MAGNIFYING, No. 10: Seth Keeton

March 13 2018

by Noelle Sharp

For this episode of MAGNIFYING we spoke with Assistant Professor in Voice at the School of Music, Seth Keeton. Our creative community here at the College of Fine Arts is diverse and wide spread. With the goal of gaining a deeper knowledge and awareness of the people within our community, we bring you MAGNIFYING, a series dedicated to showcasing the talent of our students, faculty, and staff.

Tell us about yourself: Name, where you are from, what you do and how you got into in your field of work
My name is Seth Keeton. I'm from Morrow, Georgia, but most recently my family I moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I teach classical voice in the School of Music-that is, I teach private voice lessons to freshmen through doctoral students and vocal pedagogy for undergraduates and masters students. I also advise our Michie Undergraduate Vocal Quartet and administrate our Met at the Movies program (where UofU students can buy discounted tickets to the live broadcasts that the Metropolitan Opera beams into movie theaters around the world).

My research is two-fold. I am an active singer, specializing in art song recital and concert work. Right now I'm presenting a tour of a recital that I'm singing with a soprano colleague from UMass, Amherst on the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. This recital includes works by contemporary American composers including 2 world premier works for voice, piano, and cello. We have plans to record the recital for release this summer.

My ongoing research project is called SongHelix. This digital humanities project is an online tool that enables users to easily comb through the vast repertoire of classical song in order to find novel relationships within the canon. Classical art song represents a completeness of form-a powerful unity of poetry and music. This unity provides singers and pianists the opportunity to weave their repertoire into an exceptionally moving experience. There has never been an easy way to search through the estimated hundreds of thousands of art songs for thematic links, keywords, or features. SongHelix brings this ever-evolving information available into one searchable location.

I have always sung, since before I can remember. When I was five, I began singing with the Atlanta Boy Choir where I learned about music and about myself, and about working with others. I have sung ever since!

What has surprised you the most in your life?
What has surprised me most in life is that everyone I see has a rich interior life, like I do. Everyone has hopes and disappointments, feelings of being loved and of being lonely, struggles and successes. I think it's in our nature to imagine that the world revolves around each of us, but that isn't the only way to look at the world. That if we all pull our noses out of our phones, we may catch a glimpse of the other people and their interiority.

What do you wish you had known/been told?
As I become older and older (and stiffer and stiffer), I wish I had listened to the people in my life that told me to keep moving my body when I was younger!