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“Misa Spanglish: Music and Worship Without Borders”: Honors Capstone Project brings culture to Woods Theatre

On Saturday, Apr. 6, junior Emily Loscialpo presented “Misa Spanglish: Music and Worship Without Borders” for her Honors College Capstone Project at Woods Theater at 1:30 p.m. This project combined her passion for her major, the Spanish language, and music.

Loscialpo has shown her love of music and the arts over the years by being on Blue Hawk Records’ 22nd compilation album “Exit 22” and by hosting a Latin music radio show called “Nuestros Sonidos Latinos” in Spring 2023. Loscialpo has now merged her musical interest with her passions for her major and her religious heritage to create a capstone project that she is more than passionate about.

Loscialpo explained, “I love this major because it blends my passion for languages—especially Spanish, which I worked to become fluent in during high school—with media such as radio. I also have been able to pursue projects like this one, bringing the cultural aspect of music into the mix.”

This mass showcases traditions seen here in America as well as in other countries that Loscialpo has been to, such as Mexico and Argentina.

“To me, this is the culmination of years of study in the fields of musical composition, global music, cultural awareness, and language use,” she said. “It blends the different passions I have had throughout the years, and I am really proud of the way it demonstrates the versatility of my experience here at Monmouth. It is truly moving to hear my music performed by a group of talented musicians come to life, and to then consider the cultural and unique impact this work could have on audiences.”

Loscialpo added, “In addition, I noticed that in the U.S., churches that offer services in both languages do so at different times, dividing the communities into two different segments based on language. I thought it would be beautiful if I created a work that could unite these communities, not only by utilizing Spanglish but also by blending aspects of the distinct musical styles I noticed in attending masses at churches around the world.”

This project was the effort culmination of Loscialpo and Priscilla Gac-Artigas, Ph.D., Professor of Spanish and Latin American literature, and Jonathan McElroy, Ph.D., Instructor of Music and Theatre Arts. Along with Loscialpo, there were other performers joining her on stage to assist with the performance including Tim Pakrad (junior English major) on vocals, Samuel Carrol (junior music industry major) on acoustic guitar, and Yardelie Cabral, a Brookdale student who performs at one of the churches Loscialpo has connections to.

According to Gac-Artigas, this performance is an amalgam of many cultures and heritages. She said, “The performative portion, including bilingual songs and texts that blend multicultural roots, stands out as crucial. It prompts intergenerational and multicultural community bonds more than the thesis itself. Nonetheless, her research is thorough and well-documented. The bibliography is both current and comprehensive, showcasing her meticulous research methodology. The project encompasses both theoretical insights and performative elements, each complementing the other to present a holistic view of its necessity and potential impact.”

Though the event was only around an hour long, many people had to put in hard work to make the performance pitch perfect. “The most difficult part of this process was blending the two texts in Spanish and English in a cohesive way, while still respecting the norms and traditions of each language and culture,” said Loscialpo. “I had to strike a balance between making the music beautiful and complex while also making it accessible and memorable enough to encourage participation by a theoretical congregation of parishioners, as well. However, I am truly proud of the result and hope my vision for these pieces resonates with audiences of all cultural, religious, and linguistic backgrounds.”