In March 2019, Joe Rapolla, chair of the Music and Theatre Department, was invited to speak at Sapienza University in Rome, Italy and at Liceo Cevolani, a secondary school in Cento, Italy. He spoke with students on the topic of how music and the arts help to connect culture and impact social issues throughout contemporary history. While in Italy, Rapolla also performed in small clubs outside of Milan and Bologna.
“I love seeing the engagement in the students’ eyes as we discuss the impact of music and the arts. You can see that it resonates with them because they can reference some experience where music had an impact on them personally,” said Rapolla. “It’s the same response I get from our students here at Monmouth. That experience, that connection, is universal.”
Sapienza University, a GRAMMY Museum affiliate like Monmouth, is one the most prestigious Italian universities as well as one of the largest, with 112,000 students. Rapolla was invited by Marilisa Merolla, Ph.D., director of the Pop Power Revolution Project in the Music Making History Research Unit at Sapienza University.
Rapolla has toured Italy and other European countries annually since 2006. There he performs at music venues and festivals and speaks at schools and other local settings. In 2014, he and Stanton Green, Ph.D., professor of anthropology at Monmouth, accompanied a group of Monmouth students to conduct workshops and clinics with Italian music academy students across Abruzzo. Monmouth students collaborated with Italian music students and performed concerts across the region.
In 2017, Rapolla spoke at Liceo Scientifico Renzi (Renzi High School) in the Italian city of Bologna, and at the municipal center in Cento, by invitation.