SHU Choir Sings Out Against Bullying

BY Abigail Frisoli

Assistant Photo Editor

“Find them, you can use them.

Say them, you can hear them.

Write them, you can read them.

Love them, fear them.”

Those are the lyrics to the song “Words,” by Anders Edenroth. The 4 Heart Harmony choir opened their Anti-Bullying concert, “Sing Out!” with this song on Saturday, Oct. 20, in the University Commons.

Assistant director of the choral program and director of 4 Heart Harmony, Thomas Cuffari, focused on how words have a powerful influence on people, whether it’s in a good or bad way.

“It’s about self-awareness, knowing who you are and knowing that your voice matters,” said Cuffari. “It’s also about how to cope with bullying and how it has led to people hurting themselves and even suicide.”

Between 4 Heart Harmony and SHUpermen, the all-men’s choir which was also featured in this concert, 17 songs were performed, including solo and duet pieces. There was a large emphasis on the students as individuals throughout the night, as many of them came forward to tell their own experiences or communicate their feelings through song.

This gave the students some freedom with their song selections. There were various styles of music performed throughout the course of this concert. These included some Broadway pieces from shows such as “Carrie,” “Fame,” and “Next to Normal.”

There were also country pieces like “Invisible,” by Hunter Hayes, and pop songs such as “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” by Kelly Clarkson, alongside more traditional choir pieces.

One song that Cuffari was particularly interested in was “Carefully Taught.”

“The song is new fresh take on an old standard,” said Cuffari.

Freshman Olivia Sheppard performed the song, which is from the 1949 musical “South Pacific,” which was rearranged into an R&B piece by performer and actor Billy Porter. Prior to this song, Sheppard gave the audience background information about the history of “Carefully Taught,” and how original writers Rodgers and Hammerstein received backlash at the time because of this song’s support of interracial relationships.

“To me, anti-bullying means that people care for you and want to show their support for you and let you know that you are not alone during those rough times you may have,” said junior Kevin Gillotti, the head of recruitment and apparel for SHU Choirs.

Gillotti’s favorite part about the concert was how he and his fellow students were encouraged to come forth and share their stories and experiences with bullying. He also liked how the students talked about overcoming these struggles that they have faced.

Gillotti said “Sing Out!” was more personal in comparison to some of SHU Choir’s other concerts. Currently, Gillotti is working on selling his SHUpermen t-shirts that he designed as a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

SHU Choirs takes precautions to ensure that they provide a safe environment for their students. It is a part of Student Life and it requires freshmen and sophomore students to meet with one of the directors in what are referred to as “Mapworks meetings.” These meetings are made to ensure that the transition into college life is going smoothly for students.

Additionally, for the first time ever, 4 Heart Harmony has been given the opportunity to perform their “Sing Out!” concert on the road and will be taking their messages about anti-bullying to various high schools in the area.

Their next concert is titled “Family Portraits.” This will take place during the Sunday of Family Weekend, which is Oct. 28, at 1:30 p.m., in the Edgerton Center for Performing Arts.

For those who know anyone who is facing bullying or struggling with any type of situation that may be affecting their mental health, the SHU Wellness Center provides services which are free and confidential. Their number is 203-371-7838.

About the author

Leave a Reply