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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Casey Foubert ’24 Debuts Honors Project Song Cycle Inspired by Student Poetry

Live performance featured musicians linked to Taylor Swift, Sufjan Stevens, and Bon Iver

Casey Foubert ’24 debuted his senior Honors project, All Is Moved By Love, to a packed crowd in the Seymour Library Red Room on Saturday, April 20. A song cycle inspired by student poetry from the Knox College Archives dating back to 1855, this live performance served as a culmination of Foubert’s work as a Knox student and a reflection of his time as a professional musician.

Foubert utilized connections he made over the years to feature a top-tier lineup of musicians, including James McAlister on drums and electronics (prior work with Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Sufjan Stevens); Sean Carey on keyboards, vocals, and drums (prior work with S. Carey and Bon Iver); Jenn Wasner on keyboards, bass, electric and acoustic guitar, and vocals (prior work with Wye Oak and Bon Iver); and Nick Zoulek on saxophone (prior work with Eighth Blackbird and Third Coast Percussion).

Knox students at Lombard Middle School

From his first days at Knox, Foubert aimed to create a musical experience that resonated with the Knox community. As a nontraditional student, Foubert wanted to connect with his peers and showcase his history as a traveling musician, allowing for deep interactions with those who were interested in his experiences. 

Searching for inspiration, Foubert says everything was set in motion after being approached about applying for a job by Knox College Archivist and Special Collections Librarian Joseph Taylor. Inspired by the resources and support in Seymour Library, Foubert delved into archival poetry, eventually using it as a guide for his project.

“I wandered around the library and archives until something jumped out. There was so much to see,” Foubert said. 

The process involved meticulous planning and collaboration with faculty and staff members, including Taylor, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Maria Kaoutzani, Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing Nick Regiacorte, Managing Director of Knox College's Music Performance Program Andy Crawford, Director of the Seymour Library Anne Thomason, and Chair and Associate Professor of Music Joan Huget, among many others. 

As an Honors Program project, Foubert’s entire year consisted of studying the archives, finding poems that resonated, and composing music to fit his research narrative. Foubert says taking part in this Honors project was an “awesome experience.” Seniors undergoing Honors research are given individual office space in Seymour Library. For Foubert, this space became a resource room filled with musical concepts and old poem drafts. 

Knox students at Lombard Middle School

“I had to find a way to turn my internal critic off,” Foubert said. “I took notes the whole time, looking for something that worked musically. The whole process was a really special experience.” 

Foubert now plans to pursue a degree in library and information studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Though not what he originally envisioned when applying to Knox, this project helped him reflect on his evolution as an artist and his desire to explore new avenues. While music remains a significant part of his life, he looks forward to delving deeper into research and, possibly, creating more projects in a similar vein.

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Printed on Monday, May 20, 2024