One of the foundational principles of this show is that we, as humans AND as colleagues don’t have to agree about everything. In fact I will take it a step further: we NEED disagreement and dialogue in order to learn and grow. This episode is based on that principle. I recently came across Kirsten Oberoi during a Facebook disagreement and thought it would make a great podcast conversation. The disagreement centered around our philosophies related to choir auditions and what it means for a program to be “people centered.”
There is room in the choral community for all kinds of philosophies.
Kirsten made a splash recently with her new podcast Choral Connectivity and her blog called “No Auditions Ever!” She is making a valuable contribution to the conversation, but I only agreed with about 82.7% of it, so I thought we could chat to hash out some of the disagreements and also find where our common ground lies.
Kirsten Oberoi is the Founding Artistic Director of the South Shore Children’s Chorus based out of Quincy, MA – her hometown. Kirsten taught public school for several years – high school in California for two years and middle school in Massachusetts for 5 years. She is now full-time in the non-profit music world at SSCC, as well as the General Manager for the Greater Boston Choral Consortium. Kirsten strongly believes in the mission of people-first music making, and shares this philosophy on her podcast Choral Connectivity.
This special episode is something a bit different, in that it is a recap of a shared experience. All the way back on Episode 17, Marques Garrett challenged me to intentionally find an opportunity to be an “only” in the room. I had reflected in that conversation that, as a white guy, I don’t think I’ve ever been the “only one” in a room. “I don’t know what that feels like.” Marques suggested that he thought that might be good for me to experience. I agreed. Then Covid happened and the “live on air” challenge had to be tabled for a bit.
Enter my friend Maria Ellis to the rescue. (Find Maria’s past episode 29 pt. 2) I had seen Maria’s great videos about her church, and thought that as a musician, there was no better way to experience a cultural growth moment than in Maria’s music rich church in St. Louis. So, we set it up! Off to St. Louis I went, and wow did I have a great time. I learned so much! While I can’t know everything there is to know about Maria’s cultural experience in one day, I now have a frame of reference. I real life, shared experience that can put future interactions in a perspective that I did not have before.
Executive producer and host of the television program African Ascent, W.E.B Du Bois fellow at Harvard, Professor of Philosophy at Berklee College of Music, Author
“I try to argue that they can become better musicians if they become philosophically trained. They will become sensitive to aesthetics in their lives, to the role that art plays in their lives.”
Dr. Teodros Kiros
I feel like I caught lighting in a bottle with this episode. We are all incredibly fortunate to have the chance to absorb wisdom from Professor Teodros Kiros. Dr. Kiros and I discuss the many connections between philosophical training and musical training. I was spellbound many times throughout this conversation hearing about how inseparable music and philosophy SHOULD be. We discuss the common humanity that is unearthed through the sharing of musical and philosophical ideas throughout history, the most scholarly unpacking of cultural appropriation I have yet encountered, as well as Coltrane’s “Love Supreme” and why, with in that one piece of music, we can find a unifying theme for our life and for our music. Don’t miss it.
Teodros Kiros is considered a leading authority on moral philosophy and a leading voice in African philosophy. He has been a W. E. B. Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University for the past 20 years and has been nominated three times for Berklee’s Distinguished Faculty Award. Kiros is the producer and host of the internationally acclaimed television program African Ascent, which continually gives visibility to Berklee faculty and includes interviews with President Roger H. Brown and Provost Larry Simpson. He is also an essayist for leading websites and has published hundreds of articles in refereed journals and online. He’s also a columnist for leading newspapers.
Career Highlights· Philosopher and novelist· Has had short stories and an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, Cambridge Days, featured on Bridgeportword.com·
Author and/or editor of 17 books including Towards the Construction of Political Action; Moral Philosophy and Development; Self-Construction and the Formation of Human Values: Truth, Language and Desire; Explorations in African Political Thought; Multiculturalism; Zara Yacob: Rationality of the Human Heart; Philosophical Essays; Ethiopian Discourse; Hirut and Hailu and Other Short Stories; and Cambridge Days; and the forthcoming Self-Definition: A Philosophical Inquiry from the Global South and Global North· W. E. B. Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University·
Executive producer and host of the television program African Ascent· Professor of Africana Philosophy at Harvard UniversityAwards· Winner of the 1999 Michael Harrington Book Award—Author for Self-Construction and the Formation of Human Values: Truth, Language, and DesireEducation