Student pit director takes podium with aplomb

paul-cohen-3Paul Cohen ′09 
Music major with a concentration in commercial music 
ter, New York

A gifted performer and composer, Paul Cohen ’09 uses his musical talent to delight and faithfully inspire audiences from Grantham, Pennsylvania, to Rome, Italy.  

Cohen, whose main concentration is piano, has been involved with numerous musical ensembles at Messiah, including Jazz Singers, Concert Choir, Symphonic Winds, and New Light (Messiah’s traveling summer music ministry team).  Yet nothing could have excited him more than an opportunity to serve as pit director for Messiah’s spring theatre production, The Spitfire Grill-a touching story of love, hope, and reconciliation noted for its soaring melodies and uplifting spirit.  Traditionally, the pit director role is filled by one of Messiah’s talented faculty members, such as Tim Dixon, director of Orchestral Activities.  But when Dixon went on sabbatical, music and theatre department faculty approached Cohen, knowing he was up for the challenge. 

 “Even as a student, I’ve had many opportunities to gain professional experience here at Messiah,” says Cohen.  “And working as an accompanist for Messiah’s production of Godspell last year, as well as the classes and ensembles I’ve been a part of here, really helped prepare me to take on the pit director’s job.”

One of Cohen’s most memorable college memories was his semester spent at the Contemporary Music Center (CMC) in Martha’s Vineyard, a program where students from Christian colleges across the country get hands-on experience working in the music industry.  At the CMC, Cohen learned about the ins-and-outs of the music business as he managed and promoted other students as performing artists, produced concerts, and recorded in the studio. He even got to do some performing himself.  “When I visited Messiah as a senior in high school and learned about the CMC program, I knew I had to come here,” said Cohen.  “It was an incredible experience.”

 -Contributed by Melissa Paolangeli  ’09

Posted in 2009, Arts, Music | Comments Off

Posted on May 4th, 2009

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