Weekly Trumpet Hang This Morning

Join MTU’s Director of Jazz Studies Adam Meckler for his weekly Michigan Tech Trumpet Hang from 10 to 11 a.m. today (May 27). Each Wednesday’s virtual program will be different and will cover a variety of subjects such as warming up, building strength, playing both classical and jazz repertoire, how to navigate jazz chord changes, how to use the metronome, and more.

Attendees will be encouraged to play along, and even perform for the group. The material will be provided either by PDF or by ear. Request the Zoom link by emailing abmeckle@mtu.edu.


#q: sculpture under quarantine

Art Professor, Lisa Gordillo has announced the opening of #q: sculpture under quarantine, an online gallery created by students in Advanced Sculpture Studio in the Visual and Performing Arts.

Students in this class developed works of art while social distancing in their homes. Although their projects are much different than students had originally planned, their work shows just how adaptable and resilient Michigan Tech students are, and the power of art to connect us during uncertain times. 

“a coronavirus adventure” by Tyler Flaningam


“Intertwined” Art Exhibition

Art continues to thrive, even in the most difficult times. Our very own Lisa Gordillo is part of an exhibition in Dayton, OH, from the Dayton Society of Artists. According to Gordillo, “Intertwined” features fiber art and brings together 32 artists from across the US together into one space. Using traditional methods in innovative ways, these artists explore voice, reactions to change of environment, women’s issues, creating individual spaces, and the passing on of art, craft, and culture. Curated by Heather Jones.

Art piece
Cotton thread, Guatemalan quetzales, wood
Lisa Gordillo
Trenzando (Braiding)
Cotton thread, Guatemalan quetzales, wood

Outdoor Sculpture – Online FA2110 for Track B

Visual and Performing Arts Professor, Lisa Gordillo will be teaching Outdoor Sculpture during summer track B, which will be completely online. You can take the class from anywhere!

The class focuses on making works of art outside. And — because of the world we’re in — it will also include many opportunities for creating connections with community (even at a distance). We’ll learn from environmental artists and from artists whose work brings people together, and you’ll make your own works of art, wherever you are.

There are no prerequisites. No experience is necessary, and very few tools are required. This is a HASS class. Everyone is welcome.


Student Jazz Award Winners Announced

Director of Jazz Studies, Adam Meckler, has announced this year’s student recipients for the Don Keranen Endowed Scholarship Awards.

This fund provides cash awards to students for Outstanding Jazz Musician and Most Improved Jazz Musician. Individuals who participate in the Jazz Lab Band, the Research and Development Big Band, and the Workshop Big Band are eligible.

Most Improved was awarded to Steven Turnbull, while the Outstanding Jazz Musician was awarded to two students – Alek Ertman and Ryan Briggs.

These awards were slated to be announced during the Don Keranan Memorial Jazz Concert on March 20th, but was cancelled.

Jazz Award winner Steven Turnbull
Steven Turnbull is a first year student pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and a minor in Technical Theatre. As a trumpet player, he loves listening to and playing in all kinds of bands, especially jazz. Although he thinks mathematically, he is able to express his artistic side through music. He takes his education seriously and loves to learn new things from any kind of subject.
Alek Ertman is a third year student at Michigan Tech. He is an Electrical Engineering major with a focus in Automation and Controls. In addition to his studies, Alek also plays bass in the top jazz ensemble, and top jazz combo. Some of his musical influences include Stuart Zender, Paul Chambers, and Charlie Haden.
Ryan Briggs jazz award winner
Ryan Briggs is a first year Computer Engineering
student also pursuing minors in Mathematics and Music Composition. Here at Tech, Ryan is the Bassist for the R&D Jazz Band, a Huskies Pep Band ‘Rumpet, and co-founder and bassist of a student run Video Game Music Jazz Ensemble. While he enjoys studying engineering, his other passion lies in music. He hopes to one day compose music professionally on the side. 


Isolation, Collaboration and All That Jazz

Despite the challenges of social distancing and virtual instruction, the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired some creative collaborations that span not only academic disciplines, but hundreds of miles. Adam Meckler (VPA), Michigan Tech’s director of jazz studies, recently connected with a former college classmate and both brought along students for the collaboration.

Adam Meckler

The project is a video/audio exchange between Meckler’s jazz students at Michigan Tech and students from the Department of Dance at the State University of New York-Brockport. Meckler’s partner at SUNY-Brockport is Greg Woodsbie, lead professional staff accompanist and music instructor. Meckler said the idea of a jazz/dance collaboration began to take shape when he and Woodsbie were undergraduates at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, nearly 15 years ago.

“We played in many bands together over the years, but the first was a 12-piece salsa band when we were students at Lawrence,” Meckler said. While the salsa band spent many hours rehearsing, they didn’t “get it” until their first gig. “There were dancers there. It was then that we recognized how the dancers elevated the music and likewise how the music elevated the dancers.”

It is this mutual elevation that Meckler and Woodsbie’s students are exploring, even though they are more than 800 miles apart. “Each Tech student is paired with a dancer,” Meckler explained. “Our jazz students will send over 30 seconds of recorded music and the dancers will send over 30 seconds of dance.”

The guidelines are simple — there aren’t any. “The music can be anything the students can dream up and execute,” he said. “Some will improvise on a trumpet, trombone or saxophone while some might record multiple layers and instruments.” The same goes for the dancers — their contribution can be virtually anything.

Once the students exchange material, the fun begins. “The musician will record music over the dance video and the dancer will do some kind of choreography to the music sent in the exchange,” Meckler said. Following a dialogue to discuss what worked and what didn’t, the students will vote on their favorite collaborations, with the winners forming a single video to be released on social media.

Meckler said he and Woodsbie feel the collaboration goes to the heart of the two art forms. “Historically, music and dance are not two separate art forms, but one. We are well-served to explore these folkloric roots, in turn integrating art into our lives and culture.”

At the same time, it’s also a fun and healthy form of symbiosis — musicians and dancers complementing each other. “The dialogue between music and dance elevates both parties,” he said. “Dancers deepen the practice that is crucial to artists — developing an intimate relationship with your materials. Musicians are reminded of the body and that music ultimately comes from movement.”

Meckler, Woodsbie and their students are proving that creativity and art can flourish, even in the time of social distancing. As Meckler puts it, “The dialogue between the dancer and the musician will teach both parties the benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary collaboration. The participants will observe these benefits and challenges and will discuss perceived successes and failures in dialogue throughout this process.”


Gordillo Teaching Award Recipient

In order to provide special recognition to instructors who have been nominated as finalists for the Distinguished Teaching Award four or more times, the Provost’s office has initiated a new teaching award this spring.

Four instructors have been identified to receive the inaugural Provost’s Awards for Sustained Teaching Excellence. They include:

Provost Huntoon, in collaboration with the Deans, initiated this award because “It became clear that we had a group of instructors consistently delivering exceptional instruction to their students over many years, who are worthy of special recognition.”

The award consists of a plaque and $1,000 in additional compensation. Each of the recipients of the new award will continue to be honored on an annual basis as members of Michigan Tech’s Distinguished Teaching Academy, an elite group with an established reputation for excellent teaching.

Please join the Provost and the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in congratulating these recipients!


Public Performances and Receptions at the Rozsa and McArdle Cancelled

As you are likely aware, Michigan Tech is carefully following guidance from the recent Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order issued by Governor Whitmer.  Campus is closed to the public, except for critical services, and faculty and staff are working from home.  We were sad that the current COVID-19 situation necessitated cancelling or postponing the rest of our arts season at Michigan Tech, but we are hopeful that measures that we are taking now will make a big difference in keeping our community safe and healthy.
With the cancellation of the remainder of the season we will provide three options for all single tickets and pro-rated package tickets purchased to the following Rozsa/VPA events that were cancelled or postponed.  These include:

Option #1 Contact the SDC Ticket Office at tickets@mtu.edu for a refund of your concert tickets.  Season Subscriptions, Pick-6, and Pick-3 packages will be pro-rated.

Option #2 Tickets may be traded for an equivalent performance in the 2020-21 Season.  Some Presenting Series Events have already been rescheduled for next season, including:  Manual Cinema (Sept. 4, 2020), Audiopharmacy (March 19, 2021), and Vieux Farka Touré (March 20, 2021).  Tickets Visual and Performing Arts Department student concerts (Tech Theatre, KSO, Choirs, Bands, Jazz) can be redeemed for a performance in the 2020-21 season by contacting tickets@mtu.edu.

Option #3 Unrefunded or untraded tickets refunds may be donated to the Friends of the Rozsa Fund.  This gift will be tax-deductible and will be acknowledged by the Michigan Tech Fund.  This can also be done by contacting tickets@mtu.edu.

We appreciate your patronage over this past season and look forward to announcing our 2020-21 season.  Details about next season will come soon.  Please visit the Rozsa website for more information, www.mtu.edu/rozsa


Distinguished Teaching Award Finalists Announced

The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning seeks input for its annual Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to the instructional mission of the University. Based on more than 50,000 student ratings of instruction responses, ten finalists have been identified for the two 2020 awards. The selection committee is soliciting comments from students, staff, faculty and alumni to aid in deliberation.

This year’s finalists in each of two categories are:

Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice Category

  • Nancy Barr (MEEM)
  • Mike Hyslop (CFRES)
  • Heather Knewtson (COB)
  • Sheila Milligan (COB)
  • Ulrich Schmelze (COB)

Associate Professor/Professor Category

  • Melissa Baird (SS)
  • Mike Christianson (VPA)
  • John Durocher (BioSci)
  • Julie King (ChE)
  • Amy Marcarelli (BioSci)

Comments on the nominees are due by Friday, April 3 and can be completed online. The process for determining the two Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from each list of finalists also involves the additional surveying of their spring classes. A selection committee makes the final determination of the award recipients in early May with the 2020 Distinguished Teaching Awards formally announced in late May.

For more information, contact Margaret Landsparger at 7-1001.


Tech Choirs to Perform ‘Music for a Sacred Space’ Sunday

Singers in a choir during a performance

The choirs of Michigan Tech will perform a joint concert entitled, “Music for a Sacred Space,” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (March 1), at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Linden. 

The concert has been a tradition for the choirs for a number of years.  The Michigan Tech Concert Choir will sing repertoire from the German literature by Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn. They will also perform “Behold! I Build An House” by Lukas Foss, “Otche Nash” by Nikolai Golovanov, as well as two American folk hymns.  The Michigan Tech Chamber Singers, conScience, will perform both traditional and contemporary anthems, including music from Renaissance Italy as well as selections from England, Canada and the United States.

“This concert provides our singers and the audience with an opportunity to experience sacred choral music in a space that is appropriate for the genre, together with a stunning acoustic that matches other sacred spaces where the music may have been first heard. The choirs look forward to this concert each year,” said Jared Anderson, conductor of both choirs.

The concert is open to the public. A free-will offering will be collected with all proceeds from the concert to benefit the local chapter of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.