Arts & Culture Series showcases student songwriter

By Estelle Mandeville
Staff Writer

A student presented on her process of songwriting and performed some original songs as part of the ongoing Arts and Culture Series on March 6 at 6 p.m. in the Gentile Gallery.

Senior theater major AmyLynn Miller began by giving background on her history as a musician. She said she started playing the piano at age ten and then learned ukelele during quarantine.

She said her brother taught her a little music theory and she started writing songs, gaining inspiration from her personal life.

“Songwriting is how I process the world,” Miller said.

Miller said another source of inspiration in her songwriting is the stories and characters present in her imagination.

When stage managing for a one-act play called “Eurydice,” Miller said she became captivated by the characters of both Eurydice and Orpheus, so she wrote songs about them.

She performed her original song “Eurydice” for the audience, in addition to a song called “Cutthroat,” which she composed for a villain in a musical. Later during the event, she performed an original song called “New Spring,” inspired by the biblical book of Isaiah.

Miller said that to work on a song, she must be alone in order to focus. She said she may strum her ukelele and listen for a tune that sticks or start with chords on a piano.

Miller also explained that words put to music do not always make a good song.

“Art always comes first for me,” she added.

Monica Anderson, a professor in the theater department, said that in a special topic class, she asked her students to create an art piece reacting to a document outlining the arts in a university setting and Miller wrote a song.
Anderson, who was working on the beginnings of last semester’s mainstage production, “Words, Words, Words and How to Use Them to Write Good, Part II: Writing Even Gooder,” saw the talent of Miller and her co-performer Ari Shovak and asked them to compose songs for the play.

To close the evening, the cast of “Words, Words, Words” performed the song “Finale” from the play.

Senior Michael Lamontagne said of Miller, “When AmyLynn is in the zone, she is the woman God made her to be.”

Senior Clare Young added, “I just think AmyLynn is so talented, and her songs really resonate with the human condition, which help you access truth, goodness and beauty”.

This event was part of the Arts & Culture Series and was sponsored by The Center for Beauty.

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