Music influences lives, whether it be traveling back through time for a taste of old vinyl or teaching music at a small liberal arts college.
Christopher Quinn, director of music, has devoted his life to the power of song. He teaches courses ranging from music theory to choir.
“Older technologies like record players, tape decks and jukeboxes made it possible for vast numbers of people to enjoy many different genres of music,” Quinn said. “It is a testament to the need we all share to have music in our lives.”
Individuals have their own reasons for listening to music or feeling a certain way when a song begins to play, said Emily Martin, senior environmental science major.
“I think it can boost morale and give people a sense of belonging or hope,” Martin said.
Brad Collins, owner of Raunch Records in Sugar House, said that vinyl has a power that digital music can’t provide
“Vinyl has a feeling,” Collins said. “It seems like there is a smoother sound with vinyl as opposed to digital. I think the importance to vinyl is the size and the packaging. You can see the album images on the mp3, but they don’t come with a poster that you can feel and touch.”
Quinn, director of music, said music can bring out emotions and experiences that people of all ages and ethnicities can relate to.
“As a listener, when we fall in love with a song, we share that love with others,” Quinn said. “As a solo performer, it’s an incredible high to perform with other talented musicians. In an ensemble setting like a choir, singers have to work as a team to produce beautiful melody, harmony and rhythm. We have to perform as one if we hope to be any good.”
Quinn talked passionately about devoting his soul and life to the art.
“I didn’t choose music—it chose me,” Quinn said. “I started playing the piano at age four, and I remember being drawn to the instrument. The musical sounds resonated in the deepest parts of my soul. I didn’t like music; I loved it. Playing the piano allowed me to express my inner feelings in a way that words would not allow.”
Music moves people to teach, instruct, sell rare old records, perform, volunteer at concerts or write music.
“Music can be a medium for helping people find the strength to overcome adversity,” said Martin, senior environmental major.
Some people benefit from music and find ways to make it a part of their lives and their careers.
“I love teaching and performing at Westminster,” said Quinn, director of music. “This is my 20th year at the college, and I’ve primarily directed one group: the Westminster Chamber Singers. It has been thrilling to be associated with a college where the students, faculty, staff, and administration are incredibly supportive and encouraging of the music program at Westminster.”