All posts by hrpowers

Student Shares Theatre and Electronic Media Performance Experience

Callisto CortezIt’s not typical for a person to study Theatre and Electronic Media Performance at a university more known for engineering. As I thought about my education at Michigan Tech and this unique program, that not many people pursue in the Upper Peninsula, I realized how extraordinary my college adventure would be. I am a fourth-year Theatre and Electronic Media Performance major, minoring in Technical Theatre, and my name is Callisto Cortez.

Over the years I’ve fallen in love with my department and the people that have become some of my closest friends. The tight-knit community that is the Visual and Performing Arts department works as a family and all the students can get one-on-one discussions and attention from each of our professors. Within my first year and a half at Michigan Tech, I was able to complete my Acting Practicums. Each practicum was worth 1 credit, which means I had already acted in 3 productions with the Tech Theatre. It’s been an incredible learning experience, for the fact that I was able to immerse myself in the program right away. By the first semester of my second year, I was cast in my first leading role for the Tech Theatre, Silent Sky.

I have realized how extremely passionate I am about theatre and how fortunate I am to make my dreams into a reality by making my hard work pay off.

The major of Theatre and Electronic Media Performance at Michigan Tech caters to each student individually as artists. At first, my mindset was focused primarily on performance and enhancing my acting abilities. Then, I discovered my love for the technical aspects of theatre as well, which lead me to taking technical theatre courses. My second year, I helped to paint an entire set for The Irresistible Rise of Arturo Ui, and also stage manage the production of Sexual Perversity in Chicago During these two semesters, I was the lead in Silent Sky for the Fall semester and a dancer in West Side Story spring semester.

Now, I want to be able to act in a show, stage manage another, assist in any type of design, and just get to know the people who make an entire production happen.



Eric Smith Studying Audio Production and Technology

Eric SmithWhen I started studying audio production and technology, my ultimate goal was to become a Grammy Award-winning music producer. I thought I would need a cool stage name. I gave it some thought, but nothing clicked. Then one day “Smooth Smith” came to mind. It rolls off the tongue. I presented an audio file from my Soundcloud page and my professor and classmates could see the name: Smooth Smith.

After that it just caught on.

Audio production and technology is a very hands-on major. We learn everything that has to do with audio, theatre, film, and studio recording. After graduation, I have a job lined up with a show control programming company in Miami, Florida. I had a great co-op there last semester. During my time there, I worked on the Universal Holiday Parade for Universal Orlando—it was a huge learning experience for me.

The most meaningful part of college so far has been the opportunities I’ve had through my jobs. I want to thank my supervisors and professors: I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for you. Michigan Tech has given me so much. I’m so glad I came here.

I have a few jobs on campus now. I work for Athletics as a broadcast engineer, making sure our audio and video systems are working correctly during sporting events. I also work with Information Technology and as a coach in the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success.

Wahtera Center helps students who are looking to be more successful in school. I really love coaching! One of my most memorable experiences was returning from my co-op and being specifically requested by a student I had worked with the previous year. I was flattered to see how much they valued our sessions and the impact coaching had on their performance in school.

My favorite part about being a coach is when a student reaches the point where they can come in for a session relaxed and with a smile because they are doing so well in their classes.


In the News – Haunted Mine and 41 North Film

The Visual and Performing Arts was in the news this past week for two different events.

Silhouettes of minersThe Haunted Mine presented by the Department of Visual and Performing Arts was covered by WLUC TV6.

Michigan Technological University VPA students installed 2,535 feet of speaker cable, 1,000 feet of microphone cable and 31 speakers to create the ultimate creepy soundscape for Quincy Mine’s annual haunted tour.

A half-mile in and seven levels below ground, the 15-by-15 dark tunnel awaits the brave souls who dare to enter for pre-Halloween tours Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 25-27. This is the second year Michigan Tech students in sound design and audio production and technology programs have collaborated on the project.


41 Film Festival logoThe upcoming 41 North Film Festival, beginning Thursday (Nov. 1) was covered by WJMN TV3. This year, the 41 North Film Festival will screen five films about history, issues and accomplishments related to STEM innovation in its lineup of more than 20 films.

 


Huskies Pep Band Concert Celebrates Halloween with “Yalloween: Day of the Striped”

Photoshopped wolf's head with mouth openBefore you head out for Halloween high-jinks, join the Huskies Pep Band for a special Halloween concert, “Yalloween: Day of The Striped,” at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Oct. 31) in the Rozsa Center.

The Huskies Pep Band is a Michigan Tech point of pride and one of the most lauded (and loud) pep bands in the Midwest. Members dressed in “bumble-bee” stripes perform in unscripted and unrestrained glory at concerts, athletic contests, parades and special events all around Houghton and support Michigan Tech teams on the road as well.

The Huskies Pep Band is a nationally-known Division I pep band of nearly 250 members that performs at home football, basketball and hockey games. The band was selected as the host band for the WCHA Final Five Tournament in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The Huskies Pep Band is a be-striped, scrambling, irreverent, annoying, distracting force for both good (for our athletic teams) and not as good (for the opposing teams). Since then, the band has performed at many arenas and stadiums (including some from which they have been banned for creating a ‘home atmosphere’ for Michigan Tech’s teams), learned more than eight songs, developed the capacity to breathe fire, been a P.E. credit for many movement-challenged students and reached the age of 50 as a Scramble ‘band.’ —Director of Bands Michael Christianson

Tickets for “Yalloween” at the Rozsa Center are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa box office the night of the show. Note: the Rozsa box office opens only two hours before performances.


WW1CC Art & Warfare will run again next week

WW1CC logo with Quincy MineDue to popular demand, the “World War I & the Copper Country” exhibit, “Art & Warfare,” will run for four days next week in the Immersive Visualization Studio, EERC 510. There will be special hours:

  • 5-6 p.m. Monday (10/29)
  • 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday (10/30), Thursday and Friday (NOV. 1-2)

This exhibit features the sketches and paintings of the Official Artists of the American Expeditionary Forces, a group of eight accomplished artists sent to France to visually depict the war.

Their work is dramatically displayed on the Immersive Visualization Studio’s screen wall—twenty-four 48” screens supported by eight computers—and accompanied by jazz renditions of contemporary wartime popular songs arranged and performed by Bill Carrothers from his collection, “Armistice 1918.”

“Art & Warfare” realizes the integration of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) by facilitating multisensory reflections on aesthetics, technology and warfare.


Welby Altidor, of Cirque du Soleil, Presents “Creative Courage” Lecture

Welby AltidorWhat does it take to spark innovation in life, art, business, engineering and technology? According to Welby Altidor, former executive creative director of Cirque du Soleil, it takes courage. But not just any courage—it takes creative courage.

Join Michigan Tech Career Services and the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, to hear Altidor speak.

Altidor spent more than 20 years at the cutting edge of theatre, storytelling, human performance engineering and technology. In his book “Creative Courage: Leveraging Imagination, Collaboration, and Innovation to Create Success Beyond Your Wildest Dreams,” Altidor explains why fear and the status quo are the enemy of innovation.

During his presentation, he will address ways to unleash creative genius by practicing collaboration and controlled failure. Altidor believes that each of us possess creative genius, but it must be cultivated and developed through practice. Creative courage is more than practical tools and strategy, it’s a way life for Altidor and those who dare to embrace it.

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, Altidor will meet with a small group of Michigan Tech faculty at 8 a.m. and with a select group of students at 9 a.m. for an interactive discussion and Q&A session. Advanced registration is required to attend.

As a sought-after creative leader, Altidor continues to serve as a consultant for creative firms around the world and has been an invited guest speaker for Fortune 100 companies like Nike, Sephora and SAP.

He is currently the group chief officer for Cityneon, where he oversees international projects that include partnerships with Marvel (Disney) and Jurassic Park at Universal Studios.

Tickets are free and available now by phone, 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box office the night of the show. Note the Rozsa Box Office is only open two hours before performances.



Free Film Screening with Pianist Clay Hilman

WW1CC logo with Quincy Mine“World War I and the Copper Country” presents “The Big Parade” (1925) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 25) at the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw. Musician and KC Bonkers co-owner Clay Hilman will accompany the silent film on piano. Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Metro-Golden-Mayer’s “The Big Parade” was directed by King Vidor and based on the autobiographical novel “Plumes,” written by war veteran Laurence Stallings. “The Big Parade” enjoyed huge box-office success as the highest-grossing silent film at the time. The film held exceptionally long bookings at picture palaces with full musical orchestration such as the spectacular Grauman’s Egyptian theater in Hollywood and New York’s Astor on Broadway, where it took in $1.5 million alone during a ninety-six-week run. Reviews praised “The Big Parade” as the greatest of war dramas, and Vidor became known as one of Hollywood’s best directors.

Film synopsis:
James Apperson (John Gilbert), the idle son of a rich businessman, reluctantly joins the army when the U.S. enters World War I. He is sent to France, where he becomes friends with two working-class soldiers. While awaiting their orders to the front, James meets a young Frenchwoman, Melisande (Renée Adorée) and falls in love. Life is good for all of them until the soldiers move to the front where they experience the horrors of war, and James is forever a changed man.

Clay Hilman is a local pianist known for his improvisational style. He has played for 35 years, and started performing regularly for public engagements at the age of 12. His accompaniment will mimic the improvisational nature of live musical accompaniment in small picture houses in the 1910s.

This screening is part of “World War I in the Copper Country,” an extensive program of events and exhibits commemorating the centennial of the WWI Armistice, and is sponsored in part by the Michigan Humanities Council.


STEM Stories at the 41 North Film Festival

41 Film Festival logoThis year, the 41 North Film Festival will screen five films about history, issues and accomplishments related to STEM innovation in its lineup of more than 20 films.

Films include stories about:

The festival runs Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 1-4 at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Times and information for specific films and events can be found online. The festival is free and open to the public.