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We Are Knox...

Sarah Day-O'Connell

Associate Professor of Music

At Knox Since: 2004


Sarah Day-O'Connell teaches teaches music history and culture. She earned her
bachelor's degree at Oberlin College and master's and doctoral degrees
at Cornell University. She has published extensively on Haydn and Eighteenth-
Century music. She received an Edison Fellowship to conduct research at the Sound Archive of the British Library in London in 2007 and in 2009 was one of three winners of the Innovative Course Design Competition, sponsored by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Why Knox?
It was when I met students over lunch during my interview that I knew I wanted to teach at Knox. They were bright and curious and they wanted to talk about ideas. Not about how many hours they spent in the practice room, but about big ideas. As I picked at my taco salad (I'd dutifully eaten an enormous chocolate cookie that was served to me during another meeting just an hour before), our conversation ranged from music and the war in Iraq, to music and feminism, to the future of classical music.

What is your most memorable moment at Knox?
I have many treasured memories of witnessing "aha!" moments in the classroom or in conferences. I also fondly remember playing student-composed calypsos on steel drums; Taiko drumming and Bulgarian dancing with my ethnomusicology classes; seeing the audience euphoria after the Juanito Pascual flamenco trio performance; and, of course, wearing my J. S. Bach wig to class.

Describe your current research/creative work. What is most interesting about this work?
One of the things I'm doing now is studying recordings and the ways songs can change meaning over time according to the new contexts of performance. To me, this is one of the most interesting and exciting things about music. Music is not a fixed "thing." It is realized through performance. So every time it comes into existence, it can be new.

If you weren't a professor, you would be a . . . ?
I'd work in public radio.

What is your favorite thing about Galesburg?
My 1905 house and the lovely features of my friends and colleagues' older homes. While I enjoy many things about Galesburg, I also love being able to hop on a train and easily spend a day or a long weekend in Chicago. I've even been known to walk -- walk -- to the train station and travel to Colorado to visit my family.

What were the last three books you read?
Communication in Eighteenth-Century Music -- for my research
The Secret Garden
-- to my kids, in honor of the book's 100th anniversary
Bossypants
-- to Jeremy (her husband) in the evenings, except when he had to take over because I was laughing too hard to speak

What did you do to celebrate receiving tenure?
I was taken out to lunch by a friend, treated to dinner by another friend, and toasted by more friends in the evening. It was a great day.

View Sarah Day-O'Connell's faculty page