Category: News

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. 


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.


Meckler to Headline Two Major Jazz Festivals

Adam Meckler

Adam Meckler (VPA) has been tapped to headline two big national jazz festivals in the next few days. First, Meckler will head to Coe College, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the largest annual jazz festival in Iowa, the Coe College Jazz Summit today (Feb. 27) through Saturday (Feb. 29).

More than 90 high school bands participate, and Meckler will coach the high school bands for the first few days of the festival. He will then rehearse and perform as the featured guest artist with the Coe College Jazz Ensemble, doing a mix of his original compositions and other big band music for the big Grand Finale Concert at 7 p.m. (CST) Saturday in Marquis Hall on the Coe College campus.

Then on Monday (March 2), Meckler will travel to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for Augustana College’s 46th annual Jazz on the Upper Great Plains Festival, set for Monday and Tuesday in Augustana’s Hamre Recital Hall.

The festival features Meckler and host of PBS’s Sound Field, Arthur “L.A.” Buckner. Buckner is one of the top drummers and educators in Minneapolis and is gaining national recognition for his drumming and his work with PBS. Interestingly, Buckner is a former student of Meckler’s at McNally Smith College of Music, his previous teaching position.

Buckner and Meckler will perform Meckler’s compositions with the Augustana University Jazz Ensemble after a few days of tag-team coaching area high school groups who attend the festival.

Meckler’s compositions being performed are: “Sparkly Eyes” (which Lab Band will perform on the Don Keranen Jazz Concert at the Rozsa Center on March 20) “Tao of Heavy D” (from his 2019 album on Ropeadope Records, “Magnificent Madness”), “Magnificent Madness” (title track from same album) “Jennsong” (from the same album) “Open Your Eyes” (from Meckler’s critically acclaimed 2014 release “When The Clouds Look Like This”) and “Once Upon a Sunrise” (which the Research & Development Band will perform at its March 20 concert).

For more information about both festivals, concert dates, and tickets, please visit their websites: 


‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!’ Tonight and Tomorrow

silhouette of two persons kissing

The Michigan Tech Theatre Company’s production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!” continues tonight and tomorrow (Feb. 28/29). Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. in the McArdle Theatre in the Walker Arts and Humanities.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. To buy your tickets, call 7-2073, visit mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office, or at the McArdle Theatre the night of the show. 

Note: This show contains adult language and situations.


KSO to Perform Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Tomorrow

Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra in the lobby of the Rozsa

The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, its director Joel Neves, and special guest conductor Xun Sun bring you a captivating evening of orchestral masterworks, including Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances” and Tchaikovsky’s thrilling “Symphony No. 4.”  The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Feb. 29) in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

Since 2001, Xun Sun has been director of Orchestral Activities at Southern Utah University where he conducts the University Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble and teaches courses in both conducting and playing music. He has conducted the Henan Symphony Orchestra, Anhui Symphony, Hunan Symphony, Hubey Symphony Orchestra, and the world-renowned China Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Sun comes from Taiyuan, China, where he began showing his musical talents at a very young age. When he was 11, he began training at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, an intensive education that led him to further studies in the United States. He earned his Master’s degrees in Instrumental Conducting and Violin Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and his Doctoral degree in Education from Teacher’s College in Columbia University. He continues to play, conduct, and educate at Southern Utah University today.

Neves and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra have been awing the Midwest with music ranging between orchestral masterworks, choral-orchestral, music theatre, ballet, opera, and pops since its founding in 1971. It is made up of Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff, and community members, and is one of five symphony orchestras around Lake Superior.

Tickets are $19 for adults, $6 for children, or no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. To buy your tickets, call (906) 487-2073, go online, or in person at the Central Ticketing Office or Rozsa Box Office.

Please note: The Rozsa Box Office is only open two hours prior to performances.


Rozsa Receives Grant

Surround Sound Music Festival to Receive $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts Grant

Libby Meyer (VPA), Director of Music Composition Program, and Mary Jennings, Rozsa Programming and Development Director, were awarded a $10,000 Challenge America Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the Surround Sound Music Festival.

The Surround Sound Music Festival is a two-day event that encourages audiences to listen differently. The festival will feature Audio Pharmacy, a Native American Hip Hop band, Evelyn Glennie, a world-class percussionist who has been deaf since the age of 12 and Vieux Farka Touré, a Malian blues guitarist. The Surround Sound Music Festival will take place April 3-4.

The purpose of the Challenge America grant is to support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations. NEA has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects across the country. The Sound of Music Festival is one of 145 Challenge America grants included in this announcement. The Challenge America funding category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Each grant is for a fixed amount of $10,000 and requires a minimum $10,000 cost share/match.

“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression, The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects like the Surround Sound Music Festival.”

—Mary Anne Carter, Arts Endowment Chairman

Puppet Workshops and Performance Open to Ages 6 and Up

A puppetry workshop will be held from 3 – 4:30 p.m. tomorrow (Jan. 25) in Walker 208. We will be creating puppets for a performance with the Superior Wind Symphony at 7:30 p.m. February 15.

Puppeteers should be available to rehearse at the following times:

  • 3 – 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1
  • 3 – 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8
  • 8 – 9:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10
  • 8 – 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12

Contact Trish Helsel to reserve a spot, or for further information.