On Monday, Colorado College kicked off Block 7, hosting “Critical Karaoke: A Day in the Life with Ryan Banagale and Steven Hayward” for its First Monday presentation. The event was a celebration of the podcast Critical Karaoke: the brainchild of Music Professor Ryan Banagale and English Professor Steven Hayward. “Every day we spin something interesting that has happened into a 90 second narrative,” said Hayward. The podcast has already aired 700 individual episodes on KRCC. In order to give the audience an idea of what making a podcast entails, Banagale and Hayward gave live readings of some of their previous podcasts. The presentation was a humor-filled description of the creative process for making Critical Karaoke. Hayward also illustrated the pros and cons of working collaboratively by jokingly describing Banagale’s penchant for sending emails. “Sometimes you just get sick of them,” said Hayward.
Even though Critical Karaoke started off as a project for a small group of individuals, the podcast has become successful enough to attract contributions from all over the country. Banagale and Hayward introduced guest contributor and classical music expert Professor Kristin Turner. “I try to pick out people, music, or history, that people do not know much about,” said Turner. Despite the effort each project requires, not all of Hayward and Banagale’s projects make it to air. Banagale played a story he recorded on his son’s musical awakening that did not end up making the cut; “I had to put a stop to that,” said Hayward.
The humorous undertone of the event continued as Hayward played homage to President Jill Tiefenthaler by showing a podcast illustrating a day in the life of a college president. The presentation displayed the range of stories podcasts can convey, from historical events, comedic instances, and even difficult personal struggles. “We love to talk about music and what it means to us,” said Banagali.
The first music-themed First Mondays also introduced an exhibition at the Fine Arts Center called “Front Row Center.” Joy Armstrong, the administrator of “The exhibit,” described the life of Colorado native and photographer Larry Holst, whose photos will be displayed in the exhibition. Holst has toured over 40 exhibitions. He has a love of music, which is shown through his photography.
Hayward and Banagale closed first Monday by describing Karaoke style as “saying what the music means to you over the music.” They introduced Colorado College Director of Alumni and Family Relations and Vice President for Advancement Anita Pariseau to perform a live reading for the audience. “It is one of my favorites,” said Banagale.