Opera, Hollywood, and Food Science: A Sampling of 2017 Spring Courses

Making ice cream with liquid nitrogen

As the second semester of the school year kicks off, students will be taking an operatic excursion, screening classic Hollywood films, and making their own ice cream. We sat down with faculty members from three different departments to discuss their distinctively interesting course offerings for the spring semester.

Making ice cream with liquid nitrogenCH 122: Chemistry of Food (Chemistry Department)

In a world where a new diet comes out every week, only one class can provide the knowledge to interpret the science behind them; Dr. Carolyn Weinreb’s Chemistry of Food.

Similar to Alton Brown’s popular show Good Eats, this course focuses on the fundamental science behind everyone’s favorite foods. Students will learn about everything from the acid-based chemistry behind milk and cheese to the physical properties and biological components of baking bread.

The course is especially popular with non-science majors, as it fulfills both the Scientific Reasoning and Writing Intensive core requisites. How else can you earn academic credit for making your own ice cream?

Dr. Weinreb explains that “students often don’t realize how much science they’re doing” in her class, which she has been teaching for five years. By examining the correlation between science and food, students of any major gain immediate real-world application to their lessons.

Her semester-long goal is “to help students gain scientific literacy,” a skill students can use to read, understand, and evaluate any scientific articles or data they encounter.

“I want my students to have a basic knowledge of science so they can appreciate [it] in their daily lives,” the chair of the Chemistry department elaborates.

MU 344: Opera and Gender (Fine Arts Department)

Did you know that a group of Saint Anselm students have been exploring the world of opera every Wednesday afternoon this semester? They are studying the art form and exploring gender through the medium with Professor Parr in the Fine Arts department.

The course will be an introduction to opera through the lens of gender. According to Professor Parr, “Throughout its four-hundred-year history, [opera] really plays with gender in a profound way.”

One example of a topic the class will explore is castrati, men who were castrated at a young age to preserve their high voices. This is a practice that lasted for almost 300 years and it is relevant to the class because, according to Professor Parr, “It is really interesting to think about how voices can sound one way and not match with what you see on stage.” The students will discuss this gender crossing and ambiguity within operas and how audiences react to it.

Johanna Materazzo, an English major from the class of 2017 is taking the course and said “I’ve learned so much about history and culture in this class, as well as gender traditions and stereotypes. Each class teaches me something new.”

The class will be attending a live performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in Boston and will also be viewing five other recorded operas throughout the semester.

HI 150: History and Hollywood (History Department)

Reading historic records and listening to the speeches of the past might not interest all students, but Professor Moore is hoping that the joy of watching movies will draw history majors and non-history majors alike to his History and Hollywood course. Students taking this class will be looking at movies as more than merely a source of entertainment, they will be viewing them as historical primary sources from which to learn about the time period during which they were created.

Students will be watching movies including The Jazz Singer, Casablanca, Rebel Without a Cause, and Saturday Night Fever. Professor Moore shared that although written and oral texts are typically used as historical primary sources, films can also be used to analyze the experiences and the beliefs of people from a certain time period. “Movies reveal what people were thinking, or feeling, what they were concerned about, what they hope would happen.” From this basis, the class will explore American beliefs and how they are either questioned or perpetuated in the films they will watch.

The students in this course will also write a paper about a director or popular movie star. They will analyze that person’s body of work in regards to its social, cultural, and political context. This will hopefully allow the students to delve into a historical period or theme in which they have an interest.

Jonathan Burkart '18 contributed to this story.

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

BI 335: Animal Behavior

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.

And the Winner is…Anselmians Celebrate Award Season

Welcome back week cupcakes, courtesy of CAB

Awards season is upon us, and that means the best of the best in the film and music industries get to strut down the red carpet. While students were not able to take a trip down the red carpet, they were able to attend Oscar-related events. As part of Oscar weekend here at the college, Student Activities and Leadership Programs and the Campus Activities Board sponsored two events: “Selma” and an Oscar Viewing Party.

On Saturday, Student Activities sponsored a screening of “Selma” in the Dana Center. “Selma” was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song. The event was also part of “A Moment (F)or a Movement,” a month long series of events honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday night saw students flocking to the coffee shop to take part in the second annual Oscar Viewing Party. Students filled out ballot cards, hoping to be the one with the most correct predictions. The winner received a gift card to Cinemagic, which could be used to see Oscar nominees such as “The Imitation Game” or “American Sniper.” Other prizes were handed out as well.

Professor Kathy Hoffman, chair of the Fine Arts Department, includes Oscar nominees in her courses such as “Interstellar,” “Ida,” and “Finding Vivian Maier,” all nominees this year. For those interested in film, some of her courses include Contemporary Film and History of Photography.

“There are more films dealing with historical issues, in particular the complexities and far-reaching impact of military and intelligence operations, as well as issues of Race. –i.e. last year’s award to “12 Years a Slave,” and “Selma” is on the list this year” says Professor Hoffman.

The Oscar Viewing Party proved to be a wonderful event enjoyed by all that students are certainly looking forward to for years to come!

Landscape Exhibition Opens at Chapel Art Center

Rain Over Ipswich by artist Sandy Wadlington

Artists, private collectors, alumni, faculty, staff and students gathered on Thursday, Sept. 26 in the college's Chapel Art Center for the opening of Reflections of the Day, an exhibition of works by Sandy Wadlington. Nearly 130 people attended the event including Wadlington.

Rain Over Ipswich by Sandy WadlingtonA New-England based artist, Wadlington is known for her American landscape naturalism and has been compared to Maxfield Parrish for her use of blue and purple. She has marked her own path with the hands-on media of pastel, caran d'ache, and color woodcuts. Modernist in their patterned simplicity, her works are said to capture the sensations of passing moments.

Private collector Jennifer Hopkins said she was most impressed with the snow scenes. “Snow is white, but it’s also blue and orange and purple. I love the way she uses color,” said Hopkins.

This recount made Wadlington laugh, “the gallery told me no snow pictures because snow is boring. But I think people can get tired of green too, and that’s why I started doing a lot of these misty landscape pictures.”

Fine Arts Professor Kimberly Kersey-Asbury and her class also attended. "Charcoal, woodblock, caran d'ache and pastels are all materials our students might have used while studying studio art here at the college. Seeing these materials applied to the familiar subjects of landscape and interiors by a working artist, can only expand a student's understanding of the media's possibility," said Professor Asbury.

"Also, the exhibition highlights the impact the choice of scale can have on the treatment of a single motif. A very different effect, very different physical presence, is achieved depending on the scale the artist has chosen."

Julia Welch, the assistant curator, assisted in putting together the exhibition, contacting private collectors for Wadlington’s work, which was discovered by the gallery’s director, Fr. Iain MacLellan. This exhibition was organized with assistance from McGowan Fine Art, Concord, N.H.

The exhibit will remain in the gallery until Dec. 7. Throughout the semester various programs be available which can be found on the Chapel Art Center's website.

Image: Rain over Ipswich, Color Woodcut (2005) Permanent Collection, Alva de Mars Megan Chapel Art Center

This post was submitted by Michaela Parker '17.

Art Exhibition Showcases Anselmian Talent


Five Saint Anselm students were recognized for their artistic talent in the Chapel Art Center's most recent exhibition, the 12th annual Juried Fine Arts Student Exhibition. The opening reception on Thursday, April 11, showcased 29 pieces by 14 students from ceramic sculptures and photographs, to watercolor paintings and charcoal drawings. The reception, which brought together faculty, staff, students, families and community members, was followed by an awards ceremony at 7 p.m.

The top award presented to a piece that reflects the "Portraits of Human Greatness," was given to fine arts major and senior Lauren Miller for her piece, "Born and Raised." First place went to Abigail Crane '15, a nursing major, for "Victory in Death," 2012, charcoal and white chalk on paper; second place to Laryssa Feliciano '13, communications major for "Winter Scene," 2010, gouache on paper; third place was awarded to Carlo D'Anselmi '13, classics major for "Self Portrait," 2012, oil on panel.

Other honorable mention awards were given to Laryssa Feliciano '13 for "The Dance Room," Jasna Numanovic '13, a communications major, "Girl with the Red Hat,"and Miller's "Self Portrait from Life."

The pieces in the student exhibition were selectively chosen due to their impressive quality and ability to complement one another in the showcase by juror Rane Hall, a director at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.

The exhibit displayed pieces that varied greatly in subject and technique, with paintings and drawings made of materials such as crayon, pen, watercolor, gouache, graphite, and chalk. The works of art focused on a variety of subjects, from self-portraits to winter scenes. In addition, two photographs and several sculptures were displayed including ceramic pieces and abstract pieces made of fabrics and household objects.

"I really appreciate the creativity and the quality of the work of the art students. It reflects the quality of education from the fine arts department and the school in general" said student-participant Dao Le '15, whose photograph, "Life's a Song" consisting of silver gelatin print, was on display.


Chapel Art Center Welcomes Poet F.D. Reeve

Poet F.D. Reeve

On Thursday, Nov. 19, Saint Anselm College welcomed renowned poet, F.D. Reeve, to the Alva deMars Megan Chapel Art Center to read his newly composed poem, A Girl and Two Doves. Reeve was commissioned by the college to write and read his poem in conjunction with the current art exhibit, A Figural Presence.

It was an evening full of poetry as Reeve, a renowned writer, scholar and critic, began by reading a number of his other works of poetry, inspired by his father. Moving on to the main event, Reeve presented an explanation for his poem, A Girl and Two Doves.

A marble tombstone of a girl holding two doves inspired Reeve's poem. The tomb from mid-5th century BC in Paros, is currently featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. To make the connection between the poem and the Figural Presence exhibit, Reeve pointed out that the human body stays the same throughout life. A 12 year-old girl from the mid 5th century has the same figure as a 12 year old girl today.

Franklin Reeve has achieved honors for his fiction, poetry, and translations. A graduate of Princeton and Columbia, he taught in the Slavic Department at Columbia University and then the Russian department at Wesleyan University. He retired as a Professor of Letters from Wesleyan, following 50 years of academic service.

A Figural Presence is an interdisciplinary exhibition that seeks to combine learning with the experience of beauty through the study of contemporary American figural works of art in painting, drawing, and sculpture. The exhibition, at the Chapel Art Center, runs through Nov. 25. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursday evenings until 8 p.m.

Check out the college's Flickr account to see more photos of this event.

Fortin '09 wins Premiere Award at Juried '09 Fine Arts Exhibition

Alisha Fortin '09

Alisha Fortin '09The opening of the Juried '09 Fine Arts Student Exhibition on April 16, featured exceptional student work among which 8 awards were distributed. The Premiere Award was given to Alisha Fortin '09 for her painting Science vs. Compassion. [Read more…]

Abbey Players Celebrate 60 Years

Abbey Players present medley from Seussical the Musical

On Saturday, Feb. 21, students joined forces with alumni on the stage and behind the scenes as the Anselmian Abbey Players celebrated 60 years on the hilltop with an alumni revue, Once a Player, Always a Player. [Read more…]