Office of Communications and Marketing
Tollison, director of the graduate communications program, was recognized at the 2022 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on May 22.
Art is a reflection of life; a statement that holds true for students Letriah Masters ’21, a Theatre major, and Annie Santerre ’23, a double major in Music and English. Both have written, sung, and recorded songs during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a period of isolation they decided to rely on their passions to help themselves and others through this tough time.
Masters’ composition “I Will Not Bow Down” was created, as an assignment, for the Music and Politics class during the 2020 Spring semester. The song is a direct response to the CoronaVirus. “I wrote this song as my own declaration and a call to action for others to stand with me. My hope is that they too, would not bow down in submission to fear and anxiety during this season,” Masters writes. The song can be listened to on Masters’ Bandcamp website. Any proceeds will go towards the victims of Covid-19 in the Merrimack Valley community.
The inspiration for Santerre’s piece titled, “Together We Can Fly” began as a submission for Merrimack’s ArtMob Exhibition, coming this spring 2021. The inspiration for the lyrics came from thinking about a close friend who was struggling. It was written “as a dedication to the people who are having a really hard time dealing with everything that’s going on. We have to be together and face what’s in front of us” Santerre says. Voice Instructor Cristi Catt mentions, “the lyrics and sentiments can relate to anybody struggling right now.”
This is not the first song Santerre has written. She began writing, as an assignment, for Choir during the stay-at-home orders. Since they could no longer be together, Choir Director, Dr. Hugh Hinton, encouraged his students to write their own music. Santerre states, “that class really jump-started the actual writing of my own music.” Though she may have just started writing songs recently, Santerre has been singing as she puts it, “forever” and continues to take private voice lessons with Critsti Catt. Catt has also pushed Santerre towards songwriting and says, “Annie is curious and will try just about anything, she has created a wide range of experience for herself and that filters down through her work.” Santerre’s song can be listened to on the VPA Youtube Playlist.