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Professor finds way to make musical performance meaningful for his students despite not performing publicly

Jan 6, 2021

Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Program Director for Music Kip Taisey has made the most of this year's restrictions on public performance. His students, and in turn his discipline on campus, has remained very engaged throughout the past semester as they figured out ways to stay active and hone their craft.

"You never know what seed you're planting in other individuals that may grow over time," he said when explaining the types of social projects the students involved themselves in during the course of their semester. 

Normally during this time, his students would be performing several musical concerts, have been on stage in a couple of theatre performances, and caroling about the downtown neighborhoods as part of Flagler's holidays festivities in the community. 

Instead the students' semester revolved around the Justice Choir Project. It began as an individual assignment for students to find a way to perform safely but in a way that they were developing their skills. He recalled the students immediately initiated forming virtual work groups according to a social issue towards which they felt most passionate. Then, they created unique projects they felt highlighted those social issues. From homelessness experiences to overall peace, the projects covered a wide spectrum. 

In a time when teaching acting and musical performance can be challenging, Taisey said there's definitely lessons he's taken from recent months and even ideas he'll incorporate into his classes going forward. One of those will be providing the lecture portion online for a student to review on their own time when they feel they can best absorb the material. Going over that material outside of class time will allow for more hands-on instruction in the classroom, focusing more on the actual performing rather than the methodology and theory. 

Before that time comes when classes return to normal, he said his department will simply continue to find ways to stay active and work around the circumstances with activities like the Justice Choir Project. He stressed that he saw the project as helpful to the students not just in their academics and checking a box for taking a class, but also helpful for life in general: "It's about empathy." 

"Regardless of where your talents lie," he said, "those of us that feel motivated to act in some way to do what we can, can help to shed light on some issues." 

To see an unedited sampling of the students' projects, please check out Flagler College's YouTube page here and watch the video! 

To hear the full Flagler Footnotes interview with Professor Taisey, please visit  here

Students in his department are staying active in other ways outside of the classroom. Check out the news on these students who've placed in the North Florida Chapter of National Association of Teachers of Singing under the direction of Professors Weinberg and Colsant. 

Adult Musical Theatre Treble Category- Jessica Allan, 1st Place 

Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) TTB Category - Aaron Fantacone, 1st Place 

CCM Treble Category - Stephanie (Stevie) Hyde, 1st Place 

IXA Category - Camryn Chiriboga, 1st place (TIE), Sloan Skat, 2nd Place 

IXB Category - Gwendolyn Horton, 2nd place 

VA Category - Charity Zappone, 1st place 

VB Category - Emma Byrd, 1st Place, Cameron Maxwell, 3rd place, McKenna McQueen , 4th place. 

VIA Category - Ian Doherty, 1st place

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