Tagged: Mark Gianino
Recently, BUSSW has been speaking with members of our school community to explore their “hidden talents.” So, when we learned that Clinical Associate Professor Mark Gianino sings with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (TFC) in his “free” time, we had to know more.
Professor Gianino joined the renowned Tanglewood Festival Chorus in 1996, bringing with him a rich history of singing. Back in high school—Gianino attended nearby Arlington High School—he really began pursuing singing thanks to a great music teacher. “I didn’t have much experience,” Gianino said. “But I had a wonderful music teacher who suggested I join the all-state choir. I began performing in competitions around the state and never looked back.”
Since then, Gianino said he’s remained engaged in the arts. “It’s just this sense of peace, harmony, and exhilaration that comes from the creation of music,” he said.
Singing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus—the official chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra—is no easy feat. The chorus itself has approximately 280 members who are pulled in to perform during the regular concert season, summers out at Tanglewood and the Pops holiday concerts. Since 1970, the chorus has been conducted by John Oliver, who recently announced he will step down after this season.
“A colleague of mine in the chorus calls the TFC a merciless meritocracy. I agree!,” Gianino said. Every few years, members are re-auditioned to ensure voices are still ripe for performing. “We’re performing at a very high level.” The group often sings in other languages—everything from Latvian to Latin—and all performances are done from memory.
Over the years, the chorus has been involved in many important works, including numerous commissioned pieces. In February 1998, the chorus represented the United States in the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics when Seiji Ozawa led six choruses on five continents, all linked by satellite, in Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. The chorus also sang on the soundtrack to Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.
For Gianino, one of his most memorable experiences took place at Carnegie Hall after 9/11 in October 2001. The Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus performed a powerful and moving rendition of Berlioz’ Reqiuem, in remembrance of the victims of 9/11. “It ended on this quiet ’amen.’ The conductor, Seiji Ozawa, held his hand up in the air to keep the audience from applauding at the end of the piece and the only thing that broke the silence was the sobbing of audience members,” Gianino recalled. “It was a transformative and healing moment that really reminded me of the power of music to bring a community together.”
The sentiment that choruses are a place for social healing is one that Dean Emeritus Hubie Jones (’57) echoed as well. Jones felt that choruses were an important source of community involvement, which is why he founded the Boston Children’s Chorus in 2001. “These are special kinds of groups,” Gianino said. “You need to come together and look at the whole picture. The impact of choral singing is that the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.” That kind of logic is occasionally intertwined into Gianino’s own teaching. As an expert in group work, Gianino said he speaks with his students about the connection between group work and choral groups such is the role of the conductor and facilitator, both of whom guide the proceedings to attend to not only the experience of the group-as-a-whole but to each of its individual members. There is a role for harmony and occasional dissonances in all kinds of groups including choral groups that lead to cohesion and other elements at play in a functioning group.
Gianino admits being a member of the chorus can be challenging—members are expected to memorize their parts prior to rehearsals. Then, rehearsals are focused on the run itself. Individuals might be committed to between six and eight performances a year. During a performance, Gianino might be on consecutively for several days, such as a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
“It’s also a lot of fun. People who sing in the chorus range from scientists to music teachers—and, of course, the occasional social worker. I might complain about the rehearsals and that I don’t have enough time. I might say, ‘Oh this is it I’m done.’ But, I don’t think I’ll ever be done, I’m just going to hang on here as long as I can,” he laughed.
Catch Gianino in his next performance on April 27 for the Boston premiere of “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín.” For more information, click here.
BUSSW Clinical Associate Professor Mark Gianino, PhD has been appointed to the Board of Registration of Social Workers, effective August 2014. The Board of Registration of Social Workers protects the public by regulating the practice of social work in Massachusetts. Responsibilities include conducting examinations, licensing qualified individuals, determining eligibility for admission to social work examinations, and hearing complaints and taking required action.
“I can’t think of a better qualified or a more committed social worker than Dr. Mark Gianino to fill this role on the Social Work Board of Registration,” Dean Gail Steketee said. “Mark is a strong team player who models professional ethics in so many contexts. He will be a real asset to the Board.”
Clinical Associate Professor Scott Geron (PI), Clinical Assistant Professor Mark Gianino and Clinical Associate Professor Betty J. Ruth (Co-PIs) received a grant from the Association of Social Work Boards/American Foundation for Research and Consumer Education in Social Work Regulation, and will be working on a study called the Missing Link Project. The goal of the Missing Link Project is to promote quality improvement in social work continuing and professional education (CPE) by studying the current strengths, concerns, obstacles and challenges of the existing system.
The proposed study combines a national survey and an in-depth statewide case study. Says the project summary, “We hope the findings will clarify the national CPE picture and provide a state-specific grounded understanding of social work CPE that other states can use.”