Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2013

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Elisa Dekaney, Associate Professor

Honors Reader

Dr. Kelly Chandler-Olcott, Professor and Department Chair

Capstone Major

Music Education

Capstone College

Visual and Performing Arts

Audio/Visual Component


Audio/Visual Location

Honors Library

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Composition | Education | Music | Music Performance


This instrumental and dance performance, titled “Uncommon Action: An Interdisciplinary Arts Performance on Ally Involvement”, was designed to raise awareness about bullying and becoming an active ally in the event of bullying. Sixteen student musicians and a team of production assistants were enlisted to produce this interdisciplinary program that was over a year and a half in the making. This production is a unique artistic effort where the classical musicians will also perform as dancers while playing, similar to what is seen in performances by marching bands, drum corps, Stomp, Barrage, Blue Man Group, etc.

The musical piece, commissioned from Eric Maine (’12, B.M. in Music Education), tells the story of a student who suffers the effects of being bullied in school, and the ally who steps in. The story is based on a four-sectioned poem written by Rachel Dentinger. Each section then relates to the four movements of the symphonic music. This type of story music is called program music.

Different instruments represented different “characters” in this original classical piece, with a single cello playing the role of the victim of bullying, and the alto saxophone as the ally, the leading roles. The upper strings and the brass represented the bullies and the woodwinds acted as bystanders. The first half of the performance featured a seated performance, with the performers in traditional concert dress. However, in the second half of the performance, the entire ensemble came alive with movement, lights, colorful costumes, and make-up.

For the larger instruments, such as the cello, bassoon, and tuba, special harnesses were either purchased or engineered to make the dance possible. Rigging for the snare and bass drum were designed based on traditional marching band gear. Most notable for ingenuity and design was the cello mobility device: a cello stand with weighted wheels and casters to allow for the cellists participation in the choreography.

The focus of this project is on becoming an active ally as an empowered bystander in the instance of bullying through the creative elements of music and dance. The performance premiered on February 3rd, 2013 at 2 PM and 4 PM at CNY Jazz Central in downtown Syracuse. The goal now for this performance is to turn it into touring educational programming that visits schools and community centers, to spread the anti-bullying message to students.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.