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Creating Hope for Developmentally Disabled Students

Sitting across from Marco Schindelmann, University of Redlands opera director and professor of voice, it’s hard not to be inspired. Cool and collected, the man exudes creativity from his fingertips, making it hard not to be impressed with his accomplishments.

Schindelmann is a former professional opera singer in Europe and co-producer and co-curator of Soundwalk — the largest event of its kind in Southern California. He is also a founding member of MLuM, an art ensemble whose work has been featured on Public

Radio stations across the U.S. Now Schindelmann can add one more accomplishment to the list: director of Beau Monde Float.

This fall, Schindelmann dedicated his time to direct a production focused on sharing the talents of developmentally disabled students at Hope University, a fine arts day-program for adults with developmental disabilities, with the public.

Inspired by their artistic abilities, Schindelmann played off of the gifts and ideas of the students to bring the performance and sound art piece to life.

Beau Monde Float, Thirteen-Six Views of Sound Beauty was laid out in 13 stations and six senses, and took “perspectivist cues from Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” and Katsushika Hokusai’s “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.”

As someone who has always been fascinated with aesthetics, Schindelmann thought it’d be interesting to create a production based on the student’s perspective of beauty.

To do this, Schindelmann worked with the students to learn about their understanding of beauty. When asked what beauty was, students gave responses such as: “everybody is a parade,” and “ugliness is when people try to look better than each other.”

Beau Monde Float, supported in part by a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, is Hope University’s biggest production yet. Whether they were hand knitting costumes, dancing, playing music or creating sound art, all 70 students of Hope University participated in some way to make the production a success.

“I wanted to make sure that we honored them, who they are and how they perceive and perform,” said Schindelmann.

The director wasn’t the only member of the University of Redlands who dedicated his time to the production. Bradford Andrews, Chung Shih Hoh, Nicholle Martin-Andrews, Scott Vance, Snezana Petrovic and Michael Raco-Rands also assisted.

Schindelmann continues to work with Hope University to expand on the ideas and music that came out of the Beau Monde Float production. Missed Beau Monde Float last month? Not to worry, Schindelmann anticipates another production next year.

For more information about professor Schindelmann click here.

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