Music Performances Conclude Semester of Studies

As the semester is coming to a close, students are writing final papers, studying for exams, and getting ready for the summer to come. For MU160: Studies in Music Performance students, they are preparing for their end of the semester recitals, where they will showcase months of hard work in their final performance. As a senior music performance student for violin, the one thing that upsets me more than graduating, is the fact that this week will bring my final violin lesson and perhaps the last time I will perform my music in front of others.

The individual music performance classes include lessons in voice, piano, flute, organ, and violin. The music Department faculty members teaching these classes are—Heather Braun (violin), Eric Bermani (organ), Sharon Baker and Sean Parr (voice), Nick Pothier, Francis Kayali, and Molly Lozeau (piano), and Rebecca Jeffreys (flute). The lessons count as 2-credit courses and are taken with the permission of the professor. Classes occur an hour per week, and are scheduled at the convenience of the student and professor.

Saint Anselm music faculty (courtesy Fine Arts department)Each professor’s teaching style is different; some require a paper to be written over the course of the semester on a favorite composer while others require students, like myself, to keep a practice journal. Each professor has two-three studio classes per semester, where students show their progress to their peers and practice performing in front of an audience.

Since students will perform alongside a pianist during their final recital, they are also required to meet with one of the piano professors throughout the semester for private rehearsals. Students have the opportunity to learn how to perform with another instrument, and work on their technique. During my rehearsals, I reviewed start times, dynamics, and tempo changes. It’s an experience that I never had before my lessons this year, and I will admit, it took a lot to get used to. However, I think it’s a great way for students to improve within their lessons.

According to Professor Sean Parr, the lessons were very successful. There were 50 students in the music performance program taking individual lessons, with a waitlist for piano and voice lessons. Overall, the department has produced 10 common hour concerts featuring performance students and faculty. He hopes to expand the program next year to include oboe and percussion as well.

“They were very successful this year. Before we added music lessons for credit, there were very few performance opportunities for students. The idea to first expand performance made the most sense because it would immediately offer a new and expanded curriculum and on-campus performances that would invigorate musical life at the College,” he expressed.

I had not taken a lesson in four years before I started with my teacher Liesl Schoenberger-Doty last semester. My passion for playing came back, and I actually wanted to practice every week. I finally learned a piece that I was never able to master when I was in high school, the “Bach Double (Concerto for two violins)”, and I performed it in front of my peers with my teacher in December.

When Liesl left for another job, I was worried about the transition to my new instructor, Heather Braun. However, Heather exceeded all of my expectations. She taught me so much about my violin such as bow technique, musicality and practice strategies. I looked forward to Fridays at 9:45 every week. I played Camille Saint-Saens’ “The Swan” for our studio class, my most difficult piece to date. Now I’m preparing for my final recital in a week where I will play Eduard Mollenhauer’s “The Boy Paganini,” and it is bittersweet.

I never imagined that I would take lessons again, and I decided that playing the violin was not for me anymore. But after this year, I have rediscovered my love for playing. I don’t want to stop taking lessons; it is a skill that one can have for the rest of their lives. Deciding to take lessons again was one of the best decisions I made while at Saint Anselm. I found the joy in playing again, and I encourage anyone who hasn’t taken lessons since high school or even played an instrument before, to take a music performance class. You will not regret it, I certainly do not.

Students Work in Media Filing Center

If having presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley on your college campus wasn’t exciting enough, five Saint Anselm students were given the opportunity to work for ABC News in the Media Filing Center ahead of Saturday night’s Democratic Debate.

Working in the filing center and spin room, students Stefan Skalimski ’18, Courtney Pelletier ’18, Phoebe Ferraiolo ’17, Abby Smith ’17, and Emily Dewey ’17, have been watching the political process in action.

“It’s a really good opportunity to see behind the scenes, watch the debate set up, and also network,” said politics major and communication minor Ferraiolo.

Throughout the afternoon, the students checked-in the media and gave out press credentials. More than 400 reporters, photographers, and members of the associated press are expected to check-in by the start of the debate.

For many of the students, having the presidential debates on campus was a main reason for choosing Saint Anselm College. Politics major Skalimski was deciding between Catholic University in Washington D.C and Saint Anselm, but ultimately decided on Saint Anselm because of his interest in political campaigns and the political presence at the college.

“The debates on campus are definitely a reason why I came here,” he said.

For the past two days, Skalimski has set-up the filing center: folding place cards, putting out chairs and hanging banners. Through the course of the day, he has directed the media personnel to their tables and in the process met representatives from Fox News, CNN, and other news organizations.

By the end of the night, Skalimski hopes one of the candidates makes an appearance in the spin room. However, the experience alone has made his time worthwhile, regardless of whether he sees Hillary or Bernie in the building,

“Working at the debates alone is a dream come true for a college politics major and I’m excited to have this opportunity,” said Skalimski.

Students prepare media filing center


Making Memories: A Senior's Final Gingerbread House Competition

This is my second Gingerbread House Competition and sadly, my last as a Saint Anselm College student. It is one of the college’s traditions I enjoy most; my roommates and I have been looking forward to it since September! Every year it’s so cool to see how each team can take a pile of gingerbread and candy and make their ideas come to life. Not to mention, I love seeing students from every class get involved.

2015 Gingerbread house competitionHowever, let’s not forget: the competition is serious business. Groups need a team name, a gingerbread design, matching Christmas outfits, and a solid game plan. You cannot simply waltz into Davison unprepared. Our team name was “Slay Bellez” and we planned to recreate the maze from the Maze Runner movies. We bought our Christmas sweaters weeks ago and discussed who would do what.

The Slay Bellez were in it to win it.  But first, we had a long, frosting-filled night to enjoy.

At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 400 students a.k.a. our competition, congregated in Davison Hall’s lobby. This whole process can only be described as the Saint Anselm version of Black Friday. Davison staff block the entrance to the dining area but at 8 p.m. they removed the barriers and everyone rushed to their tables.

We immediately assessed our situation. We had the gingerbread, copious amounts of frosting and glue, our circular base, and a whole bag filled with assorted candy. While we waited to start, we chose which candy to use, give away, or eat. Soon 8:30 p.m. was finally upon us and it was time for the Slay Bellez to get to work.

While I started making the maze walls, my teammates Elizabeth and Katie determined the scale for our design, and our third teammate Livy picked up more supplies. For two hours, we worked making a forest of gummy trees and a house with the top of a sugar cone.

With limited time left we put the finishing touches our holiday maze and placed it carefully under Davison’s huge Christmas Tree. We did it. And it turned out amazing, if I do say so myself.

But everyone’s gingerbread houses looked great, especially spread out together on the platform under the decorated tree with glittering lights. There was a Who-ville and an Alumni Hall building. One team created the Leaning Tower of Pisa, while another made the Metropolis from the Superman franchise.

Although our hands are still sticky and green from the frosting and we ate way too much candy, we could not have asked for a better night. Regardless of whether or not we win, my team and I had such a fun time.

Abbey Players Open Family Weekend With "A Hawk's Life"

Lights, camera, action! It is that time of year for the annual Family Weekend Show, “A Hawk’s Life.” This weekend, the Anselmian Abbey Players will perform this student-run show about life at Saint Anselm.

"A Hawk's Life" Family Weekend Show 2015The Family Weekend show, featuring 43 students, is a sequence of nine vignettes about the experiences of college life. “A Hawk’s Life” follows the year of a freshman as he experiences events such as orientation, roommate conflicts, the gingerbread competition, finals, senior graduation, and leaving for the summer.

Photo Gallery: "A Hawk's Life"

Students auditioned during the second week of September and have been practicing four days a week, three hours a day since. However, without the leadership and guidance of the show’s creative team, this would not have been possible. The creative team includes Kaity Beaumont ’16 (writer; director), Ginger Gates ’17 (music director) Marialena Bazzano ’16 (choreographer), Katie Corbett ’16 (producer, choreographer), and Morgan Turnbull ’17 (producer).

The writing of “A Hawk’s Life” began back in the spring semester of last year. Kaity Beaumont created the plot and major events for the show around re-written Saint A’s oriented song lyrics. She chose a creative team for running the show and presented her script to the Abbey Players, having it selected at the end of April.

The show includes traditional Broadway, Disney, pop, and rock songs. Beaumont tried to select songs and events that are relative to a wide audience in order to connect with both students and parents.

“I chose to incorporate things that everyone goes through in college, and also things specific to Saint A’s. I wanted to include snippet of life here to show how unique and special our school is and paint an accurate picture of college life,” says Beaumont.

One of the scenes included is the annual gingerbread competition, featuring an all boys musical number. The sequence shows the boys arguing over what to make for the competition through the popular Backstreet Boys’ song “I Want it that Way.”

Over the summer, Beaumont sent multiple drafts of the script to her team and the process has been ongoing. Ginger Gates reviewed the songs chosen for the show and began recruitment for the student pit band. Meanwhile, Marialena Bazzano and Katie Corbett began the choreography; each creating four dances independently while collaborating on the opening number.

“[I] had to keep in mind that everyone’s dancing levels were different, as they varied from experienced to beginner,” said Corbett.

“But I believe that the choreography for the show is able to showcase everyone and their talents, as well as be simple enough that everyone, regardless of their dancing skills, would be able to enjoy.”

Besides co-choreographing the show, Corbett, along with Morgan Turnbull, serves as co-producers for the production. Both of them are in charge of communicating with the cast when it comes to detailing out weekly rehearsal schedules as well as keeping track of the progress of the show. Furthermore, as stage managers, they make sure the scenes will run smoothly.

Although putting on the show takes a lot of time and effort, it is worth the hard work. Beaumont expressed, “The experience has been so wonderful! It has been a lot to juggle, but every second has been worth it. It is surreal to see something that you created come to fruition.”

Corbett adds, “I have enjoyed watching the show itself grow into an amazing production.”

The Abbey Players will perform two productions of “A Hawk’s Life”: Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 24 at 2 p.m. in the Dana Center. Tickets are $8.

Multicultural Day Showcases International Cultures, Ethnic Foods

It isn’t everyday that students are able to watch dancers from Nicaragua or eat Egyptian and German food. However, all of this was made possible on Saturday Oct. 3 at the college’s annual Multicultural Day.

Sponsored by the Multicultural Center, Multicultural Student Coalition, Modern Languages Department, and Alumni Association, students were able to talk to representatives from different countries, learn about their culture, and eat excellent traditional foods.

Multicultural Day 2015A stage was set up at the front of the lobby for students to observe the unique talents of the Daughters of the Corn (Nicaragua), Chinese Lion Dancers, the student-led Irish/Celtic Society Dancers, and the Akwaaba African Dance Ensemble. The college’s Jazz Band also performed at the event.

"Multicultural Day was a great way to highlight the College’s commitment to diversity while promoting campus unity. People from all backgrounds came together to learn about others while sharing their own cultures and family traditions," said Yemi Mahoney, director of the Multicultural Center and Education Services.

“The purpose of the day was to bring all these different cultures together, “ said Linda Rey, Administrative Assistant at the Multicultural Center and Education Services. “The day shows that despite our different cultures, we are all the same. Instead of one voice, we are many voices in the community.”

Some of the countries that were represented at the event were Australia, Sudan, Egypt, Columbia, Cuba, and Great Britain. Student-led organizations such as the Core Council were also present.

Family members of representatives for Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Spain came to the event and made food that showcased the culture of their country. Laura Monegro ’18, host of the Dominican Republic table, served pastelitos (pastries filled with cheese or beef), potato salad, pork, rice and beans, and sweet beans.

Multicultural Day 2015Monegro emphasized how featuring different cultures at the event allows others to see how unique everyone’s backgrounds are. “Not a lot of people know our backgrounds,” she said. “I find it really important that we can all come together on one day and showcase were we come from because we should be proud of our heritage and culture.”

The student response to the event was extremely positive. The day proved to be a celebration of diversity and unity among students. According to Rey, everyone had an amazing time and are already asking about the Multicultural Center’s next events. This month’s events include the Muslim Student Association’s annual Eid Dinner on Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. in the LLC, and Salsa Madness on Oct. 22 in the Cushing Center.

Zoos, Music, and WWII: A Sample of 2015 Fall Courses

Visiting the zoo, learning to play a new instrument, and reading texts about Nazi Germany are a sample of what students are doing at the start of the 2015-2016 school year. Animal Behavior, Reading Seminar: Nazi Germany, and Studies in Music Performance are three courses that are bound to give students an interesting and fun Fall Semester.

BI 335: Animal Behavior

This course offers an introduction to basic animal behaviors and the mechanisms that drive them. Taught by Professor Lori LaPlante, the course lectures cover an array of topics ranging from evolution to neurobiology, genetics, and territoriality.

A unique and major component of the class is a semester-long zoo project at the Stone Zoo. For the project, each student has to complete an observational study on an animal of his or her choice.

The study requires students to develop a research hypothesis, collect observational data, analyze the data, and draw conclusions about his/her animal. According to LaPlante, students have chosen an array of unique and exotic animals including flamingoes, snow leopards, reindeer, and tamarins.

Biology and Psychology major Courtney Russell ’16 chose to take the class last year because she originally wanted to become a veterinarian. For her animal study, she observed the vigilant versus day-to-day behaviors of Cotton Top Tamarins, an endangered species. Although difficult, she was able to support her hypothesis that vigilance occurs more frequently in the wild than in captivity.

She feels that the lectures and project was very beneficial and also helped valuable writing experience needed for other classes.

“I greatly enjoyed having Professor LaPlante as a teacher and taking this class. The information presented was very interesting and presented in a way that was easy to remember,” said Russell.

“I would definitely suggest this class to students majoring in Biology and Psychology as well as anyone interested in animal behavior.”

HI 489: Reading Seminar: Nazi Germany

For many majors, seniors are required to write a Research Thesis in order to finish their degree requirements. However, the History Department offers senior History majors two choices: a Research Seminar or Reading Seminar.

The difference between the two courses is that the Research Seminar allows students to develop, research, and write on a topic of their choosing. On the other hand, the Reading Seminar analyzes and discusses works on an area of historical study as a class. This fall, Department Chair Phil Pajakowski chose a Reading Seminar related to Nazi Germany.

“Nazi Germany is a good subject for such a seminar because this period in German history has attracted enormous interest and study among historians, and has given rise to great questions of interpretation,” Pajakowski states.

“Nazism evokes evaluation of the ways historians come to grips with a difficult subject.”

Unlike most history majors, Kristen Van Uden (’16) is taking both Seminar courses. However, her interest in both World War II and her thesis topic did not deter her from pursuing them.

She explains, “I have always been fascinated by the Holocaust. Taking the World War II class with Professor Hugh Dubrulle last year definitely sparked my interest. I am not afraid of the work so I thought I would take a class that interested me, and related to my thesis.

Throughout the course, students will be reading and discussing a variety of books including Henry Turner’s Hitler’s Thirty Days Power: January 1933, Timothy Ryback’s Hitler’s First Victims: The Quest for Justice, Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men, Robert Gellately’s Backing Hitler, and Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

MU 160: Studies in Music Performance

After offering music lessons for credit in piano and flute last fall, the Fine Arts Department is expanding its program. This semester, students will be able to take lessons in violin, organ, and voice.

Over the summer, the Department hired four part-time faculty members to teach lessons—Liesl Schoenberger Doty (violin), Eric Bermani (organ), Emily Jaworski (voice), and Nick Pothier (piano).

Liesl Schoenberger Doty explains how expanding the music department has been great for students. She says, “It is so great to be offering lessons to students. They are able to take lessons and creatively improve their musical voice. It is the core of what it means to be interested in and play music.”

Students have also found much excitement about the program expansion. “I did concert choir while in high school and have not been able to continue training during college. So I am ecstatic to be doing voice lessons this semester,” says senior voice student Alanna Tremblay.

“Even though I’ve only had two lessons so far, they have already been helpful for noticing what I have to work on as a performer.”

Tremblay also revealed how these new classes will prove beneficial to the college. “Having the opportunity to offer music classes raises the standards of the college. Saint Anselm has expanded their expectations on what a liberal arts college is all about.”

Alongside the new lessons, Professor Sean Parr is also teaching senior Fine Arts majors Billy Endicott and Emily Barrett an Independent Study course in Conducting.

Parr hopes that these new additions will have a positive impact on the Fine Arts Department. He says, “ Hopefully, these chamber ensembles will continue to gain momentum. We’re hoping that the growing interest in music performance at the college will lead to the founding of a new Chamber Orchestra for credit and perhaps even a Band.”

Adding to the individual lessons, Professor Parr has established a new choir for credit—the Chamber Singers. The group, consisting of sixteen students, will be singing a mix of secular and sacred classical music as well as Holiday songs. The singers will be presenting several outreach performances and will perform in a concert at the end of the semester.