center for the advancement of public action


CAPA opened two weekends ago.

There were some really amazing “meta” sessions going on Thursday through Saturday that I missed, but what I made sure I didn’t miss was the performance of a vocal piece by Meredith Monk.  The performance was by the women who sang the same song during last year’s A Celebration Service which Monk designed as a non-denominational non-religious but wholly heartfelt ceremony of celebration, for whatever occasion.  It combines dance and music and text, and has that essence of Monk you can really only get at a live performance.

The performance for the CAPA opening started out with “Invocation” sung and composed by voice faculty Tom Bogdan in memory of friends who died of AIDS.  Tom was in Meredith Monk’s ensemble, and he’s now won TWO Fulbright to teach A Celebration Service abroad.  I’m going to miss him a lot when he goes to teach in Brazil for my last term.  Of the voices in Jennings, the mentors of music at Bennington he’s one of the more direct, compassionate, and personal teachers there are, and that’s saying something, because every teacher at Bennington, not just at Jennings, is personal and personable.

But back to the music.  The women sang as they walked into the Lens, and as they walked the sound grew and morphed as we followed them from outside the building to the inside.  The acoustics in there are so so so so so wonderful, oh my goodness, and the women sang beautifully.  The piece goes from throaty sounds, to low chest notes, to nasal passages, but all in round.  It was fantastic, and I feel honored to go here and hear such original, fresh, and powerful performances.

Oh, and the sky was dramatic and beautiful as well.


-Dmitri ‘12