Tag: Award

The Nation’s Best: Lawrence University Musicians Earn Top Honors from DownBeat Magazine

APPLETON, WIS. — One is fun. Two is twice as nice.

Two distinctly different sets of Lawrence University musicians have been honored as the nation’s best by DownBeat magazine in its 32nd annual student music awards competition.

The Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, under the direction of assistant professor of music Andy Mast, was named the winner in the classical group division, which encompasses chamber ensembles, bands and orchestras from around the country. The seven-member student band Fatbook shared top honors with the Funk Fusion Ensemble of the University of Miami in the magazine’s blues/pop/rock category as the nation’s best college band.

Winners will be announced in DownBeat’s upcoming June edition, which hits newsstands on May 19. Known as “DBs” and presented in 15 categories in four separate divisions (junior high, high school, performing high school and college) the DownBeat awards are considered among the highest music honors in the field of jazz education.

The two latest awards push Lawrence’s DB total to 15 since the competition was launched in 1978, and the college’s fifth DB since 2005.

“What a thrill,” said Mast. “I really had no idea what our chances would be, so it was very exciting to receive the news of this honor. I’m proud to be associated with the ensemble.”

The audition CD Mast submitted for the competition was a collection of pieces performed in concerts in the winter and spring of 2008 and the fall of 2008.

“There really are two groups of students who contributed to winning this award,” said Mast. “It’s so gratifying to have the ensemble students recognized like this because they so richly deserve it. They work incredibly hard, are extremely dedicated to being the best musicians they can be and are a true privilege to work with.

“The external recognition is certainly great because it shines a national spotlight on Lawrence as the first-rate school that it is,” Mast added, “but I am even happier for the internal satisfaction this brings the students who work so hard on a daily basis to make it that way.”

Fatbook, which started out strictly as a reggae band in the fall of 2007, becomes a footnote in Lawrence history as the college’s first non-curricular ensemble to be recognized by DownBeat.

The band features three home-grown musicians — senior Harjinder Bedi, lead vocals and guitar, junior Jake Crowe, tenor saxophone and Ted Toussaint, trumpet, all from Appleton — as well as senior Nick Anderson, bass, from Verona, Wis., senior Evan Jacobson, trombone, from Oak Park, Ill., junior Dario LaPoma, piano, from Eugene, Ore., and senior Kyle Traska, drums/ percussion, from Oregon, Wis.

While Fatbook musical style has evolved into a more diverse sound, it hasn’t completely abandoned its original sound and reggae remains a central influence on the band.

“We don’t like to categorize ourselves in any one genre of music. We like to draw on a wide variety of influences, including rock, pop, jazz, reggae and even a little bit of hip-hop,” said Jacobson.

Fatbook’s entry in DownBeat’s student music awards competition was a disc of three original compositions. They will be releasing their first CD, “No Time to Lose,” a 10-track disc of all original material, later this month.

According to Toussaint, much of the original material they perform is a result of “shared composition.”

“Someone will suggest a core idea, but we’ll flesh it out together as a group,” said Toussaint. “All the guys in the band listen to and participate in a wide range of musical styles, so we naturally bring that diversity to the table.”

The band, which also performs cover material ranging from The Police to Bela Fleck to Bob Marley, has made inroads in the local club scene, performing at such area venues as Mill Creek Blues, Stone Cellar Brewery and Cranky Pat’s.

Fred Sturm, director of jazz and improvisational music at Lawrence, has served as a mentor to the fledgling band and has watched with pride as they’ve evolved.

“These are all talented young musicians who are beginning to realize some of their musical dreams while still college students. That’s a thrill to witness,” said Sturm. “They’re striving to establish a unique musical identity and they’ve got enormous heart for the task of making it all happen. Earning a DownBeat award is a great first step for them.”

This year’s DownBeat competition drew a total of 832 ensemble and individual entries for all categories in all four divisions.

Lawrence University Seniors Hulburt, Neitzel Awarded Fulbright Fellowships to Germany

APPLETON, WIS. — Jane Hulburt credits her “awesome” high school foreign language teacher, Margaret Draheim, for exciting her about German. Spencer Neitzel’s interest in Germany was stoked after spending a month in Freiburg as an exchange student in 2005.

Hulburt

Neitzel

The two Lawrence University seniors will soon immerse themselves in all things German after being named Fulbright Scholars and awarded fellowships to spend nine months in Germany as English teaching assistants. Hulburt, who is from Appleton, and Neitzel, who lives in Northfield, Minn., are the third and fourth Lawrence students this spring to receive a Fulbright Fellowship. Since 2001, 13 Lawrence students have been named Fulbright Scholars.

Hulburt will be making her third trip to Germany when she begins her teaching apprenticeship in September. She spent the summer of 2003 in Bavaria as a participant in her high school’s German-American Partnership Program (GAPP) and then traveled to Freiburg as a Lawrence sophomore in 2007 on a study abroad program.

“I’ve always been interested in teaching and this is the ultimate teaching experience,” said Hulburt, who plans to leave a month early so she can spend time with her former host family from her GAPP experience. “I’ve also had a long-standing interest in German culture, so the opportunity to go to Germany and teach is going to be the best of both worlds for me.”

A German and piano major who performs with the Lawrence Jazz Singers and the Lawrence Concert Choir, Hulburt spent four years (2003-07) teaching a children’s choir at Appleton’s Memorial Presbyterian Church near the Lawrence campus. She hopes to incorporate her music background into her teaching lessons in Germany.

While “officially” an English teaching assistant, Neitzel said he plans to focus less on grammar and more on the application of the language and the study of American culture.

“I’m interested in the differences and similarities between American and German culture and this will be a great opportunity to explore those,” said Neitzel, a German and psychology major. “I’m hoping to learn more and think seriously about by own identity as an American since I will be representing the United States.”

Hulburt sees her upcoming Fulbright appointment as a “life” experience, not just a teaching experience.

“I’ll be working with people I normally wouldn’t have a chance to and be in an environment where English isn’t the first language,” said Hulburt. “This is going to take me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way, and help me grow as a person.”

The fact that the Fulbright program doesn’t require extensive teaching experience is what Neitzel initially found appealing and persuaded him to apply for the fellowship.

“You learn first hand the pedagogy in Germany is different than here in the states,” said Neitzel, who is hoping his teaching assignment will wind up at a school in Hamburg. “It’s an intense program, but it also does a great job of helping you find out what you want to do with your life.”

With an eye on working in the travel and tourism industry, Neitzel is hoping his Fulbright experience could help lead to a career directing tours in Germany, preferably on a bicycle.

Hulburt sees her upcoming Fulbright experience as a launching pad as well.

“I know my time at Lawrence is just about done and I’m ready to move on to the next chapter in my life. That’s exciting. I don’t know what’s ahead, but I’m looking forward to finding out.”

Created by Congress in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges, the Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s premier scholarship program. Since its founding, it has supported opportunities for nearly 300,000 American students, scholars and other professionals in more than 150 countries. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, CEOs, university presidents, professors and teachers. Thirty-seven Fulbright alumni have earned Nobel Prizes.

Lawrence University’s Chiara Terzuolo Awarded Fulbright Research Fellowship to Japan

APPLETON, WIS. — Ever since she first began reading about Japan as a middle-school student, the island nation with its unique blend of time-honored traditions with the ultra modern and has held a special fascination for Chiara Terzuolo.

Terzuolo

The Lawrence University senior will soon spend a year in her favorite country courtesy of the U.S. Fulbright Program. Terzuolo has been awarded a $30,000 Fulbright Scholar research fellowship for a 12-month study project beginning in September.

Terzuolo, who entered Lawrence as a vocal major in 2005 but will graduate in June with a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies, intends to explore how classical Western music and traditional Japanese music interact in a modern context during her year-long project.

“I want to see what similarities and contrasts may exist not only in teaching methods, but also in performance and social interactions between music students and professors,” said Terzuolo, who calls Rome, Italy, home. “I want to see what similarities and contrasts may exist not only in teaching methods, but also in performance and social interactions between music students and professors. I hope to discover how the two genres influence each other and what boundaries they may have set.”

As part of her exploration of the relationship between classical and traditional music, Terzuolo plans to take lessons on the koto, a 13-string zither-like instrument and one of Japan’s most traditional instruments for female musicians. Terzuolo was first exposed to the koto last spring, when she spent five months on a study-abroad program at Kanda University. As part of that program, she interned as a Shinto shrine maiden and got to practice the koto with the shrine’s sacred ensemble.

“That was an unbelievably rare experience, especially for someone who is not Japanese,” said Terzuolo. “Every hour I spent at the shrine was an education in Japanese social structure, language and music. I just knew I had to go back and that’s what led me to apply for the Fulbright.”

Terzuolo will use a Japanese conservatory as her research base. While the exact location is still to be determined, she most likely will live in either Osaka, Kyoto or Nagoya.

“Traditional musical training used to be the prerogative of a closed system of ‘iemoto,’ but Japanese conservatories are now offering courses in ‘hogaku’ (traditional music) alongside the usual Western-based options,” said Terzuolo, who counts Japanese among five languages that she speaks. “By basing myself at one of these music schools, I’ll have the opportunity to intensely study how the classical and traditional ‘worlds’ interact.”

The daughter of two former U.S. foreign service officers, Terzuolo has lived in a handful of cities around the world, including Paris and Prague, but it is Japan’s siren call that most intrigues her.

“This will be a great opportunity to study something I’m passionate about in the country where I most want to be,” said Terzuolo. “I eventually would like to work in the Japanese music scene and this could be the beginning of a career tied to Japan.”

Terzuolo is the second Lawrence student this spring to be named a Fulbright Scholar and the college’s 11th since 2001.

Created by Congress in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges, the Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s premier scholarship program. Since its founding, it has supported opportunities for nearly 300,000 American students, scholars and other professionals in more than 150 countries. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, CEOs, university presidents, professors and teachers. Thirty-seven Fulbright alumni have earned Nobel Prizes.

Lawrence University’s Hainze Named Fulbright Scholar, Will Teach English in Venezuela

APPLETON, WIS. — A study-abroad program in Argentina in 2007 provided Anna Hainze a taste of South American culture, but the Lawrence University senior from Whitefish Bay was looking for an opportunity to return and experience more.

Hainze

That opportunity arrived in the mail recently when Hainze was named a Fulbright Scholar and awarded one of only three fellowships available in Venezuela. Beginning in September, Hainze will embark on a 10-month stay as a secondary school English teacher in either the capital city of Caracas, Maricaibo or Merida. Her city assignment will be finalized in late April.

“I had a positive experience in Argentina and when I investigated the Fulbright program, South America really appealed to me as a destination,” said Hainze, who will graduate in June with a major in Spanish and minors in Latin American studies, history and music. “I really enjoy teaching and thought this would be a great opportunity to see if that’s a career path I want to pursue.

“The fact that I’ve never been to Venezuela before makes this all the more exciting,” Hainze added. “It’s new territory for me. While I know what to expect and am looking forward to it, part of me is still a bit anxious.”

Hainze has served as a writing and Spanish tutor for the past three years in Lawrence’s Center for Teaching and Learning and volunteered as an after-school mentor for elementary-age students at Bruce Guadelupe School in Milwaukee while still in high school.

Unlike many Fulbright Scholar recipients who serve as language assistants, Hainze’s appointment will be a full-fledged teaching assignment with her own classroom.

“This will be much more of a teaching opportunity than some of the other Fulbright positions,” said Hainze. “I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes me. Hopefully, this experience will help show me where I want to go with my life.”

Hainze is the 10th Lawrence student since 2001 selected as a Fulbright Scholar.

Created by Congress in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges, the Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s premier scholarship program. Since its founding, it has supported opportunities for nearly 300,000 American students, scholars and other professionals in more than 150 countries. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, CEOs, university presidents, professors and teachers. Thirty-seven Fulbright alumni have earned Nobel Prizes.

Lawrence University Senior Awarded $28,000 Watson Fellowship to Find the Two “I”s in Indian

APPLETON, WIS. — Madhuri Vijay wants to violate the first rule of writing: write what you know.

Having spent the past four years as a student at Lawrence University, Vijay knows what it’s like to be an Indian living in the United States. But the senior from Bangalore, India, wants to explore what life is like for her countrymen living in other countries.

“I want to turn that rule on its head, travel the world and get to know the things I want to write about,” said Vijay. “I want to tell the stories of people like myself, people displaced from their native country, living in a vastly different one who are forging an identity that must inevitably come to terms with a double-history, a double life.”

Beginning in August, Vijay will embark on a year-long search for those stories as one of 40 national recipients of a $28,000 fellowship from the Rhode Island-based Thomas J. Watson Foundation. Vijay was selected for the fellowship from among 177 finalists. The Watson Fellowship supports a year of independent travel and exploration outside the United States on a topic of the student’s choosing. Vijay’s proposal was entitled “The Two ‘I’s in ‘Indian’: Writing the Stories of the Indian Diaspora.”

Nearly 1,000 students from 47 selective private liberal arts colleges and universities annually apply for the Watson Fellowship.

Vijay will use her fellowship to travel to Fiji, often referred to “Little India” because of its large Indian population, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which has had contact with India since the 15th century, Durban, South Africa, where Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi established the Phoenix Settlement for Indians who wanted to peacefully resist oppression, and finally Tanzania, which boasts two distinct Indian populations: one that was born and raised there and one that has recently arrived.

“In this ever-flattening world, Indians are found all over the world, but their stories have largely gone untold,” said Vijay, who will graduate in June with a degree in English and psychology. “As a writer and a social scientist, I have a fascination with people, cultures and identity. I would like to combine my two passions to produce a book of short stories about the lives of Indians around the world.”

Tim Spurgin, associate professor and Bonnie Glidden Buchanan Professor of English, who serves as Lawrence’s campus liaison to the Watson program, calls Vijay “a perfect choice” for a Watson Fellowship.

“Madhuri is bright, talented and basically fearless,” said Spurgin. “Not many college grads would attempt a project as ambitious as hers — and only a handful would be capable of pulling it off.”

During her global travels, Vijay will explore what Indian customs and traditions these people still cling to, what aspects of their new country they’ve embraced and how they balance the cultural line of being native Indian with being Tanzanian, Fijian or Malaysian.

“I realize that shared skin color and features are no longer enough to claim a kinship with Indians around the world,” said Vijay. “Writing stories of the people I’ll meet will allow me to understand the unique and multifaceted identities of the Indian diaspora. It will help me develop my own transcontinental identity as a woman from India, a student in America and a citizen of the world.”

In addition to helping define her own personal identity, Vijay sees her fellowship opportunity as a litmus test for her passionate, but largely unspoken, ambition of being a writer.

“I share the seed of self-doubt that plagues all aspiring writers: do I have stories worth telling? And do I have the words with which to tell them?,” said Vijay. “I believe that I do and I want to prove it. My fellowship will be nothing short of a journey of self-discovery, because at the end of it, I’ll know what my next step in life should be.”

If she wasn’t previously a believer in the axiom “first impressions are lasting impressions,” Vijay surely is now. The Watson selection committee started their interview process this year at Lawrence last November and Vijay was the very first of the 177 finalists to be screened.

Vijay is the 67th 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.

“The awards are long-term investments in people, not research,” said Cleveland Johnson, director of the Watson Fellowship Program. “We look for people likely to lead or innovate in the future and give them extraordinary independence in pursuing their interests. They must have passion, creativity and a feasible plan. The Watson Fellowship affords an unequalled opportunity for global experiential learning.”

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.