Eastern Gallery to Present ‘Still/Live’

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/12/2018) The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will present “Still/Live” from Jan. 16 to Feb. 22. An opening reception will be held on Jan. 25 from 4-6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“Still/Live” explores how four contemporary artists working in photography and time-based media (video and kinetic sculpture) have reimagined the genre of still life. Mauricio Alejo’s photographs and videos focus on everyday objects in familiar domestic spaces. Through these careful arrangements, Alejo invites the viewer to see simple objects anew. While Dave Greber’s trilogy of video loops combine still lifes with video game aesthetics, Cynthia Greig uses drawing and photography to create hybrid still life images and videos. Through his kinetic sculptures, Robin Mandel draws upon the still life tradition to investigate tension between stillness and motion, presence and absence, materiality and immateriality.

The Art Gallery is located in Room 112 of the Fine Arts Instructional Center on the Eastern campus. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 to 5 p.m., Thursday 1 to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2 to 5 p.m. Parking is available in the Cervantes Garage and in the Student Center parking lot. For more information, call (860) 465-4659 or visit http://www.easternct.edu/artgallery.

Eastern to Host Community Forum

     Public to Discuss Art Installation related on Whitewater Partnership

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/10/2018) Members of the public are invited to attend an information session and community forum at Easten Connecticut State University on Jan. 17 regarding the design competition that will result in a new community art installation on Bridge Street in downtown Willimantic. The forum will run from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Room of Eastern’s J. Eugene Smith Library. Interested community members are encouraged to attend to ask questions and share ideas regarding the project. Light refreshments will be served.

The design competition arose from a collaboration between Willimantic Whitewater Partnership, the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts (COA) and the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI).

Three Connecticut-based design teams were recently selected as finalists in the competition to design the art piece, which must also generate renewable energy. Representatives from the three teams will be present to get feedback and community input as they craft their designs. The three teams include Pirie Associate Architects of New Haven, Gray Organschi/Howeler & Yoon Architecture of New Haven and Boston and Swiftwater Hub of Mansfield and Hartford. In March, a single design will be selected and the winning team will develop working blueprints.

More information can be found at www.landartgenerator.org/lagi-willimantic.html.

View Online: http://easternct.meritpages.com/news/community-forum-for-art-installation-related-to-whitewater-patnership/2006

Eastern Offers New Certification

          Earn Certification in Professional Human Resources 

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/05/2018) Aspiring and veteran human resources professionals can now attain professional certifications from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) at Eastern Connecticut State University. The registration deadline is Feb. 15 for the session running from Feb. 21-May 16. Classes will take place on Wednesdays from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in Webb Hall, room 215, on the Eastern campus. The course costs $1,250 for SHRM members and $1,400 for non-members.

As an official SHRM Education Partner, Eastern is offering a certification course that will prepare individuals for the SHRM Certified Professional and Senior Certified Professional exams while equipping them with the most up-to-date knowledge in the human resources industry.

Learn from a certified instructor who provides expertise, insight and one-on-one guidance. Network, share experiences and discuss topics with a diverse group of HR professionals. Stay on track to earn your certification with a structured learning experience. Take advantage of funding options such as tuition reimbursement.

The SHRM exam window is May 1-July 15, 2018. The exam application deadline is March 23; the late exam application deadline is April 13.

Eastern will offer more SHRM certification sessions in the future. For more information or to register, contact Sandra Rodriguez at rodriguezsan@easternct.edu.

Eastern Supports Community Art Project

                                            Teams up with Willimantic Whitewater Partnership

Written by Lynn Stoddard

Three world-class design teams from Connecticut have been selected to prepare detailed design concepts for public artwork that generates renewable energy for the future Willimantic Whitewater Park site.

The invited design competition arose from a collaboration between Willimantic Whitewater Partnership, the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts and the Land Art Generator Initiative.

From proposals submitted by 15 multi-disciplinary teams, the selection committee chose Pirie Associate Architects of New Haven, Gray Organschi/Howeler & Yoon Architecture of New Haven and Boston and Swiftwater Hub of Mansfield and Hartford to develop detailed designs. The designs are due at the end of February. In March, one winning design will be selected and the winning team will develop working blueprints. More information about the project can be found at http://www.landartgenerator.org/lagi-willimantic.html.

Members of the public are invited to attend an information session and community forum on Jan. 17 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library at Eastern Connecticut State University. All interested community members are encouraged to ask questions and share their ideas regarding the project at this public event.

Students Recognized at “English Night”

Written by Jordan Corey

On the evening of Dec. 6, English enthusiasts gathered in the Betty R. Tipton Room for Eastern’s “English Night,” which showcases student excellence in the English Department.

Hosted by English Professor and department chair Barbara Liu, the event featured the awarding of scholarships, the Sigma Tau Delta induction and three senior seminar presentations.

The Connie Campo Memorial Scholarship — awarded to non-traditional English students — was given to Yanira Hernandez. Liu highlighted Hernandez’s dedication to her studies and undeniable contribution to the department.

The First-Year Writing award, presented by Stephen Ferruci, English professor and coordinator of the First-Year Writing Program, was given to Christopher Oski.

The Sigma Tau Delta induction ceremony was the largest in its chapter, Alpha Epsilon Delta, with 36 new members joining. According to its official website, Sigma Tau Delta — the International English Honor Society — has more than 880 active chapters located in the United States and abroad, there are more than 1,000 faculty sponsors, with approximately 9,000 members inducted annually.

The products of months’ worth of effort, senior seminar projects from Maureen McDonnell’s Liberation Literature course were thoughtful and engaging. Students featured were Jacob St. Jean, Montgomery Kupson and Jason Osman.

Professor Jaime Gomez Co-Authors Book

Communication Professor Jaime Gomez has co-authored a new book. Amazon.Com, the publisher, says the book,  Introduction to Video Production.” is “written in a clear, non-technical manner. It focuses on the fundamental principles and aesthetics of video production and the technologies used in both studio and field environments.”

Ronald Compesi, professor emeritus of broadcast and electronic communication arts at ‎San Francisco State University, and Gomez cover each aspect of the process step-by-step, from pre-production to lighting, sound, directing, editing, graphics and distribution.   In 2007, Compesi was recognized as the outstanding media arts professor in the California State University System.

“Key features in the book include a thorough overview of video production in studio and field environments without being overly technical, allowing students to get the “big picture” of production; coverage of new digital production, recording, and editing technologies; more than 300 photos and line art illustrating aesthetic elements, technical issues, and production planning; and key words identified in boldface throughout the text and reinforced in a comprehensive glossary of terms,” said the publisher.

‘Amahl, Night Visitors’ Visit Eastern

Amahl and the Night Visitors Cast

Amahl and the Night Visitors Cast

Written by Jolene Potter

A talented cast of Eastern Connecticut State University students, alumni, faculty and staff recently performed in “Amahl and the Night Visitors” on Dec. 2 to celebrate the holiday season. Composed by Gian Carlo Menotti, the opera tells the story of the Magi from the point of view of a young disabled boy named Amahl and his widowed mother.

Among the cast was Samantha Price ’19 of Cheshire. Price majors in Visual Arts and English.

The production was directed by Emily Riggs, professor of music and voice, and Pete Perreira.

The first opera ever commissioned for television, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” made its world premiere on Christmas Eve 1951 on NBC. Menotti drew heavily from his childhood in Italy when composing the production, stating in an interview, “This is an opera for children because it tries to recapture my own childhood. You see… when I was a child I lived in Italy, and in Italy we have no Santa Claus… Our gifts were brought to us by the Three Kings, instead.”

Performed in Eastern’s state-of-the-art Fine Arts Instructional Center Concert Hall, the production captured the wonder of the hoiday seasons and entertained Eastern students, faculty, staff and community members.

Amahl, a poor, disabled boy from just outside of Bethlehem sees a large bright star in the sky one night and tells his mother. However, as he is known for his vivid imagination and tall tales, Amahl’s mother dismissed his claims.That night, three kinds stop to rest in their home for the night, as they have traveled a long way following the star that Amahl saw in the sky. The three kings show Amahl the jewels and gifts they are bringing to the new born king and Amahl goes to sleep for the night. Poverty-stricken and hoping to improve Amahl’s quality of life, Amahl’s mother tries to steal some of the valuables brought by the three kings but is caught. Despite the kings generous offer for her to keep the gold, she returns it after hearing about the child that will need nothing but love to rule his kingdom. Amahl, hoping to offer an additional gift to the child, offers his most prized possession, his crutch. However, he finds shortly after offering his crutch that he is able to walk.

Eastern Jazz Ensemble Performs!

Jazz Ensemble

Jazz Ensemble

Written by Jolene Potter

Jazz music is in the air at Eastern Connecticut State University. Two concerts featuring student performers hit the main stage this December, including the Jazz Ensemble and 3 O’Clock Band, which performed on Dec. 1 and Dec. 4 respectively. Both concerts took place in the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) Concert Hall.

Michael Della Valle ’19 of North Haven, who majors in Accounting, played bass in the Eastern Jazz Ensemble.

The Eastern Jazz Ensemble is composed of students who play traditional jazz instruments including saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, guitar and drums. The ensemble performs works from the standard and modern Big Band repertoire.

Conducted by Bryce Call, the ensemble performed several selections from Duke Ellington. Ellington, who called his music “American Music” rather than jazz, remains one of the most influential figures in jazz and is widely considered as one of the twentieth century’s best-known African American composers. The ensemble also performed selections from Benny Carter and Marty Paich, providing a unique and entertaining show.

The Jazz Ensemble came out strong with an opening performance of “C Jam Blues,” an Ellington staple written in 1942 that features several improvised solos. The ensemble also performed Benny Carter’s “Vine Street Rumble,” a traditional Big Band jazz piece with extensive solos for tenor saxophone and piano.

This traditional ensemble entertains Eastern students, faculty and community members with music from a wide variety of styles and eras in the jazz idiom. In addition to performing compositions from traditional and contemporary jazz composers, the ensemble also enjoys improvisation.

The 3 O’Clock Band is a variable-sized ensemble that provides the student with a small-group experience. Students play classic jazz tunes from a variety of eras, ranging from standards and bebop to recent jazz and rock. Similarly to the Jazz Ensemble, the 3 O’Clock Band values experience in improvisation, a staple in jazz music.

The 3 O’Clock Band was featured in the Dec. 4 concert that highlighted significant figures in the jazz idiom, as well as musical compositions seen as highly influencial in the progression of jazz improvisation from the mid 1940s to present day. Composers featured in the concert included Jaco Pastorius and Charlie Parker. Pastorius was bass player known primarily for his highly advanced techniques on the bass. Charlie Parker was one of the first to introduce Bebop to the world, as well as adding to the style of improvisation.

Among the performed pieces by the 3 O’Clock Band was Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” a timeless jazz piece that originated from an argument between Holiday and her mother.

Eastern Percussionists Perform!

Percussion Ensemble

Percussion Ensemble

Written by Jolene Potter

Talented percussionists at Eastern Connecticut State University recently entertained audiences that included Eastern students, faculty, staff and local community members at Eastern’s state-of-the-art Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) Concert Hall.

The concerts included performances by Eastern’s Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Group, World Percussion Ensemble, Korean Samul Ensemble and students in the Music Cultures of the World class.

The concerts, which were presented on Dec. 3 and 7, were comprised of diverse and entertaining musical selections that featured timpani, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle and tambourine.

The Eastern Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Group and the World Percussion Ensemble presented a winter concert on Dec. 3. The ensembles performed a broad spectrum of musical styles from the original and transcribed works of the percussion and marimba ensemble repertoire. The Percussion Ensemble performs large ensemble works while the Percussion Group and World Percussion Ensemble perform smaller works and chamber repertoire.

Conducted by Jeff Calissi and Matt Bronson, the ensembles performed seven selections from a variety of composers and styles. The World Percussion Ensemble came out strong with an opening performance of “Samba Batucada,” a traditional parade music selection from Brazil that entertained the audience with synchronized musical phrases and choreographed movements.

The Eastern Percussion Group performed “Triskaidekaphobia” by Josh Gottry. The title of the piece is the term for a phobia of the number 13. Despite the perceived triviality of that phobia, the composer noted how there is often no labeled 13th row on most airplanes or 13th floor in many hotels in order to make people feel more comfortable. The song is a tribute to those who cast off unusual fears and superstitions. The unique song provides an exciting and energetic look at the number 13, featuring 13 instruments and 13 pulses in every pair of measures.

The Eastern Percussion Ensemble performed “Three Brothers,” a very early contribution to chamber music for percussionists composed in 1954. Written for snare drum, bongos and timpani, the three instruments serve as “brothers” throughout the piece. The ensemble also performed “Peril of the Bells” by Rick Dior, a take on the Christmas song “Carol of the Bells.” The arrangement included aspects of African and Brazilian drumming, as well as extensive mallet percussion parts. The beautiful rendition used a wide range of ethnic percussion intstruments such as congas, bongos and djembe, a West African skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands.

The Dec. 7 concert featured performances by the the Korean Samul Ensemble, World Percussion Ensemble and students from the Music Cultures of the World Class. The concert showcased a variety of different cultures merged musically in order to provide a unique and entertaining show.

The Korean Samul Ensemble performed a traditional Korean piece of the Samul nori genre titled “Beonyeok!” that was originally designed to entertain villagers in a agricultural community on holidays or other celebratory events.

The World Percussion Ensemble performed “Guaguanco,” a rhythm derived from a traditional Cuban rhumba. The piece included conga drums and different patterns and tones to create an interlocking melody throughout the ensemble. The ensemble also performed “Rhythm Chant 2 + 10,” a piece for a variety of traditional ethnic instruments from around the world. The piece provided the audience with an ambient and relaxing soundscape of different cultures.

Students in the Music Cultures of the World class also performed at the Dec. 7 concert. With many of these performers having no prior playing experience, their performance of “Small Disturbances” by Mitchell Mollison demonstrated the immense amount of skill they acquired during the fall 2017 semester course. The piece uses two similar pitches played together to create small disturbances to the sound, like ripples in a pond.

Percussion studies at Eastern provide the opportunity to explore all facets of percussion performance and education. Students are provided with a variety of enriching musical opportunities regardless of major.

‘Sounds of the Season’ at Eastern

Concert Band

Concert Band

Written by Jolene Potter

Talented musicians of the Eastern Wind Ensemble and Eastern Concert Band presented a joint winter concert designed to capture the beauty of the winter season on Dec. 6 in Eastern’s Fine Arts Instructional Center Concert Hall.

Conducted by Kelly Watkins, adjunct professor of music, both the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band presented four selections at the combined concert.

The Eastern Wind Ensemble is the newest instrumental ensemble at Eastern and is designed to provide students with a unique, student-centric instrumental playing experience. Wind Ensemble is open to any student at Eastern who plays a woodwind/ brass or percussion instrument with previous playing experience. This ensemble performs music from the wind ensemble and chamber winds repertoire as well as more contemporary works.

Wind Ensemble

Wind Ensemble

The Wind Ensemble opened the show with Shelley Hanson’s “Patapan” (or “Pat-a-pan”) a French Christmas carol about the birth of Jesus Christ. The piece is told from the perspective of shepherds playing flutes and drums which are meant to mimic the sound of a drum. This rhythmic piece brought energy to the start of the concert.

The ensemble also performed the bright and classic “Bugler’s Holiday” by Leroy Anderson, one of the most famous trios for trumpet ever written. Despite being originally scored for a trumpet trio and orchestra, it has been performed by groups of nearly every instrument imaginable.

Eastern Concert Band is a unique blend of over eighty musicians comprised of Eastern Connecticut State University students, faculty, alumni, local music educators, and talented musicians from the greater Eastern Connecticut area. Performance repertoire includes classic band literature as well as challenging works from contemporary composers.

The Concert Band opened their portion of the show with a rich and energetic rendition of “Festive Fanfare for the Holidays” by James Curnow. This piece was based on the carol “Joy to the World” and brought added energy and joy to the holiday-themed program.

The ensemble also wowed the audience with their performance “Silent Night in Gotham” by Franz Gruber, a unique and colorful version of the classic “Silent Night.”

The Music Program presents a full season of concerts and recitals designed to entertain audience members to a diversity of styles and eras.