Madrigal singers
Radford University Madrigal Singers performing “Light of a Clear Blue Morning”, Meredith Bowen video screen capture.

A choral concert might seem like an odd time to focus on climate change, but Meredith Bowen disagrees.

Bowen: “For many artists, composers, and performers, music is a tool for protest or education.”

Bowen is the director of choral activities at Virginia’s Radford University. For the school’s fall concert, she curated a performance that combined music, text, and images to share information about climate change.

Bowen: “This is one way I can educate myself, and the students, and in turn our audience members.”

For help, she turned to professor Lauren McCarthy, who involved her freshman biology lab.

Bowen: “They created PowerPoint presentations that depicted the music and text.”

For the music, Bowen chose songs about nature – for example, Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” and a piece called “Lay Earth’s Burden Down.”

Together, the songs and presentations encouraged the audience to appreciate and protect the natural world.

Bowen: “During the last song, “Let the River Run,” they sang that over images of things like carpooling and recycling and planting trees and turning off lights.”

Bowen says her students embraced the message.

Bowen: “I think that they were really excited about performing music that was relevant to their lives.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Erika Street Hopman

Erika Street Hopman is co-founder of ChavoBart Digital Media (CBDM), an audio and video production firm with a focus on scientific and environmental media. CBDM contributes original reporting, audio production,...