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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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:
- Todd Arney (Senior Lecturer – CoC)
- Lisa Gordillo (Assistant Professor – VPA)
- Christopher Webster (Professor – CFRES)
- Gordon Parker (Professor – MEEM)
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!
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:
- March 20: Jazz: Don Keranen Memorial Concert
- March 28: Manual Cinema (Reschedulted for Sept 4, 2020)
- April 3: Audiopharmacy (Rescheduled for Mar 19, 2021)
- April 4: Vieux Farka Touré ( Rescheduled for Mar 20, 2021 )
- April 15-18: The Importance of Being Earnest
- April 18: Superior Wind Symphony and Concert Band: There is No News, Only Music
- April 19: A Choral Kaleidoscope
- April 25: KSO: Isle Royale 80th Anniversary Concert
Option #1 Contact the SDC Ticket Office at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.