Musicking While Old - 4. Old Performers - Joseph Straus
Episode 137th April 2022 • SMT-Pod • Society for Music Theory
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In the penultimate episode of Joe Straus's series on old age and music, he facilitates a discussion about old performers and their cultural scripts, and asks us to re-examine the value of sounding old. 

This episode was produced by Katrina Roush.

SMT-Pod Theme music by Zhangcheng Lu; Closing music "hnna" by David Voss. "Night Thoughts" by Aaron Copland was performed by Han Chen. Annie Belliveau prepared the musical examples. For supplementary materials on this episode and more information on our authors and composers, check out our website: https://smt-pod.org/episodes/season01/.

Transcripts

SMT:

[SMT-Pod Theme music]

SMT:

Welcome to SMT-Pod, the premiere audio publication of the Society for Music Theory. In this fourth episode in a series on old age and music, Joe Straus facilitates a discussion about old performers and their cultural scripts, and asks us to re-examine the value of sounding old.

Music:

[Copland's "Night Thoughts" playing]

Joe:

Scholars of gender, sexuality, race, and disability have emphasized their performative aspect. These identities are not something you inherently are, but rather they are something you do. Your identity is made manifest in what you say and how you say it, in how you present yourself, how you carry yourself, how you dress, and how you do your hair. In this sense, old age is a performance, a performance of daily life.

Joe:

Old people have two main options for performing old age: to accept or to resist. Unfortunately, both options serve to further entrench an ageist cultural regime. If you accept your old age that means accepting a decline into senescence and irrelevance. But if you fight against it by trying to appear and act youthful, you risk humiliation and public shaming; indeed, it is considered funny and sad when old people try to act young. That’s why the most common representation of old people in opera and literature is as Old Fools: old people become foolish in their laughable effort to appear and act young.

Joe:

The performance of old age follows a small number of cultural scripts—the cultural scripts we have talked about in previous episodes. We interpret other people’s performance (and our own) with reference to these scripts. These cultural scripts embody and propagate ageist stereotypes. People in real life (including the musical composers we talked about in a previous episode and the musical performers we will be talking about in this episode) are compelled to conform to these scripts.

Joe:

Old age is coded into the sounds people produce, both speaking and singing. Race and gender are coded in the same way—we perform our identities audibly, through the sounds we make. Old people sound old. There’s obviously a biomedical aspect to this, but we’re mostly talking about culture—the culture in which the sounds are produced and the culture in which the sounds are heard and understood.

Joe:

Within the culture of classical music performance, sounding old is not a good thing. In some popular traditions, a voice that sounds old, even damaged, can be a desirable sign of authenticity, of having lived long and hard. An old voice may have some of the authority that may come with age, rich in emotional resonance and expressive quality, an aural manifestation of lived experience. In the classical tradition, however, the sounds of an aging voice are disqualifying.

Joe:

The classical tradition is rigid, unyielding, and unaccommodating. And deeply, systemically ageist. One of my hopes for this podcast is to open our ears to the pleasure and value and beauty of musicking while old, to shift the focus from old age as decline and deficiency, to old age as valorized cultural difference, to hear sounds that might usually be understood as defective and learn to hear them as beautiful in their own distinctive way.

Joe:

Although the performance of old age is an issue for all aging performers, we’re going to focus today on old singers in both the classical operatic tradition and in popular traditions. How do these performers make their old age visible and audible, legible and understandable, to their audience? How does the audience make sense of the old age of these performers?

Joe:

To explore these issues, I had conversations with four musical scholars who have thought and written about issues of aging voices. Along the way, we’ll listen to some recordings of old voices.

Music:

[bumper music playing]

Joe:

Here is my conversation with Joy Calico, a musicologist who teaches at Vanderbilt University. I asked her what sorts of things people criticize about old opera singers.

Joy:

I would say the most common complaints are, Oh, the vibrato is really wide and slow. No high notes, no, luster to the sound. And, in fact, I have a I found an interview that somebody did with Christa Ludwig who is you know the great was a great mezzo and the title of this interview is: “Is the Opera House hot, or is it me?” [chuckles] And she's talking about a performance that she did of Don Carlos conducted by Karajan at the Salzburg Festival and she's singing the femme fatale who loved Don Carlos.

Joy:

She’s done this role over 50 times in the previous two decades, very comfortable with this role, and near the end she has a huge show stopping aria, “O don fatale,” “O fatal gift,” in which she curses her God-given beauty and resolves to save Don Carlos who has rejected her. And, as she reaches one of the aria's climactic high notes, her voice cracks. In a brutal world of opera, this critic recounts, that's all it takes for tongues to wag and knives to come out and for a singer’s sense of self-worth to crumble. Devastated and ashamed, she slinks out of town without finishing the run and never sings the role again. The newspapers announced a star has fallen.

Joe:

So, if a young singer’s voice cracks on a high note, which happens often enough, it's not attributed to age. But if a singer, an experienced singer in her 50s, let's say, has a bad night, cracks a high note, that's considered, what?

Joy:

Yeah I would say, with a young singer you might think oh it's nerves it's an experience it's technique, maybe. With an older singer who's been doing this a while, I think people start. I feel they immediately reach for the idea that she's too old—she should give up this role, or maybe stop singing entirely.

Joe:

Right, so that they're essentially forced off of the operatic stage because of what are perceived as age-related defects in their voice. Is it ever the case that age-related changes in a voice are considered good, desirable marks of authenticity and experience, or is it uniformly considered deficits and loss.

Joy:

I think people often praise a maturity of interpretation, musicianship, that kind of thing often. People will praise an older musician of any kind, also in a singer, that interpretation gets more mature, it has more depth. People will say there are more dimensions to a character, more shading to the vocalizing of that character. Marielle Devia, this Italian bel canto singer, who was singing into her 70s, singing these bel canto roles extraordinarily well.

Joy:

uld find of her which is from:

Joe:

What should we be listening for here? What kinds of changes are we going to hear?

Joy:

I would say a couple of things to notice. She will breathe more often. I think this is not, this is not unusual—the phrases tend to be shorter. The color I think will be different, darker, which is also not unusual as voices age. What's extraordinary to me, however, is how she still has such a solid control of her low middle and high range.

Music:

[playing "Casta Diva" sung by Marielle Devia]

Joe:

So it sounds like the opera world always had relatively narrow standards for what was considered desirable and undesirable, but that the standards have gotten even further narrowed first by recording technology and then now by video technology, where the kinds of latitude that would have been acceptable a generation ago is now considered unacceptable and embarrassing, in fact.

Joy:

I think your point about what recording technology both audio and video has done to this is very important because in an era where I could only ever hear a famous singer you know once in a lifetime in a live performance, that's very different than hearing them live after I’ve listened to that recording 200 times and I know what it's supposed to sound like and then I get there and she's having a slightly off night. It doesn't leave room for reinterpretation but it also creates audience expectations that are not tolerant, for, as what you're describing: the inevitable effects of no longer being 30.

Joe:

Right so there's the normal voice, the good voice, the proper voice, is the 35 year old voice let's say, and everything else is a deviation from that, either because you're too young, or more commonly because you're too old. And it sounds like on the operatic stage, as in real life, aging is a rather different experience for men and for women. And men, typically, have a much wider latitude for ways of aging. For women, the standards are much more punishing and strict. Is that right?

Joy:

Yeah it is, I think I think you're right. There definitely seems to be seems to be a gendered aspect to it, which is exacerbated, I think, by the fact that the visual aspect of the video and simulcasts all of these things are now virtually like, they’re shot like films and that you're getting a very close up view of women, and so those standards that are imposed, that come out of film and magazines and airbrushing anyway—I think it applies to opera singers.

Joe:

Right so narrow standards of physical beauty sort of get translated into narrow standards of vocal beauty as well.

Joy:

I think that's right, I think it works both ways yeah.

Music:

[bumper music playing]

Joe:

Next, I spoke with Mike Kinney. Mike is finishing up a musicology dissertation at Stanford called “Aging Vocality in Contemporary American Operatic Performance.” He started by talking about the aesthetics of the old voice, and I asked him what it means to sing well while old.

Michael:

It can mean so many different things, and I think this is the fundamental thing that you can learn or start to understand aging, is that there is no single way in which we age. We talk often in age studies about narratives of aging or life courses. And that they all abide by some sort of predetermined trajectory. That's just entirely false, there is no one correct way in which we move through life and use our voices. Some people will choose not to continue to sing for many different reasons. And some of them will be age-related, some of them will be gender related, and often in intersection with one another, but others will continue to sing and find ways to do so that's pleasurable for them.

Joe:

Is there any sense in which an old voice has desirable qualities, that is, some of these things that might be taken as defects are actually desirable marks of authenticity or experience or interiority. In a lot of popular singing traditions that's very much the case. Is that true at all in the world of opera professional singing?

Michael:

I would say it's less true in the world of operatic singing. The idea of authenticity, I think, in opera is indexed more to the adherence to the text, as opposed to the individual decisions that are made by a singer. That's not to say that there isn't beauty in the aging voices of opera singers who are older. I think that there are certain roles that allow us to see that.

Joe:

At this point in our conversation, Mike shared a clip of soprano Edita Gruberova singing the final cadenza of Lucia's Mad Scene at age 70, noting both some vocal flaws but also an extraordinary dramatic sense.

Music:

[playing Edita Gruberova's performance]

Joe:

What happens to the reception, the critical reception, of voices as they age? How does the knowledge of the age of the performer affect the way the critics respond?

Michael:

Listening to any voice, we bring into bit our attitudes towards identity. And predominantly in the US, age is seen as a process of decline. So there is an expectation that as a singer gets older, their voices will deteriorate. I think we are impacted in our listening much more by the social scripts of aging, than we then we think, and those social scripts are rooted in largely 19th century ideas of what it means to get older, and that is disease and decay and death. So when we see that a famous singer is going to sing who's older, I think we always kind of enter the room with this expectation and kind of with bated breath wait to see if the voice will be successful.

Michael:

What we want out of the operatic voice is that transcendent moment where we leave our bodies behind. Obviously it's impossible, but when the body is made present to us through aging, we are reminded of our own aging, and because we live in this ageist society where to get old is to approach death, we don’t want that, we don't want to hear that , so not only are we kind of bringing in these assumptions about specific singers but we're bringing in our assumptions and our own fears about death and aging and all these horrible things that we've been told to expect. Adorno said that opera is a bourgeois vacation spot, and that we are brought out of that experience when we are reminded of our materiality and when we are reminded of our finitude. Which is what aging and aging voices have come to represent.

Michael:

More established, professional singers who had a career are asked to sing the roles that they're most known for as they get continue to get older. And you are either successful in that, because your voice does not sound like it's changed at all, or you are unsuccessful, because your voice has changed. So in both instances, we are left with the erasure of age at all levels. I've been finding that there is just not space, sonically at least, for aging. Because older singers are pressured into this kind of I’m calling it a rehabilitative imperative, where age becomes a disability for the singer, and must seek out professional care to alter or reverse or to maintain that youthful sounding voice.

Michael:

When the answer is no, they can no longer do those things, they are moved to the very few roles that do exist for that type of voice. And those roles are just not fulfilling in the same way that singing something like Butterfly would be fulfilling. You’re moved into being a secondary character; you're moved into being a villain; you’re moved into being a fool.

Joe:

Right so operatic roles that are designed for old characters are actually relatively few. They tend to be minor characters subsidiary characters. They tend to fall into a small number of stereotypical roles: they’re servants, they’re villains, they’re fools.

Michael:

There just isn't that opportunity for singers to be the creative agents that they are when it comes to opera. And this really does hinder difference ultimately. And I think with aging, you would get so much more out of the canon that we have right now, if we allowed for that flexibility. There is opportunity for different strains of meaning to be extracted from music and from operas if we allowed for there to be flexibility in the not just the staging but this needs to extend to the sonic realm as well if you really want there to be inclusivity. I think it is what it comes down to: it's a question of inclusivity in opera.

Joe:

Right so you're advocating, not just an age blind casting but you're actually advocating a world where different kinds of voices, including voices that are affected by age-related differences are not just tolerated but actually embraced for the additional luster, artistic resonance, that they might bring to a part.

Music:

[bumper music playing]

Joe:

Then, I spoke with Blake Howe, a musicologist who teaches at Louisiana State University. We started by talking about opera, but then branched out into popular traditions where old age plays out quite differently. I started out by asking him about the life cycle of a singer, especially when a singer becomes old, and when a singer is perceived as too old.

Blake:

Singers have really compressed lifespans. Unlike their colleagues in instrumental performance, singers typically begin studying voice seriously quite late in their late teens or early 20s. After college they might enter an apprenticeship program and then their career really peaks in their 30s or 40s. By the time they're in their 50s or 60s, singers tend to withdraw a little bit from performance, if not outright retire.

Blake:

As far as when singers get too old to sing, I mean, that's a really complex judgment that considers a wide range of factors. I mean you'll see discussions among critics and audiences that use all sorts of nasty language, why singers that need to quit while they're ahead, or singers that are past their prime, or singers that aren’t what they once were, singers that need to make way for the younger generation. And all of that makes me queasy because human voices change day to day, year by year, decade by decade. And meanwhile, the operatic canon remains fixed and especially the way in which we expect the operatic canon to be sung. And these two things are in conflict with each other and so oftentimes when a singer becomes too old to perform is when they can't meet the expectations of that canon anymore.

Joe:

Right, I mean one of the underlying issues here, obviously, is the extremely narrow canon of beauty, that seems to govern the voice quality for classical singers of opera. Is any accommodation possible or are those requirements hardwired into the art form.

Blake:

Well, they are possible, but it would mean that we would have to radically rethink the performance traditions that we associate, especially, with operatic performance. We could permit singers to transpose their arias down. We frequently let singers do this in recitals--transposing songs down is quite common. We could accept singers speeding up or slowing their tempi down as needed. We could re-orchestrate songs, so the accompaniment doesn't overpower a singer. We could even reconfigure melodies if there is a hard spot that an older singer’s having difficulty with. There's no melody police that are going to come after you. We could allow singers to reconfigure their melodies to avoid a difficult spot. So these are all accommodations that could be provided to older singers, but they seldom are.

Blake:

I mentioned that singer's voices change, singers voices are very different. Music—we tend not to let change. We want it to remain fixed and stuck and static. And you know when push comes to shove, we often don't let that music change. Instead, we exile our performers, and make way for somebody who can fulfill the musical text as written.

Joe:

I'm always struck by the kinds of radical freedoms that are permitted in some aspects of opera, and this crushing fidelity to a very, very narrow standard in others. So in terms of the setting of the opera, the costumes of the opera, the scene of the dramatic action: all of those things are completely up for grabs. But you can't change a note, you can't change a key, and apparently you can't really tamper very much with this narrow expectation for beautiful singing.

Blake:

Right, right. We tend to, in the classical music world, choose music over people. We want the music to remain performed as was, even if that means cancelling singers who are no longer able to fulfill that musical script.

Joe:

Is it imaginable, given the radical nature of so many opera stagings, is it imaginable that the ages of the characters might also be toyed with, not just the setting, but the actual ages. So, for example, could we ever have a Cosi fan tutte where the four principals were in their 60s? Could that ever happen? Maybe another way to ask the same question is, could we ever imagine a situation in which an older character was the romantic hero of the drama?

Blake:

I say go for it, I don't have any problems with that. I am a radical in terms of feeling like one can feel free to play fast and loose with our musical texts.

Joe:

I wonder if would have some of the same liberating effect that recent approaches to race in casting would, which is not that race would be ignored, but actually race is brought in so that the race of the singers actually can reveal layers of meaning in the text that previously hadn't seemed to permit that kind of reading.

Blake:

Absolutely, and in terms of disability performance as well. Disabled performers playing roles that have traditionally been non-disabled bring new insights, new perspectives to bear on a text. I was thinking about singers outside of the operatic tradition, where the precise purity of tone and timbre are just less important. There’s more flexibility. There’s more acceptance of vocal abilities outside of the classical music world. Chavela Vargas was a singer of rancheria music, a Mexican musical tradition.

Blake:

She's an example of a singer who became incredibly successful in her old age. She had a career up until her 50s or so, and a respectable career, she recorded occasionally. And then she disappeared from musical life; she struggled with alcoholism. And then in the early 1990s, she came back to performance as a 70-year-old woman and had this tremendously successful second career. And she performed until her death at 93. She recorded widely, she toured widely, she was beloved by audiences. So here's an example of a performer who actually became more successful as she got older and she did so with a with a voice that that had aged. And she used her aged voice as a powerful and expressive tool. It's really what made her performances distinctive. She has this really gravelly raspy timbre. She hits some pitches, she misses others. She doesn't really try to hide the way that her voice has changed. Instead, she uses it to create these really haunting and harrowing performances.

Music:

[playing La Llorona by Chavela Vargas]

Blake:

Willie Nelson, another singer that we could talk about in this light, has a song called “It gets easier.” It’s a song about getting old, and he performs it with an older voice. It's gravelly, it's raspy, some of the pitches are more spoken than sung. It’s in a very low register. But there's a song that would not sound appropriate being sung by a younger person because it's about an older person's perspective, and it deserves to be sung with an older person's voice. The first line of that song is actually quite beautiful it says, “It gets easier, as we get older, it gets easier to say not today.” Which throws some of the tropes that one might associate with old age, you know, spins them around a little bit. Instead of it getting harder, as you get older, as you get older you experience decline, no, it gets easier. It gets easier to maybe weed out the things that are less important, and to focus on the things that are most important in your life.

Music:

[playing "It Gets Easier" by Willie Nelson]

Blake:

Voices are incredibly diverse from person to person and from age to age. The voice can be affected by the allergens that are in the air, by the cigarette smoke that one inhales, by the vocal nodules that one might develop, either through misguided technique, or just by accident. This incredible diversity of sound, that again takes place from person to person, and within a single person, from year to year, decade to decade, ought to be appreciated as a mode of cultural diversity, as a form of biodiversity. And that we ought to be a little less precious about how exact we expect the music to be performed by these very different voices.

Music:

[bumper music playing]

Joe:

Finally, I spoke with my CUNY colleague, Mark Spicer. Mark is both a leading scholar of rock music and a longtime performer as a keyboard player and vocalist. I asked him about the performance of music by older rock musicians.

Mark:

During rock music’s formative decade in the 1960s, I think it's safe to say that both the performers and the audience overwhelmingly were young people. Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who, perhaps put it best when he sang in The Who’s breakthrough hit “My Generation” in 1965: “Hope I die before I get old.” Rock musicians, along with their fans, have aged. Some, indeed, have died before they got old. Keith Moon, The Who's flamboyant drummer, died at age 32 of a drug overdose. And John Entwistle, their bass player, followed at the relatively young age of 57. Yet Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are still performing as The Who, and in fact just announced that they will appear in the New Orleans jazz fest in April, when Daltrey will be 78 and Townshend 76.

Joe:

So the musicians and the audience are aging together.

Mark:

Yes, exactly. Phil Collins came to the fore, first as the drummer for the British progressive rock group Genesis. He was actually not an original member of the band. He joined the band in 1970 when he was not quite 20 years old and first appeared on their 1971 album called Nursery Cryme. Peter Gabriel, at the time the group's lead singer, left the band in 1975, and at that time Phil took over the role of the group's front man or lead singer in addition to being the drummer. So on their records Phil would play the drums and sing, and in their live performances, Phil would come out and serve as the band's front man. And they enlisted a support drummer to play the drums--Chester Thompson would play drums.

Mark:

So when you would see a Genesis concert, there would be these extraordinary moments when Phil would sing a number and then move back behind the kit and sort of play in a dual drummer role with Chester Thompson and then come out seemingly effortlessly to sing another passage. Genesis were known for their long form songs sometimes stringing together songs in medleys for 20 minutes. His energy was boundless and he was just an astonishing performer.

Joe:

Could you say a word more specifically about just the quality of his voice. What was distinctive and notable about simply his vocal production when he was in his prime.

Mark:

He had a very distinctive voice. He's not trying to put on an American accent like a lot of pop singers from Britain--even the Beatles have sometimes been accused of that. His vowels are quite British. He'll say dance instead of dance, for example, and he had an extraordinary range. The top of his range was very pure. When he would sing ballads and he would sit behind the piano and perform them in his solo work, he would typically start out a song, and it would be rather restrained, but then it would lead towards a big, full-throttle belted final chorus in the top part of his range.

Joe:

So now let's talk about how he sounds now.

Mark:

Yes, well, I need to give a little bit of history here. Genesis had a reunion tour having not played live together for over a decade. This was in 2007, so Phil Collins would have been 57 years old, at the time, and during that tour he suffered an injury to the vertebrae in his back. And he subsequently had surgery to correct it, but it did not correct the nerve damage. It left him with irreparable nerve damage that made it impossible for him to hold drumsticks.

Mark:

So for a few years there in the early 2000s and 10s we didn't really hear much of anything from Phil until 2016. He announced that he was going to come out of retirement and he was going to go on a solo tour for his solo work. And the thing that's remarkable about this is that he enlisted the help of his 16-year-old son, Nicholas Collins, to play drums for that tour. So that when the idea of Genesis coming out of their own hiatus to do another tour, which has just been taking place in 2021, they had a drummer to do it.

Joe:

If you went to one of the performances on this recent tour, what would you see and what would you hear from Phil Collins?

Mark:

Well Phil has been left to where he can only walk with a cane, and he comes out and he sits on a stool in front of the stage. And he remains in that position for the entire concert, while the rest of the band is behind him. So Phil will sing and Genesis--they have dropped the keys of most of the songs in order to accommodate Phil’s limited vocal range. But he still sounds like Phil Collins. He still has that unmistakable Phil Collins quality to his voice.

Mark:

It is so distinctive. He's not able to hold his notes, as long as he was able to. So they've enlisted two background singers, and they're really serving as kind of support vocalists for Phil, so they'll cover him when he's unable to hold a note for as long or when he's not quite able to hit a high note. What we're going to hear is a clip from the Last Domino Tour, the stop in Raleigh, North Carolina from November of 2021.

Mark:

They launch into one of Genesis’s most beloved tracks. It's what I guess you might call a power ballad. The song is called Afterglow. What they've had to do for this performance is to lower the key of the song by a third. So the song is originally in G; now it's in E. You can hear the frailty I think in his voice. His voices is quivering a little bit and he sounds old, I don't know any better way to describe it, but he still sounds unmistakably like Phil Collins.

Music:

[playing "Afterglow" with Phil Collins singing]

Mark:

I have a deep attachment to that music, both as a fan, and as a scholar. So I had to go and see Genesis in what will almost certainly be their last concert outing. And it was phenomenal. The musicianship is still there.

Mark:

As a as a contrasting example, one could bring up ABBA. ABBA have just released their first album of new material in 40 years. And they are taking a different approach. As they perform that music, rather than performing that music as their live selves, through the wonders of 21st century technology, they have created digital avatars or I should say ABBA-tars, as they're calling them. And they've got a seven-month run of concerts in London at a specially designed arena for these shows where the audience will go out to see ABBA performing, but as digital representations of their younger selves, in their youthful prime. So I suppose ABBA decided that their fans were more interested in seeing their younger selves than seeing their 70-something selves.

Joe:

It's a kind of musical or electronic plastic surgery, where, the apparent deficiencies of age are surgically removed to give at least the illusion of desirable youth.

Mark:

Yes, that's a good way to put it.

Music:

[bumper music playing]

Joe:

What have we learned today from Joy Calico, Mike Kinney, Blake Howe, and Mark Spicer? We learned first that old age is a very malleable, porous category. There is tremendous variation in when a singer is considered old, and when a singer is considered too old. We also learned that the level of acceptance of old voices is very different between the classical operatic tradition and various popular traditions. We learned that in all of these traditions, ageist stereotypes persist and constrain the ways that listeners respond. Finally, what I hope we learned, is that there is a special, distinctive beauty in old age and in the sounds of old age. If old age and ageism are social constructions, then we can entertain the liberating possibility of reconstructing them, of imagining and working to create a musical world that embraces old age, old musicians, old voices, and old musicking of all kinds.

Joe:

Thank you for joining me in this fourth episode of Musicking While Old. Next time, in the fifth and final episode, we’ll turn our attention to Old Listeners. How do old people make sense of, apprehend, listen to music? I’ll be asking a bunch of my fellow old music theorists to join me to try to answer that question.

Joe:

My warm thanks Joy Calico, Mike Kinney, Blake Howe, and Mark Spicer for sharing their time and wisdom in this episode. I also had valuable conversations about Old Performers with Matt Timmermans and Ed Klorman. I received excellent comments from the peer reviewer Shersten Johnson. Annie Belliveau again prepared the musical examples and my theme music, from Copland’s "Night Thoughts," was again played by the wonderful pianist Han Chen. And once again, I offer my warm thanks to the editorial dream team for SMT-Pod Jennifer Beavers, Katrina Roush, and Megan Lyons.

SMT:

[closing music begins] Visit our website smt-pod.org for supplemental materials related to this episode. And join in on the conversation by tweeting us your questions and comments @SMT_Pod. SMT Pod's theme music was written by Zhangcheng Lu with closing music by David Voss. Thanks for listening!

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