A Taste of Music in the Pioneer Valley's Puerto Rican Community
To anyone unfamiliar with the Pioneer Valley (and this includes many college students here), it might seem out of place that Puerto Rican folk music could thrive in the area. But it does, and the large Puerto Rican populations spanning from Hartford to Holyoke support many local musicians playing traditional melodies. Victor Rios, shown in our documentary below, made his living for years playing Puerto Rican music as a full-time musician in the Valley.
Throughout her college years, Deidra Montgomery ’10 has been meeting up with other enthusiasts to raise her voice in a singing tradition called Sacred Harp. Now she’s conducting a formal study of her fellow singers. “I’m looking at who the Western Mass [Sacred Harp] community is, who makes it up and what a regular singing is like,” she says. Phil DuPont ’12 has been attending three Catholic Masses every week, at two different churches in Holyoke, Mass., listening to the differences in the songs and prayers at English- and Polish-language services. The singings and the churches are just a few examples of “Pioneer Valley Soundscapes.”
Amherst Coffee — "Every Thursday evening Amherst Coffee plays host to local jazz group the Liberated Territory Collective." What makes this venue interesting is the very small size of the space and the volume of the music. It is not your normal, in-the-background coffee shop jazz performance. It dominates the space, forcing patrons who wish to talk to lean in closer to one another.
Those Tunes in Your Head? Not as Many as You Think
By Peter Rooney
If you’ve ever marveled at being able to recognize a song after hearing just a snatch of it, don’t get too proud of your towering intellect. According to Matthew Schulkind, associate professor of psychology, we don’t actually remember songs from our past as well as we think we do.
I am Matthew Dennett Fernald, the third in the line of great Fernalds to attend this great college in the town Amherst of the state of Taxa - sorry, Massachusetts. My middle name can be seen on large, green signs for "Dennett Rd" if one is driving on I-95 across the bridge into Maine. In my remarkably uninformed opinion, Billy Joel is the greatest songwriter ever to have lived. I support the BoSox and Patriots and Roger Federer, though the latter is having a notably bad year so far. My hair is the color of milk chocolate, my skin the color of a peanut.