Dare to Lift Voices

Mary Cohen

Mary Cohen, Ph.D.


Associate Professor, Music Education

College(s): Education and Liberal Arts & Sciences

Choral singing has the power to connect body and spirit in communion with fellow singers in a way that both creates beauty and affirms humanity. Mary Cohen has profoundly demonstrated this as founder and director of the Oakdale Prison Community Choir comprised of people who are in prison and community volunteers. She also facilitates a songwriting component with choir members which now includes a repertoire of 107 original songs. Another community-university partnership program Cohen initiated is Voice of Experience where Cohen mentors a music education student who directs the mixed chorus of adults age 50 and older that rehearses at the Iowa City Senior Center. She is a certified InterPlay leader (InterPlay is something more easily experienced than described) and has, along with her husband Communications Professor Matthew Cohen, co-led a First Year Seminar using this embodied system to lift freshmen students’ voices and affirm their authentic selves.

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