Annual CREATE Conference to Showcase Student Art, Research

 

WILLIMANTIC, CT (04/08/2019) Eastern Connecticut State University will host its premier academic and artistic conference of the year on April 12. CREATE – Celebrating Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern – will take place from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Student Center and surrounding venues. An award ceremony with remarks by Eastern President Elsa Núñez will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center.

Hundreds of student researchers, artists and performers will present their talents at CREATE. Students from all majors will lead oral and poster presentations, participate in panel discussions, showcase music and dance performances, exhibit their art and photography, and present documentary films and more.

Registration will take place at 8 a.m. at the Student Center Café. President Núñez will present two undergraduate awards and two mentor awards to outstanding students and faculty members at the 12:30 p.m. award ceremony.

For more information, visit http://www.easternct.edu/create/, where you can view the day’s agenda and download the event’s cell phone app for iPhone and Android.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Orchestra of Voices ‘Chanticleer’ to Perform at Eastern Chamber Choir Festival

Eastern Chamber Singers at Eastern Connecticut State University will present the inaugural 2019 Chamber Choir Festival with guest clinicians Chanticleer on April 9 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC). The festival will feature two concerts: Chanticleer at 12:30 p.m. and a joint performance with the Eastern Chamber Choir and four visiting choirs at 3 p.m.

Chanticleer will work with visiting guest chamber choirs in a workshop format during the morning, followed by a free concert presented by Chanticleer at 12:30 p.m. in the FAIC Concert Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for its “tonal luxuriance and crisply etched clarity,” Chanticleer is known around the world as “an orchestra of voices” for its seamless blend of twelve male voices ranging from soprano to bass and its original interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz and popular genres, as well as contemporary composition.

Later than day, Eastern Chamber Singers will join guest chamber choirs from Glastonbury High School, Guilford High School, Plainfield High School and Stonington High School for a combined closing concert at 3:00 p.m. in the Concert Hall, presenting the materials covered during the morning workshops. This 3:00 p.m. concert combines all choirs for a grand finale featuring all 150 singers.

Written by David Belles

Annual CREATE Conference to Showcase Student Art, Research

Eastern Connecticut State University will host its premier academic and artistic conference of the year on April 12. CREATE – Celebrating Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern – will take place from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Student Center and surrounding venues. An award ceremony with remarks by Eastern President Elsa Núñez will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center.

Students present research during the poster session of the 2018 CREATE conference.

Hundreds of student researchers, artists and performers will present their talents at CREATE. Students from all majors will lead oral and poster presentations, participate in panel discussions, showcase music and dance performances, exhibit their art and photography, and present documentary films and more.

Registration will take place at 8 a.m. at the Student Center Café. President Núñez will present two undergraduate awards and two mentor awards to outstanding students and faculty members at the 12:30 p.m. award ceremony.

For more information, visit http://www.easternct.edu/create/, where you can view the day’s agenda and download the event’s cell phone app for iPhone and Android.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Eastern’s Music Program to Host 7 April Performances

The Eastern Jazz Ensemble

WILLIMANTIC, CT (03/25/2019) The Music Program at Eastern Connecticut State University will host a variety of performances in April, representing a wide range of genres and style periods. All concerts and recitals will be performed in the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) Concert Hall. Admission is free, although donations are gratefully accepted at the door.

On April 5 at 7:30 p.m., Eastern professors Anthony Cornicello and Rick O’Neal, with drummer Venlo Odom will present a night of standard jazz repertoire in an expressive, adventurous and visceral manner. This recital is presented as part of the Music Program’s Faculty Recital Series, which was established to raise scholarship funds for current and incoming Music Program students. All donations received at the door will go directly to supporting these scholarships and awards.

On April 6 at 2:30 p.m., “Sounds of Korea” features traditional and contemporary music and culture from Korea including a Samul percussion ensemble, classical art music and K-pop. Presenters in Korean traditional clothes will provide brief background information for each entry to enhance the audience’s understanding of what they will see and hear on the stage and screen.

On April 11 at 12 p.m., guest ensemble Cuatro Puntos will present a program of Persian classical music for the santoor (a hammered dulcimer-like instrument) and string quartet written by Dr. Reza Vali, as well as a purely classical Persian improvisatory piece on santoor performed by Dr. Dariush Saghafi. Vali is an accomplished composer who is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University; Saghafi is the world’s leading master of the Persian santoor.

On April 14 at 2:30 p.m., there will be a Music Program recital and awards ceremony to honor students for their academic achievements in both performance and musicology. A reception in the lobby will follow the performance.

On April 22 at 7:30 p.m., the Eastern Concert Chorale, conducted by David Belles, will present “Requiem for the Living” by contemporary composer Dan Forrest. This exciting work features choir, soloists and orchestra, and is guaranteed to delight audience members who attend. In addition, senior music major Ryan Michaud will be featured as guest conductor for another of Forrest’s compositions, “St. Patrick’s Hymn” for choir and piano. The concert is free of charge with a suggested $10 donation at the door.

On April 24 at 7:30 p.m., the Eastern Concert Band will present a festive spring program of standards and newer music for wind band.

On April 29 at 7:30 p.m., the Eastern Jazz Ensemble will present an evening of music featuring student soloists. The Eastern Jazz Ensemble is under the direction of Professor Bryce Call. If you miss this concert, the ensemble will also perform alongside Eastern’s Jazz Combo at the Shaboo Stage in Jillson Square on May 11 at 1:00 p.m.

Written by Raven Dillon

Eastern Theatre to Present ‘Africa to America’ on March 24

The Theatre Program at Eastern Connecticut State University will present two performances of “Africa to America: Perspective, Pride, and Power” on March 24 at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Proscenium Theatre of the Fine Arts Instructional Center.

Directed by Eastern Theatre Professor DeRon Williams and written by Wendy Coleman, chairwoman of theatre arts at Alabama State University, the performance chronicles the history, heritage and legacy of African Americans through oration, music and dance.

This rich and powerful experience depicts the struggles, determination and triumphs of African ancestors and descendants who survived the voyage from Africa to America. The audience will see representations of some of the most notable icons of the civil rights movement, including Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis, Rosa Parks and the first African-American president and first lady, Barack and Michelle Obama.

The March 24 performance will feature original poetry and choreography by Eastern students. A post-show discussion with Coleman and Williams will follow the 4 p.m. performance.

Tickets are free; however, guests are encouraged to reserve tickets in advance by visiting http://easternct.showare.com/africatoamerica/. Walk-ins will be accepted as tickets remain available.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Eastern Theatre Presents ‘The Wolves’ with All-Female Cast

The Theatre Program at Eastern Connecticut State University presented “The Wolves” as its first production of the spring 2019 semester. Running from Feb. 27-March 3 in the DelMonte Studio Theatre, “The Wolves” is a coming-of-age story that takes place on the turf of a local indoor soccer field.

The play was performed by an all-female cast, directed by Theatre Professor Kristen Morgan and written by award-winning playwright Sarah DeLappe.

The Wolves are a highly competitive indoor soccer team composed of nine teenage girls. Each scene depicts the girls on the artificial turf warming up before their weekend game. The play spans a variety of themes pertinent to modern society, told candidly from the perspectives of nine passionate young women growing up in America.

“Anyone who identifies as female can tell you that growing up in America can feel like one batter after the other,” said Morgan, pointing out the unique pressures women feel about body image, sexuality and social obedience. “Athletics can mean freedom for girls and women. When you’re on the field, everything else may fall away… there are moments of overwhelming strength, as if you could do anything, like you are free.”

The girls who make up the Wolves are at a turning point in their lives; they’ve grown up playing together and know all about each other’s bodies and personality quirks, but adulthood is beckoning. Into their fragile mix comes a new player, drivers license’s, college scouts, weekend ski trips and other challenges.

As the girls stretch, run drills and kick the soccer ball among each other, their conversations explore abortion, immigration, eating disorders, sexual assault and other difficult topics.

Contrary to most theatrical productions, “The Wolves” features an all-female cast. “This is an important play for today’s world because it shows teenage girls in a different light than how you typically see them,” said Sara Lafrance ’19, who played #25. “They’re not portrayed as boy-crazy, catty or overemotional. They’re portrayed as intelligent, athletic, strong, funny young women. It shows how teenage girls can work through conflict and maintain a strong bond.”

“I think this play gives a semblance of what it means to be a young woman in high school with strengths and weaknesses and fears of the future,” said Onyae Randall ’19, who played #2. “The play can be re-evaluated and reimagined so many times because of the playwright’s use of nuance. It’s the type of story where you learn something new each time you see it. This is the kind of work we all need to expose ourselves to.”

Written by Michael Rouleau

Korean Ensemble Delights Audiences Everywhere

People around the world believe music is a universal language that everyone understands. Louis Armstrong, American trumpeter, composer, vocalist and occasional actor, considered to be one of the most influential figures in jazz, said it well—“I know two languages; English and music.” Another observer put it this way—“You don’t need to understand the words of every culture. Music does the talking for us.”

Internationally acclaimed Music Professor Okon Hwang

Eastern’s Samul Jeonsa (Samul Warriors) Korean Ensemble, founded in 2014 and dedicated to performing a traditional Korean music genre known as samulnori, perfectly reflects this notion that music, wherever and however it is created, connects people.

Each semester, Samul Jeonsa, a diverse group of students under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed Music Professor Okon Hwang, go through a collective compositional process of performing highly sophisticated art form that layers  traditional Korean folk music, and creates new rhythms and works as well. In doing so, students learn the history and culture of Korea and much more about their own potential as well.

Left to right, Venlo Odom ’20, majoring in music; Josh Perry ’19, music major; and Ryan Michaud ’19,  music major.

Samul Jeonsa performers include David Annecchiarico ’19, Emily Kennedy ’21, Ryan Michaud ’19, Venlo Odom ’20, Lanitza Padilla ’21, Safiya Palmer ’22, Joshua Perry ’19, Antonia Reynolds’19 and Skye Serra ’21.

“Talented and curious-minded students learn to play four different Korean percussion instruments to create pieces that are firmly rooted in Korean musical tradition, while constantly pushing the limits of what is possible by incorporating contemporary references as well as individual flares,” said Hwang.

Left to right, Lanitza Padilla ’20 music major, and Emily Kennedy, music major.

Hwang said the instruments derive from the Korean words “sa” and “mul” mean “four things” and “nori” means “play.” The four instruments—the buk (a barrel drum) and the janggu (an hourglass-shaped drum) are leather instruments, and the jing (a large gong) and the kkwaenggwari (a small gong) are brass instruments.  Each of these four instruments is said to represent different elements of weather: the buk symbolizes clouds, the janggu rain, the jing wind and the kkwaenggwarri thunder.

Left to right, Skye Serra ’20, music major and Antonia Reynolds ’19, music major.

Despite the Ensemble’s short history, the group has been invited to perform across the state and around the nation, including performances in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. 

Perry originally got involved with the group to learn and practice percussion skills. Hwang took him to another level. “This Ensemble is great because of its accessibility. Very little previous musical skill or knowledge is required. Dr. Hwang did a fantastic job of introducing me to the genre during the class’s very first session. I quickly became interested in the cultural source materials that formed the genre of Samul Nori, as well as mastering the instruments. There is a great depth to explore when composing and performing. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible.” 

Left to right David Annecchiarico ’19, music major, and Sky Serra, ’20 majoring in music.

“Participating in Samul has been wonderful,” said Kennedy.  I have expanded my music abilities and

Internationally acclaimed Music Professor Okon Hwang

culturalunderstanding. I’ve grown close to the students in the ensemble and to Dr. Hwang. It is a wonderful space to expressyour musical opinions or ideas.”

A native of Seoul, Korea, Hwang came to the United States to further her study in various graduate schools and pursue her creative/research interests. She performs regularly as a soloist and a chamber musician, and is also a member of the S.O.Y. Piano Trio.

As an ethnomusicologist, Hwang has studied the intersection of Western art music and Korean cultural identity, as well as various aspects of popular music in Korea. She has received numerous research grants, and delivered papers at regional, national and international conferences.

Written by Dwight Bachman

Eastern’s Music Program to Host 2 March Concerts

All March concerts will occur in the Concert Hall of the Fine Arts Instructional Center.

The Music Program at Eastern Connecticut State University will host a variety of performances in March, representing a range of genres and style periods. All concerts and recitals will be performed in the Fine Arts Instructional Center’s (FAIC) Concert Hall. Admission is free – donations are gratefully accepted at the door in support of music student scholarships.

On March 1 at 7:30 p.m., Eastern faculty members Emily Jo Riggs, soprano, and David Ballena, piano, will present “Voices of America.” From the raucous to intimate, the program will explore the range of emotions captured in the words and music of some of America’s greatest poets and composers. This recital is presented as part of the Music Program’s Faculty Recital Series, which was established to raise scholarship funds for current and incoming Music Program students. All donations received at the door will go directly to supporting these scholarships and awards.

On March 3 at 3 p.m., the Willimantic Orchestra will present their Winter Concert, featuring the Academic Festival Overture by German composer Johannes Brahms and Symphony No. 96 “The Miracle” by Austrian composer Joseph Haydn. Claude Debussy’s “Danses sacrée et profane,” written for the chromatic harp and string orchestra will feature Megan Sesma on the harp.

Eastern Theatre to Present ‘The Wolves,’ Feb. 27-March 3

The Theatre Program at Eastern Connecticut State University will present its first Main Stage production of the spring 2019 semester, “The Wolves,” from Feb. 27-March 3. Written by Sarah DeLappe and directed by Eastern professor Kristen Morgan, the play will follow a girls’ soccer team as they struggle to adapt to new players and lifestyles. The play will be shown in the Del Monte Bernstein Studio Theatre in Eastern’s Fine Arts Instructional Center.

Exploring the unique dynamics of a girls’ athletic team, “The Wolves” observes the complex social navigation required for high school. “From the safety of their afternoon exercise routine, the team wonders about big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors,” writes the publishing company Samuel French. “This is a portrait of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals.”

DeLappe describes her play as “a portrait of teenage girls as human beings – as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people.” Since its publication in 2016, “The Wolves” has garnered critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including being a finalist in the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and winning the 2015 Relentless Award for Playwriting.

“The girls in ‘The Wolves’ are at a turning point in their lives,” writes Morgan in her director’s notes for the play. “These girls have grown up playing together, and have shared all the emotional weight that comes with it. ‘The Wolves’ is a meditation on growing up female in America and the meaning that girls make for themselves in a society that still doesn’t have any idea what to do with them.”

“The Wolves” will be performed on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m.; Friday, March 1 at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 3 at 4 p.m. Tickets are free for Eastern students; $5 for other students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for senior citizens; $12 for Eastern faculty, staff and alumni; and $20 for the general public. For tickets and more information, call the box office at (860) 465-5123 or visit http://easternct.showare.com/thewolves/.

Written by Raven Dillon

Daughter of Historic Dress Maker Explains ‘Sidonia’s Thread’ Exhibition

Hanna Marcus, daughter of dress maker Sidonia Perlstein, spoke at Eastern on Feb. 13 about her mother’s life and exhibition currently on display at the Windham Textile and History Museum.

Author and social worker Hanna Pearlstein Marcus came to Eastern Connecticut State University on Feb. 13, to promote the exhibition “Sidonia’s Thread: Crafting a Life from Holocaust to High Fashion,” which is open at the Windham Textile and History Museum until April 28.

Organized by Eastern Theatre Professor Anya Sokolovskaya, the exhibition showcases the life of Marcus’ mother, Sidonia Pearlstein, who survived the Holocaust and fled to the United States at the conclusion of World War II. It also highlights Sidonia’s legacy of becoming an accomplished clothing designer in Western New England after overcoming a difficult period in her life.

Garments from the ‘Sidonia’s Thread’ exhibition.

Marcus’s book, “Sidonia’s Thread”, spotlights her childhood growing up with her mother and the creative yet secretive life they shared with each other, which Marcus says was the primary nature of their relationship.

The Windham Textile Museum exhibition features garments by Sidonia, which tell stories of how survival, family and other trials and tribulations inspired the remarkable clothing designer.
Marcus provided Eastern students many insights about her biography, making sure to capture her mother’s resilience while emphasizing her ability to handle a needle and craft beautiful garments.

“My mother had a special gift, a gift that saved her in the holocaust and made a living for her in America,” said Marcus. “She had golden hands that could create the most beautiful head turning garments.”

One piece of advice from her mother that Marcus taken into adult life is: “Stand up straight in both fashion and life.” Marcus explained, “It means having self-confidence and a good self-image.”
The exhibition was organized by Anya Sokolovskaya, assistant professor of theatre and costume design, who enlisted the help of several students to bring the exhibition to life.

The Windham Textile and History Museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. General admission is $7; students and seniors (62+) pay $5; admission for museum members, children under 5 years old, and Eastern students is free.

Written by Bobbi Brown