together visuals, her brand is cohesive and she seems primed to make a serious pass at the position of Queen of R&B.

As elite as her contributions have been over the past two years, her talent and vision were introduced to the world long before her popular success, in the form of a 7 track EP titled Pho.

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Preview: Tav Daly Junior Trombone Recital

By Megan McLaughlin

“I’ve been working on learning how to play the trombone,” Tav Daly said to me, half-sarcastically, in an interview in the Conservatory Library on Tuesday. A charming young man and a third-year trombone performance major at Oberlin Conservatory, will present his Junior trombone recital at 1:30 pm on Saturday, March 14th, in Stull Recital Hall. Daly’s will be the second of eight degree recitals from Oberlin’s trombone studio this year, following the appointment of new trombone professor John Gruber in the fall.

“When programming my recital, I wanted to begin with something that sounded Baroque-ish” Daly said. He’ll begin with 20th-century French composer Eugene Bozza’s Hommage à Bach — not Baroque exactly, but inspired by Bach. Following that, Daly will be joined by Amelia Horton and Conrad Smith (trumpets), Megan McLaughlin (horn), and Sam Weaver (bass trombone) for the first movement from Victor Ewald’s Brass Quintet No. 3

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Concert Review: The Metropolitan Opera’s Barbiere di Siviglia

By Lilyanna D’Amato

On this twentieth day of quarantine, I have grown weary of watching. I spent the first few days happily catching up on Succession, the next few binge-watching every episode of Tiger King, and now, a week and a half later, I’ve resorted to fruitless channel surfing. On Sunday, I spent a whopping six hours on my phone. So, at 7:30 last night, when I propped my laptop on the edge of my bed and nestled myself under the covers to watch The Metropolitan Opera’s March 24th, 2007 stream of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, I was anticipating another few hours of mind-numbing screen time. But, fortunately, the performance far exceeded my watch-weary skepticism. 

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