Suffolk Arts + Sciences - Premiere Issue 2007 - (Page 46)
after college//sPOTLIghT TExT//SHERRI MILES IMAGES//VARIOUS celebrAting suffolk tHrOUgH SOng Spanish celebrity Emilio Aragón talks about his newest work as a composer wITh ThE CENTENNIal year approaching, President David J. Sargent felt that the time was right for the creation of a new alma mater for Suffolk University. Dean Kenneth S. Greenberg asked his former history student and internationally known composer Emilio Aragon to write the music. Aragón agreed, on the condition that English professor Fred Marchant write the lyrics. On September 21, 2006, eight singers and three musicians performed the song under a packed tent at the University’s Centennial celebration. The day before, just in from Madrid, the Spanish singer, actor, producer, musician, director, writer, celebrity, and Suffolk alumnus met with Dean Greenberg and Suffolk Arts+Sciences to talk about the alma mater, the next day’s concert, and the role Suffolk University has played in his life. arTS+SCIENCES [a+S] What was your inspiration for composing Suffolk’s new Above: Emilio Aragón, recipient of an undergraduate degree in History and an honorary PhD degree in Art. Below: Aragón conducts the chorus at the Centennial Celebration. alma mater? EmIlIO aragóN [Ea] The first time I came here, in 1998, after two years at the Madrid campus, I met Ken [Greenberg]. Ken has been my big brother, my friend, my father sometimes. Knowing his work in the field of the African American community and slavery was very influential for me as I sat down and wrote the alma mater song…. I was born in Cuba and afrocuban music has been very influential in my composing. KEN grEENBErg [Kg] The wonderful thing about the song, which makes it fit Suffolk University, is the way in which it is malleable and reflects the diversity of the student body and the people who are here. [Ea] This is a song that can be sung in very different ways. You can do it very classical, with lyrical voices, you can sing it with a guitar, or you can sing it like we’re going to sing it tomorrow, gospel style. We’ve moved the words, the tempo, to make it fit this gospel style. And we hope that tomorrow we can, as you say, rock the house. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. The good thing about the arrangements and the people singing it is that it’s done really with the heart. If you feel part of this University, if you really feel a member of this big family, the lyrics will touch you. For me, you have to understand that being Spanish, living in Madrid, but being an ex-Suffolk student, it’s going to be a very special moment. [a+S] Can you tell us about your work as a composer and entertainer? [Ea] My story is quite funny and curious, because I am the fourth generation of a family dedicated to comedy, but I study music in Spain. I started when my father and my uncles were doing a TV show for kids. I started doing clowning. Then I had my own TV comedy show, and since 1982-83, I’ve been doing television in Spain, and theatre. [Kg] Emilio’s father is very famous in his own right. He wrote the Happy Birthday Song which everybody in Spain sings, probably the most sung piece of music  SUFFOLKARTS+SCIENCES//2007 ALUMNI MAGAzINE
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