Tag: Appleton

Renowned Performers, Rising Stars Featured in 2012-13 Artist and Jazz Series

Three-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara and a dynamic doubleheader weekend of award-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling and the renowned Maria Schneider Orchestra are among the celebrated performers on the 2012-13 Lawrence University Performing Artist and Jazz Series.

Subscriptions for both series are on sale now and subscribers may choose from the Artist, Jazz, or “Favorite 4” concert packages, with discounts available to senior citizens and students. Single-concert tickets go on sale Sept. 17, 2012. Contact the Lawrence University Box Office at 920-832-6749 or visit the Lawrence Performing Arts page for more information.

Kelli O'Hara

After starring runs in the Tony Award-winning revival of “South Pacific,” “The Pajama Game” and “The Light in the Piazza,” O’Hara has established herself as one of Broadway’s great leading ladies.

Hailed as Broadway’s “golden girl” by the New York Times, O’Hara brings her soulful soprano voice to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel March 9, 2013 as part of the four-concert Lawrence Artist Series.

Artist Series Opens Oct. 27

Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley open the Artist Series Oct. 27 in an eclectic collaboration that crisscrosses classical and pop music genres, showcasing their talents as collaborators and soloists.  Their program will feature works by Bach and Gabrielli, Radiohead and Arcade Fire, Piazzolla and Stravinsky.

A pair of April 2013 concerts rounds out the Artist Series schedule. The Jupiter String Quartet, winners of both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, performs April 12, 2013 while the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, hailed as “arguably the best ensemble of its kind in the world” by the Manchester Evening News, takes the Memorial Chapel stage April 26, 2013.

Formed in 2001, Boston-based Jupiter added winners of the Young Concert Artists International auditions to its resume in 2005. One of America’ most dynamic young string quartets, Jupiter performed the entire cycle of Beethoven string quartets — all 16 — last summer for the Aspen Music Festival.

Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet

The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet — the first permanently established wind quintet in the Berlin Philharmonic’s long history of chamber music — has been dazzling audiences around the world since 1988 with an uncanny ability to unite five disparate sounds into a collective smoothness.

Redefining the sound of the classic wind quintet, the ensemble’s repertoire includes the full spectrum of the wind quintet literature as well as works for enlarged ensemble, among them the sextets of Janácek and Reinicke or the septets of Hindemith and Koechlin.

“The 100-year-old tradition of excellence continues with next year’s exceptional Artist Series line-up,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music. “It is amazing to think that we can experience, right in our own Memorial Chapel, the same performers who are playing to sold-out houses in New York, Los Angeles or Berlin just the week before. These are musical opportunities not to be missed.”

Jazz Celebration Weekend Kicks off Jazz Series

The Kurt Elling Quartet and the Maria Schneider Orchestra headline the Lawrence’s 32nd annual Jazz Celebration Weekend Nov. 2-3, respectively.

Kurt Elling

Elling, described as “the standout male vocalist of our time”‘ by the New York Times, performs with the Lawrence Jazz Ensemble. A nine-time Grammy Award nominee and 2009 Grammy winner for “Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane And Hartman,” Elling has won the DownBeat Critics Poll Male Vocalist of the Year Award an astonishing 12 years (2000-2011) in a row. This will be Elling’s second appearance at Jazz Weekend, having previously performed in 2003.

An internationally renowned jazz composer and conductor, Schneider formed her 17-member orchestra in 1993. A weekly performer at Visiones in Greenwich Village early on, the orchestra has since become a staple at concert venues around the world, earning 2005’s “Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year”‘ award from the Jazz Journalists Association. Her orchestra’s albums “Concert in the Garden” and 2007’s “Sky Blue” earned Grammy Awards and were named “Jazz Album of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and the Downbeat Critics Poll.

Maria Schneider

“I consider Maria Schneider the premier composer of music for the large jazz ensemble in the 21st century, and her Jazz Orchestra is among the finest big bands in the world today,” said Fred Sturm, director of jazz studies and improvisation music at Lawrence. “Her original works contain the most artistic renderings of melody, harmony, orchestration, and structure created by composers in all jazz-related genres over the past decade. Her scores and recordings have dramatically impacted the evolution of the jazz composition art form worldwide.”

The Bad Plus, a jazz trio born in 2000 that includes Wisconsin native Ethan Iverson on piano, brings its eclectic combination of avant-garde jazz with rock and pop influences to the Memorial Chapel Feb. 1, 2013. The band has recorded versions of songs by diverse artists ranging from Nirvana, Blondie and Pink Floyd to Neil Young, David Bowie and Black Sabbath. According to a Rolling Stone review of a Bad Plus performance, the band is “about as badass as highbrow gets.”

Vocalist Gretchen Parlato closes the four-concert Jazz Series May 10, 2013. A Los Angeles native, Parlato won the 2003 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and two years later released her debut self-titled album to critical acclaim. Following the release of her second CD, 2011’s “The Lost and Found,” Parlato was named No. 1 Rising Star Female Vocalist in DownBeat Magazine’s Annual Critics Poll.

“Gretchen is one of the most unique, provocative, and hip singers on the scene today,” said Dane Richeson, professor of music in Lawrence’s jazz studies department. “She pulls together great musicians to work with her in her band and I promise hers will be a great concert.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Passion for Canoes Earns Will Meadows $25,000 Watson Fellowship

Unabashed nature enthusiast Will Meadows speaks of canoes in near reverential tones.  In his mind, canoes are as centric to the ecosystem as a bird’s nest or a beaver dam.

“Canoes represent the coexistence of creativity and nature,” says the Lawrence University senior. “They lie at the intersection of human ingenuity and place, vessels for exploration, artistic expression and sustenance.”

Will Meadows '12

Beginning in August, Meadows will spend a year immersing himself in canoe-building communities across five distinct environmental regions of the world as a 2012 Watson Fellow.

Meadows, an environmental studies major from Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of 40 undergraduates nationally awarded a $25,000 fellowship from the Rhode Island-based Thomas J. Watson Foundation for a year of independent travel and exploration outside the United States on a topic of the student’s choosing.

His proposal —”Humanity’s Vessel: The Art and Ecology of Canoes” — was selected from among 147 finalists representing 40 of the nation’s premier private liberal arts colleges and universities. More than 700 students applied for this year’s Watson Fellowship.

For much of his still-young life, Meadows has used canoes and rivers for his method and means of exploring the world, whether it was the Chao Phraya River in Thailand, the Jong River in Sierra Leone, the Rogue River in Oregon or the Boundary Waters Wilderness and Canoe Area in northern Minnesota.

“I would often escape to the river after school, looking for my true education,” said Meadows, who is spending his spring break on a 100-mile canoe trip down the Buffalo River in Arkansas. “In every way, rivers have been my teachers, my schools. Rivers define me. Moving steadily in a canoe is my natural experience.”

First Stop Lake Titicaca
Meadows will begin his “wanderjahr” at Lake Titicaca, on the border of Bolivia and Peru, working with the indigenous Uros peoples, who build reed canoes. There he also hopes to use his talents as a sculpture artist to create beautifully intricate reed dragon headed vessels with the Uros.

Next fall he will travel to the Solomon Islands, immersing himself in the ocean voyaging Polynesian canoe culture.

“I want to explore the art of the open-ocean canoe and the issues affecting the people of the sea as the struggle continues to preserve ancient voyaging knowledge and artisanship.”

On Tanzania’s ocean island of Zanzibar, Meadows will help construct outrigger dugout canoes and sail among Tanzania’s native fishing communities while studying the ecological issues affecting these peoples.

“My academic background in the environmental sciences as well as my professional experiences in sustainable agriculture, forestry, water and land management, will help me explore the conservation issues affecting the canoe-building natives,” said Meadows, who has been active in Lawrence’s on-campus sustainable garden and instrumental in the establishment of an on-campus orchard.

The diverse designs of North American native bark canoes will be Meadows’ focus for two months beginning in April 2013. Using Toronto as his base, Meadows will work with two world-renowned canoe builders, Rick Nash and Pinnock Smith of the Algonquin First Nation.

Meadows concludes his fellowship next summer in northern Norway with an apprenticeship in skin and canvas boat building with Anders Thygesen, founder of Kajakkspesialisten (the kayak specialist), a company renowned for its work in building traditional skin-on-frame sea kayaks and traditional paddles.

“As the final location in my journey,” said Meadows, “Kajakspecialisten will be a place to really consider what my role will be in this world after the Watson experience.”

An “ideal Watson Fellow”
Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music and Lawrence’s campus liaison to the Watson Foundation, described Meadows as “an ideal Watson Fellow.”

“Will’s proposed canoe-building odyssey perfectly channels his deepest passion into an immersive multi-cultural experience,” said Pertl. “His endless curiosity, love of life and affable nature will make him an ideal ambassador for this most prestigious of fellowships. I am so excited for his success and can’t wait to see how this year changes his life.”

Over the course of the past year and a half, Meadows and a four-person crew, with help from the father of Lawrence geologist Marcia Bjornerud, constructed a 16-foot pine and walnut strip canoe on campus — a project he described as “the most meaningful and enveloping of my life. When she finally rode the water for the first time, I remember lying on my back looking at the sky from her seatless belly, and the border between river, canoe and person faded with the setting sun.”

According to Meadows, his Watson proposal is in many ways a paradoxical project.

“A global comparison of handcrafted vessels hasn’t been thoroughly conducted, so in that way this is a new and cutting edge idea. But it’s also the desire to transfer knowledge of some of the oldest practices of humankind. I might be one of the only people with the chance to learn techniques in all these diverse world canoe styles. This is an opportunity to find new meaning at the crossroads of all my passions, including writing, ecology, art, people and exploration. I can’t wait to dive in and challenge myself to the absolutely fullest during my Watson year.

“I encourage everyone to ask themselves the question, ‘what is my ultimate passion?,'” Meadows added. “Putting this proposal together has helped me answer that question, but more importantly it showed me the beauty in other people’s passions. What’s your Watson?”

Meadows is the 68th Lawrence student awarded a Watson Fellowship since the program’s inception in 1969. It was established by the children of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of International Business Machines Corp., and his wife, Jeannette, to honor their parents’ long-standing interest in education and world affairs.

Watson Fellows are selected on the basis of the nominee’s character, academic record, leadership potential, willingness to delve into another culture and the personal significance of the project proposal. Since its founding, nearly 2,600 fellowships have been awarded.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Lawrence University Named to National Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

For the sixth consecutive year, Lawrence University has been named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Lawrence is one of only two Wisconsin institutions that has been recognized every year by the Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) since it launched the program in 2006.

The honor roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities on issues ranging from supporting at-risk youth to neighborhood revitalization.

During the 2010-11 academic year, 967 Lawrence students provided more than 27,400 service hours to community volunteer and service-learning programs, including completion of student-teaching requirements for certification.

Honorees are chosen on the basis of several factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

Lawrence was among 642 colleges and universities honored for their impact on issues of literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth.

“Community engagement and service is a distinguishable characteristic of the Lawrence educational experience and it speaks to the dedication of our students to once again be nationally recognized for their efforts,” said Lawrence President Jill Beck.

Among the initiatives for which Lawrence was cited:

A research initiative supported by the Mielke Foundation that evaluated the effects of after-school programming on confidence, problem-solving and creativity. Professor of Psychology Beth Haines collaborated with UW Fox Valley, the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley and the Building for Kids Children’s Museum. Lawrence students provide the enrichment at the BFK, assess the children’s development and assist in the analysis of the data, which will be used to develop more effective after-school programming and make better use of volunteer resources.

The Volunteers in Tutoring at Lawrence (VITAL) Program, a student-run initiative providing free tutoring services to area K-12 students, with a priority placed on disadvantaged students who may not have the financial means for other tutoring services. Lawrence volunteers work with students in need of help in academic subjects ranging from basic math to linguistics. VITAL is the area’s only free tutoring program that accepts all applicants.

The Lawrence Academy of Music, which strengthens children’s creativity, self-esteem, teamwork and leadership skills through comprehensive music instruction and performance opportunities for K-12 students. Last year the Academy’s Young Band Program, which provides free regular band instruction at Appleton’s Lincoln Elementary School, was expanded to also include band instruction at Edison Elementary School.

“This honor belongs to everyone at Lawrence who goes that extra step to reach out to the community and meet our neighbors’ needs,” said Monica Rico, Lawrence’s Pieper Family Professor of Servant Leadership and director of the college’s Office for Engaged Learning. “I’m grateful to all of our inspiring students, faculty and staff, especially the Director of Volunteer and Community Service, Kristi Hill. The leadership that she has provided, along with the commitment of my faculty colleagues and our outstanding students, has once again earned us this important recognition.”

According to the CNCS, a federal agency, 3.1 million students performed more than 312 million hours of service across the country, providing services valued at $6.6 billion.

The CNCS compiles the President’s Community Service Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.

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Lawrence University Hires Presidential Search Firm, Forms Search Committee

Trustee Dale Schuh '70 will chair the LU Presidential Search Committee

Following a review of national executive search firms, Lawrence University has selected the highly regarded firm of Isaacson, Miller to assist it in its search for its next president. Jane Gruenebaum, who has considerable experience in searches for educational institutions and other non-profit organizations, will lead the Isaacson, Miller team for Lawrence, with assistance from Jackie Mildner.

A 15-member Presidential Search Committee also has been formed and will be chaired by Trustee Dale Schuh ’70. The committee is composed of trustees, faculty, students and alumni.

The search for the successor to President Jill Beck, who announced last month she will retire in June, 2013, will officially commence in early April with progress updates issued during the process.

 

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Sculptor Rob Neilson Named One of 13 Fox Cities’ “Creatives”

Sculptor Rob Neilson

Sculptor Rob Neilson, associate professor of art and Frederick R. Layton Professor of Art, was among 13 “creatives” spotlighted in the March edition of Fox Cities Magazine for helping define “the Fox Cities’ new wave of artistic ambition.”

Best known for his public art, including last year’s “compassionate manhole covers,” which can be found in the sidewalks along College Ave. in downtown Appleton and on the Lawrence campus, Neilson was featured in a story examining community artists, creators and innovators who represent the potential the Fox Cities has “to make its mark on the creative world map.”

Download a PDF to read the article and check out this online only follow-up to the story.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

So Percussion Brings Eclectic Blend of Music to Lawrence’s Memorial Chapel

The highly acclaimed Brooklyn-based quartet So Percussion performs Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel as part of Lawrence University’s 2011-12 Artist Series.

Tickets, at $20-22 for adults, $17-19 for seniors and $15-17 for students, are available through the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749.

So Percussion members (l. to r.) Adam Sliwinski, Eric Beach, Jason Treuting and Josh Quillen.

Formed at the Yale School of Music in 1999, the group has been hailed as an “experimental powerhouse” by The Village Voice. Described as “astonishing and entrancing” by Billboard Magazine  and “brilliant” by the New York Times, So Percussion is known for their innovative, original music as well as its collaborations some of today’s most exciting composers, among them Baltimore “electro-freak” Dan Deacon, electronic collage duo Matmos and Academy Award-nominated film composer Martin Bresnick.

“There are only a handful of professional contemporary percussion groups that are making a name for themselves and moving this genre of music forward,” said Dane Richeson, professor of music at Lawrence and director of the conservatory’s percussion studio.  “So Percussion is in this elite group. They have great skill not only on a variety of percussion instruments, but in how they program the repertoire in their concerts. They are truly an exciting ensemble to watch and hear.”

So Percussion — Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski and Jason Treuting — has performed their eclectic blend of unusual music throughout the United States, including the Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as on tours to Australia, Russia, the Ukraine and throughout Europe.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Presidential Phonecast Creates Largest Alumni Event in Lawrence University History

Listen to the phonecast!

Using innovative technology, Lawrence University President Jill Beck conducted the college’s first-ever phonecast March 1, creating the largest alumni event in the college’s history.

Nearly 4,000 alumni, parents and friends of the college from across the country participated in a personal one-on-one conversation with the president.

President Beck conducts the college's first-ever phonecast with alumni and friends of the college.

During the 30-minute phonecast, Beck, who announced in February her plans to retire as Lawrence’s president in June, 2013, discussed her priorities for the final 16 months of her tenure and fielded nearly a dozen questions from callers in Washington, D.C., New York City, North Carolina, Boulder, Colo. as well as Appleton and Neenah.

The president addressed questions ranging from her proudest accomplishment to issues of diversity on campus and the relevancy of a Lawrence liberal arts education in preparing students for careers in today’s economy. She said her focus for the remainder of her presidency would center on strengthening Lawrence’s innovation and entrepreneurship program, improving athletic facilities, enhancing an emerging interdisciplinary film studies program and growing the Lawrence Annual Fund.

Beck was joined on the phonecast by Terry Franke ’68, chair of the Lawrence Board of Trustees, who, in response to a question regarding  the search for Beck’s successor, outlined the process and time frame for having Lawrence’s 16th president on board by July 1, 2013.

As part of the phonecast, participants were invited to respond to a series of poll questions related to institutional priorities, student recruitment and technology by touching appropriate keys on their phone pad.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Sydney Pertl ’12 Honored at Arts Conference

Lawrence University senior Sydney Pertl earned the Peoples’ Choice Award Feb. 25 in an art competition at the Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Conference held at North Central College in Naperville, Ill.

A studio art major, Pertl was recognized for her work “Forever Ago,” a charcoal drawing on a watercolor background. It is one piece in a series and plays tribute to specific instances of the many people, strangers, acquaintances and friends, who, through their actions, caused Pertl to reconsider her entire system of beliefs and views of the world.

Sydney Pertl '12 earned the Peoples’ Choice Award at the recent Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Conference for her work "Forever Ago."

The piece was one of 70 works submitted by university artists for a juried art exhibition. The Peoples’ Choice award was determined by votes from every attendee of the show, which included other student artists, professional artists and art educators.

“It was so flattering for me to know that people related to my work and truly connected with it enough to vote for it, especially considering how wonderful the rest of the competition was,” said Pertl.

“Forever Ago” premiered last year in the Rabbit Gallery, a “pop-up” gallery utilizing empty storefronts created by Lawrence students in an Entrepreneurship in the Arts course.

The SEA conference also featured works by Lawrence seniors Anne Raccuglia, a studio art major, and Timeka Toussaint, a studio art and government double major.

SEA Conferences join students and other aspiring artists with working artists, educators, and arts-business professionals. Interactive panels provide practical lessons about structuring careers, marketing, legal issues, accounting and more.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

 

Lawrence Film Series Features PBS’ Series “Women, War and Peace”

Three episodes from the PBS television series “Women, War and Peace,” which spotlights stories of women in conflict zones around the world, will be shown at Lawrence University’s Warch Campus Center cinema.

The series opens Friday, March 2 at 8 p.m. with “I Came to Testify,” the story of 16 women who testified against Serbian-led forces in the Bosnian war.

Peace Unveiled,” which follows three Afghani women advocating for women’s rights during peace talks with the Taliban, will be shown Saturday, March 3 at 1 p.m.

The series closes Sunday, March 3 at 1 p.m. with a screening of “War Redefined,” a film that challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are a man’s domain through interviews with leading thinkers, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, Bosnian war crimes investigator Fadila Memisevic and globalization expert Moisés Naím.

Filmmaker Abigail Disney, who was awarded an honorary degree by Lawrence in 2010, served as an executive producer for the series.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Baroque Opera “The Fairy Queen” Gets “Hippie” Update in Lawrence University Production

Baroque composer Henry Purcell’s opera “The Fairy Queen” receives a modern adaptation in Lawrence University’s production of the fantastical tale of romance and magic. The opera will be performed March 1-3 at 8 p.m. and March 4 at 3 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students, are available through the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Originally written as a “masque” — light entertainment featuring lavish costumes and scenery but nearly devoid of narrative — the opera was inspired by Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  The story follows four young lovers’ escape to an enchanted forest.

The updated adaptation, written by Professor of Theatre Arts Timothy X. Troy ’85, who also serves as the production’s director, replaces the anonymously written libretto with Shakespeare’s own words.

“I restored the actors’ text to the First Folio version before shaping a narrative that closely followed the story of the young lovers who are tricked in the forest by Puck, the most famous of all fairies,” said Troy.

His adaptation was inspired by the psychedelic cover art of fairies on an LP of English composer Benjamin Britten’s 1973 recording of “The Fairy Queen.” It transports the action to a hippie commune in the woods outside Athens, Ga., immediately after a tornado. The new and modern setting offered creative opportunities for the production team.

Costume designer Karin Kopischke ’80 playfully explores the eclectic fashions of hippie culture of the commune-dwelling fairies against the academic preppy and jockish culture of the quartet of young lovers and their pursuit of true love.

“Karin’s costumes are inspiring, lively and delightful,” said Troy. “She found ways to model the repurposing impulse of the period to create a delightful sense of surprise and individuality to each of the 60 costumes you see on stage.”

Rebecca Salzer, Lawrence Fellow in Dance who served as choreographer for the production, worked closely with a corps of six dancers to blend Purcell’s set dance pieces with popular dance forms from the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

“To support Tim’s melding of times and places in this production — Baroque music, Elizabethan theatre and a 1970’s American setting — the choreography also had to be a mix of styles,” said Salzer. “If you look closely, you’ll see movement inspired by 60’s mods, 70’s funk and even the occasional minuet.”

Because Purcell’s “The Fairy Queen” is considered a “semi-opera” — an amalgam of scenes from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and musical interludes — it presented special challenges and opportunities for Bonnie Koestner, associate professor of music, who served as the production’s vocal coach.

“The masque portions (musical interludes) reflect the mood and general spirit of the spoken scenes, but are not directly tied to a plot line,” said Koestner. “It’s somewhat like the difference between a musical revue with its diverse collection of numbers and a Broadway show like ‘Carousel,’ in which the music really does play a part in character development. Both Shakespeare and Purcell have given us works of genius and if the audience doesn’t worry about the lack of a single coherent plot, I think that they will find it very entertaining.”

Featuring some of the most famous music of the Baroque period with virtuosic arias and complex ensembles and choruses, “The Fairy Queen” offers its audience a stunning variety of vocal talent alongside innovative choreography and compelling acting.

“It’s a delight to integrate the talents of our strongest actors with those of our accomplished singers,” said Troy.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.