Our Pale Blue Dot: Lawrence International Cabaret celebrates the planet’s human beauty, diversity

More than 100 students representing more than 30 countries celebrate the 40th anniversary of Lawrence University’s annual International Cabaret in a pair of performances showcasing their native cultures through music and dance.

Under the theme “Our Pale Blue Dot,” students will highlight the world’s beauty and diversity in performances Saturday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 3 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center. A free reception follows Sunday’s performance at 5 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center.International-Cabaret_newsblog-2016

Tickets, at $10 for adults, $5 for students/children (age four and under are free), are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749. The box office will be open one hour prior to Sunday’s performance.

Bimal Rajbhandari, a junior from Nepal and current president of Lawrence International, said this year’s Pale Blue Dot theme reflects our small, but unique, place in the cosmos.

“When we look at Earth from the Voyager 1 spacecraft from billions of miles away, it looks smaller than a single pixel,” said Rajbhandari, “and as far as we know, we are the only life that exists in the vast universe. Since we only have each other, we should be kind to each other and respect one another.

“Even though we are this tiny speck in the universe, there is so much beauty and diversity in our pale blue dot. We want to showcase a small part of that beauty through the cabaret,” Rajbhandari added.

The talent portion of this year’s cabaret includes:

• The song of herdsmen, a famous Chinese flute song that represents the great spirit of herdsmen on China’s fnorth prairie.

• Three different elements of Japanese dance.

• A fusion performance that blends rhythm and dance influences from Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria along with the sorsonet, a drum rhythm originating from Guinea in West Africa.

• Raga Yaman, a partial rendition of a piece from Indian classical music performed on the bansuri, an Indian flute.

• Ukali Orali Haruma, a Nepali song sung by the hugely influential classical artist Tara Devi.

• A traditional Tatar dance, representing one of the more than 180 ethnic minorities within Russia.

Cabaret_newsblog-2016• Jordanian Dabkeh, one of seven distinct traditional dances popular in Arab countries. First performed in Palestine in 1962, it has 19 main moves.

• A lyrically abstract Indian song that incorporates elements of jazz, performed on an iktara, an ancient Indian single-stringed instrument.

• A musical recitation of two corresponding poems — Shikwa and Iqbal — by revered philosopher-poet Muhammad Iqbal, “the spiritual father of Pakistan.”

• A performance of Qing Hua Ci, a unique synthesis of Eastern and Western music popularized by Jay Chou, a major Asian artist who helped create the genre Zhong Guo Feng by fusing traditional Chinese musical styles with R&B and rock influences.

• A Korean dance team highlighting the three major types of modern Kpop culture: hip-hop, girl group and funky dance.

• A Vietnamese bamboo hat dance, inspired by the Northern Vietnamese agrarian traditions, accompanied by traditional Vietnamese musical instruments.

In addition to the musical and dance performances, the cabaret again will feature its popular fashion show, highlighting native clothing from around the world.

Lawrence International is one of the largest student organizations at the college, connecting the international community with American students on campus. Nearly 200 of Lawrence’s 1,500 students identify themselves with the international community, either through citizenship or personal background.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence Artist Series welcomes pianist Jeremy Denk

With a thought-provoking repertoire and an enthusiastic interest in all things music, pianist Jeremy Denk brings his gifts for enlivening the musical experience for diverse audiences to Lawrence University’s Artist Series.

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Jeremy Denk

Denk performs Friday, April 8 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Tickets, at $25/$30 for adults, $20/$25 for seniors and $18/$20 for students are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Through performances with many of the country’s leading orchestras, among them the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, Denk has built a reputation as one of America’s most compelling artists. The New York Times praised Denk as someone “you want to hear no matter what he performs.”

He has toured extensively with violinist Joshua Bell and collaborates regularly with cellist Steven Isserlis. His 2012 album with Bell, “French Impressions,” won the 2012 Echo Klassik Award.

“Jeremy Denk is one of the most fascinating young pianists out there,” said Catherine Kautsky, professor of music and chair of the keyboard department at Lawrence. “He not only plays a massive range of repertoire with total command— going from Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ to Ligeti’s immensely difficult and recent ‘Etudes’— but he also speaks and writes about music with a rare eloquence.”

Named a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s coveted $625,000 “Genius” Fellowship in 2013, he was honored the following year with Musical America’s 2014 “Instrumentalist of the Year” award. That same year, he was named winner of the Avery Fisher Prize, which is awarded by New York City’s Lincoln Center and recognizes solo instrumentalists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and excellence in music. It includes a $75,000 monetary prize.

Beyond his captivating performances, Denk contributes eloquent insights about music on his blog, “Think Denk,” which recently was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress’ web archives. An article he wrote for The New Yorker in 2013 entitled “Every Good Boy Does Fine” forms the basis for a memoir about his experiences as a music student.

In an interview he conducted with the UK’s Daily Mail, Denk said he likes to “tear the music apart and see how it works.”

“My way of communicating is to hopefully help people see the elements that I see, and [explore] why this music is so strange and beautiful.”

Currently living in New York City, Denk holds degrees from Oberlin College, Indiana University and the Julliard School.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Three Wisconsin photographers featured in latest Wriston Art Center exhibition

University of Wisconsin Professor of Visual Studies Jill Casid delivers the opening lecture for the latest exhibition at Lawrence University’s Wriston Art Center Galleries Thursday, March 31 at 6 p.m. with a reception to follow. Both events are free and open to the public.

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Jill H. Casid, “Sylvia Beach Way, Princeton, NJ 08542,” from “Kissing on Main Street,” 2015, original SX-70 Polaroid.

The exhibition, which runs through May 8, features the work of three Wisconsin photographers, including Casid. All three exhibitions highlight photography that engages with different conceptions of intimacy, interrogates the archive as a site of emotional resonance and reveals drastic changes in photographic technologies.

“Although they are three distinct exhibitions, they complement each other wonderfully,” said Beth Zinsli, director and curator of the Wriston Art Center galleries.

Casid’s “Kissing on Main Street” will be shown in the Kohler Gallery. Using a Polaroid camera, Casid captures acts of public intimacy and points her camera at the theoretical intersection of sex, imaging technology, vulnerable exposure and policing. She explores the vulnerability and temporality of public displays of affection through a medium that is itself instantaneous and easily shareable yet susceptible to damage and overexposure. An artist, theorist and historian, Casid founded and served as the first director of the Center for Visual Cultures at UW.

The Hoffmaster Gallery hosts “The Archive as a River: Paul Vanderbilt and Photography,” a celebration of the work of Vanderbilt (1905-1992), who sought new ways to understand the world through visual images as a visionary, archivist and photographer.

From 1942-1945, Vanderbilt worked with Roy Stryker at the Library of Congress, classifying more than 200,000 photographs of tenant farmers and farm workers for the Farm Security Administration. In 1954 he was hired by the Wisconsin Historical Society to curate and organize a treasure trove of images that became known as the Iconographic Collections. Inspired by Stryker’s approach of organizing materials around themed collections, Vanderbilt created a unique visual archive that is renowned for its depth, subtlety and flexibility.

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Paul Vanderbilt and his camera (detail), ca. 1963. Photographer unknown. Wisconsin Historical Society (WHI 87567).

Vanderbilt spent 18 years as the field photographer for the WHS, focusing his lens on rural Wisconsin landscapes, architecture and small-town life. His fine sense of composition created photography with narrative and meaning that went beyond mere documentation.

He pioneered new formats for presenting images from the Iconographic Collections and his idiosyncratic thematic panels and pairings combine thoughtfully selected historic images with his own photographs and poetic texts. “The Archive as a River” includes large-scale reproductions of his thematic panels and pairings, a selection of Vanderbilt’s own photographs of Wisconsin and an array of artifacts and papers that reveal his innovative approach to organizing images.

The Vanderbilt exhibition is organized by the James Watrous Gallery, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Library-Archives and is sponsored in part by the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Livija Patikne, “Untitled (flowers),” no date

The Leech Gallery presents “Certificates of Presence: The Photography of Livija Patikne.” A U.S. immigrant, the Latvian-born Patikne (1911-2001) took photos of herself throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s in different guises with intricate flower arrangements. Living in Milwaukee when she died, she left behind without explanation or instruction hundreds of these photographs that portray a quiet, private life of profound stillness, often tinged with loss. Struck by the powerful yet silent composition in these photographs, photographer James Brozek and Debra Brehmer assembled an exhibition of her work, which was first shown at Milwaukee’s Portrait Society Gallery.

Wriston Art Center hours are Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday-Sunday noon – 4 p.m., closed Mondays. For more information, call 920-832-6621.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Wild Space Dance Company gets “Carried Away” at Lawrence University

Milwaukee-based Wild Space Dance Company presents an evening of organized chaos in “Carried Away,” a combination of new dance work and live music, Friday, April 1 at 8 p.m. in Lawrence University’s Stansbury Theatre.

Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Monica Rodero and Dan Schuchart perform in Wild Space's "Carried Away." Rodero and Schuchart are two of Wild Space's artist-in-residence teachers at Lawrence. Photo by Paul Mitchell.
Monica Rodero and Dan Schuchart perform in Wild Space’s “Carried Away.” Rodero and Schuchart are two of Wild Space’s artist-in-residence teachers at Lawrence. Photo by Paul Mitchell.

“Carried Away,” features Wild Space artistic associates Mauriah Kraker, Monica Rodero and Dan Schuchart along with improvisational musician/saxophonist Nick Zoulek of Duo d’Entre-Deux.

Inspired by the creative daring that artists and performers bring to their craft, “Carried Away” reflects Wild Space’s commitment to fostering the work of emerging choreographers and cross-discipline collaborations.

“Using both improvisation and set material, Nick and the performers will navigate the space in an intricate exchange of ideas,” said Wild Space artistic director Debra Loewen, who was named 2011 Artist of the Year by the Milwaukee Arts Board. “We are thrilled to bring this kind of creativity to Lawrence.”

Wild Space Dance Company has served as a company-in-residence at Lawrence since 2000, bringing professional dance to the Lawrence community and providing students principles of dance art in performance through classes and workshops taught by Lowen and members of her company, including Rodero and Schuchart.

Known for its site-specific dance events and artistic collaborations, Wild Space merges dance with visual art, architecture and music to create inventive choreography and emotionally-charged performances. It has toured performance work to Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, South Korea and Japan.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence hosts first ACM conference and festival, nearly 70 student films to be screened

 We may not know for several years, but there is a chance the next Alejandro González Iñárritu or Kathryn Bigelow will be on the Lawrence University campus the first weekend in April.

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“Drowned,” a film by Lawrence senior Zack Ben-Amots and Aj Williams will be one of the nearly 70 fllms screened during the ACM film festival.

The work of aspiring filmmakers from nine members of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest will be showcased Saturday, April 2 in the first ACM Film Conference and Festival.  Selected from more than 150 submissions, nearly 70 of the best films will be screened in the Warch Campus Center cinema and the Wriston Art Center auditorium throughout the day beginning at 9 a.m.  All festival events are free and open to the public.

Kicking off the festival Friday at 7 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center will be a discussion led by a panel of distinguished film and media studies scholars, artists and industry professionals serving as guest judges for the festival: Alan Berger, Phyllis Berger and Garrett Brown. Award-winning filmmaker Louis Massiah joins the jury on Saturday.

On Saturday, Brown (noon,), Massiah (2 p.m.) and Alan Berger (4 p.m.) will each conduction a special presentation in Room 221 of the Wriston Art Center.

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Alan Berger
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Garrett Brown
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Louis Massiah
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Phyllis Berger

In addition to the film screenings, the festival also will showcase student research as student scholars present papers on Saturday on topics from a variety of theoretical, cultural and historical approaches to film studies and visual culture.

A live reading of the winning film script selected from among several submissions for review as part of the festival will be conducted Sunday, April 3 at 9 a.m. in the Cloak Theatre of the Music-Drama Center. An awards ceremony, recognizing student efforts for “Best of the Midwest,” social impact, production value and original concept, as well as an “Audience Choice” award, wraps up the festival Sunday (4/3) at noon in the Warch Campus Center cinema.

The films to be shown span genres ranging from documentaries and short narratives to animation and experimental, as well as music videos and public service announcements.

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Catherine Tatge ’72

The festival is the brainchild of Lawrence artist-in-residence Catherine Tatge, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, who, for the past five years, has served as a consultant to the college’s budding film studies program.

“When I first started at Lawrence, I traveled to the best small liberal arts schools in the country, especially many in the Midwest and on the East Coast, to learn as much as I could about their film production programs,” said Tatge, a 1972 Lawrence graduate. “In the process, I learned about the Ivy Film Festival held at Brown University and I thought, ‘why doesn’t Lawrence host a festival for the ACM schools?’ It took some time to make it happen, but now that we have a beautiful state of the art film studies facility and talented new film studies faculty, we were able to organize a festival.”

While Tatge planted the seed, much of the festival’s cultivation has been done by Amy Ongiri, Jill Beck Director of Film Studies and associate professor of film studies, who was instrumental in securing a grant of more than $38,000 from the ACM office to help support the festival, Anne Haydock, visiting assistant professor of film studies and 2015 Lawrence graduate Alex Babbitt.

“Thanks to the invaluable help of Amy, Anne and Alex, what was just an idea has been transformed into an exciting reality,” said Tatge.

Brownwater_ACM-newsblog
“Brownwater,” a film by Lawrence students Jamie DeMotts, Hugo Espinosa and Taylor Dodson that examines the interaction between dairy farming and groundwater quality, will be among the films shown at the ACM film festival.

Lawrence senior Zach Ben-Amots, who had two films — “Drowned” and “Poem” — accepted for screening at the festival, says he’s “ecstatic” Tatge’s vision of a film festival has come to fruition.

“This is an exciting moment for us as students, but it’s also a great moment for the film departments at each of the participating schools,” said Ben-Amots, whose documentary film, “Forgotten History,” about the experiences of African-American students at Lawrence, was shown at the Appleton Public Library last summer.  “I think audience members will be really impressed with the quality of the student work at the festival.”

As with many first-time ventures, like the Civic Life Project Tatge brought to Lawrence in 2013, she wasn’t quite sure what to expect when the call went out months ago for students to submit their work. She and her film studies faculty colleagues were more than pleasantly surprised by the response.

“We were shocked by the number of submissions we received and the quality of the films. It was fantastic,” said Tatge, whose own documentary films include “Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth” as well as portraits of Martha Graham, John Muir and Tennessee Williams. “It was beyond our expectations and truly energized everyone associated with the festival.”

Tatge sees the festival as both an ideal platform for student expression and for the community to connect with issues young people find important.

“These students are our future and through their films, we can learn a lot about their concerns, interest and what the next generation is giving their time to,” said Tatge. “This is an opportunity to hear their creative voices.”

Ben-Amots’ two films will be among 18 films by Lawrence students that will be screened. “Drowned,” a short experimental video shot on Super-8 film stock made in collaboration with Aj Williams, explores the experience of drowning in an abstract sense, focusing on the muted colors and sounds of Wisconsin winters.  His second film, “Poem,” is a documentary that explores his complicated relationship with the piano.

“These students are our future and through their films, we can learn a lot about their concerns, interest and what the next generation is giving their time to. This is an opportunity to hear their creative voices.”
   — Catherine Tatge ’72

“Film is an incredible medium for storytelling and artistic expression,” said Ben-Amots. “This festival should motivate all of the participating colleges to continue investing in film.”

Other accepted films scheduled for screening examine topics ranging from life in Mexico and rodeo riding to censorship of the arts in Burma and stereotypes of Latino women.

Besides Lawrence, other schools with films that will be screened include Carleton College (2) Coe College (1), Colorado College (37), Cornell College (1), Grinnell College (3), Luther College (3), Macalester College (2) and St. Olaf College (1).

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Former President Bill Clinton Speaking at Lawrence April 1

Former President Bill Clinton will make an appearance at Lawrence University Friday, April 1 to deliver a campaign address on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.

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Former President Bill Clinton will speak on behalf of his wife, Hillary, during a campaign stop at Lawrence. Photo courtesy of Hillary for America.

The country’s 42nd president will speak in the Somerset Room of the Warch Campus Center, 711 E. Boldt Way, beginning at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Clinton will be the first former president ever to visit Lawrence. William Howard Taft was the only sitting president to ever visit Lawrence (1911). Three future presidents have paid visits to the Lawrence campus:  Richard Nixon (1959); John F. Kennedy (1960) and George H.W. Bush (1988). Only one first lady — Michelle Obama — has ever spoken at Lawrence (2012).

According to her campaign website, the former president will discuss why Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to raise wages and incomes, defend workers’ rights and fight to break down economic, social and racial barriers for families.

Attendance is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the anticipated capacity turnout, this will be a standing-only event. Once inside, audience members will not be allowed to leave and return. Members of the Lawrence community planning to attend need to show a Lawrence I.D.

By institutional policy, Lawrence does not endorse or invite political candidates to campus, but when approached by them, policies allow for the booking of such events as part of the college’s educational mission, provided more than half of all spaces are available for students, faculty and staff. The college does encourage students to experience first-hand the political process by participating in candidate visits.

Lawrence Associate Professor of Government Arnold Shober said Wisconsin’s status as a purple state makes it a natural draw for presidential attention.

“Northeast Wisconsin is among the few remaining areas in America where Republicans and Democrats still live in the same neighborhoods,” said Shober. “Visits from four of the five presidential contenders is proof that the Fox Valley is pivotal for both parties. Bill Clinton’s visit shows that Hillary Clinton recognizes the importance of the Fox Cities in her unexpectedly tight race in Wisconsin. Sanders can count on Madison, and Clinton should do well in Milwaukee, but the balance for the Democrats will tip here in the Fox Valley.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Lawrence pianist Michael Mizrahi’s second album coming out March 25

The second album by Lawrence University piano professor Michael Mizrahi — “Currents” — will be released Friday, March 25 on New Amsterdam records.

Michael Mizrahi
Michael Mizrahi

He’ll celebrate with a release party performance March 26 at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, N.Y.  Acclaimed violinist Michi Wiancko will join Mizrahi as a special guest.

The follow-up to 2012’s “The Bright Motion,” his critically acclaimed debut album, “Currents” features six new American piano works, almost all of which were commissioned by Mizrahi and written specifically with his singular sound and approach in mind. Among the composers who contributed to the album is his Lawrence conservatory faculty colleague Asha Srinivasan, whose track, “Mercurial Reveries,” is a probing five-movement work that draws on her Indian American heritage. It is in one moment domineering and terrifying and in the next, delicate, docile and nostalgic.

Sarah Kirkland Snider wrote the title track, “The Currents,” which flows from start to finish, with currents of sound pulling the listener through eddies and whirlpools along the way.

Currents-album_newsblogTroy Herion’s “Harpsichords” evokes a transparent Baroque texture, replete with trills and shakes while Mark Dancigers’ “The Bright Motion Ascending” — the third installment in his Bright Motion trilogy written for Mizrahi — explores the vibrant upper reaches of the instrument before plummeting back to Earth with a cataclysmic final chord.

“Heartbreaker,” written by Missy Mazzoli, begins with focused precision then  evolves into a trance-like state that eventually breaks down in a schizophrenic collapse. Patrick Burke‘s “Missing Piece” features piquant dissonances and slow-moving triadic harmonies that plumb the lowest ranges of the piano.

As the title suggests, the album embodies forward movement, building on great piano works of the past while propelling the solo piano repertoire ahead in a new and energized direction. In a review of the album, National Public Radio called Mizahi “a gifted pianist” who “plays with both tenderness and fierce beauty.”

“Currents” is available at bandcamp.com.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Lawrence student band Slipstream embarks on Midwest tour

As Lawrence students finish Term II exams, they’ll soon scatter across the country and the globe for a well-earned spring break. As for senior Joe Connor, juniors Ilan Blanck and Matt Blair and 2015 Lawrence graduate Dan Reifsteck — collectively known as Slipstream — they are hitting the road for their band’s first tour, a five-stop trip around the Midwest.

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Slipstream — pianist Matt Blair, saxophonist Joe Connor, percussionist Dan Reifsteck and guitarist Ilan Blanck — will spend spring break on tour in the Midwest.

Slipstream, a quartet that operates in a space somewhere near the convergence of contemporary classical, modern jazz and modern rock, warmed up for its tour with an on-campus performance last week in the Memorial Chapel.

They’ll make their first stop in Oshkosh for a Thursday, March 17 performance followed by stops in Milwaukee (3/18); Des Moines, Iowa (3/21); Lincoln, Neb. (3/23); and St. Paul, Minn. (3/25).

“It’s nice to play anywhere at Lawrence and share our music with all of our friends and professors,” said Reifsteck, “but it’s a whole other thing to take it outside of the school and try to share it with a whole new audience that we haven’t even met before.”

The group, which features Blanck on electric guitar, Connor on saxophone, Blair on piano and Reifsteck on percussion, has been playing together since January 2015. Their genesis was the result of a piece they’ll be playing on tour, “Hout,” a 1991 piece written by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen that is arranged for tenor saxophone, electric guitar, piano and marimba.

“At some point, someone was like, ‘We should play this,’” Blanck said. “It all kind of converged.”

Suddenly the four friends, who had previously played together in various combinations, had a common project. Fast forward 14 months and Slipstream has just released its first EP, “Northland,” with the help of collaborator Jason Koth, a sophomore at Lawrence.

Slipstream_Northland_newsblog“Northland” features pieces written for the group by Lawrence alumni JP Merz (2014) “for i believed in the existence of…”, Patrick Marschke (2013) “le/af” and Chris Misch-Bloxdorf (2013) “Blinded by Silver Lines,” which the quarter performed at last month’s Convocation.

The band honed those tracks during a two-day open rehearsal stint with Grammy Award-winning ensemble eighth blackbird last month at the Chicago Museum for Contemporary Art — a surreal experience, according to Blanck.

“They really pushed us in a lot of interesting ways, pushed us to kind of go for extremes in the music and encouraged us to push each other,” said Blanck.

The title track, “Northland,” takes its name from the street in Appleton. Slipstream was looking for an improvisational piece to lead into Marschke’s composition; “Northland” came on the first try.

“We probably sat with the tape rolling for a minute straight,” Reifsteck said. “There’s just a minute of silence where none of us was able to figure out how to start. But then eventually Ilan started, then Matt started to join in, then I started to join in and then Joe joined in. Right after we finished recording that take, we all looked up and we were like, ‘Ok, we don’t need to improvise again. That’s the take.’”

That kind of musical chemistry isn’t by coincidence.

“In music school, you’re playing so much music with so many different people and you usually have so little time to put things together,” Blanck said. “I feel grateful that we’ve had time to work on similar music and really get to know it and get to know each other.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

British scholar presents “Fifty Years Hence: Why Study Churchill Today?”

A scholar of Sir Winston Churchill examines the historical legacy of the former British prime minister and the ways he continues to speak to us today in a talk at Lawrence University.

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Allen Packwood

Allen Packwood, a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, and the director of the Churchill Archives Centre, presents “Fifty Years Hence: Why Study Churchill Today?” Saturday, March 12 at 1 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Beyond his political will that carried Britain through World War II, Churchill was also a dedicated amateur artist who first began painting at the age of 40, an avocation that he carried through the rest of his life.

Packwood has written about and lectured extensively on Churchill throughout the United Kingdom and the United States. He served as co-curator of the 2004 exhibition “Churchill and the Great Republic” at the Library of Congress as well as “Churchill: The Power of Words,” a 2012 display at New York City’s Morgan Library.

As director of the Churchill Archives Centre, located on the campus of Churchill College, Packwood oversees the papers of  Churchill, former prime minister Margaret Thatcher and nearly 600 other politicians, diplomats, civil servants, military leaders and scientists of the Churchill era and beyond.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Celebration Concert: Lawrence Academy of Music Girl Choir marks 25th anniversary

The Lawrence Academy of Music’s Girl Choir program celebrates its 25th anniversary Saturday, March 19 with a pair of performances in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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The Lawrence Academy of Music Girl Choir program celebrates its 25th anniversary in song March 19.

The Academy Girl Choir program comprises seven choirs, with singers in grades 3-12 from the greater Fox Valley region. The anniversary concert also features a choir of 101 Girl Choir alumnae visiting from 13 states.

Tickets, at $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, are available at the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749, or online.

The anniversary concerts feature some of the Girl Choir singers’ most beloved repertoire from its 25-year history, including art songs, folk songs from around the world and contemporary compositions, including one written specifically for the Girl Choir.  The concert will close with the Martin Sirvatka arrangement of Walter Hawkins’ I’m Goin’ Up A Yonder,” conducted by teacher-conductor, Cheryl Meyer, who has been with the program for 24 of its 25 years.

From California to Massachusetts, Minnesota to Texas, former members will return to Appleton to celebrate the program’s silver anniversary.  Sisters Jennifer Brown and Elizabeth Everson, both Chilton natives, now living in Colorado and Maryland, respectively, will sing with the Alumnae Choir.

“I’m so excited to be going home to sing with my first choir friends for a reunion concert,” said Everson. “Plus I’ll be singing again with my sister, my first best friend.”

Recent graduates are similarly well-represented in the Alumnae Choir. College student Catherine Backer is “thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to a place where girls from all over grow together.”

Anna Benz, whose younger sisters are currently enrolled in the Girl Choir program, is “so glad to share the tradition with them, and to see their love of music growing.”

Local women also will be part of the celebration. Fox Valley resident Sarah Felhofer sang with the program more than 12 years ago.

“I feel like it’s concert day all over again! I’m nervous, excited, and can’t wait to be on the big chapel stage again.”

Chelsey Burke, who recently returned to Appleton, remarked, “It’s such a unique opportunity to reunite with my sisters in song after all these years. To come together not only to sing our most loved pieces of the past, but to sing them with the young girls we now see ourselves in is, in a word, inspiring!”

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Allison Shinnick (left) and Claire Powling (third from left) will be among the singers performing with the Alumnae Choir for the Girl Choir’s 25th anniversary concert, which was organized by Karen Bruno (second from left), director of the Lawrence Academy of Music and conductor of the Bel Canto choir, and Cheryl Meyer, conductor of the Allegretto choir.

Nearly 1,800 singers have participated in the program during its 25 years. There have been 15 teacher-conductors, 36 collaborative pianists and 54 choir managers, many of whom were Lawrence Conservatory of Music education students. Each will be listed in the Girl Choir History pages of the concert program.

In addition to its semiannual concerts, Girl Choirs have been selected to perform at Carnegie Hall four times, represented Wisconsin at the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown colony, sang for state and regional music education conventions and performed in several international children’s choir festivals and women’s choir festivals.

They have collaborated with local arts organizations such as the Fox Valley Symphony, newVoices, Mile of Music, Makaroff Youth Ballet, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Appleton Boychoir and Monteverdi Master Chorale, and have a performance permanently linked on Wisconsin Public Television’s website. In 2012, Bel Canto won second place in the nation within the youth and high school choral division of The American Prize competition.

More than 300 girls typically are enrolled in the Girl Choir program, representing more than 50 schools throughout Northeast Wisconsin. Current teacher-conductors are Patty Merrifield, Karrie Been, Cheryl Meyer, Toni Weijola, Jaclyn Kottman, Debbie Lind and Karen Bruno.

The Lawrence Academy of Music Girl Choir program provides quality choral opportunities for girls in the Fox Valley region. Through the study and performance of the highest quality music, the girls develop vocal technique, musical skills, creativity, expressive artistry, and an awareness of various cultures. The program encourages girls to respect the uniqueness of others, to take risks that foster individual growth and to continue their development into self-assured young women.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.