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St. Lawrence University Music Professor to Perform Songs about Life, Technology


Last updated 4/2/2016 at 5:36am

Christopher Watts

St. Lawrence University Canton, New York will present a unique performance at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 11, in the Peterson-Kermani Performance Hall.

Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Newell Center for arts Technology Christopher Watts will perform nine new, original pop songs, each one posing different kinds of questions about the relationship between people and technology.

"Most of what I teach is directly connected to technology, but that shouldn't mean blindly adopting each new thing that comes along," Watts said. "I'm concerned about the ways we sometimes use communication technologies to keep one another at arm's length; about the way social media can make us think about our lives as a series of tweets, updates, and likes. I'm worried about the unhealthy relationship we can so easily develop with our technologies. But living in a shack in the woods and writing an angry manifesto is not a useful response."

A better response, Watts believes – and certainly more fun – is a high-tech approach that uses technology to question itself. Entitled "POP: Songs About Life + Technology," the show embraces the theater and spectacle of pop music as the vehicle for its message: pay attention to the ways technology changes your habits and thoughts, so you can decide which changes you like and which ones you don't. The songs cover topics from Big Data to breaking up on Facebook; from starving artists on YouTube to the allure of the magical apps on our phones.

Part concert, part performance art, the show is a collaborative effort executed with the help of a student crew from the Department of Performance and Communication arts (PCA). Led by Nathan Torres, PCA technical director, lighting designer and production manager, and Stage Manager Alex Camerino '16, the crew will turn Peterson-Kermani Performance Hall into a pop arena. "These folks have been utterly fantastic," Watts said.

Peterson-Kermani Performance Hall is located in Griffiths Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the Department of Music at 315-229-5184 or visit

About St. Lawrence University:

Founded in 1856, St. Lawrence University is a private, independent liberal arts institution of about 2,500 students located in Canton, New York. The educational opportunities at St. Lawrence inspire students and prepare them to be critical and creative thinkers, to find a compass for their lives and careers, and to pursue knowledge and understanding for the benefit of themselves, humanity and the planet. Through its focus on active engagement with ideas in and beyond the classroom, a St. Lawrence education leads students to make connections that transform lives and communities, from the local to the global. Visit


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