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Music Department Announces Choir Trip to Kenya

This July, six Cal Poly music students will travel to Kenya for a choral workshop and a conducting clinic alongside Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Studies Scott Glysson and music professor India D’Avignon.

Cal Poly music students traveling to Kenya this summer

The opportunity arose after Glysson traveled to Kenya as a US representative for the International Conducting Exchange Fellowship Program in September 2018. There, he formed lasting connections with Kenyan musicians and choir groups and was invited to return as a result. In July 2019, Glysson will return to Kenya in partnership with Kenyatta University in Nairobi, where he will lead a conducting workshop for Kenyan music conductors — the first workshop of its kind at the university. Professor D’Avignon will join as pianist for the choir.

Glysson was also invited to bring six students to Nairobi for the workshop, where they will collaborate with Kenyan students and conductors from Kenyatta University in Nairobi. Students will sing in international choirs and perform at a final recital conducted by the Kenyan conductors that Glysson will train.


Glysson said travelling to collaborate with Kenyan musicians will offer students an invaluable learning experience through connection with another culture. Not only will students learn similarities and differences between Kenyan and American vocal music traditions, but the opportunity will allow for personal growth as they are exposed to lifestyles far different from their own.

Students were selected to attend the workshop based on a personal essay, their vocal ability, and their academic performance. First-year music major Jenna Hansen was one of the six students selected. With a passion for travel and her drive to create more cultural awareness at Cal Poly, she said she hopes to bring what she learns in Kenya back with her to Cal Poly.

“Performance is a big way of communication to me, especially through music,” Hansen said. “When you take that abroad, it brings you so much closer to people you don’t know. The cultural and language barriers kind of go away and we realize that we are human and we can come together to create beautiful music. I’m really excited to bring whatever we have here over there and exchange this gift of music.”

The Music Department is currently seeking donations to help fund the cost of travel for students attending the workshop.

“Your donation to this special trip could help give Cal Poly students the invaluable opportunity to perform internationally and teach students about western vocal music, but more importantly, you could give them interactions that open their eyes and permanently change them for the better – an experience I was fortunate to have myself,” Glysson said.


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