When Film Met Music: A Conversation with Creative Mind Kelli Bruno ‘13

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There are amazing people at this University; there’s no doubt about that. But then there’s Kelli Bruno. Bruno, a senior at Bucknell and a girl who’s involved in more musical groups than I can count, is quite the anomaly on our campus. Her stellar vocal and piano skills combined with her passion for the visual arts, mainly film, makes her one of the most interesting and culturally-minded people I’ve met at our University. This coming Sunday at 4:00 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall, Bruno will present her original film "BE" with live piano accompaniment. I had the chance to talk more with Bruno and hear about her passions, her goals, her accomplishments, and most importantly, her pursuit of musical excellence. Bruno walked into 7th St. Café with a bounce in her step, a smile on her face, and a willingness to share her story with me. “When I first came to campus, I was more on the shy side. I was on the softball team for a few months, but then I quit that; that’s when I started doing all my musical ensembles,” Bruno said.

Not shy to performing, Bruno’s involvement spans back to her early childhood years. “I started taking piano lessons at the age of 6, so I’ve been taking lessons ever since. I joined choirs in school; started taking lessons for different instruments like violin and guitar; and now that I’ve come to college, I’ve expanded my musical taste. I’ve always been performing and trying to hone that skill. I just try to do as many things as I can possibly do.”

The various musical groups Bruno belongs to are: Rooke Chapel Choir, Rooke Chapel Ringers, Beyond Unison, and the Pep Band. Academically, Bruno double-majors in Film/Media Studies and Music. To keep track of a schedule as busy as hers, Bruno shared her time management secrets. “I make a lot of Post-It Notes and to do lists, and I stick very close to my Google Calendar, which is my Bible. I just try to stay organized. Somehow, it all falls into place.”

Bucknell fell into place for Bruno. As a senior, she had nothing but good things to say about her experience at the University. “My experience at Bucknell has been awesome because of all the people I’ve met through the things I’ve been involved in, my professors, and the classes I’ve taken…I feel like I’ve learned a lot and I’ve definitely changed. I’m more open-minded, more willing to try new things, and a lot more outgoing; I’m just generally more confident overall.”

Bruno said how her upcoming performance on Sunday is “something that she would not have done four years ago” but is a performance for which she truly is excited. At the beginning of the year, Bruno decided that she wanted to do an independent project, completely separate from school, which combines both of her passions: film and music. “I decided to make a film and write the music to go along with the film. And then I thought, ‘what could make that a more interesting performance?’ So I decided that I would play the music score live on the piano.”

When I asked Bruno what people can expect from her film and musical performance on Sunday, her answer excited me to discover for myself how her presentation will unfold.  “People can expect to think about their lives and what’s important to them. It’s about life, and how even when we can be crazy busy sometimes, we may not see the big picture. What do we really want? What do we really need? It’s about that and exploring my musings.” Also, Bruno mentioned how “beautiful imagery” and “sweeping music” will complement the film. “Hopefully, people walk out in a good mood if nothing else,” Bruno said.

Don’t miss Bruno’s film and music performance this Sunday at 4:00 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall in the Music Building. Combining visual and performing arts, Bruno’s performance intends to inspire the pursuit of greatness in life, both at Bucknell and beyond.