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Convocation lecture to bring together orchestra and hip hop

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – As genres that can seem to be on opposite ends of the musical spectrum, “hip hop” and “orchestra” are rarely mentioned in the same sentence.

However, in an upcoming convocation at Bethel College, Marina Peterson, a cellist and assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University, will discuss one case where these two very different genres have been melded harmoniously together.

Peterson received each of her academic degrees in anthropology from the University of Chicago, earning her bachelor’s in 1998, master’s in 2000 and doctorate in 2005. She also earned a performer’s certificate in cello from Northern Illinois University in 2001.

She will deliver her speech, “‘Los Angeles at its Best’: The daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra, Public Concerts and the Multicultural City,” in convocation on Friday, Nov. 10, at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center.

“I will discuss the role of public concerts as American civic institutions,” said Peterson, “and how current concerts continue a tradition of shaping a city and its citizens through music.

“The hip hop orchestra concert is intended to foster intergenerational understanding as part of a project of creating a multicultural audience that reflects the diversity of the city,” she continued.

In addition to speaking in convocation, she will lead a class session on Thursday, Nov. 9, from 4-6 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium. Both events are free and open to the public.

Richard Tirk, assistant professor of music at Bethel, first suggested to the convocation committee that Peterson be invited to speak.

Tirk first met Peterson at a music camp in Ohio in 1987, where they played in the cello section together. “I hadn’t heard from her in a while,” said Tirk, “and when we reconnected via e-mail, I heard that she was doing some playing with a hip hop group.

“The combination of classical and popular music has been a subject I’ve been interested in,” he said. “I also thought because of her background as an anthropologist and a musician that she would be an interesting speaker.”

Peterson’s lecture at Bethel College is funded in part by the Greer Lecture Series. The late Dr. Robert C. Goering, a native of Moundridge and a 1948 graduate of Bethel College, and his wife Amparo Goering, Wichita, initiated the Greer Fine Arts Endowment at Bethel College in 1979 in memory of Milford E. Greer, Jr., a native of Geuda Springs, Kan., and a close friend of the Goerings. Greer was interested in literature and music and excelled as an artist. He died in an auto accident in 1972 at age 45. The Greer Lecture Series brings visiting artists and scholars in the areas of music, visual arts or theater to the Bethel campus.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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