ND and USC, making beautiful music together?

Author: Julie Hail Flory

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Master Voice Class

When Notre Dame and the University of Southern California meet, it can get ugly.

That is the last word you would use to describe a recent encounter between the two schools in Notre Dame’s Crowley Hall, where students in the University’s Department of Music participated in a master voice class led by Cynthia Munzer, a member of the USC music faculty, who conducted the session by videoconference, without ever leaving Los Angeles.

“Videoconference meetings are nothing new; that’s been going on awhile,” says Georgine Resick, a professor of music who organized the event. “But coordinating musical activity, which is much more sensitive and more time-sensitive, is another issue altogether.”

A group of Resick’s students observed as two of their classmates performed for Munzer, who watched, listened and critiqued their work.

Cynthia Munzer

“I think this opens up a lot of doors for us to be able to experience master classes and work with other teachers who possibly could not come otherwise,” says Josh Díaz, a senior vocal performance major who sang during the videoconference. “It’s nice to get a fresh perspective from someone who’s never heard your voice before and get some different feedback.”

Coordinated by a team from Notre Dame’s Office of Information Technologies, the link-up was different from other videoconferences because of its much larger bandwidth use.

“It was about 30 times the size of a standard video conference,” explains Tom Marentette, a video services manager with the OIT. “That means better quality picture and sound.”

This type of learning and teaching opportunity has exciting potential for Resick and her colleagues around the country.

“There are a few already doing this, but a small number, so this really puts Notre Dame on the cutting edge,” she says.

In this face-off, everyone wins. But even in the arts, there’s no denying the sense of competition that usually surfaces when the Fighting Irish and the Trojans meet.

“I know that a lot of people have animosity toward USC as a symbol, but I’ve never felt that,” says senior Caroline Pircon, who also sang for Munzer. “I am a singer, not a football player, so my main goal is to advance my art form and to become a better performer. Doing that through people who can guide me is a really great opportunity, no matter where they come from.”

Contact: Georgine Resick, resick.1@nd.edu