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Classical Symphonies Can Synchronize Heart, Lungs, and Even Electrical Impulses of the Listener

in Art/Entertainment 375 views

The perfect synchronicity of a classical symphony has the power to similarly synchronize the movement, heart rate, breathing rate, and the electrical conductivity of skin between audience members,

The beautiful finding comes from a study of 132 people and three classical pieces: Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Op. 104 in C minor,” Brett Dean’s “Epitaphs,” and Johannes Brahms’ “Op. 111 in G major.”

Previous studies, the authors note, have shown that music may be able to induce synchronization in listeners, but there has been little investigation into whether concert audiences become synchronized.

Most synchronization in humans is caused by a direct social interaction with another person and is typically found in breathing or walking.

Professor Wolfgang Tschacher and his colleagues at the University of Bern in Switzerland observed 132 people whilst they listened to a string quintet of the three pieces whilst monitoring them in several ways.

Participants’ movement was tracked with overhead cameras and their physical responses with wearable sensors. They were also asked to fill out a questionnaire about their personality and mood.

The authors observed significant synchronization between audience members for movement, heart rate, breathing rate, and the electrical conductivity of skin (which indicates arousal of the sympathetic nervous system). The greatest level of synchronization was seen in the breathing rate.

Additionally, the personality traits of a listener were associated with their likelihood of synchronizing physical responses—those with agreeableness or openness traits were more likely to become synchronized, whilst those with neurotic or extravert traits were less likely to become synchronized.

These are four of the “Big Five” personality traits, with openness being typical of creative types, and agreeableness found in people who find tension and conflict very difficult.

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For Stage Notes performers, the ‘Rent’ is due

in Entertainment 327 views

WATERTOWN — The nonprofit youth theater group Stage Notes, which has a foundation of giving back to the community and has had its “Performance With a Purpose” motto hampered the past two years due to the pandemic, is ready to take the stage again.

Stage Notes, the group for exceptional theater students founded by Ticia K. Aumell in 2009, will present a challenging musical that hasn’t been seen on local stages and one that is an unusual selection for such a young cast.

“I’ve never considered doing it either,” said Mrs. Aumell, artistic director. “There have been other years when we looked at it for a minute and then said, ‘Nah — I don’t think so.’ But every year, we say the show picks us, and it happened again this year. We looked at it again and said, ‘This is it. It’s the year to tell the story and these are the kids to tell the story.’ It just feels right.”

Stage Notes will present “Rent: School Edition,” at 7 tonight and at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Dulles State Office Building.

“Rent,” which ran on Broadway for 5,123 performances from 1996 to 2008, is a rock opera about young artists struggling to survive in the shadow of HIV/AIDS in the East Village of New York City from 1989-90. It won a Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Its music, lyrics and book is by Jonathan Larson, who died in 1996 at the age of 35 due to an aortic aneurysm.

The license holder for “Rent,” Musical Theater International, says its “Rent” adaptation has been carefully done, working with the Larson estate to retain its dramatic intent with minimal changes to language and the removal of one song, “Contact.”

“This isn’t an easy show,” said Mrs. Aumell. “It’s vocally hard, the material is hard. We could have picked a score we knew we could sing and a story we know we could tell. Instead, we said to the students, ‘We believe in you. Let’s do this.’ They rose to the occasion.”

Last summer, the theater group staged “The Theory of Relativity” as its first virtual production, recorded at Case Middle School. Michael Schanely, Watertown City School District audio/video technician, did the recording and editing for the production. No Stage Notes musical was produced in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The theme of “Rent” also played a role in Mrs. Aumell selecting it for this summer’s production.

“It was all of the themes — struggling to create art, fighting a disease, surviving with your circle of friends, learning how to measure you life in love — all of those themes just resonated so strongly with us, that we thought now’s the time to tell the story,” she said.

The fact that the pandemic also sidelined high school musicals brought on a challenge for Mrs. Aumell and her co-directors. Among the 21 students in Stage Notes are six seniors — four who were freshmen in 2019.

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Watertown arts and STEM students showcase work for families

in Art/School/Technology 404 views

WATERTOWN — The halls of H.T. Wiley Intermediate School were filled with wonder Thursday afternoon and Friday morning as families of students participating in summer camps had the opportunity to see what they had been working on for the past few weeks.

A Thursday art showcase featured pieces done in various mediums, and on Friday, it was all about STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Just in the interactions that I’ve had with the children, the excitement, this is summer and they’re so excited about coming to school and sharing their projects,” said Superintendent Patricia B. LaBarr, who is retiring in August. “That, to me, makes it all worth it.”

For the art camp, students in kindergarten through sixth grade participated in a two-week camp session, working on ink and paint projects, self portraits and transparencies melted to make bowls. Sarah L. Carpenter, intern summer school administrator, said 80 to 100 students participated in the art camp, and it was by far the most popular program this summer.

“It’s fun to get students out of the house and doing something where they are able to express themselves through different mediums,” she said. “That they’re able to engage in their learning and having fun while they’re doing this, that’s the most important part.”

Along with the fundamentals of art, students learned about famous artists.

Claire Tross, who will be turning 10 in a few days, said she enjoyed the opportunity to make bowls and mixed-medium bird nests. She said she would definitely do the art camp again.

“I’d do it 50 times,” she said.

Accompanied by her family, including her mother Lindsay and big sister Hannah, Claire pointed out her projects with pride.

“It’s just fun for her to get out in summer and do a lot of activities with her friends,” her mom said, to which Hannah agreed: “I think it’s really cute that the community is coming together to enjoy the kids artwork and just have fun,” she said.

The district will offer other camps for the remainder of the summer with topics focusing on theater, creative writing, ecology and math.

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