Back

Latest In

Arts & Culture

AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

He Helped the Dance Department Achieve Its Potential

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2018

Stephan Laurent joined the Butler Dance Department in 1988, convinced it was going to be one of the top programs in the United States.

"And we proceeded to make it so," he said, crediting "aggressive recruitment and a fantastic faculty."

Thirty years later—the first 15 as chair, the second 15 as a faculty member—as he prepares to retire from Butler, Laurent looks back proudly at what he and the department have accomplished in developing a program that's consistently one of the top-rated in the country.

"It's been a wonderful experience because this is such a strong program," he said. "It's strong because of the curriculum, because of the faculty who deliver that curriculum, because of the students it attracts and because of the facilities in which it is delivered. It is a conservatory-level training program, but we all value the liberal arts and that's what makes the program unique."

Laurent grew up outside Lausanne, Switzerland, and moved to the United States to study at Southern Methodist University. After earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts, he danced professionally in Europe, then returned to SMU for his Master of Fine Arts.

He taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and had spent six years as Artistic Director of Des Moines Ballet when he saw the opening at Butler. The Board of Directors was reducing the size of its company to cut costs, so he decided to apply.

He expected a short stay in Indianapolis, but "it clicked so well. It seems like I had found my place – and I think I did. I have really planted my roots in this community. It will be bittersweet to leave."

He leaves with great memories of "all the wonderful productions we have accomplished with the Butler Ballet" and comfortable in the knowledge that he helped advance both Butler and the Dance Department.

"I've seen a lot of progress being made in establishing the strong vision of a comprehensive university where the liberal arts are valued," he said. "The core curriculum is really excellent here. I teach an FYS seminar (Spellbound: the Quest for Magic in the Arts and in Fiction), so I know firsthand how good that core is and how valued it is by all the members of the faculty across all the colleges."

Sophomore Stefanee Montesantos said Laurent "has been a wonderful instructor to work with in the studio." Not only that, "but he has given me opportunities that most first-years and sophomores wish for."

In Butler Ballet’s 2018 Midwinter Dance Festival, Montesantos was cast as the lead female in Farewell to the Singing Earth, an original piece that Laurent-Faesi choreographed.

"It was one of my most challenging roles yet, but it was such a pleasure to work with him," she said. "His positivity, yet silent discipline to execute the steps, brought out a drive I didn’t know I had in me. I am sure I speak for all of Butler Ballet when I say that he will be deeply missed."

After the semester ends, Laurent plans to move to Texas, where his wife, Ellen Denham, is directing the opera program as a member of the music faculty at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. He describes the move as "going full circle," since Texas was where he started in the United States.

Professor Susan McGuire, his colleague in the Dance Department, said Laurent set an example for others to follow.

"He is outspoken and liberal-minded in the best sense, and a staunch defender of academic freedom, for one," she said. "He knows the university system inside and out, and holds the people within it to a high standard, and quite vocally, regardless of the consequences. I appreciate this wholeheartedly, and I will miss his loud and clear voice."

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

 

AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

Going Out on A High Note

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 16 2018

Associate Professor of Music Dan Bolin '70 MM '75 looks back on his career in education—23 years at Butler, 48 overall—and says, "I can't think of anything I could have done that would have been more satisfying. To get to work with the kids, to get to know the people I've gotten to know …"

He lets the thought hang in the air, but he might have finished with "to achieve all I've achieved."

Since joining the Music Department faculty, Bolin has made his mark, particularly with regard to equipment, the physical plant, and faculty.

Bolin arrived in 1995 as Department Chair to find that no one had been keeping track of the instruments the department owned. Forty were missing. He had a hand in finding almost all of them and creating a new inventory system.

When the Schrott Center for the Arts was being built, Bolin took a tour of the construction and noticed that the orchestra pit was so low that people on the stage wouldn't be able to see the conductor. His keen eye helped Butler avoid a potentially costly repair.

It's a point of pride for him that the University's music ensembles have improved over the years and that Butler has retained so many talented faculty members.

"Most of the faculty in the music school were people I was involved with hiring and setting up," he said.
"(Professor of Music and Director of Bands) Michael Colburn is the last person I hired, and he's a superstar. We're fortunate to have him."

The feeling is mutual, Colburn said.

"My wife and I fell in love with Butler as soon as we visited, but I must admit that a big part of the attraction was the knowledge that Dan was serving as the Chair of the School of Music at the time," he said. "I figured that any school of music that had Dan Bolin in a leadership position would be a great place to work, and my instincts were right on the mark! Although he is no longer Chair, Dan has continued to be a valued colleague and a tremendous friend, and he will be sorely missed when he retires at the end of this semester."

*

Bolin spent his entire career close to home. He grew up in Indianapolis, took up the tuba in junior high school, and was the tubist in the Indiana All-State Orchestra all four years at Harry E. Wood High School, five blocks south of Monument Circle. That distinction earned him "a healthy scholarship" to Butler.

As an undergraduate at Butler, he tutored at his old high school. After graduation, his first teaching job was replacing his high school band director, who retired.

Bolin earned his principal's license at Butler and his doctorate in school administration at Indiana University. (His minor there was in music education.) He was a high school band director for 13 years, including time at Manual, Lebanon, and Southport high schools, and in administration for 12 years.

At Southport, he rose through the ranks to become an assistant principal. He left Southport for Perry Township Schools, where he moved from Director of Secondary Education to Personnel Director, Assistant Superintendent, and, finally, Interim Superintendent.

When the job opened at Butler, then-Director of Bands Robert Grechesky asked him to apply. Over the years, Bolin said, he was contacted by other institutions about opening on their faculty, but "I was doing what I wanted to do here."

*

Bolin said the greatest joy of his career has been working with students.

Matt Harrod '83 MM '88 is one of those. Harrod, Band Director and teacher at Riverside Junior High and Intermediate School in the Hamilton-Southeastern school district outside Indianapolis, was a student of Bolin's at Lebanon High School from 1975–1977. Harrod said even after Bolin left Lebanon for Southport, he stayed in touch and interested in his progress.

Harrod remembers a time when he was a freshman at Butler and decided to skip a pep band practice. That earned him a reprimand not only from Butler Band Director Grechesky but from Bolin.

"He told Dan and Dan got all over me about that," Harrod said. "He kept me on the straight and narrow."

After Harrod graduated from Butler, Bolin helped him get his first teaching job, attended his concerts, and worked with his band. Eventually, Harrod taught Bolin's sons at Keystone Middle School.

"He's been a close friend my whole life," Harrod said. "He's been a mentor to me. We laugh together, we tease each other a lot. He has guest-directed my band several times. He's introduced me to important people in the field. He hasn't only done this for me; he's done this for a lot of people."

In addition, Harrod said, Bolin has been instrumental in bringing military bands such as the U.S. Army Field Band to Indianapolis to perform free concerts for the public.

In retirement, Bolin said he and his wife, Jane, will continue to have a home in Indianapolis, but they'll also be living in Melbourne, Florida, where they bought a house 10 years ago.

Bolin said what he'll miss most are the students.

"They keep me young," he said. "Watching them grow and graduate and seeing some of them become educators—I tended to teach music education classes—and become band and orchestra directors and do good work has been incredibly gratifying. That's essentially what we’re all about—trying to create the next generation of teachers who are going to do what we did and hopefully do it even better."

(After this story was written, Dan Bolin conducted his final concert as Music Director of the Indianapolis Municipal Band and was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash. The honor is given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor.)

 


Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

Going Out on A High Note

Dan Bolin retires after 48 years in education.

Apr 16 2018 Read more
Arts & CulturePeopleCampus

On Butler's Curling Team, the Students Sweep Together

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 12 2018

By Jackson Borman '20

The history of curling can be traced back 500 years to the frozen lochs of Scotland.

The history of curling at Butler University is a bit more recent.

It all started with a group of Butler students who were inspired by the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics to try curling for the first time. At first, they were just joking around on the ice, but eventually they bought their own shoes and brooms and in 2012 started Butler’s very own club curling team.

Fast forward eight years. Jacqueline Murphy '20, is the president of Butler’s club curling team. She was inspired to join during her freshman year because of her own background with the sport.

Murphy said that in her home town of South Bend, Indiana, curling is all the rage.

“Curling is the number one sport for student participation at Notre Dame right now,” Murphy said. “It takes places on a certain night of the week and they will have tons of students turn out just to go curling.”

Murphy and her father were always interested in joining in on the fun, but they never did.

Once she got to Butler and saw that there was a curling team, she felt she had to join. She and some friends decided to go to a meeting and try it out.

“When I told my family that I was the president of the curling club they were like, ‘Uhh what?’” Murphy said. “It’s a weird sport, you know? You never hear people say that they love to go curling.”

Last year there were only seven members of the team including Murphy, and they did not have enough members to compete. This year, the club more than quadrupled in size to an impressive 30 members. With this many people, the team now has enough members to participate in tournaments, which are known as bonspiels.

While this year's team has enough people to compete, Murphy said that they are just working on the basics.

“No one that came out for the team this year had ever played before, except for one person, so everyone is a beginner,” Murphy said. “We really didn’t expect so many people, but it is so much fun.”

The team practices at the Circle City Curling Club, which is housed within the Indiana State Fairgrounds, a 10-minute drive from campus. They meet every Thursday night and practice by playing in tournaments against each other.

While the team practices, the executive team members are visiting and researching different bonspiels that the team could compete in next year. The club was invited to compete at University of Colorado and University of Oklahoma, but there are other tournaments in Chicago and Minnesota that the team is considering as well.

As far as the team roster goes, Murphy said she is just going with the flow. Anyone can invite a friend to join the team, and even staff and faculty are welcome to join in the fun. Joey Calvillo, Butler’s Residence Life Coordinator, is a member of the team.

Calvillo said that he is always glued to his TV during the Winter Olympics. When he saw a blurb in the Butler Connection about a meeting for the curling club, he reached out to the executive members of the team to see if he could tag along.

While Calvillo is still a novice, he said that the most exciting part of the club is seeing students leading the charge and getting out of their comfort zone.

“I got into student affairs so that I could work with students and be around students, and it has been really awesome to be there and see them in their element and also just to be an active participant,” he said. “That’s been the great part: seeing it from a staff member’s perspective of getting students connected to something that they wouldn’t have possibly done outside of here. I think that’s one great thing about Butler in general; they provide so many of those types of experiences that students would not have been able to access [otherwise].”

The next big event for the team (outside of weekly practices) is a viewing party to watch the 2018 PyeongChang, South Korea, Winter Olympics. Their emphasis is sure to be on one sport in particular.

 

 

 

Arts & CulturePeopleCampus

On Butler's Curling Team, the Students Sweep Together

Curling club members show they have the stones needed to compete.

Feb 12 2018 Read more
Arts & CulturePeopleCommunity

Community Arts School Head Honored As United Way 'Hero'

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 26 2018

Butler Community Arts School Director Karen Thickstun has been honored as one of United Way of Central Indiana's 100 Heroes for her efforts to grow the arts education program from 180 students in 2002 to more than 2,000 in 2016–2017.

The 100 Heroes awards are being given to 100 people from the Central Indiana community who have made a positive impact over the last 100 years.

"I appreciate the opportunity to share with the community what the Butler Community Arts School is all about," Thickstun said. "This is nice recognition for Butler, for the Community Arts School, for the Butler students who are doing something in the community. This isn't about one person. It is about one person plus staff and faculty and Butler students and community partners that have been with us from the very beginning."

The Butler Community Arts School (BCAS) provides affordable arts instruction to the Indianapolis community—people like Kennon Ward, who is now Assistant Music Director of The Salvation Army's Phil Ramone Orchestra for Children in New York—and enables Butler students to hone their teaching skills. BCAS offers private lessons, group classes, camps, and off-campus community programming.

Last year, 59 percent of the BCAS students taking lessons received a scholarship, and minority enrollment accounted for 53 percent.

The BCAS program was the vision of Peter Alexander, then Dean of the Jordan College of Fine Arts, who had started a similar community arts school at the University of Southern Mississippi. Alexander "saw the potential for using college students as the primary instructors and making inroads into the community with that dynamic," Thickstun said.

Alexander approached Thickstun with the idea in January 2002. At the time, Butler's only music instruction for the community was a piano camp. With the help of Arts Administration Professor Susan Zurbuchen, Thickstun secured a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission to provide need-based scholarships to students who wanted music lessons but could not afford them.

By September 2002, BCAS was up and running.

"It was a leap of faith by the Indiana Arts Commission because they were funding something that didn't exist yet," she said. "But Butler had credibility, and the Jordan College of Fine Arts had credibility, and I'm assuming they saw the potential."

The Indiana Arts Commission has renewed that grant every year since. Last year, BCAS received grants totaling more than $113,000 from the Indiana Arts Commission, the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation, Summer Youth Program Fund, and the Lilly Endowment. Some 90 percent of the grant money goes to provide student need-based scholarships.

The program also now has:

-Thirteen community partners serving more than 800 students with music, visual arts, dance, and theatre programs. The Martin Luther King Center, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, Auntie Mame Child Development Center, and Christel House Academy have all been community partners since the beginning.

-Sixteen summer camps serving over 600 students ages 7 and older. The camps include a summer ballet intensive that will be expanded to four weeks beginning in 2018, as well as theatre and music programs. A new guitar camp will debut in 2018.

-Nine group class programs—including Guitar for Young Bulldogs, Youth Theatre, and Children's Orchestra—serving more than 200 students ages 5 and older.

-Nine areas of private lessons serving over 400 students ages 5 and up. Lessons are available in piano, strings, voice, woodwinds, brass, percussion, guitar, music theory, and composition.

"I'm proud that Butler has stood behind the program for 16 years and continued to support it," Thickstun said. "Butler has recognized that it provides community engagement for the University students, in addition to all the good that it does for the children in the community."

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & CulturePeopleCommunity

Community Arts School Head Honored As United Way 'Hero'

Karen Thickstun has made a positive impact on the central Indiana community.

Feb 26 2018 Read more
Arts & CultureStudent Life

Booting Up A New Club

BY Jackson Borman '20

PUBLISHED ON May 16 2018

For John George ’18, video games were always a casual interest. When he first came to Butler University, he loved playing games like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart with friends.

“It wasn’t until sophomore year when I really got into watching esports and watching competitive video gaming,” George said. “That’s when I really wanted to see what the feeling for it was on campus.”

In his junior year, George started thinking about starting a club, but he struggled to find other students who were interested in competitive gaming. He also wanted to find a professor to be a club advisor who was as passionate about esports as he is.

“I didn’t know anyone who watched competitive video gaming like I did,” George said.

Over the summer leading into his senior year, George met the founder of the esports club at Clemson University, who gave him tips and advice about how to get a similar club started at Butler.

At the start of the 2017–2018 academic year, George met College of Communication Professor Ryan Rogers, who was new to Butler but had previously done research about video games and was planning to create a class on esports.

That class eventually would turn into a team.

“Esports has always been interesting to me and something that I could really see taking off [on a college campus],” Rogers said.

George and Rogers got started planning early in the year and decided that they wanted individual teams in different games. George went to the Facebook pages of each Butler graduating class and posted information about the new club, looking to find students who might be interested in competing.

The first callout meeting was in the fall.

“It was a really fun meeting just introducing each other and it seemed like there was a ton of interest because most of the people there said that they had three or four friends that just couldn’t make it,” George said. “Actually finding a group of people that was into esports and the gaming culture like I am was awesome.”

*

After that first meeting, the group got together for a second time in November, where they decided which games they wanted to play, split into teams for each game, and selected team captains who were responsible for finding tournaments for the teams to play in, and scheduling practices.

The club started out playing League of Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Hearthstone. Eventually, after holding tryouts, it added Rocket League and FIFA.

The esports group also merged with a more casual group, the Butler Gaming Club.

“It can be kind of intimidating to jump right in to competitive video gaming,” George said. “I thought the casual side was a good way to attract people who love playing fun games and then once they find out about [the esports club] they can get into that.”

In the fall, the Big East reached out to the Athletic Department and Mike Freeman, Butler’s Senior Associate Athletic Director External Operations, about esports on Butler’s campus. That was the same week that George and Rogers met to discuss forming a team.

Freeman said the Big East approached each school to try to find out what was going on regarding esports. The conference found that some schools were active, while others had done little.

Freeman knew Rogers had a background in esports, so he reached out about getting involved with the Big East. The conference had partnered with ESL, an esports company that organized tournaments around the world, in hopes of starting competition between Big East schools.

Rogers helped to organize the group with the Big East while George held tryouts and streamed the club’s game play.

*

On May 7 and 8, Butler Rocket League and Butler League of Legends competed in Big East play for the first time. Three members of the Butler team competed in Rocket League and five competed in League of Legends.

The League of Legends team was swept in Big East play, but the Rocket League team placed fourth.

“We went 2-4 [in Rocket League] but we were a lot closer with a lot of the teams and were very close to winning more games,” George said.

For the team, the Big East Invitational was a great experience, and in George’s eyes, a great stage for the world of esports.

“I would love if the Big East keeps doing competition because I think that is very established and attracts casual viewers more because they know those teams,” George said. “We play those teams in basketball and other sports. For example, I was really hyped to see us play Xavier in Rocket League because that is a really classic rivalry.”

Since the Big East Invitational, Freeman and Rogers have been trying to get the word out about esports on Butler’s campus.

“There are huge benefits if we grow that club the right way,” Freeman said. “In the next few years, there could be people that come to Butler because they want to be a part of the esports club. It is a similar structure to people who are deciding if they want to be on a sports team.”

Freeman compares the esports club to the way the Butler Athletic Department was when it first started out.

“One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Butler kind of had an athletic department with a football team," Freeman said. "And then we formed a basketball team. But now we have 20 athletic teams and dance team and cheerleading and we compete in all these different leagues. Within the esports club, you have all these different teams because there are all different games that people could play.”

As a graduating senior and the founder of the group, George’s time with the club has been short, but he said it's been a fantastic experience. In addition to being fun and an opportunity to meet new people, it allowed him to gain valuable leadership experience.

“The club is awesome, not only for people who want to compete but for people who are interested in business or communications,” George said. “I was able to run the stream and be a commentator and analyze what was going on and work on the media side of it.”

The club also has a treasurer and a social media chair, which George said are great opportunities for students to hold leadership positions in a group they are passionate about.

Freeman thinks that the club can have huge benefits to students after graduation as well.

“The end goal [of a Butler education] is to get you ready to go out into the world and do great things,” he said. “The people that are on these teams have some really high-level majors, and if [cities like] Indy are growing as a tech community, then we have that subgroup of people who are in the tech world and are also doing great things with their majors. It’s an area where there are businesses that are very interested in what’s going on.”

To stay up to date with Butler’s esports club, check out their Twitter account and Facebook page. The club hold tryouts for all games each semester. Current and incoming Butler students are invited to reach out to be invited to its Discord channel.

 

Arts & CultureStudent Life

Booting Up A New Club

Students take the controls on Butler esports team.

May 16 2018 Read more
AcademicsArts & Culture

Critics Called It One of the Best Books of 2017

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 29 2018

 

The news came in an email at 6:00 AM on December 22. The subject line: "New York Times!"

 

The recipient: Butler Poet-in-Residence Alessandra Lynch. The sender: Kaveh Akbar MFA '15, who now teaches poetry at Purdue.

Inside was this link, but no message. And Lynch thought, "Good ol' Kaveh. Yet again, someone has recognized his prodigious gifts."

She clicked on the link and saw the cover of her new book Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment under the headline "The Best Poetry of 2017." Along with it was this summation by David Orr, who writes the On Poetry column for The New York Times Book Review:

Alessandra Lynch, “Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment.” You can read 20 pages into Lynch’s book before you fully realize it’s about a sexual assault — and this is to her credit. She wants to show an act of violence in all its terrible particularity and also in the way it becomes a background against which identity trembles and sometimes fractures. It’s difficult to read this collection without thinking about how timely it is, but its force is in no sense dependent on that congruity.

"I gasped," Lynch said. "It felt, and still feels, so surreal. Unreal. I don't know how David Orr found the book. He must receive thousands of books to review. So what was it about this book? I have no idea."

That was just the beginning. About six weeks later, Lynch got a call from The Los Angeles Times informing her that her book was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize in Poetry. She'll be flown to California to participate in the newspaper's April 21-22 Festival of Books.

"I don't have experience like this," Lynch said. "From the time I was 9, I was just in my room, writing my poems. Then eventually I had enough poems and it dawned on me that I really wanted to make a book from them. For me, writing has always been a solitary, private situation. The public nature of publication and awards, while often nice, is very, sometimes chillingly, distant from the making and the life, the vitality of the poems."

*

As Orr wrote in The New York Times, Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment is, in fact, about a sexual assault—Lynch's. The attack happened a couple of decades ago.

She didn't report the incident and for years told no one.

"I think I was in an extreme state of shock," she said. "I didn't even realize for years that I had some sort of PTSD. I wouldn't have ever said that I had that. That's what soldiers at war have. But clearly the disassociation and distance from what had happened are hallmarks of this. For years I moved around in a daze. And it's all over those poems."

In 2005, during a two-month stay at Yaddo, an artists' retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York, Lynch developed a routine—eat some blueberries and go for a run through the woods. As she ran, a line or two would come to her. When she got back to her studio, she would type "meditation," along with that line or two. There were meditations on the body, on absence, on abandonment, on desire. She wrote about a hundred, numbering each. She wasn't thinking about publishing or even sharing them.

"It just felt like such a sacred experience," she said. "I felt very in tune with those words."

In 2007, during a second stay at Yaddo, she followed a similar routine, but typed "agitation" at the top of each page. The “agitations” that surfaced became poems more directly about the assault.

After a few years, ready to share the poems and thinking she had two separate manuscripts, her husband, Butler Associate Professor of English and poet Chris Forhan, suggested that the agitations and meditations might belong together in a book.

Lynch devised a sequence for the poems, then showed the collection to another poet-friend who suggested that she move one of the more overt assault poems to the beginning. "I was thinking, 'I can't do that,'" she said. "That would be shocking. But he was right. And then I realized I was creating a narrative out of these highly lyrical poems. I was finally telling the story. I was finally facing the violence I had experienced through poetry."

Then, in 2015, during a two-week fellowship at The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire—and after Alice James Books had already accepted Daylily for publication—Lynch wrote a final poem, "P.S. Assault." That "made the book fuller and more substantial."

The poem begins:

The girl it happens to
crawls out

of my body

"There are some really excruciatingly dark, excruciatingly personal moments in the book, and yet I think because it's poetry, there's so much metaphor and imagery," Lynch said. "It's not a direct report of what happened, and there's a meandering in and out of consciousness—a disassociated state, but a really beautiful state, a really comforting state. And the wandering out helps me and anyone who reads this book understand that the shock of it, the stun of it, makes you feel almost as though it didn't really happen to you."

Lynch took the book title Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment from the first line of one of the poems. A daylily flower carries a lot of time symbolism and implication, Lynch said, and daylily, in this case, was witness to "the fact that at some point I realized I had experienced a dangerous moment in my life."

She chose the cover painting, Time, by Metka Krašovec, wife of Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun, for the traumatized look in the woman's eyes. "There's a wariness, there's a deep sorrow, an unsettledness and an unnerved quality to the eyes," she said. "But the figure itself is still. It's almost like paralysis. Plus there's a bird on her hand looking at her, but she's not paying attention to the bird. And there's a hand on her shoulder, which is ominous."

*

This is Lynch's third published book of poems, but she's been writing poetry and putting together books since she was a little girl in Pound Ridge, New York. She remembers her first-grade teacher announcing that the class would be working together on a journal and asking, "Who's going to write the poetry?" When no one spoke up, she volunteered.

She recalls her mother saying, "If you want to do anything well, you have to practice it." She took those words to heart and started to write every day. She still does.

In teaching poetry and memoir writing at Butler, she asks her students to reveal what is most important to them, what has hurt them most, what has made them feel most joyful—"those deeper feelings we don't often get the opportunity to share, but when we do share make us feel known."

"I think in some subconscious way, teachers teach what they want to learn," she said. "After all these years of having my terrific, brave students reveal all these things to me, I think that actually helped me."

Lynch said Daylily was cathartic to write. She hopes it will help others who've been through trauma. And she has no expectations about winning the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, for which she's competing against Shane McCrae, Evie Shockley, Patricia Smith, and David Wojahn.

She said she looks at their biographies and long lists of accomplishments, then looks at her own, which says she "lives with her husband and sons by a stony creek, two hackberry trees, and a magnolia trio."

"It's as though there are all these better-known poets up on the stage and I'm like a piece of pollen that drifts up," she said. "And there I am. I feel like pollen. But pollen's not a bad thing to feel like."

 

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

AcademicsArts & Culture

Critics Called It One of the Best Books of 2017

'Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment,' Poet-in-Residence Alessandra Lynch's new book, is being praised from coast to coast.

Mar 29 2018 Read more
Dance Rehearsal
Arts & CultureStudent LifeCampus

New Dance Work To Debut with More than 100 Student Dancers

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Sep 05 2018

Dance Professor Cynthia Pratt wants to give Butler's Class of 2022 a welcome to remember. So she and four student choreographers from the Dance Department have put together a large-scale dance project that will feature the entire department performing on the grassy areas outside Irwin Library and Jordan Hall on Thursday, September 20, from 6:30-7:00 PM.

The dance will celebrate the start of the new academic year and will revolve around the themes and values of the Butler Way. The soundtrack for the dance is expected to incorporate snippets of interviews with students, faculty, and staff talking about their Butler experiences.

"I thought it would be a great opportunity for the department to welcome everyone back to campus," said Pratt, who is starting her 24th year at Butler. "The Dance Department here is significant, but many of the students don't know who we are or what we do. Even though this type of dance isn't what we're known for—we're known for ballet—I thought it would be a wonderful welcome for the whole student body, especially since we have the largest freshman class ever."

Pratt said the idea for an all-department project goes back four years, when she choreographed a dance as part of StreamLines, an outdoor art project that meshed arts and science. She said that project was tough—"they're outside, they're uncomfortable, they're hot, they're rolling around in grass, and there's stuff in that grass"—but it helped create a bond that lasted throughout their college careers.

More than 100 students will participate in the dance.

"We found in the department that when we did those large group dances, the morale in the department skyrocketed," she said. "We found that this was a really positive experience—not just for the students, but for the onlookers as well. These were really successful performances."

 

Media Contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Dance Rehearsal
Arts & CultureStudent LifeCampus

New Dance Work To Debut with More than 100 Student Dancers

The outdoor performance on September 20 will celebrate the start of the new academic year.

Sep 05 2018 Read more
Grand Adventure

A Grand Adventure

Camryn Walton ’14

from Spring 2018

It Happened in a Weekend

Over the course of 48 hours, we decided to quit our jobs, leave Indianapolis, road trip across the United States, and buy a one-way ticket to India. 

Why? We felt that restless feeling to be somewhat careless and do something crazy. We wanted to experience newness. To break out of our routine. We had a desire to change our surroundings and rid ourselves of the strains of everyday life. 

And so we went. In fall 2016, we spent two months camping and hiking the western United States, two months navigating the chaos of India, and three months exploring Southeast Asia. It’s hard for me to put into words how grateful I feel for being able to go on this grand adventure. 

In reality, long-term travel is overwhelming and exhausting. You are constantly pushed outside of your comfort zone. Your relationship with yourself and your partner is challenged daily. Here are just a couple of excerpts from my blog sharing our unique and transformational travel experiences: 

Grand Tetons, Wyoming 

Camryn Walton ’14 and husband at the Grand Tetons“What’s been your favorite place so far?” We get asked this question quite a bit on the road, and so far we have the same answer: The Grand Tetons. While leaving beautiful Oregon was bittersweet, we were eager to get to Jackson, Wyoming. We bypassed our planned one-night stay in Boise (We’ll be back for you Idaho!) and drove the 12+ hours from Portland, Oregon, to Jackson, Wyoming, in one day. We made it in one piece and found a free campsite as the sun was setting just outside of the Tetons. 

The next morning, we arrived at the Grand Tetons Visitor Center an hour before it opened to get a backcountry permit. Needless to say, John (JJ) was excited to be the first one in line. Before getting our permit, we had to watch a short video about backcountry camping safety… and this is where my irrational fear of bears began. By the end of the video, I was convinced we were going to be stalked and killed by a bear. Wyoming isn’t too bad of a place to die, right? 

Bear spray in hand, we set off on a 22-mile loop hike up Paintbrush Canyon and down Cascade Canyon. The first day consisted of 7.5 miles and 3,500 feet up. It was tough hiking, but the blossoming colors of fall made us forget about the level of difficulty. There are two weeks out of the year when leaves are at their brightest in the Tetons, and we had unknowingly chosen one of these sacred weeks. The Aspens were changing to a shade of yellow I’ve never seen before—hard to describe, and even harder to photograph. 

We were up early the next morning to tackle our one mile, 1,500-foot ascent of Paintbrush Divide to the Saddle Between Two Peaks. JJ kept me going by reminding me that, “every step you take is the highest elevation you’ve ever been.” At 10,700 ft., the 360-degree views were breathtaking. The pass opened up a new world of mountain ranges, peaks, and canyons; it is safe to say that I’m addicted. Addicted to the feeling of wanting to see what’s over the next pass, to the exhilaration of the wind blowing in your face, to feeling entirely humbled, small, and insignificant compared to the mountains that surround you. 

India 

On December 17, 2016—my 25th birthday—we arrived in Rishikesh, India. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the Ganges River, Rishikesh is a charming town that attracts yogis and adventurers from around the world. It is free of meat, dairy, and alcohol—making it the ideal location for people to focus on their spiritual and physical wellness. 

Camryn Walton ’14 and husband in IndiaHowever, two days into our blissful retreat, JJ and I were taking turns emptying our stomachs over a dirty toilet in a freezing cold yurt. The physical pain was compounded by the homesickness I felt being away from my loved ones so close to the holidays. I was tired of being cold and dirty and living out of a backpack. I couldn’t help but think of all of the places I’d rather be. 

Slowly, we started to regain physical strength and with it came mental clarity. We spent the next two weeks practicing yoga, getting lost in the foothills, reading by the river, and expanding our minds with new forms of spiritual guidance. And then I’m crying at the airport because I’m not ready to leave this powerful place that had become “home.” 

Despite the immense discomfort, we quickly discovered the real reason why we travel: It reminds us to be present, to be kind, to practice empathy—and to never take ourselves too seriously. Most importantly, it’s a reminder to be grateful for exactly where you are and who you are with in life. 

 

Camryn Walton '14 (Strategic Communication) and John Joseph '11 (International Studies and Marketing) moved to Denver in July 2017. They spend their time exploring the mountains, chasing music festivals, and working at a small marketing agency and large software company respectively. To read more on their grand adventure, check out flossinginthesunshine.com or follow them on Instagram @camryn_walton and @plaidjj1.

Grand Adventure
Arts & CulturePeople

A Grand Adventure

Over the course of 48 hours, we decided to quit our jobs, leave Indianapolis, road trip across the United States, and buy a one-way ticket to India. 

by Camryn Walton ’14

from Spring 2018

Read more

Meet the Class of 2022: Max Cordoba

When incoming first-year Theatre and Math major Max Cordoba flew to Los Angeles in February to attend the National Unified Auditions—a one-stop shop for high school seniors to audition for multiple universities—he had never even heard of Butler University. The Neward, California native’s intention was to audition for mainly private schools that had a special musical theatre degree, explore those options, and then pick whichever school felt right, offered the best financial aid, and allowed him to learn more about not only the fine arts, but math as well.

He spotted Butler’s name and decided it was in his best interest to at least do one more session—it was additional practice, after all.

In most auditions, Cordoba was asked to perform two monologues and two songs. In the audition with Butler, Professor of Theatre William Fisher asked Cordoba to do one of each to start. Cordoba chose to sing Beautiful City from the Broadway production Godspell. For his monologue, he chose to read an excerpt as Hank from Marvin’s Room—a piece he believed would put him “over the top for the audition.”

After his monologue, Fisher and Cordoba made an instant connection over Marvin’s Room.

"I almost thought my audition with Butler was going to be a practice session, but after my talk with Professor William Fisher, I thought this could be the right school,” Cordoba said.

Cordoba explained to Fisher that he is a big theatre lover, but he wanted to also major in something a little more practical.

“I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, and I wanted to ensure I had math as a back-up since a major in theatre isn’t foolproof,” Cordoba said. “I really needed a school that understood that about me.”

Most schools Cordoba had talked to previously in the day had told him that pursuing math with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) was not a possibility. Fisher explained that at Butler it’s not a BFA, but rather a Bachelor of Arts, which offers more flexibility, as well as the option to incorporate his passion for math.

“He really convinced me to at least explore more,” Cordoba said, “Even though it’s really far away, Butler seemed open to my diverse interests.”

In April, Cordoba—joined by his grandfather—started the on-campus college visit journey,  exploring the various schools he was interested in—including Butler. While on campus, Cordoba had the opportunity to speak with professors, including Chair of the Theatre Department, Diane Timmerman. He also sat in on an improv class.

“The students were making me laugh. Just from that show alone, I saw what I loved about theatre,” he said. “The students were super friendly and amiable, and they love to act and perform.” When he left for his trip, he was excited about all the schools he was about to explore. After the trip, though, he realized that when he was making his rounds, he always found at least one thing he didn’t like—except for when he was at Butler.

“What really set it in stone for me for Butler was that it was a smaller school than most I was looking at, but it had a big school feel,” Cordoba said.

Cordoba arrived on campus August 12, and feels just as excited as nervous—as most students are their first year. Cordoba’s distance from his friends and family definitely makes it harder, especially when he was so involved with various theatre and chorus groups for the past eight years.

Despite the nervousness of new surroundings and being so far from home, Cordoba said he feels honored, “to go to a school that is super accepting and diverse.”

Max Cordoba
Welcome WeekArts & CultureStudent LifePeople

Meet the Class of 2022: Max Cordoba

What brought Max from California to Indiana was Butler Theatre's faculty and flexibility. 

Karamo Brown
Arts & CultureCampus

Diversity Lecture Series Fall 2018 Lineup Announced

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Sep 06 2018

Charismatic Queer Eye star Karamo Brown and University of Texas Political Science Professor and immigration expert Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto will be the fall 2018 speakers in Butler University's Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series.

Brown will kick off the 31st annual series at Clowes Memorial Hall on Wednesday, September 19, at 7:00 PM. DeFrancesco Soto's talk takes place on Monday, October 22, at 7:00 PM in Shelton Auditorium on South Campus.

Admission to all talks in the series is free and open to the public without tickets. The lecture series will continue during the spring semester with two more speakers.

 

Karamo Brown
Know Thyself: Using Your Uniqueness to Create Success
Wednesday, September 19, 7:00 PM
Clowes Memorial Hall, Butler Arts Center
More information at ButlerArtsCenter.org

Whether as an openly gay man, a black man, a Christian, a single father, a business leader, or reality television personality, Brown has discovered that the many facets of his identity are the key to his success. In this speech, he shares his methods and ensures that corporate and collegiate audiences alike are able to recognize and utilize their own different identities.

Today, Brown serves as the television Host and Culture Expert on the Emmy-nominated Netflix reboot of Queer Eye. Brown has worked as an on-air host and producer for OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), Huffington Post Live, and a contributor on NBC’s Access Hollywood Live. He was first introduced to the world in 2005 at 22 as a housemate on the hit MTV reality series The Real World. He was a breakout star and became the first openly gay African-American in the history of reality TV. In February 2016, he returned to reality television as a cast member on TV One’s #TheNext15.

 

Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
E Pluribus Unum? American Diversity & the Political Landscape
Monday, October 22, 7:00 PM
Shelton Auditorium, South Campus
More information at Events.Butler.edu

The United States has always been made up of diverse entities and, as a nation, we have negotiated the "pluribus" to get to the "unum." DeFrancesco Soto will consider the topic of negotiating diversity within the current political landscape with a particular focus on the last decade and the upcoming mid-term election.

DeFrancesco Soto is a professor at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs and a contributor to MSNBC, NBCNews.com, and Telemundo among others. She was a featured expert in the PBS documentary of the Civil Rights trailblazer Willie Velasquez in Your Vote is Your Voice and has published in both academic and popular outlets such as Politico, Talking Points Memo, and Perspectives on Politics.

Her areas of expertise include immigration, Latinos, women and politics, political psychology, and campaigns and elections. In looking at immigration, she takes a broad historical perspective to understand current policy debates. When looking at diverse groups within the electorate, she focuses on how women, Latinos, and other minorities influence policies.

 

Media Contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Karamo Brown
Arts & CultureCampus

Diversity Lecture Series Fall 2018 Lineup Announced

The 31st year of Diversity Lecture Series will feature Karamo Brown and Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto.

Sep 06 2018 Read more
Arts & CulturePeopleCampus

Commedia Dell'Arte is Like the Pork

BY Marc Allan MFA `18

PUBLISHED ON Oct 22 2018

Italian actor, director, and theatre teacher Marco Luly is trying to explain commedia dell'arte, the art form he has worked in since 1980, and The Servant of Two Masters, the play he is directing for Butler Theatre, October 31 through November 4 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.

He says the show, which was written by Carlo Goldoni in 1745 and has been performed steadily in Italy since 1949, is a comedy with some funny and some serious parts. Some parts develop the story, some parts advance the story, and some parts play the lazzi—the jokes, the fun. There's improvisation, so the actors need to listen to each other. They need to understand how to share the space and pace. To learn action and reaction. To control their body, their body language. To establish contact with other people. To pick up the vibe of the crowd and play with the audience, rather than to the audience.  

"Everything can be used," he says. "Everything. It's like the pork, where everything gets used. We can title this interview, 'Commedia dell'arte is like the pork.'"

And so we have.

Luly, who is spending nine weeks at Butler teaching two classes and directing the show, is the 2018 Visiting International Theatre Artist (VITA). Butler Theatre established the program in 2010 to give students the opportunity to learn from a theater professional from another country. Past VITAs have come from Russia, India, England, and elsewhere.

Luly chose to have the students perform The Servant of Two Masters, a classic in commedia dell'arte, a 500-year-old comedy art form that will be instantly recognizable to today's audiences through its resemblance to Shakespeare's comedies, silent movies, sketch comedy, and TV sitcoms. Actors wear leather masks that exaggerate facial features and identify them as stock characters. There are mistaken identities, lovers' triangles, class struggles, and more.

"Commedia dell'arte is at the root of almost every form of comedy that we know today, whether it's a TV commercial or Saturday Night Live, or Seinfeld and Cheers," says Diane Timmerman, Chair of Butler Theatre. "All these shows have stock characters, situations, physical comedy that is all derived from comedia. So it's fun to go to the source and experience what the original comedy was."

Luly brought with him four masks for the student-actors to portray character types. There's Brighella, who is a high-status servant like an innkeeper; Arlecchino, a servant character looking for money, power, and position in the world; Il Dottore—the Doctor—who bluffs his way through every situation; and Pantalone, an old merchant who's often in love with young girls.

The masks, he says, "are the magic of this form of theater. The masks are important for the actors. The mask does not hide. The mask amplifies. The mask is a tool that can help me show the audience my emotions, my sentiments, my lines. And I don't need to use too many words, too many moves. I can project my emotions just by one movement of my mask."

Taylor Steigmeyer, a junior Theatre/Psychology double major from South Bend, Indiana, is playing Arlecchino, the servant of two masters—and having a great time squatting and jumping and inhabiting this sprightly, sparkly, physically demanding character.

Arlecchino, she says, is a character with two basic needs. He wants food—he's always hungry—and affection from Smeraldina, the maid.

"He's someone who doesn't care about anyone but himself, so while I have to worry about what the other characters are doing, I'm in my own little world sometimes," she says. "I wonder when I'm going to get to eat again. I wonder if Smeraldina wants to kiss me too."

Steigmeyer said working with Luly has been a great experience, one she initially was unsure she was going to be able to fit into her packed schedule. But she found time to take one of Luly's afternoon classes, and then was cast as the title character.

"I was like, this is going to be such a great experience," she says. "When and where would I get an experience like this again?"

Rehearsals for The Servant of Two Masters have been running 6:30-9:30 PM five days a week, and Luly says he's been impressed with the students' work ethic and the way they've come to understand the characters.

As a director, Luly is a taskmaster, but benevolent. During a rehearsal in early October, when an actor missed a line, he told her, "If you don't speak, she might speak, so you have to speak." When the cast is trying to grasp the rhythm of a particular scene where everyone has a couple of words, he explained, "This is a staircase – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 – with each line getting progressively louder. He'll walk over to tilt an actor's head, correct the emphasis of a particular line, and instruct one of the actors to carry a prop on a different shoulder so the audience can see his face.

"He's intense, but he's very definitive," says Isaiah Moore, a junior Theatre/Psychology double major from Fishers, Indiana, who plays Florindo Aretusi, who is in love with Beatrice Rasponi and has run away from his hometown because he killed a man in a duel and has relocated to Venice. "He knows what he wants. We have to make sure we're ready to present what he wants."

To put it another way, they have to deliver the pork.

 

MEDIA CONTACT
Marc Allan MFA '18
News Manager
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822  

Arts & CulturePeopleCampus

Commedia Dell'Arte is Like the Pork

Visiting International Theatre Artist Marco Luly directs Butler Theatre's The Servant of Two Masters.

Oct 22 2018 Read more
United States Marine Band
Arts & CultureCommunity

One Night Only: Colburn to Rejoin "The President's Own" United States Marine Band

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Sep 14 2018

You can take the colonel out of the band, but you can't take the band out of the colonel.

So when “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band comes through the Indianapolis area on October 27, retired Col. Michael Colburn—now in his fifth year as Director of Bands at Butler University—will return to the podium. He'll conduct the band he led for 10 years in a performance of John Williams' "The Adventures of Han" from the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story.

"I was really thrilled to get the invitation," Colburn said. "And this will be a chance for a local audience to realize that they have a connection to the Marine Band that perhaps they weren't aware of right here at Butler."

Colburn, who directed the Marine Band from 2004-2014, said he received the invitation from his successor, Col. Jason Fettig, after Fettig found out that the band's tour would stop in Carmel, right outside Indianapolis.

They decided that it would be most appropriate for Colburn to conduct a piece by Williams because during Colburn's tenure with the band, he established a close relationship with the famed composer.

Their friendship started with a letter about 20 years ago—Colburn wrote to Williams asking him to guest-conduct the Marine Band, and Williams did. They collaborated several other times, including in 2004 when Williams requested that Marine Band perform his music during the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to him.

"Col. Colburn's distinguished service as the 27th Director of the U.S. Marine Band had an immeasurable impact on the ongoing success and reputation of this historic ensemble," Fettig said. "He spearheaded many notable artistic achievements for the organization during his time at the helm, not the least of which is developing our close relationship with famed composer and conductor John Williams. I'm absolutely thrilled to welcome Col. Colburn back to the podium of "The President's Own."

The rest of the concert at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel will feature a selection of patriotic music—Sousa marches such as "Semper Fidelis" and "Stars and Stripes Forever" (that's Colburn conducting in these video clips)—as well as some recent original music for wind band.

"This concert is a rare opportunity to hear the Marine band," Colburn said. "They only come through this area once every 4-5 years at most. I encourage people to get out there and get a little taste of what people in Washington, DC, and especially people in the White House get to hear all the time. This is really one of our national musical treasures."

"The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band will perform at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel on October 27. Ticket and tour information is available here.

Media Contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

 

United States Marine Band
Arts & CultureCommunity

One Night Only: Colburn to Rejoin "The President's Own" United States Marine Band

Butler's Director of Bands will conduct his former band when they come to area on October 27. 

Sep 14 2018 Read more
AcademicsArts & Culture

Professor Lynch's Book Named One of 2017's Best by The New York Times

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 03 2018

The New York Times has selected Butler English Instructor Alessandra Lynch’s Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment as one of the 10 best books of poetry in 2017.

“You can read 20 pages into Lynch’s book before you fully realize it’s about a sexual assault—and this is to her credit,” wrote David Orr, author of the “On Poetry” column for The New York Times Book Review. “She wants to show an act of violence in all its terrible particularity and also in the way it becomes a background against which identity trembles and sometimes fractures. It’s difficult to read this collection without thinking about how timely it is, but its force is in no sense dependent on that congruity.”

The full article is here.

Lynch is the author of three collections of poetry: Sails the Wind Left Behind (winner of the New York/New England Award from Alice James Books, 2002), It was a terrible cloud at twilight (winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Award, Pleaides/LSU Press, 2008)and Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment (Alice James  Books, 2017). She has received fellowships from The Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center, and she has been the recipient of a Barbara Deming Award and a Creative Renewal Fellowship for the Arts from the Indianapolis Council for the Arts.

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

AcademicsArts & Culture

Professor Lynch's Book Named One of 2017's Best by The New York Times

The New York Times has selected Butler English Instructor Alessandra Lynch’s Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment as one of the 10 best books of poetry in 2017.

Jan 03 2018 Read more
Movie
Arts & CulturePeople

Lights! Camera! Action! Dance!

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 01 2018

Stirling Matheson '09, who already has dancer and writer on his resume, is adding a new credit: film director.

Absolution, his short film of a dance Sarah Farnsley '10 choreographed, will premiere at the Dances With Films independent-film festival in Los Angeles on June 8 at the world-famous TCL Chinese Theatre.

"It's a very different kind of directing," said Matheson, who danced with Ballet Theatre of Maryland, founded Ballet Theatre of Indiana in 2014, and has written for Dance magazine, among other publications. "I'm used to directing my company, and that's about training it to be repeatable so that it goes right for the one shot you get on stage. But we had five hours to do this, which was a new experience, for sure."

The film, which runs almost seven minutes and features five Butler University graduates among the company, visits the House of the Rising Sun, which in folklore is an allegory for purgatory. There, in the pouring rain, all the dancers are grappling with their guilt and figuring out how to forgive themselves for whatever went wrong in their lives. As they come to terms with their issues, they can go off into the purple light and the rest of the afterlife. But for some people, that takes more time than others.

Absolution debuted as a dance piece about two years ago during a Ballet Theatre of Indiana performance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. As he watched, Matheson was struck by the details and angles in the choreography. He began to envision it as a film.

""I had some ideas of exactly what I wanted in lighting, which was different from the stage version," he said. "The original version was stark white side light. I thought it would end up looking dead on film. There was a bit of symbolism in the colors that we used, that pale melancholy blue-gray on the right side of the frame and then as they traveled from right to left, they went into that more ethereal death and rebirth-looking purple.""

He describes his role in the production as "translator" between Director of Photography Bryan Boyd and Farnsley, who made sure the film was true to her choreography.

They shot the film from 10:00 PM to 3:00 AM on a night when "it was 60 degrees and I was literally spraying them with a sprinkler the whole time," Matheson said. "They're some pretty tough ladies."

The dancers include Michelle Quenon '15, Anne Mushrush '15, Lauren Nasci '14, Audrey Robson '14, Christina (Presti) Voreis '14, and Catherine Jue '15. They're all part of the Ballet Theatre of Indiana company, which concluded its fourth season this spring.

Matheson said the Indianapolis debut of the film version of Absolution will likely take place during Ballet Theatre of Indiana's fifth season, which will be announced this summer. He suggested that people who want to see the film check out Ballet Theatre of Indiana's website.

"I'm never mad when people go to btindiana.org and sign up for the newsletter if they want to see us flail our limbs in person, rather than on the screen," he said, laughing. "I mean, that's what dancing is—it's limb-flailing. But good limb-flailing."

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Movie
Arts & CulturePeople

Lights! Camera! Action! Dance!

Stirling Matheson '09, Sarah Farnsley '10 combine to turn a dance into a film.

Jun 01 2018 Read more
Arts & CultureCommunity

Butler Community Arts School Offers Piano For Autistic Students

BY

PUBLISHED ON Nov 08 2017

Inside a Lilly Hall practice room, a father is sitting on the piano bench next to his 6-year-old son, encouraging the boy to look at the sheet music and play.

“Play this one, play this one,” Dad says, pointing. “Play a ‘D.’”

The boy plays the note.

“And there’s that sharp,” says the piano teacher, who’s sitting to the side. “See that sharp there?”

The boy plays the next note. “Yes!” the teacher says.

Then the boy, who is autistic, stops and lets out a howl of sadness, as if he doesn’t want to play anymore. He hugs his father and turns away from the piano. Then, just as quickly, he’s back around, his hands on the keys.

“Play,” his father says. “‘D.’”

The entire 45-minute lesson takes place in fits and starts like this, with the teacher and the boy’s father coaxing him through pieces of a song. As soon as he’s finished, the boy climbs from the piano bench and heads to a chair to watch videos on a phone. His father directs him back to the bench.

The boy started taking piano lessons in the summer after his parents found a flyer in a doctor’s office advertising piano lessons for children on the autism spectrum. The teacher, Marge Lucas ’97 MM ’00, has been offering these lessons through the Butler Community Arts School since January.

 

 

Lucas believes music is highly successful in the development of neural circuits for cognitive processing, and she has developed a method of music instruction—honed at Butler and in graduate studies at Indiana University-Bloomington—that is applied to the individual learning style and personality of the student.

Her method involves a combination of letters, colors, and sounds that help students process the information needed to play music while developing motor and language skills.

She explains it like this: “For children with autism, they have overconnectivity and underconnectivity. The ones I get are usually already gifted in music, and they have absolute pitch. So their right hemisphere is overconnected. The left hemisphere is language. So they’re overconnected in spatial skills. But they are underconnected in language. Therefore, they can’t express themselves. But if you develop their musical ability and teach them according to the natural progressions of scale degrees and chords, their brain is wired to hear that.”

Lucas, who has Asperger syndrome, says she can understand her students, whereas other people don’t. And she says she has seen her methods work. One student, who started out “almost non-verbal and definitely in his own world,” developed the ability, after eight years of lessons, to do music theory on a graduate level. Another, a 12-year-old she’s been teaching for three years, went from banging on the low notes of the piano to being able to play the title theme from The Legend of Zelda video game.

With the 6-year-old, she had an extraordinary breakthrough two weeks later when the boy began to get distraught. His father said something to him, and the boy responded, “I’m tired.”

“His parents looked at each other, stunned.” Lucas said. “They said they had never heard him say anything like that ever before. Instead of a wail came a short sentence. It made my day.”

The father of the 6-year-old student says Lucas’ methods do work. His son practices piano every day.

“My son is very intelligent,” he says, “but it’s a different kind of intelligence.”

Butler Community Arts School Director Karen Thickstun says she regularly gets calls from parents whose children have autism, asking if she had a teacher who works with students who have learning differences.

“Most of the time, I had to say no,” Thickstun says, “because our teachers are primarily college students and they’re not yet trained to teach more than the traditional approaches to teaching.”

When Thickstun did offer a referral, it was to Lucas, who has been teaching privately for years. Last year, she talked to Lucas about devoting a day to teaching at Butler. Lucas’ presence proved so popular that she is now at Butler for more than a day each week, teaching six to 10 students.

“She’s one of the very few piano teachers in the state—maybe in the Midwest—who’s specializing in developing piano materials to reach autistic children,” Thickstun says.

Lucas’ presence also benefits Butler students, who can watch what she’s doing. Thickstun says the skills Lucas has are ones that teachers are going to need to know more and more.

Thickstun says that what Lucas does requires patience, but also the ability to think differently.

“She has to get into their mind and find different materials that fit,” Thickstun says. “In the students I see her work with, the materials are different for each child. She’s very much trying to figure out that particular child. Marge has been a great addition to the Butler Community Arts School. Part of our mission is access to the arts for everybody, and this is a demographic we have typically not been able to serve.”

The Butler Community Arts School is grateful for the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, the Indianapolis Foundation of Central Indiana Community Foundation, the Summer Youth Program Fund, and the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation.

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

hrc
Arts & CultureCampus

In The HRC, A Blank Wall Becomes a Canvas

BY Hannah Hartzell ’17

PUBLISHED ON Oct 02 2017

One wall gets a new look — a painting depicting the front of Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Butler Director of Recreation Scott Peden was running on the track in the Health and Recreation Center (HRC) when he noticed the number of blank walls.

“I saw this particular wall,” Peden said, referring to the north entrance, “and thought: ‘We need to put something there.’”

So he turned to Chris Blice and John Edwards, who painted the mural in the Robertson Hall Johnson Boardroom as well as the historical mural in the Wildman Room in Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Peden proposed a medium-sized painting.

But Blice and Edwards were thinking big picture.

“They came back to me with a vision that was 10 times what I’d thought of,” said Peden. “They wanted to make the entire wall a mural.”

Blice and Edwards proposed creating a massive rendering of Hinkle Fieldhouse from the outside looking in. A glimpse of the Hinkle magic.

“We didn’t want the colors to be overpowering or realistic, though,” Edwards said. “It needed to blend in with the room.”

The room, Peden said, is somewhere students often come to study or relax. He thinks the mural will enhance the soft space even further.

The new mural will hold special significance for the graduating class of 2010, which helped fund it. According to Peden, when the 2010 graduates couldn’t decide what to do with their class gift money, they gave it to the HRC.

“The HRC meant so much,” Peden said. “They were the first class to have use of it for four full years. They really valued it, and they also valued Hinkle.”

When he contacted the 2010 class president and shared the idea, she was “extremely excited.” The class gave its blessing and the Hinkle mural got the green light.

Blice and Edward began work on Monday, September 11, and they were still working on it as this story was being written.

In the meantime, they’re discussing where they want to paint their next Butler mural. “It’s very special,” Blice said of the experience. “This is our neighborhood college and we love Butler.”

“For me, it’s nostalgic,” Edwards said. “I grew up here. I’ve known Butler forever.”

hrc
Arts & CultureCampus

In The HRC, A Blank Wall Becomes a Canvas

One wall gets a new look — a painting depicting the front of Hinkle Fieldhouse

Oct 02 2017 Read more
Arts & Culture

Aaron Hurt Appointed Executive Director of Butler Arts Center

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Jan 14 2019

To know Aaron Hurt is to understand the way he proposed handling his office décor. After moving into his new space tucked away in a corner on the third floor of Clowes Hall, he was stuck on figuring out ways to dismantle the big screen television fixed to his wall and mount it on a rolling device that the entire Butler Arts Center staff could benefit from. He hypothesized different ways to turn the space into a conference room, saying it was much too large for just himself. And he was concerned that the colors weren’t welcoming enough. In the end, none of these changes were made.

But Hurt did insist on one request.

Donald Hurt's paycheck from 1963
Donald Hurt' on payroll from 1963.

He came across a 1963 art deco painting of opening night at Clowes Memorial Hall. He loves art deco work, but it was about much more than just the style. Hurt’s grandfather was there that night in 1963. Donald Hurt was a member of the projectionist union, and when Clowes was ready to open, he was called to help get the stage ready. He hung the original main curtain and worked the first few shows.

“It’s really bonkers,” Hurt says, as he looks up at the painting on his office wall. “To think that my grandfather was hanging the curtain that night, and now I am sitting in this office working here. It’s really not something I take for granted, and we are going to be hands on and inclusive in how we put our stamp on Butler and the greater community.”

Hurt was officially named Executive Director of the Butler Arts Center on January 1, 2019 after serving as interim executive director since August 2018. But this is a role that, in many ways Hurt has been working toward since he was a little boy, and a role that means so much to so many in his extended family.

“This was in his blood and you can just tell by his enthusiasm that he was born to do this,” President James Danko says. “With Aaron, you can hear his passion when he speaks, and when you hear about his family, it is obvious where that comes from.”

Three years after Hurt’s grandfather hung the first curtain at Clowes Hall, his father, Daniel, hopped on his moped at age 16 and headed from the Eastside of Indianapolis to Clowes for his first ever job, sweeping the floors and holding ladders. Daniel would go on to work at Clowes Hall many times over the years. He also worked the beloved summer theater series on the football field.

Aaron was born into a family of projectionists. He was exposed to film, the arts, and theater from a young age, and often went with his father to work. But he first remembers Clowes Hall when he saw his sister, an opera singer, perform there.

“Butler has been a part of our lives for years and for Aaron, this is a scene he has been around since he was in diapers,” Daniel says. “Aaron would come with us to his sister’s performances and practices. It is pretty amazing when you think about it because the connection goes all the way back to my father hanging that curtain. Aaron grew up on this. We are all tied to Butler and Clowes.”

Hurt wanted to run a venue for as long as he can remember, he says. As an arts administration major at Butler, he learned that he could make a career out of running the programming and operations of a place. After graduating in 2008, Hurt worked for the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, the Chicago Children’s Choir, and then made his way back to Butler in 2013, as part-time manager of the Schrott Center. He became full-time later that year, serving as the operations manager. In 2016, after the Butler Arts Center was established, Hurt was promoted to Director of Operations.

He took over as interim Executive Director of the Butler Arts Center in August 2018. When Danko was evaluating what to do about the permanent executive director position, the positive feedback about Hurt was overwhelming.

“Aaron’s passion and enthusiasm for this type of role, coupled with the extraordinary esteem he is held in made him far and away the optimal choice for this position,” Danko says. “I am very excited about him and his potential. It is like an NFL team looking for that young coach who will be a star in 20 years.”

So now, Hurt will work to put his stamp on the place that has been a major part of his and his family’s lives for so long. Something that he called both terrifying and incredible. The goals are numerous.

Donald Hurt backstage at Clowes Memorial Hall
Donald Hurt backstage at Clowes Memorial Hall

Hurt has four major focuses—find new ways to make money, form better partnerships, engage more with the Indianapolis market, and create improved University programming. But, he says, it really does come down to one thing.

The goal is to make the Butler Arts Center an authentic hub for arts programming for all different communities in town. For example, next season, ticket prices will start at $19. This adjustment, he says, is a way to make shows more accessible for a much wider group.

“I want us to be known as open and inviting. I want people to leave happy and to have experienced something they couldn’t have experienced anywhere else in the city,” Hurt says. “That is what Clowes originally was when it started.”

And Hurt would know. He grew up learning about Clowes and hearing about Clowes from a grandfather and father who were there from the beginning. Now, Hurt is ready to take Clowes back to that original model—collaborative and inviting. Just the way he likes his office décor.

Arts & Culture

Aaron Hurt Appointed Executive Director of Butler Arts Center

  A job more than his lifetime in the making.

Jan 14 2019 Read more
Arts & CultureStudent Life

Butler Theatre Presents 'The Little Prince'

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 05 2018

Butler Theatre closes its 2017–2018 season with The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery's tale of love and loyalty, April 11-22 in the Lilly Hall Studio Theatre 168.

Show times are:

Wednesday, April 11, 7:00 PM (Preview)

Thursday, April 12, 7:00 PM (Preview)

Friday, April 13, 7:00 PM

Saturday, April 14, 7:00 PM

Sunday, April 15, 2:00 PM

Friday, April 20, 7:00 PM

Saturday, April 21, 7:00 PM

Sunday, April 22, 2:00 PM

Tickets are $5-$15. They are available online at ButlerArtsCenter.org or at the box office before each performance.

The Little Prince, a childhood favorite, is the story of a pilot stranded in the desert who meets an enigmatic young prince who has recently fallen from the sky. Audience members can let their imagination take flight in an adventure that celebrates fantasy and friendship.

The cast:

Aviator: Zane Franklin, Morgantown, Indiana

Lamplighter/Geographer/Businessman: Ryan Moskalick, Highland, Indiana

The Little Prince: Abby Glaws, Deerfield, Illinois

Snake/King: Mary Hensel, Indianapolis

Rose/Conceited man: Kitty Compton, Evansville, Indiana

Fox: Lexy Weixel, Columbus, Ohio

(In the photo: Zane Franklin and Abby Glaws)

 

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & CultureStudent Life

Butler Theatre Presents 'The Little Prince'

The final show of the season runs April 11-22.

Apr 05 2018 Read more
Darius Hickman
Arts & CulturePeople

Does He Think He Can Dance? He *Knows* He Can Dance

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jul 17 2017

When the other members of Butler’s Class of 2021 ask Darius Hickman what he did this summer, he’ll have a story that starts with, “I was a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance.

The incoming first-year Dance major from West Palm Beach, Florida, dazzled the judges and audience with this audition and so far has made it through the first three rounds. (The competition, which airs Mondays at 8:00 PM on Fox TV, is ongoing as this is being written.) In this summer’s “All-Star” edition of the Fox TV show, the Top 10 dancers are paired with stars from past seasons who guide them as they vie for America’s votes and the title of America’s Favorite Dancer. So far, Hickman has made it to the round of 20.

“I was always really into the show, but I never thought about auditioning,” Hickman said. “You have to submit an online video, and then they tell you if you can come and audition in person. So I did that.”

He didn’t get a response, so he went to an open audition in Los Angeles and stood in line for six hours to get a shot.

Hickman said what viewers are seeing now is the result of seven years of work. After a difficult early childhood—his mother was imprisoned for drugs; his father was absent; he was raised by an aunt who was in an abusive relationship—he started dancing in the sixth grade because “I wanted to do a sport, something, like all my friends did.”

He started with hip-hop lessons, which led him to a performing-arts middle school. The first day of middle school dance training was his first full-length ballet class.

“It was a little overwhelming, for sure, because I was frustrated,” he said. “I didn’t have the skills to keep up. It was hard for me to pick up combinations, and I was not very flexible—I couldn’t even touch my knees well. It was a struggle, for sure.”

But he persevered, and by eighth grade Hickman decided that he liked the challenge. In the months before high school, he took his first summer intensive—concentrated classes during school break—at the Harid Conservatory, a ballet professional-training school for high-school age students located in Boca Raton. That, he said, prepared him for high school at Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, from which he graduated in May.

Hickman hadn’t planned on going to college, but at the South Florida College Dance Fair he met Butler Dance Professor Marek Cholewa, who was teaching a class.

“I fell in love with his class, everything about it,” Hickman said. “I want to be taught like this. He talked to me after class and told me to come to Butler to audition, so I went to Indiana to audition.”

“We had a good chemistry,” Cholewa said. “His talent was very clear.”

And now, Hickman is Butler bound.

Cholewa said Butler Ballet audiences will see a young man with the right combination of focus and physical abilities, and “we can develop that even further.”

“I was very impressed when I saw him for the first time in Boca Raton,” Cholewa said. “He was able to follow everything that I said, which is very tough. He doesn’t know me, and I’m teaching my way, which is unknown to him, and he was grabbing the material very quickly. I’m glad he’s coming to Butler, and I’m sure he will be very good and very successful by the end of his four years with us.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Darius Hickman
Arts & CulturePeople

Does He Think He Can Dance? He *Knows* He Can Dance

When the other members of Butler’s Class of 2021 ask Darius Hickman what he did this summer, he’ll have a story that starts with, “I was a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance.

Jul 17 2017 Read more
Arts & CultureCommunity

Collins to Replace Glück in Visiting Writers Series

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 11 2018

Former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins will replace another former United States Poet Laureate, Louise Glück, in Butler University's spring 2018 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series lineup.

Collins will give a public reading in the Atherton Union, Reilly Room, on Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 PM.

Admission is free and open to the public without tickets.

Collins, who sees his poetry as “a form of travel writing” and considers humor “a door into the serious,” served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003 and was the New York State Poet Laureate from 2004­­ to 2006.

He has published 12 collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems, Nine Horses, The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems, Ballistics, Horoscopes for the Dead, and Picnic, Lightning. His book Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems 2003 – 2013 was a New York Times bestseller as is his most recent book of poetry, The Rain in Portugal.

His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The NewYorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar. His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry.

He has been honored by fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hopkins Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, and the Levinson Prize — all awarded by Poetry magazine. In October 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry.

Glück had to cancel her scheduled appearance due to illness.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

(Photo by Bill Hayes)

Arts & CultureCommunity

Collins to Replace Glück in Visiting Writers Series

Billy Collins will speak at Butler on April 18.

Apr 11 2018 Read more
Arts & Culture

Four From Butler Are Awarded Creative Renewal Fellowships

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 01 2017

Four members of the Butler community—Karen Thickstun MM ’91, Lisa Whitaker, Miho Sasaki MM ’05, and Michael Johnson ’96—have been awarded $10,000 Creative Renewal Fellowships by the Arts Council of Indianapolis. Fellows use the grant for activities they believe will refresh their creativity and recharge their work.

Thickstun has taught piano pedagogy and piano at the School of Music since 1996. In 2002, she became founding director of the Butler Community Arts School (BCAS), which offers high-quality arts instruction to the general community. BCAS serves around 2,000 children in the community annually and also provides Butler students with diverse teaching experiences. Thickstun supervises and mentors over 100 Butler students each year as they engage with the community through arts instruction in music, dance, theatre, and art.

For her fellowship project, Thickstun plans to learn a new art form (photography) and then apply her knowledge through the exploration of photogenic scenery in the Hawaiian islands. A long-time teacher, Thickstun proposes to learn photography by taking lessons with a college student and thus experience the BCAS dynamic from a different perspective.

“I am grateful that this fellowship program includes arts administrators, and recognizes their essential role in sustaining our rich arts community,” she said.

Whitaker has worked at Butler University for nearly 28 years. She came to the university in August 1989 as the Assistant Box Office Manager for Clowes Memorial Hall, then subsequently moved into the position she holds now as Business Manager for Clowes in March 2006.

She plans to use the fellowship to do what she loves best: traveling, writing, and photography.  During her travels, she has hope of connecting with other arts business professionals to compare the processes at their venues.

Sasaki, a composer-pianist who earned her Master of Music from Butler, has been on the faculty of the Butler University Community Arts School since 2015 and the innovative Little Mozarts program, also known as Little Bulldogs, for talented young performers and composers. She has also performed concertos with orchestras across the United States.

Johnson earned his degree in Arts Administration with Concentration in Dance, then joined the Boston Ballet, performing corps, soloist and principal roles from 1996 to 2005. He is Founder and Chief Executive Director of Indianapolis-based Kids Dance Outreach, which was created to bring high-quality arts education and performance opportunities directly to children.

The Arts Council convened a national panel of arts professionals to adjudicate the applications and select the 30 fellowship recipients. Since its inception, the Arts Council has awarded more than $3.35 million in grants to 400 fellows. Grants are awarded on a biennial basis and funded through a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Four From Butler Are Awarded Creative Renewal Fellowships

Four members of the Butler community—Karen Thickstun MM ’91, Lisa Whitaker, Miho Sasaki MM ’05, and Michael Johnson ’96—have been awarded $10,000 Creative Renewal Fellowships by the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

Jun 01 2017 Read more
Arts & CultureCommunity

Director In The Making: Julia Hren

BY Hannah Hartzell ’17

PUBLISHED ON Oct 12 2017

The Butler senior participated in the production of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.’

Things move swiftly in the theater world. That’s something Julia Hren ’18 can attest to. Last spring, the Theatre Production and Strategic Communications major was recommended for an internship at the Indianapolis Reparatory Theater (IRT).

Risa Brainin, the director of the production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,needed an assistant. Hren said she was interested.

Julia Hren in the lobby of the Indiana Repertory Theatre. She interned with the IRT during ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.’

Three days later, Hren was sitting in on auditions. It only got busier from there.

“There were various Skype meetings with designers [over the summer],” Hren said. “Then, everyone got together to talk about preplans for the set and costumes…. It was very fast paced.”

Rehearsals began in late August and continued until opening night on September 22. (The show ran through October 14.) Somehow, Hren balanced the nine-hour-long rehearsal days with a full load of classes at Butler.

The experience came with struggles though—like a relapse of mononucleosis. Still, Hren said it was all worth it.

“It is one of the most touching shows I’ve ever read or seen,” she said. “When I first read the script, I actually cried. It’s so wonderful.”

The Incident, which won the 2015 Tony for Best Play, tells the story of an autistic teenager, Christopher, who witnesses a mysterious event and goes on a quest for the answers.

“The show is really moving,” she said. Perhaps even more so to Hren, who has been a part of the production from the beginning.

“[The cast and crew] really wanted me to get something out of this,” she said. “In the end, it was a wonderful process and one of the best experiences of my life.”

She also feels more prepared for life after Butler.

“Before, I would look at the IRT from the outside and think it looked cool. Now, I know how it functions … and the way [it] functions is incredible. The whole show came together in about a month.”

So, what’s the talented senior up to in the coming months? Probably recovering from mono and planning for graduation.

“My dream job is to do PR and advertising for a theater,” she said, before adding: “I also would also love to direct.”

Arts & CultureCommunity

Director In The Making: Julia Hren

Things move swiftly in the theater world. That’s something Julia Hren ’18 can attest to. Last spring, the Theatre Production and Strategic Communications major was recommended for an internship at the Indianapolis Reparatory Theater (IRT).

Oct 12 2017 Read more
Phoenix
PeopleArts & Culture

Meet Butler's Participants in Phoenix Theatre's "Halftime with Don"

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 05 2018

Wherever you look during the Phoenix Theatre’s upcoming production of the play Halftime With Don, Butler Theatre will be well represented.

Onstage, Michael Hosp ’08 will be playing Ed, an aspiring sportswriter who meets his football hero, a man suffering from traumatic brain injury. The technical aspects of the show will be handled by Jeffery Martin, who studied at Butler from 2005-2009. And behind the scenes, Corbin Fritz ’18 is interning as he prepares for a career as a director.

“Education and the training of the next generation of theatre artists are an integral component of the mission of the Phoenix Theatre,” Producing Director Bryan Fonseca said. “We are fortunate to have an ongoing relationship with the Butler Department of Theatre.”

Over the past decade, Fonseca said, the Phoenix has hosted Butler interns, employed faculty members, collaborated with the department on projects, entertained and educated students through a formal program of attendance, advised incoming new students for the past five seasons, and employed former students as actors, technicians, and staff.

“I think our relationship is a successful model for professional training,” he said.

Let’s meet the Butler participants in Halftime With Don, which runs January 12-February 4.

 

The Actor

 

Michael Hosp grew up a couple of miles from Butler and went to school to be an actor. Ten years after graduation, he continues to rack up credits both day and night. In addition to performing in several other plays at the Phoenix, he’s appeared in and directed shows produced by several of Indianapolis’ most inventive theatre companies, including NoExit, EclecticPond, and Know No Stranger.

Hosp also has worked on adaptations of two Kurt Vonnegut books for the IndyFringe stage, and this past summer he was in the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company’s presentation of As You Like It.

Theatre is his full-time job too. During the day, Hosp works as an Actor-Interpreter at The Children’s Museum, where you might find him in the atrium dressed as a Transformer, or in one of the galleries doing a serious monologue while portraying historical figures such as Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank.

“It’s a good day job in the sense that it’s creative and it’s different every time,” he said. “My work here at the museum and my work outside, they both help. I’ve become a better actor by just having to perform every day. And kids, you never know what they’re going to do or say. So that definitely helps the improvisational skills.”

Halftime With Don playwright Ken Weitzman, who was in Indianapolis for the first three nights of rehearsal, said casting Hosp as Ed is an unusual move since Hosp is significantly taller than Bill Simmons, the actor who plays Don.

“But there’s something really to me compelling about this big guy with this hero worship for a football player who’s not as big as him,” Weitzman said. “And Mike has a real good instinct for the part.”

Hosp said Butler gave him a great education in how to approach not only acting, but a career in theatre.

“The education prepared me to be a theatre artist and not just an actor or any one thing,” he said. “It’s so valuable to understand how to communicate and collaborate with designers if you are the director. Or as an actor, really understand how you fit into the stage picture at any given moment– to make choices that support the visual story that’s being told. I learned those things there.”

 

The Technical Director

 

Jeff Martin knew he wanted to be in theatre, and at Butler he found a mix that allowed him to experience acting as well as behind-the-scenes work.

“It gave me a good head start,” the Griffith, Indiana, native said. “Butler gives everyone what they need. You just have to use it. People coming out of school who want to be actors—it’s hard. That’s a hard life. In the tech world, there’s a lot more stability.”

After graduation, Martin spent about a year in New York, where he did some acting and special-event tech work, including setting up the teleprompter and lighting for a speech by President Obama. He then moved to Atlanta and worked with theatre companies there for a couple of years, winning awards for his lighting work.

In 2013, he saw on a Butler listserv that the Phoenix Theatre was looking for a technical director. That’s been his full-time job ever since, and he’s earned some acclaim for his innovative work. Martin also has worked regularly with Young Actors Theatre and also collaborated with Hosp on the two Vonnegut shows.

Martin said the Phoenix keeps him busy, especially now that it’s getting ready to move into a new building just west of downtown Indianapolis. Having a fully rounded education has been important to his career, he said.

“If I only knew the tech side, for example, it wouldn’t be a good fit for the Phoenix or regional theatres around the country,” he said. “The people they want to hire—from my experience—are people who can wear a lot of hats. If you can’t, it’s hard to get your foot in the door. Have that cumulative experience is helpful.”

 

The Intern

 

Corbin Fritz ’18 spent much of his winter break at the Phoenix Theatre, where he’s interning with Bryan Fonseca, the director for Halftime With Don. Fritz wants to be a director—he plans to move to either Seattle or Denver after graduation—and he said getting this experience has been valuable.

“All those actors are incredibly talented, and getting to work with Ken, the playwright, is super, super-informative and educational and also productive to the creative process,” he said. “To hear Bryan’s thoughts and analysis of the play and to be able to share my thoughts has been a cool honor.”

Fritz came to Butler from Noblesville, Indiana, planning to be an Education major, but he switched before classes started. During his time at Butler, Fritz has gotten a wide variety of experiences in acting, directing, and light, sound, and costume design. He’s studied at the Moscow Art Theatre, in London for a semester, and interned with the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company as an assistant director and production intern.

“I’ve been able to get all the education and training through Butler’s diversified theatre approach,” he said. “In the Theatre Department, we’re all theater majors—not theatre-acting, theatre-design, theatre-directing or anything like that. Wider and greater understanding of the art has been the biggest thing I’ve been able to come away with at Butler.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

 

Arts & CultureCampus

Butler Ballet Spices Up Midwinter Dance Festival With a Tango

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 31 2018

Butler Ballet will warm up the cold winter nights with the sizzling modern dance tango Piazzolla Caldera and three world premiere pieces as part of Midwinter Dance Festival, Feb. 14-18 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.

Audiences have the opportunity to see two separate shows, each featuring Piazzolla Caldera, choreographed by the legendary American choreographer Paul Taylor, and three other pieces.

Program A will be presented:

Wednesday, February 14, at 7:00 PM

Friday, February 16, at 7:30 PM

Saturday, February 17, at 2:00 PM

Program B will be presented:

Thursday, February 15, at 7:00 PM

Saturday, February 17, at 7:30 PM

Sunday, February 18, 2:00 PM

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors 62 and older, and $7 for students and children under 18. They are available at Clowes Memorial Hall during regular box office hours and at the Schrott Center for the Arts beginning two hours before each performance.

Piazzolla Caldera, created in 1997, has been described as "a sensual exposé of tango as reinterpreted and reimagined with modern dance." The piece will be set by Butler Dance Professor Susan McGuire, who was a principal dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company from 1977 to 1988 and served as rehearsal director in 1989.

On February 9, the week before the Midwinter performances, the Paul Taylor Dance Company will perform at Clowes Memorial Hall. The company will present a masterclass for Butler Ballet dancers, and two members of the Paul Taylor company—including Heather McGinley '05—will coach the student-dancers.

"The circle has completed itself," Attaway said. "We're all excited about that."

Program A also will feature:

Farewell to the Singing Earth, choreographed by Professor Stephan Laurent and set to the music of Gustav Mahler. "This is a bittersweet moment for us because Stephan is retiring at the end of this year and this will be his last Midwinter with us," Attaway said. "He thought it would be fitting for him to revive a piece he did in 2003 that is a farewell."

Like Water for Dancers, choreographed by Assistant Professor of Dance Ramon Flowers. The piece represents the elements of water, fire, air, and earth. Initially developed for three dancers, it will feature 16 dancers in this new incarnation.

Dawn, choreographed by Professor Marek Cholewa. This world premiere also will feature an original score by percussionist Jordy Long '16.

Program B also will feature:

The grand pas de deux from La Bayadère, set by Assistant Professor of Dance Rosanna Ruffo. "This is a technical tour de force for our dancers," Attaway said. "It's more traditional than other pieces in Midwinter. It's certainly been reworked by Rosanna, but it will be familiar to people."

Stardust, a world premiere by Professor Cynthia Pratt, featuring music by David Bowie. "It's a technical challenge – very aerobic," Attaway said. "It doesn't stop moving."

Flying Wings, by Associate Professor of Dance Derek Reid. "We carry thoughts/burdens that weigh us down and search for opportunities and moments to feel free, to feel happy," Reid said, explaining the dance. "A friend passed a scripture reading on to me one day which sparked my inspiration. Roman 5: 3-4: “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

 


Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & CultureCampus

Butler Ballet Spices Up Midwinter Dance Festival With a Tango

Performances will take place February 14-18 at the Schrott Center.

Jan 31 2018 Read more
John Michael Goodson, Deena Fogle, Emily Bohn, Abby Gilster, Elisabeth Speckman
Arts & CulturePeople

Sense & Sensibility & Bulldogs

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 06 2018

The production of Sense & Sensibility now running at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre in Carmel, Indiana, is more than a production of Jane Austen's beloved novel—turns out, it's a gathering of Bulldogs.

The cast includes Emily Bohn '16 portraying Elinor Dashwood, Abby Gilster '16 as Fanny Dashwood, Lucy Steele, and a gossip; and Elisabeth Speckman MFA '16 and current College of Communication Adjunct Professor as Margaret Dashwood, Anne Steele, and a gossip.

John Michael Goodson, the Director, is an Adjunct in the Dance Department, where he has taught since 2011. Deena Fogle, the Stage Manager, earned her Master of Science in School Counseling in 2013.

Speckman said she knew Bohn and Gilster were Butler graduates. She and Bohn had performed together in Shakespeare's Cymbeline in October at Indianapolis' Bard Fest, and Bohn and Gilster are roommates.

"Then one night at rehearsal we were talking about our lives outside of the rehearsal room and realized that there were lots of us!" Speckman said.

Sense & Sensibility follows the fortunes (and misfortunes) of the Dashwood sisters—sensible Elinor and hypersensitive Marianne—after their father’s sudden death leaves them financially destitute and socially vulnerable. Set in gossipy late 18th-century England, the show examines our reactions, both reasonable and ridiculous, to societal pressures. When reputation is everything, how do you follow your heart?

The show runs February 2–17. Show times, tickets prices, and more information are available here.

 

(In the photo: John Michael Goodson, Deena Fogle, Emily Bohn, Abby Gilster, Elisabeth Speckman)

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

John Michael Goodson, Deena Fogle, Emily Bohn, Abby Gilster, Elisabeth Speckman
Arts & CulturePeople

Sense & Sensibility & Bulldogs

Butler is all over the Civic Theatre production of Sense & Sensibility.

Feb 06 2018 Read more
AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

Professor Lynch's Book Is a Finalist for LA Times Prize

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 22 2018

English Instructor Alessandra Lynch's 2017 book of poetry Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment has been selected as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Lynch will be flown to the April 20 ceremony where the winners will be announced.

Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment has been widely acclaimed, with The New York Times naming it one of the 10 best books of poetry last year.

Lynch has been teaching at Butler since 2008. She has designed courses in the First Year Seminar (Memoir) and Special Topics in Literature (Transformations in Literature), Introduction to Poetry Writing, Intermediate Poetry, and Independent Studies in Poetry, and she created and designed an Advancing Poetry course.

She has also designed the Poetry Workshop in the MFA program, created and designed Shaping a Manuscript, Finding Its Song: MFA Revision Class, and advised MFA students on their theses.

Lynch is the author of three collections of poetry: Sails the Wind Left Behind (winner of the New York/New England Award from Alice James Books, 2002), It was a terrible cloud at twilight (winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Award, Pleaides/LSU Press, 2008), and Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment (Alice James Books, 2017). She has received fellowships from The Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center, and she has been the recipient of a Barbara Deming Award and a Creative Renewal Fellowship for the Arts from the Indianapolis Council for the Arts.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & CulturePeopleCommunity

Angela Brown Sings Again in Celebration Concert

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 08 2018

Indianapolis-based soprano Angela Brown, who had taken some time off due to vocal stress, returns to the stage for a free concert on Sunday, February 25, at 7:30 PM at Butler University's Schrott Center for the Arts as part of the Celebration of African-American Music Concert.

The concert will feature Brown, Butler University choirs, and the Eastern Star Church Choir performing together and separately songs such as "This Little Light of Mine," "Wade in the Water," and "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

The Celebration of African-American Music Concert, pioneered by Jeremiah Marcèle Sanders MM '17 in collaboration with the Efroymson Diversity Center, Mu Phi Epsilon and the School of Music, celebrates the vast wealth of African-American culture through singing.

"Our singing is a tool for increasing the awareness of the oppression under which African slaves were brought to this land," Sanders said. "We wish that all see a day in which we celebrate a reconciliation of racial injustice. Until that day arrives, we rejoice in hope, sing in unity of mind and spirit, and educate toward equality."

Brown, a Butler University Visiting Guest Artist during the 2017–2018 academic year, sang on the Grammy-winning recording of "Ask Your Mama,” composer Laura Karpman’s setting of the poem by Langston Hughes of the same title. She also co-starred in the new American opera Charlie Parker’s Yardbird in the 2015 world-premiere performance with Opera Philadelphia.

She reprised the role of Addie Parker in historic performances at The Apollo in New York City in 2016, for Lyric Opera of Chicago and Madison Opera, and in London at The Hackney Empire in 2017.

This season includes solo appearances with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Venice Symphony Orchestra, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, and Duisberger Philharmonic (Germany) as well as performances of Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View in the United States.

The Butler choirs will be conducted by John Perkins, Associate Director of Choral Activities, who joined the University in 2014. Perkins previously served at the American University of Sharjah (UAE) from 2008-2014. Perkins’ teaching and research centers around broadening reasons for choral musicking, including social justice education. In pursuit of these goals, in the spring of 2016 he created a transnational course entitled "Peacebuilding through Choral Singing."

Sherri Garrison, who conducts the Eastern Star Church, Cooper Road campus, has been the Minister of Music there for the last 30 years. During her tenure at Eastern Star Church, she has overseen six choirs, of which she taught and directed five, two praise teams, two dance ministries, and a full music staff.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & CulturePeopleCommunity

Angela Brown Sings Again in Celebration Concert

Performance will feature the great soprano along with Butler choirs and the Eastern Star Church choir.

Feb 08 2018 Read more
Arts & CultureCampus

Creation & Creativity, Adam and Eve

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 21 2018

"Creation & Creativity, Adam and Eve," an art exhibit featuring works inspired by the biblical text from Creation- Genesis 1-2:2, will be displayed on February 28 at 6:00 PM in the Christian Theological Seminary's Shelton Auditorium, 1000 West 42nd Street.

Admission is free and open to the public.

The Religion, Spirituality & the Arts exhibit will feature the works of local artists Becky Archibald, Emily Bennett, Ellie Brown, Anastasiya Combs, Linda Henke, Elizabeth Kenney, Brigid Manning-Hamilton, Bonnie Maurer, Tracy Mishkin, Mary Sexson, Jennifer Swim, and Karen Van De Walle.

Religion, Spirituality & the Arts is directed by Rabbi Sandy Sasso. The symposium is an initiative to bring people together from diverse artistic disciplines, practices and religious/spiritual perspectives for a sustained study and reflection on a Biblical text. Selected participants are part of a seminar that will engage the sacred text as they seek inspiration to create new work (music, poetry, visual art, dance, drama, narrative, liturgical art). These works will be shared in the seminar and in a final community exhibition.

 

 

(Artwork by Bonnie Maurer)

Arts & CultureCampus

Creation & Creativity, Adam and Eve

The artwork will be presented one night only, February 28.

Feb 21 2018 Read more
Arts & CulturePeople

James Alexander Thom '60 Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 25 2018

Historical fiction novelist James Alexander Thom ’60 has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. He is only the third Hoosier author to receive this award.

Thom studied English and journalism at Butler, after which he became a reporter and columnist for The Indianapolis Star, as well as a freelance magazine writer. His writing focuses on frontier and Indian Wars history, and his carefully researched novels have sold more than 2 million copies. Two of these novels were made into television films by Ted Turner and Hallmark.

Follow the River, a 1981 novel about a pioneer woman captured by Shawnee Indians became a New York Times bestseller and is now in its 50th printing. Panther in the Sky, his biographical novel about Shawnee chieftain Tecumseh, won the Western Writers of America Spur Award for best novel in 1989.

Years of research among Shawnee Indians for Panther in the Sky led to his marriage to Dark Rain, a Shawnee Indian with whom he co-authored the 2003 novel Warrior Woman. His most recent book, Fire in the Water, about the sinking of the steamboat Sultana during the Civil War, was published in 2016.

Thom was born in Owen County, Indiana, in 1933 and still resides there, in a log house he built himself. He is currently working on another American Indian novel and a memoir, and he is illustrating a children’s book.

“Awards come as surprises,” he said. “In my long lifetime as an author, I've never worked on a story with an award in mind. Storytelling is its own reward. It takes the cake. Good thing, because the pay isn't all that great. Being able to live on your royalties, if you can, is icing on the cake. Then they surprise you with an award like this ... and it's like a bright candle on top of the icing on top of the cake.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award is a literary honor that seeks to recognize outstanding authors who have left an indelible mark on our state’s literary heritage. Thom’s life and work will be celebrated at the Indiana Authors Award Dinner on October 13 at Central Library. He will select an Indiana public library to receive a $2,500 grant on behalf of the Library Foundation.

In 2009, Thom won the library’s National Indiana Authors Award, and he received multiple nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award. As one nominee said, “[James Thom] researches his subjects very carefully and makes historical characters come alive and their stories compelling and interesting to read. When he writes, it’s as if he has a paintbrush in his hand, describing every detail as though he were painting a picture. I can see each scene he portrays, and I feel as though I am there in that time and place. I can even smell the smoke of battle or bread baking in the oven. He cares about his characters and makes us care about them as well.”

In addition to his writing and journalism talents, Thom’s legacy includes serving as a professor and lecturer in the Indiana University School of Journalism and mentoring many people in the Indiana writing community over the years.

The Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award recognizes Indiana authors’ contributions to the literary landscape in Indiana and across the nation. 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Award. The Indiana Authors Award is a program of The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation and is funded through the generosity of the Glick Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation.

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & CulturePeople

James Alexander Thom '60 Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation will honor him on October 13.

Jan 25 2018 Read more
Arts & CultureCommunity

Butler to Celebrate 100 Years of Bernstein

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 09 2018

Butler University's Jordan College of the Arts will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of American composer, conductor, author, and lecturer Leonard Bernstein with a series of performances throughout 2018, beginning with the Butler Symphony Orchestra performing the Overture to Candide on February 24 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.

“Leonard Bernstein’s legacy was the passion he brought to his music, whether in the role of creator/composer, performer/conductor, or teacher/author," said Lisa Brooks, Dean of Butler's Jordan College of the Arts. "There are very few musicians alive today who have not been somehow influenced by his genius.”

In addition to the performances, the Butler University School of Music will offer an undergraduate course called Topics in Nineteenth-Century Music: Mahler and Bernstein, taught by Dr. Clare Carrasco in the fall.

Bernstein received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Butler in 1976.

Here is the list of performances honoring the Maestro, who was born August 25, 1918, and died October 14, 1990.

Spring 2018

Music at Butler Series: Butler Symphony Orchestra performs the Overture to Candide, Saturday, February 24, 7:30 PM, Schrott Center for the Arts.

Music at Butler Series: Wind Ensemble presents Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Sunday, February 25, 3:00 PM, Schrott Center for the Arts.

Butler Opera Theatre and Butler Symphony Orchestra present Trouble in Tahiti, Friday and Saturday, April 13–14, 7:30 PM, Schrott Center for the Arts.

Neighborhood Concert Series: Wind Ensemble performs Candide Suite, Thursday, April 26, 7:00 PM, Schrott Center for the Arts.

Music at Butler Series: Choral Concert, choruses from The Lark for choir, percussion, countertenor soloist, Sunday, April 29, 3:00 PM, Schrott Center for the Arts.

Fall 2018

Wayne Wentzel Lecture Series: Dr. Carol Oja, Harvard University, Tuesday, October 16. Time and venue to be announced.

Neighborhood Concert Series: Jazz Ensemble and Butler Symphony Orchestra performing a newly commissioned medley of Bernstein works for studio orchestra, Thursday October 18, 7:30 PM, Schrott Center for the Arts.

Music at Butler Series: Butler Symphony Orchestra playing Symphony No. 1 (“Jeremiah”), with School of Music faculty member Kirsten Gunlogson, mezzo-soprano, Sunday, October 21, 3:00 PM, Clowes Memorial Hall.

Neighborhood Concert Series: Wind Ensemble performs A White House Cantata with two vocal soloists (soprano and baritone) from the Marine Band and a small chorus; Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs, with clarinet soloist from the Marine Band; and On the Waterfront Suite transcription, Thursday, November 15, 7:30 PM, Schrott Center for the Arts.

 

(Photo from leonardbernstein.com)

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & CultureCommunity

Butler to Celebrate 100 Years of Bernstein

Events in the series begin February 24.

Feb 09 2018 Read more

Dancing to the Beat of His Own Drum

In the eyes of Butler University Ballet Chair Larry Attaway, there likely won’t be another Jeremy Gruner in, well, forever.

“There’s never been another one like him before, at least in my time here,” says Attaway.

And that’s because Gruner, who is working on a Master of Music Composition, is also a sophomore-level non-degree student in Butler’s dance program. And Gruner is about to pull off a rare feat: He has written a 15-minute musical composition for this year’s Midwinter Dance Festival that he will also dance in.

The piece, titled Prophetstown, is about Tecumseh, the Native American Shawnee warrior and chief, and Tenskwatawa, his younger brother. Collaborating with Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Fernando Carrillo, who choreographed the piece, Gruner wrote a composition he describes as "rhythmically consistent and drum-heavy, with distinctive fast and slow sections."

To get the music right, Carrillo says, he talked to Gruner about the style of music he likes and sent samples of music that inspire him to dance or choreograph.

"We talked about tempo, dynamic, and the structure of the dance piece," Carrillo says. "Jeremy, being a dancer, understood what I wanted and has delivered a great piece of music that has made my choreography flow with ease."

Carillo says he's worked with composers who have a background in dance, which helps the choreographer during collaborations. But, Carillo says, it was a very rare experience to have a composer like Gruner who will actually dance in the performance.

Gruner, who is originally from Mahomet, Illinois, was more of a musician—he plays trumpet—than a dancer when he came to Butler. He danced briefly in high school musical theater, and as an undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan University he collaborated with a faculty member to create music for a dance she choreographed.

But when he started looking at graduate schools, he wanted one that had strong music and dance programs, and also supported collaboration between departments.

"Butler was by far the most pro-collaboration," Gruner says. "That's why I came here."

He started at Butler by concentrating in both music composition and trumpet performance. He also enrolled in a 7:30 AM dance class with Liberty Harris, who is the rehearsal director of the Indianapolis company Dance Kaleidoscope and teaches dance for non-major Butler students. That was his first true ballet class.

On the first day, he was "completely clueless." The terminology and steps were new to him. But he wanted to keep going, and Harris encouraged him.

"I don't know if it's because it was so much of a struggle, but when I would accomplish something—when I would get even a little step further—I would feel such a sense of satisfaction that I never really got out of playing trumpet," Gruner says. "So I started to work more on dance and less on trumpet."

Gruner dropped the trumpet after his first semester and prepared to audition for the dance program. He's now doing the full technique course rotation of an undergraduate sophomore dance major while he finishes his master's with Professor of Music Composition Michael Schelle.

In place of the traditional graduate thesis recital expected of Music Composition students, Gruner will present an hour-long dance show comprised of music he has written in collaboration with Butler Ballet faculty, alumni, and current student choreographers. He will present that performance at Butler's Schrott Center for the Arts on Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 PM.

Gruner says studying music and dance simultaneously, along with teaching and holding two part-time jobs, is a lot of work. But he's up to the challenge.

"Dancing to music is completely different than writing it,” Gruner says, “so it's been interesting to separate myself from Composer Jeremy when I’m trying to be Dancer Jeremy. With just about everything, I either go full force at it or I don't even bother."


You can see Gruner piece in Program A of the Dance Department’s Midwinter Dance Festival, February 13-17 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.  Tickets for all shows are $15 for adults, $10 for 55-and-older, and $7 for children. For tickets and information, visit the Butler Art's Center site.

The Linklater Voice

Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

Theatre is an art where the human being is the medium the art is created with, and the art form is about bringing a human being to life. In order to achieve a great play, actors must learn and train in the actor’s quartet: voice, body, mind, and heart.

At Butler University, theatre students train in all these areas, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the University had a well-structured and effective voice class.

“I knew we weren’t offering training that was good enough in this department, and I wanted something better,” Jordan College of the Arts Theatre Chair Diane Timmerman said. “We just had one random, inconsequential Voice for the Actor class, and now we have three that are very structured, specific, and effective.”

Timmerman spent four years obtaining a Linklater Voice certification to help create and teach Butler’s new Voice for the Actor classes. The Linklater Voice methodology uses a combination of imagery, art, and science to teach students to liberate their natural voices; the hallmark of the Linklater work being maximum effect with minimal effort.

“I like to look at the work with two main purposes,” Timmerman said. “One is called vocal hygiene—developing the breathing and speaking mechanism and restoring it to the way it was originally meant to be utilized. The other side of the work, which is of utmost importance to actors, is expressivity.”

Throughout the semester, Timmerman’s students complete a variety of physiological exercises and study the anatomy of the human body to gain a better understanding and awareness of how their bodies and their breath affect one another. Timmerman even utilizes a parachute, like the ones used in elementary and middle school gym classes, to help students better visualize how the diaphragm actually works.

“Ninety percent of people’s voice issues have to do with breathing issues. So we begin with skeletal awareness, breath awareness, and exactly how the breathing process works,” Timmerman said.

Timmerman explained the outcome of these exercises and the studying of anatomy is that students develop a picture of the skeleton which means they can better release extraneous tensions that impede the breathing and speaking process.

“Breath is the foundation for everything with your voice,” Timmerman said. “Your voice can be much more when you want it to be. Certainly an actor on stage wants the voice to be more effective. They’re playing a role and they want the feelings, the thoughts, and the essence of that character manifested in their sounds.”

Timmerman further explained that the Linklater methodology is holistic work that takes time to learn and master, but that it works, which is why Timmerman pushed to earn her certification to teach it.

“Once a student goes through even one semester of Voice for the Actor class, they have developed so much awareness of their breathing and speaking mechanisms that they do far superior work on stage,” Timmerman said.

Timmerman is one of fewer than a 140 individuals worldwide certified in Linklater Voice. This means Butler students, who learned the Linklater methodology through Timmerman’s class, are a rare group of students who hold a better understanding of how their voice works and how they can use it in various situations to excel both personally and professionally.

AcademicsArts & Culture

The Linklater Voice

Theatre is an art where the human being is the medium the art is created with, and the art form is about bringing a human being to life.

by Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

Read more
Arts & Culture

Announcing Spring 2019 Visiting Writers Series

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

Call Me By Your Name author André Aciman, doctor/poet/professor C. Dale Young, and bestselling novelist Lauren Groff are among the headliners for Butler University's spring 2019 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

The spring series begins January 22 with poet Gregory Orr. He will be followed by Groff (January 31), poet and playwright Claudia Rankine (February 19), Young (March 20), essayist Eula Biss (April 4), and Aciman (April 16).

All events are free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, visit  https://www.butler.edu/vws.

More about each author follows.

 

Gregory Orr
American Academy of Arts & Letters Award in Literature Winner/Los Angeles Times Poetry Prize Finalist
Tuesday, January 22, 7:30 PM
Schrott Center for the Arts

Considered by many to be a master of short, lyric free verse, Gregory Orr is the author of eleven collections of poetry. His most recent volumes include The River Inside the River (2013), How Beautiful The Beloved (2009), and Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved (2005).

Much of Orr’s early work is concerned with seminal events from his childhood, including a hunting accident when he was 12 in which he accidentally shot and killed his younger brother, followed shortly by his mother’s unexpected death, and his father’s later addiction to amphetamines. In the opening of his essay “The Making of Poems,” broadcast on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Orr said, “I believe in poetry as a way of surviving the emotional chaos, spiritual confusions, and traumatic events that come with being alive.”

 

Lauren Groff
New York Times Best-Selling Author
Thursday, January 31, 7:30 PM
Schrott Center for the Arts

Lauren Groff is a New York Times bestselling author of three novels: The Monsters of Templeton (2008), Arcadia (2011), and Fates and Furies (2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award, Amazon’s No. 1 Best Book of the Year, and President Obama’s choice as his favorite book of 2015.

Groff also wrote the celebrated short-story collection Delicate Edible Birds (2009), and her latest book, Florida (2018), is a collection of interwoven short stories centered on her adopted home state. Groff’s work has appeared in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Atlantic, and in several of the annual The Best American Short Stories anthologies.

 

Claudia Rankine
National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry/Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry
Tuesday, February 19, 7:30 PM
Schrott Center for the Arts

Recipient of a 2016 MacArthur Fellowship, Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely (2004), and several plays, including her first published one, The White Card, forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2019. 

She is the editor of several anthologies, including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (2015). She also co-produces a video series, The Situation, alongside John Lucas, and is the founder of the Open Letter Project: Race and the Creative Imagination.

Rankine’s bestselling book Citizen: An American Lyric uses poetry, essay, cultural criticism, and visual images to explore what it means to be an American citizen in an ostensibly “post-racial” society. A defining text for our time, Citizen was the winner of the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Collection, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (it was also a finalist in the criticism category, making it the first book in the award’s history to be a double nominee), the NAACP Image Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for poetry.

 

C. Dale Young
Award-winning Poet and Writer
Wednesday, March 20, 7:30 PM
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

C. Dale Young is an award-winning poet and writer who practices medicine full-time and teaches in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. He is the author of four poetry collections, including, most recently, Torn (2011) and The Halo (2016), and a novel in stories, The Affliction (2018).

He is a recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Young is the 2017 recipient of the Hanes Award, given by the Fellowship of Southern Writers to recognize a distinguished body of work by a poet in midcareer.

 

Eula Biss
National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction Finalist/National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism Winner
Thursday, April 4, 7:30 PM
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

Eula Biss is the author of three books: On Immunity: An Inoculation (2014), named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction and chosen by Mark Zuckerberg for Facebook’s Year of Books; Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays (2009), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism; and a collection of poetry, The Balloonists (2002).

A frank and fascinating exploration of race and racial identity, Notes from No Man’s Land was described by Salon as “the most accomplished book of essays anyone has written or published so far in the 21st century. It provokes, troubles, charms, challenges, and occasionally hectors the reader, and it raises more questions than it answers. It is strident and brave in its unwillingness to offer comfort, and, unlike all but a handful of the best books I have ever read, it is unimpeachably great.”

 

André Aciman
Lambda Literary Award Winner for “Call Me by Your Name”/Whiting Award Winner
Tuesday, April 16, 7:30 PM
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

André Aciman is the author of the novels Harvard Square (2013), Eight White Nights (2010), and Call Me by Your Name (2007), the memoir Out of Egypt (1994), and the essay collections Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere (2011) and False Papers: Essays on Exile and Memory (2000). He also coauthored and edited Letters of Transit (1999) and The Proust Project (2004).

His work has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, Granta Magazine, and the Paris Review, as well as in several volumes of The Best American Essays. He has won a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

Arts & Culture

Announcing Spring 2019 Visiting Writers Series

Author André Aciman and bestselling novelist Lauren Groff are among the headliners for the Visiting Writers Series.

Nov 14 2018 Read more

Midwestern Voice in the Capital

Marc Allan

from Spring 2016

During her six years at Butler—four as an undergraduate Arts Administration major and two earning her Master of Music Education— Ursula Kuhar ’05 MM ’07 often thought about moving to Washington, DC. 

In July, Kuhar took over as Executive Director of Washington Concert Opera, which specializes in performing seldom-heard operas. Kuhar calls it “one of the most revered companies in the country.” 

Getting to this point was a journey that began in Powell, Ohio, outside Columbus, where Kuhar had volunteered for her hometown symphony orchestra while in high school. She knew she wanted to pursue a career in music. After meeting with then-Associate Dean of the Jordan College of Fine Arts Steve Roberson, she discovered the idea of Arts Administration as a major. 

Butler’s undergraduate program allowed Kuhar to explore all avenues of music, from business to teaching to performance. She was so taken with what she learned from Professor Michael Sells (“He’s still a huge mentor and guiding force in my life, and a great friend.”) that she wanted to keep studying with him. So she stayed for a master’s degree, taking voice lessons and performance-based classes from Sells, as well as music education classes with another favorite professor of hers, Penny Dimmick. 

Butler led to Indiana University, where Kuhar earned her Doctor of Music in Voice. Three days after graduation in 2011, she was hired by Sweet Briar College as Director and Assistant Professor of Arts Management. She spent four years there—and would have happily stayed longer—but on March 3, 2015, the faculty was assembled and told that the school would be closing on June 30. (That decision was rescinded in mid-June, but not until after Kuhar had accepted her position with Washington Concert Opera.) 

At Sweet Briar, Kuhar had quadrupled enrollment in the arts-management program, helped secure foundation and individual gifts, and “had a wonderful time” there. Now, she enjoys presenting “exquisite music” like Rossini’s Semiramide “to a group of devoted patrons.” 

“It’s a niche that people love,” Kuhar said. 

Plus, there’s the benefit of being in the nation’s capital. The location is head-turning, she said, “but I’m still a salt-of-the-earth, Midwest girl at the end of the day.”

 

The Science of Movement

Kailey Eaton ’17

from Spring 2017

How do dancers move the way they do? There’s actually a science behind every spin!

Emily Elwell ’17 is a Dance Performance major who has learned this science of movement through the Jordan College of the Arts.  

It’s called Laban Movement Analysis, or LMA, and it is a system created for observing, describing, and executing movement.  It is used not only by dancers, but also actors, musicians, athletes and health and wellness professionals.

LMA was created by Rudolf Laban, a movement analyst, choreographer, and dancer, as a way to classify and interpret human movement.

Elwell said she had minimal exposure to LMA before coming to Butler.

“My second semester of sophomore year at Butler was when I took Laban Movement Analysis and began to understand its principles and how they can be applied across the board in my dance classes,” she said. 

All dance majors in the Jordan College of the Arts are required to take a course in Laban Movement Analysis. This one-semester course gives the dancers exposure to the fundamental principles of LMA.

Elwell says that as a dancer, LMA has challenged her to explore different efforts in movement and has pushed her to find a voice within her own movement. She also says that it is a useful tool for professors to help the dancers understand the reasoning behind movement and execute the efforts properly. 

“There are instances when Professor Pratt will use LMA concepts in her Jazz class if we are struggling to use the right effort to perform a particular movement,” Elwell said.

Cynthia Pratt is a dance professor in the JCA who teaches a class on LMA. She says she uses the system as a tool for performance and choreography.

“Rather than having a vocabulary that is based on steps and gestures, LMA uses spatial pulls, dynamics and body organizations to express the various ways a human body can move,” Pratt said. 

She also uses terminology and concepts learned in LMA to help the dancers understand what she is looking for in particular choreography.

Pratt says one of the primary concepts in LMA is that human movement takes place within a “Kinesphere”—the space around your body that you move in—and by imagining the Kinesphere in different three-dimensional geometric forms, one can accurately describe or execute a movement.

LMA divides this space around the body into 27 different points where one might move, which contributes to a dancer’s heightened awareness of his or her body.

The dynamics of the movement are described by weight, space, time, and flow. This works for all kinds of movement, not just dance.  For example, if you are swinging a baseball bat, you might be using Strong Weight, Free Flow and Direct Space.

Elwell believes that understanding the science behind her movement has made her a better dancer.

“The concepts and principals I learned in the class have been exceedingly valuable to me as a dancer, and have broadened my understanding of dance.”

AcademicsArts & Culture

The Science of Movement

How do dancers move the way they do? There’s actually a science behind every spin!

by Kailey Eaton ’17

from Spring 2017

Read more
Arts & CulturePeople

Ty Sutton Named Executive Director of the University Arts Center

BY

PUBLISHED ON Sep 11 2015

Ty Sutton, the General Manager of the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center in Midland, Texas, has been named the new Executive Director of the Butler University Arts Center, which includes Clowes Memorial Hall, Schrott Center for the Arts, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, and the Black Box Theatre in Lilly Hall.

Sutton, who will start at Butler on October 19, has more than 16 years of event and venue management experience—from Olympic venues to the position he’s leaving at the 1,827-seat, University of Texas-owned theater.

Ty Sutton“I enjoy working in an academic environment, and I think Butler has a lot to offer,” Sutton said. “I run a University-owned building now, and it’s one of the busiest in the country. So this move made sense in a lot of ways.”

Sutton has been at the Wagner Noël for three years. Previously, he was General Manager of The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. He also has worked in several arts administration positions, including Programming Director at the University of Utah and Audience Services Manager at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California.

He was a partner at Encore Entertainment, a Salt Lake City-based concert and event touring company, and worked as a Venue Manager for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games.

“It was a fantastic experience to see the highest level of customer service and event planning,” he said. “You have one shot for 16 days to get something right, and, if you don’t get it right, there are no do-overs. That can be really intimidating, but I found it empowering.”

He also held the position of Event Services Manager for Anaheim’s Honda Center, home of the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks and one of the busiest arenas in the country.

“Ty brings a background and skillset that will serve both Butler and the Central Indiana community well,” said Ronald Caltabiano, Dean of Butler’s Jordan College of the Arts. “He will build on the great work that’s already been done in these venues, and his commitment to the highest quality of student, community, and professional performances is evident. Indianapolis is a world-class city with a burgeoning arts scene, and the Butler Arts Center is well positioned to thrive under Ty’s leadership.”

A native of Danville, California, in the San Francisco Bay area, Sutton earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Utah and is a graduate of the International Association of Venue Manager’s Venue Management School. He and his wife, Polly Creer Sutton, a retired professional ballerina, have a 6-year-old son, Cooper, and a 1-year-old daughter, Tatum.

He takes over Clowes Memorial Hall from longtime leader Elise Kushigian, who retired in August after more than 20 years, and Interim Executive Director Karen Cromer. The newly created position at Butler has him overseeing operations of all performance venues.

Sutton, who was selected at the conclusion of a thorough national search conducted by the Arts Consulting Group, described his approach to the arts as “very entrepreneurial.”

“Whenever we can drive revenue to the arts by selling tickets and creating sponsorships, the more opportunity we have to expand our offerings," he said. "I want us to create attention for our venues and programs, and provide experiences for our patrons that they'll remember for the next 20 years."

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Jordan Jazz: Small but Mighty Good

By Haley Stevenson '19

Jordan Jazz is a small ensemble of student jazz singers studying in Butler University’s School of Music. Led by Erin Benedict, the vocal ensemble performs along with a band of students from the jazz program consisting of piano, bass, drums, saxophone, and guitar.

Erin Benedict
Erin Benedict

A graduate of The Manhattan School of Music, Erin Benedict began teaching at Butler a couple of years ago. Outside of Butler, her forte is commercial performance: singing in movie soundtracks and television commercials. Like with any new job, she had doubts, but as soon as she met the students and the group she would be teaching, she knew she was in the right place. “I was approached several times to come here and teach jazz voice and do Jordan Jazz … I’m glad I said yes!”

Jordan Jazz is a unique ensemble because it is so small and close knit. Only eight students meet with Benedict once a week for two hours. Throughout the course of a semester the group gets to know each other very well. “They all set up a group chat and support one another … In a smaller school like Butler, it may be more common, but in a larger school, it’s very unlikely,” Benedict says.

As many music students will note, it can be a struggle to maintain the excitement they had when they first started out – creative passions sometimes become a bit of a job, and a demanding one at that. Jordan Jazz gives students the opportunity to perform in a professional setting, but under less pressure so they can freely express themselves. “I am studying classical music constantly, so I really like being able to come together in this small jazz group. The tight harmonies and intimate settings make it really special," says junior Rowan Squire-Willey.  

Benedict hopes that in the coming years, Jordan Jazz will be one of the elite ensembles at Butler: “I see it being six men and six women … a mixture of a cappella and with instruments. I would love to see some students write things, and I would like to take them out to perform in the community.” That vision may come true as soon as this coming spring, when Benedict is planning to start some community outreach.

If you’d like to see the ensemble’s first performance of the 2018-2019 school year, your chance is this Wednesday, November 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall. The performance is free, open to the public, and is sure to be night to remember.   

Jordan Jazz
Arts & CultureStudent Life

Jordan Jazz: Small but Mighty Good

Jordan Jazz, a small ensemble of student jazz singers, takes the stage Wednesday, November 28. 

Jordan Jazz

Jordan Jazz: Small but Mighty Good

By Haley Stevenson '19
AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

Playing the Long Game

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 05 2018

Annie Sullivan MFA '12 finds herself wearing a lot of gold-beaded jewelry these days. What better way to call attention to the release of her first young-adult novel, A Touch of Gold?

On this particular day, she's wearing a gold/orange beaded necklace that a friend gave her. Her bracelet is made up of strands of overlaid beads of gold, a gift from the Chicago Pearl Company to accent her outfits as she promotes the book.

A Touch of Gold, which comes out August 14, tells the story of King Midas' daughter, Princess Kora, 10 years after she'd been turned to gold by her father. She's now back to life, but with some lasting side effects—one of which is that she can sense other objects her father turned to gold. When those objects get stolen, she goes on a quest to find them.

Along the way, Kora faces off with pirates and thieves and discovers not only who to trust but who she is. Ultimately, A Touch of Gold is about a girl finding herself and becoming comfortable in skin that makes her unlike everyone else.

Sullivan—the first fiction writer from Butler's MFA in Creative Writing program to earn a book deal—said she and Kora have plenty in common, from their appearance (short in stature, with long, golden hair) to their adventurous spirit, toughness, and sticktoitiveness.

"I write strong female characters who can stand up for themselves," she said. "People who have a little Disney princess in them but also have that hardcore side where they say, 'I can handle this.'"

But while Kora battles in the fantasy world, Sullivan must deal with the real world: the often exasperating, slow-moving world of publishing.

"Writing," she said, "is not for the weak. You've got to have a strong constitution and be willing to never give up."

Sullivan, who grew up in Indianapolis and earned her undergraduate degree from Indiana University, began writing her book as an MFA student at Butler. She chose Butler's graduate program in creative writing because she found that it was open to many different styles of writing.

"People were writing ghost stories and middle-grade stories, and I'm over here writing fairy-tale retellings," she said. "And they were open to that. I know there are other programs where they really look down on genre fiction and anything that's not literary fiction."

Still, Sullivan started off unsure. The first assignment she turned in was a short story about an old man whose wife died in a car accident. She hated the story and so did everyone else in the class. "I'm sure I went back to my car and cried," she said.

Next came the breakthrough moment: She decided that next she submitted a story, "I'm going to turn in something that actually represents me."

That story turned out to be the first chapter of what became A Touch of Gold. Her classmates recognized her passion, she said, and they approved.

"Annie was obviously very talented," Associate Professor of English Mike Dahlie said. "But more important, she was wholly devoted to her writing. Her kind of unfettered and patient love of storytelling is always why people get book deals."

That was in 2010.

Over the next seven years, Sullivan continued writing. Finished the first draft of A Touch of Gold. Read about agents (she recommends literaryrambles.com for that) and sent query letters to more than 100 before she found one who appreciated her work. Wrote a second book. Then a third. Attended the Midwest Writers Workshop. Revised the first book based on feedback from the workshop. Received a rejection from one publisher saying the book was too dark. Received a rejection from another publisher the next day saying the book wasn't dark enough.

Finally, in August 2017, her agent called: She sold the book to Blink, a young-adult imprint of HarperCollins.

"You've got to be in this for the long game," Sullivan said. "And it is a long game. It's a game of timing and finding the right person who loves your work."

Now, while she continues in her day job working for Wiley Publishing as copy specialist on the content-marketing team, Sullivan is working on another book, writing articles for Young Adult websites to help publicize A Touch of Gold, planning to attend the American Library Association's midwinter conference to sign advance reader copies of her book, setting up school visits, and thinking about a book launch party in August.

She gives Butler's MFA program a great deal of credit for her success—from providing her time and motivation to write, to having professors and critique partners to guide her writing, to having the freedom to tell the kinds of stories she likes to tell.

"I can't describe how much they helped me," she said. "Everything fell into place through Butler to make my writing dreams come true."

Find Annie Sullivan on Twitter (@annsulliva), Facebook (Author Annie Sullivan) or on her blog (anniesullivanauthor.wordpress.com).

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

Playing the Long Game

Annie Sullivan MFA '12 spent eight years on her book "A Touch of Gold." That sticktoitiveness is about to pay off.

Jun 05 2018 Read more
Arts & Culture

Quilt Show Enhances Visual Arts at Clowes

BY Marc Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Mar 11 2019

Karen Dietz Colglazier ‘70, MA ‘74, attended the Butler University Alumni Creates art shows that were part of Homecoming from 2010 to 2012, and thought: It’s too bad her artform—quilting—couldn’t be part of the event. But at that time, there wasn’t a way to display quilts in Clowes Memorial Hall without risk of damage.

Now there is.

Hanging QuiltThanks to a gift from Colglazier and her husband, Bud, Clowes Hall Stage Tech John Lucas had the resources to devise a rigging system that will enable quilts, and other large visual art pieces, to be displayed against what previously had been blank walls.

The hanging system Lucas created, which is similar to the mechanism used to adjust Venetian blinds, can raise and lower artwork up to a height of 20 feet. There will be 10 systems placed throughout Clowes Hall, creating a potential 2,400 square feet of additional wall space for art.

“These innovative hanging systems enable us to display antique, as well as contemporary, art quilts out of reach, but still be fully viewed by visitors to Clowes,” Colglazier says.

Clowes Hall visitors will get their first look at the rigging system and how it functions March 19-June 7 at Imagine the Possibilities: An Exhibition of Quilts, a free, three-part exhibition that includes quilts and quilt-inspired fine art from Indiana based artists, showcasing many quilts from private collections.

The exhibition begins with Antique, Vintage and Traditional Quilts (March 19-April 12), followed by Transitional Quilts (April 16-May 10), and Contemporary Art Quilts and Fiber Art (May 14-June 7). Each exhibition will have a featured quilt that is representative of the genre being exhibited.

Quilt HangingMany of the quilts that will be displayed are more than 100 years old, and include styles such as Baltimore Album and crazy quilts--”all different genres of beautiful quilts,” Colglazier says.

The idea of a high rail hanging system grew out of the shared vision of Colglazier and Clowes Hall Community Relations Manager James Cramer, who were trying to determine how to hang quilts in Clowes in a way that made them inaccessible, but still viewable. Colglazier says Butler First Lady Bethanie Danko, who will have a quilt in the third exhibition, described the new hanging system as being “transformative for the visual arts at Clowes Hall.”

“This isn’t just a quilt exhibition,” Colglazier says. “This is the beginning of imagining the possibilities of the potential for the future of the visual arts and art education at Clowes.”

Cramer says Lucas’s invention “is expanding what we can do and how we can serve our visual arts community.” He says he generally agrees with Evans Woollen, the architect who designed Clowes Hall, who said that “the architecture was the art and the people were what brought the life to the building.”

“However," Cramer says, "what we are doing now is not so much covering walls but giving our patrons, young and old, an enhanced experience when they come to Clowes Hall.”

 

The exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

 

Media Contact:
Marc Allan
News Manager
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Quilt Show Enhances Visual Arts at Clowes

This is the beginning of the future of the visual arts and art education at Clowes.

Mar 11 2019 Read more

VISIONARIES: The Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

President James Danko

from Spring 2018

As I sat down to write this message, my wife Bethanie told me that she’d just purchased tickets for the Butler Theatre performance of The Little Prince. Although Bethanie normally prefers to read mysteries and I enjoy biographies, this classic book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a shared childhood favorite of ours. We still treasure the story for many reasons, including its celebration of creativity. Saint-Exupéry’s concept of vision as a sense that goes beyond that which is obvious to the eye—one that requires humanity, imagination, and courage—is something that we both deeply value. Not surprisingly, it is also a The Little Princeconcept that is woven through Butler’s history and present-day campus culture.

Fifty years before American women had the right to vote, Ovid Butler endowed the first chair in the nation specifically for a female professor in honor of his daughter Demia. And nearly a century ago, in the midst of a KKK resurgence in the state, seven young African American visionaries founded Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. at Butler. It is now a nationwide Greek organization with more than 500 chapters. Whether through the groundbreaking social-justice initiatives of our founders, the actions of those in the generations that preceded us, the introduction of the “blue book” and the orange basketball, or housing the largest telescope in Indiana, Bulldogs have always pioneered new ideas.

In this edition of Butler Magazine, you’ll find that today’s visionary spirit at Butler is stronger than ever. Our faculty, staff, students, and alumni are rolling up their sleeves and immersing themselves in entrepreneurial, technological, research, and service projects. And they are doing so within a Liberal Arts model that encourages humanity, imagination, courage, and a lifelong love of learning.

I think the Little Prince would be pleased.

Arts & Culture

VISIONARIES: The Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Today’s visionary spirit at Butler is stronger than ever.

by President James Danko

from Spring 2018

Read more
Arts & CultureCampus

The Stage Manager, Emily, George ... and the Provost?

BY

PUBLISHED ON Nov 05 2015

When she makes her theatrical debut on Wednesday, November 11, Butler University Provost Kate Morris hopes to portray a professor with the same competence she has demonstrated in 20 years as an actual professor.

“I’m having some first-time stage jitters,” acknowledged Morris, who will be the first of several Butler guest stars to have a cameo in Butler Theatre’s production of the classic American play Our Town, November 11-15 in the Schrott Center for the Arts. “I don’t know how well I’ll do, but I’m sure the rest of the cast will be great.”
Butler Theatre rehearses "Our Town," November 11-15 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.

Morris will be playing the part commonly known as “Professor Willard,” a character who interrupts the play to make announcements. She’ll be followed by:

-Vice President for Student Affairs Levester Johnson, with an after-party featuring live mascot Trip (Thursday, November 12, at 7:00 PM).

-Performing and Fine Arts Librarian Sheri Stormes (Friday, November 13, at 7:30 PM).

-Jordan College of the Arts Dean Ronald Caltabiano (Saturday, November 14, at 7:30 PM)

-Jon Van Ness ’71, whose final Butler Theatre production as an undergraduate was Our Town (Sunday, November 15, at 2:00 PM).

Butler Theatre Professor William Fisher will handle the role at the student matinees on November 12 and 13 at 9:30 AM.

Tickets are $8 students with ID, $13 seniors, and $19 adults for the public performances. They are available during regular business hours at the Clowes Hall Box Office, and anytime online at www.butler.edu/theatre.

Fisher said there were two distinct ideas behind using guest actors. One was that “we wanted this production to feel grounded in Butler and be here—and not to pretend we’re in New Hampshire.” So there will be no period or stylized costumes, and no New England accents. But the location—Grover’s Corners—and historical references remain intact.

The other influence was a British comedy called The Play What I Wrote, which featured a revolving cast of celebrities playing themselves in an otherwise fictional setting.

“I thought it was interesting having recognizable, real people playing themselves,” Fisher said. “It’ll be fun.”

The rest of the show will be instantly familiar to those who have seen Our Town, a play that Fisher said has taken on even more relevance with its message about the importance of being present in the moment.

“Most of our experiences with this play are through high school productions that either we were in ourselves or saw,” he said. “And this is a giant step in looking at this play as a serious piece. There’s real humor and darkness in this play, and I think it’s a very important American play.”

The cast-with role (and hometown):

Olivia Anton-Sam Craig and Wedding Guest (River Grove, Illinois)

Jeffrey  Bird-Joe Stoddard and Wedding Guest (Muncie, Indiana)

Alexander Borrello-Stage Manager (Novi, Michigan)

Adam Bridges-Joe Crowell and Si Crowell (Nashville, Tennessee)

Sean Caron-Simon Stimson (Chicago, Illinois)

Brendan Daly-Constable Warren (Elmhurt, Illinois)

Corbin Fritz-Mr. Webb (Noblesville, Indiana)

Taylor Galloway-Dr. Gibbs (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Nick Gehrich-Howie Newsome (Greensburg, Indiana)

Sonia Goldberg-Mrs. Gibbs (Chicago, Illinois)

Nathan Haston-George Gibbs (Noblesville, Indiana)

Julia Hren-Ensemble (Lake Villa, Illinois)

Peter Jones-Wally Webb (Lakewood, Ohio)

Gianna Kujawski-Ensemble (Crown Point, Indiana)

Ariel Laukins-Stage Manager (West Lafayette, Indiana)

Casey Lowenthal-Mrs. Soames (Westville, Indiana)

Charell Luckey-Rebecca Gibbs (South Bend, Indiana)

Emma Shafer-Mrs. Webb (Des Moines, Iowa)

Elliot Waples-Ensemble (Indianapolis)

Lexy Weixel-Emily Webb (Columbus, Ohio)

Lindsay Vallance-Ensemble (Champaign, Illinois)

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

archive
Arts & Culture

Jazz Foundation Scholarship Awarded to Chloe Boelter '17

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 02 2016

Vocal Performance major Chloe Boelter, a junior from Algonquin, Illinois, has been awarded an Indianapolis Jazz Foundation scholarship.

chloeBoelter, who also plays the piano and has produced two solo albums, has performed as a vocalist with the Butler Jazz Ensemble since 2014 and also is a member of a jazz combo. She is one of five central Indiana college students to receive the $1,000 award from the foundation, which works to preserve the legacy and promote the future of jazz in Indianapolis.

“I was honored and extremely humbled to have received the scholarship,” she said. “It was even more surprising to find out at the event that I was the first vocalist to be nominated for that honor. Receiving the scholarship will help tremendously with my fund for participating in La Musica Lirica, a five-week intensive Italian Opera program over the summer.”

Boelter grew up in what she described as “a classical home,” played cello for ten years, and sang with a children's chorus since the age of 7. But she hadn't taken voice lessons until her senior year of high school. She started singing jazz in high school, and with the aid of multiple directors and teachers, “fell in love with the genre.”

“Some of the best experiences with jazz for me have been when I'm jamming with friends at 1:00 AM,” she said. “We're all tired and vulnerable, and yet this raw passion takes over, allowing us all to sync up and follow where the song is taking us. Even if that moment lasts for a few measures, it's always rewarding to walk away feeling like you've learned more about the art, yourself, and the other musicians you have the privilege of working with and calling your friends.””

After graduation, Boelter plans to take a year in Chicago to record more and research graduate schools. She also will look into travelling and performing within multiple genres, including jazz, musical theater, or opera.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

 

Arts & CultureCommunity

JCA, Indiana Arts Commission Forge Partnership

BY

PUBLISHED ON Nov 02 2015

Butler University’s Jordan College of the Arts has forged a partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission to become the IAC regional granting office for central Indiana, covering Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, and Shelby Counties.
Lilly Hall

Butler’s role through 2017 will be to set up independent citizen advisory panels that will review grant applications. The citizen panels adjudicate and score grant applications, and the state awards the grant funds. Last year, the state awarded about $400,000 in grants to Indianapolis-area arts groups.

“We are excited about having the Jordan College of the Arts at Butler University join this new partnership arrangement for Region 7,” IAC Executive Director Lewis C. Ricci said. “The College has a long history in, and commitment to, the arts in this region.”

Jordan College faculty and staff will also provide technical assistance and guidance to on public funding to artists and arts organizations of all sizes.

“I’m excited for the opportunity this will provide for our students,” said Susan Zurbuchen, Associate Professor of Arts Administration. “The students will learn about how public money is disbursed, and they’ll have hands-on opportunities to be part of the process.”

Zurbuchen said she believes no other undergraduate arts administration program has such a hand in grant administration.

Ronald Caltabiano, Dean of Butler’s Jordan College of the Arts, said the partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission “helps to strengthen our academic programming and further reinforces Butler University’s role as a nexus for arts in central Indiana. This is a tremendous opportunity for our students and for Butler.”

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

archive
Arts & Culture

World Premiere of Vonnegut Opera to Take Place at Butler

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 28 2016

An opera version of Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday, Wanda June, written by Vonnegut and Butler Director of Instrumental Activities Richard Auldon Clark, will have its world premiere performed by Indianapolis Opera, September 16-18 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.

4436575“Kurt always thought Happy Birthday, Wanda June would make a great opera, and I was thrilled when he presented me his only play to create this new work,” Clark said. “It was his wish that the story and his words be of great significance and that the music would really enhance rather than supersede it. I know Kurt would love this new opera and would be thrilled that it was being premiered in Indianapolis, his hometown.”

Season tickets for the Opera begin Monday, May 2. Single ticket sales start on Monday, August 1.

Clark’s work with Kurt Vonnegut began in the early 1990s when they created new works based on Breakfast of Champions, Mother Night, Cat's Cradle, and Fates Worse Than Death.

“Kurt Vonnegut was not only a great friend and collaborator, but also the most significant influence on my professional life,” Clark said.

Happy Birthday Wanda June began life as a play by Kurt Vonnegut in October 1971 at New York’s Theater de Lys. The play was Vonnegut’s first attempt at a stage work. Written to protest the Vietnam War in 1970, the play blends the sacred and the profane to produce off-the-wall and strangely funny satires.

Wanda’s plot is based loosely on the Greek legends of Odysseus and Penelope – it involves the unexpected return of a mercenary career solider/hunter named Harold Ryan and his wife, Penelope. When Harold left Penelope, she was a ditzy carhop; when he returns after eight years lost in the Amazon, he finds that she has gone to college, majored in English lit and changed her attitude about the macho man she married.

Indianapolis Opera will engage Metropolitan Opera Stage Director Eric Einhorn to direct the premiere. Einhorn will work with set designer Cameron Anderson, lighting designer Shawn Kauffman, and costume designer Candida Nichols.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & Culture

Butler Ballet presents Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

Butler Ballet and the Butler Ballet Orchestra bring The Nutcracker to the Clowes Memorial Hall stage November 29 through December 2 for six performances of Central Indiana's only fully staged production of Tchaikovsky's holiday favorite.

Show times are:
Thursday, November 29, at 7:30 PM
Friday, November 30, at 8:00 PM
Saturday, December 1, at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Sunday, December 2, at noon and 5:00 PM

Tickets are $28-$58. They are available at the Clowes Hall box office or through ButlerArtsCenter.org.

For the first time in several years, a Butler student—20-year-old Amber Wickey, a junior from Tenafly, New Jersey—will dance the role of Clara, the girl at the center of the story. Typically, a young dancer from the Indianapolis community plays the role. But Dance Department Chair Larry Attaway said that in this year's auditions, Wickey stood out.

"It's really a difficult dancing role, and you need to have that wonderful childlike quality and all of your technique chops to handle it," he said.

Wickey, who is 5 feet tall and therefore able to pass for someone Clara's age, said she was ecstatic to get the opportunity. Wickey performed in her first Nutcracker when she was in fourth grade and, as a sophomore in high school, danced as Clara in a production at the Nunnbetter Dance Theatre in Bergenfield, New Jersey.

Wickey said other dancers have more technically advanced parts, but Clara is an extremely demanding role, as she has to dance in the Party Scene, the Battle Scene, and the beginning of the Snow Scene, and she has to be onstage for much of the second act.

"The most difficult part is maintaining a character for the duration of the entire show," Wickey said. "You have to act—probably more than any of the other people in the production. And then you have all that dancing in the first act, and then you have to act throughout the second act. So, in terms of stamina, it's really challenging."

Also challenging, she said, is maintaining the mindset and innocence of a 12-year-old.

"She's the one who gets the nutcracker as a gift, she's the one who Drosselmeyer adores, she follows all the rules, everybody loves her. So, to be that innocent child is a hard part of the role," she said.

This year's Nutcracker will include 38 young dancers from the community. In addition, there will be new choreography from Professors Derek Reid, Cynthia Pratt, Michelle Jarvis, Marek Cholewa, Rosanna Ruffo, and Ramón Flowers. Reid is choreographing the Party Scene and the Battle Scene.

"As many times as we've done The Nutcracker, it still continues to change," he said. "That's a good thing, I think. Every time we change something, the magic comes back. I think it's going to be a really exciting Nutcracker once again. I hope everyone comes to take a look."

Arts & Culture

Butler Ballet presents Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker

Butler Ballet and the Butler Ballet Orchestra bring The Nutcracker to the Clowes Memorial Hall stage.

Nov 14 2018 Read more
Arts & Culture

Diversity Lecture Series Begins With Holocaust Survivor Eva Kor

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 19 2015

Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor, who emerged from a trauma-filled childhood to become a brilliant example of the human spirit's power to overcome, will open Butler University’s 2015–2016 Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series on October 22 at 7:30 PM in Clowes Memorial Hall.

Tickets are free, but they are required for admission. They will be available at the Clowes Hall box office beginning September 14 at 10:00 AM.
Eva Kor

Born in 1934 in Portz, Romania, Kor and her twin sister, Miriam, were 6 when their village was occupied by a Hungarian Nazi armed guard. In 1944, the family was transported to a regional ghetto, then packed into a cattle car and transported to the Auschwitz death camp. There, Eva and Miriam were subjected to experiments by Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele.

Estimates are that 1,500 sets of twins—3,000 children—were abused, and most died, as a result of Mengele’s experiments. Eva herself became deathly ill, but through sheer determination, she stayed alive and helped Miriam survive.

When the camp was liberated on January 27, 1945, approximately 200 children were found alive, including Eva and Miriam Mozes. They returned to Romania to live with their aunt, then immigrated to Israel in 1950. Over the next 10 years, Eva received a good education from an agricultural school, and went on to attain the rank of Sergeant Major in the Israeli Army Engineering Corps. She met Michael Kor, a Holocaust survivor and American tourist. In 1960, the couple was married in Tel Aviv, and Eva joined her husband in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Eva became a U.S. citizen in 1965, and the couple raised two children, Alex (a 1983 Butler graduate) and Rina. In 1984, Eva founded CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors), a name she chose because she wanted to shed light on this dark chapter of the Holocaust.

Eleven years later, she opened the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute. Thousands of people, mostly school-aged children, have visited the center since then.

“Eva Kor’s life is one of the greatest examples of what we mean when we talk about ‘the triumph of the human spirit,’ ” Butler University President James M. Danko said. “In living an inspiring life powered by what she calls a ‘never-give-up attitude,’ she has served as a champion of human rights, a tireless educator, and a community leader.”

Kor was the speaker at Butler’s spring 2015 Commencement. In her talk, she advised graduates to never give up on themselves or their dreams. She said one of the great lessons of her life was learning to forgive the Nazis as well as “everyone who every hurt me.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allanmallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

AcademicsArts & Culture

A Night at the Opera: Soulful, Vengeful, Comedic and More

BY Sarvary Koller ’15

PUBLISHED ON Mar 17 2015

After more than 30 years as Artistic Director of the Indianapolis Opera and guest conducting across the country, James Caraher now relies on his vast expertise to prepare the next generation of opera talent—students.

Caraher, who joined the Butler Opera Theatre as Music Director in January, has opera students preparing for the upcoming “A Night at the Opera” performances, March 27-29 at the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts.
James Caraher

Show times are March 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and March 29 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for seniors and students. Tickets and more information are available at schrottcenter.org. The program is below.

The performances join the opera theatre and Butler Symphony Orchestra for an unamplified, live musical journey through contemporary and historical opera.

Carissa Riedesel, a graduate student in her final year of the Master of Music in Voice Performance program, will perform an aria as Sesto, a revengeful and hot-headed young man from the Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt), and a comedic scene as Despina, a snarky maid who claims all men are the same—useless—from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.

Riedesel said getting to perform in the Schrott Center with a live orchestra is a valuable experience for singers in the program. The opportunity to spend time developing her characters and then to bring them to life onstage with an orchestra has provided “a vivid glimpse into professional life.”

Thomas Studebaker, Director of the opera theatre, said he offers all seniors and graduate students the chance to perform an aria with the orchestra. The experience is advantageous for Butler students thanks to the small size of the program.

He hopes to grow the number of professional performance opportunities for Butler opera students in the coming years. The goal: to hold an opera performance each semester, including full operas and scene performances.

But the dream doesn’t end there. For opera students to gain realistic performance experience, there must be “butts in seats” to provide a live audience to engage with, Caraher said.

With soulful American tunes, vengeful Italian arias, and hilarious comedies about unrequited love, he encourages people from Butler and the surrounding community to give “A Night at the Opera” a chance and support the student singers armed with only their voice and expression, not even a microphone.

“It’s music theatre,” Caraher said. “Everybody thinks of oversized folks with horns on their heads screaming, but that’s not the case. It’s vocal music, orchestral music, drama, and theater. It’s many art forms in one big package—there is something for everybody.”

BUTLER OPERA THEATER SCENES PROGRAM

Overture from Guillaume Tell (Gioacchino Rossini)

Act I Trio from L’elisir d’amore (Gaetano Donizetti)

L’angue Offeso from Giulio Cesare (G.F. Handel)

The Trees on the Mountain from Susannah (Carlisle Floyd)

Act II Trio from Così fan tutte (W.A. Mozart)

Sous le dôme épais from Lakmé (Leo Delibes)

Donde lieta usci from La Bohème (Giacomo Puccini)

Evening Prayer duet from Hansel und Gretel (E. Humperdinck)

Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila (Camille Saint-Saëns)

INTERMISSION

Three Little Maids from School from Mikado (Sir Arthur Sullivan)

Quanto è bella from L’elisir d’amore (Gaetano Donizetti)

Finale from Mitridate, Re di Ponto (W.A. Mozart)

Vilia from Die Lustige Witwe (Franz Léhar)

Act III Quartet from La Bohème (Giacomo Puccini)

Ach, ich fühls from Die Zauberflöte (W.A. Mozart)

Act III Trio from La Rondine (Giacomo Puccini)

Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni)

Va, pensiero from Nabucco (Giuseppe Verdi)

Arts & CultureCommunity

Visiting Writers Series Presents Laila Lalami

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 06 2015

Author Laila Lalami will speak in the Atherton Union Reilly Room on Tuesday, October 13, at 7:30 PM as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

The event is free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.Laila Lalami

Lalami is the author of the novels Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize longlist, and The Moor’s Account, which was a New York Times Notable Book, a Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year, a nominee for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, the Guardian, the New York Times, and in many anthologies. Her work has been translated into 10 languages. She is the recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship. Lalami is a professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & Culture

CCOM Presents a Four-Day Symposium on Servant Leadership

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 09 2015

The President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a former CIA officer whose job included briefing former President George W. Bush, and the new CEO of the Indiana-based Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership will be among the speakers at Butler University’s College of Communication (CCOM) Symposium on Servant Leadership, March 2–5.

The second annual symposium presented by the Conference on Ethical Public Argumentation (CEPA) also will feature the Sports Editor of The Nation magazine and the Head of Leadership and Management Programs at the Poynter Institute, as well as nearly a dozen other speakers.

Presentations are free and open to the public. All events are in the Robertson Hall Johnson Boardroom at Butler, unless otherwise noted below.

For more information, call 317-940-9625.

Dr Kent BrantlyDuring the symposium, CEPA will honor Indianapolis native Dr. Kent Brantly, the American physician who recovered from Ebola that he contracted while he treated Liberian patients suffering from the often-fatal disease. Brantly will be the first recipient of a conference award recognizing premier examples of effective and ethical communication on issues of significant public interest. (Due to a scheduling conflict, Brantly will not be able to attend the CEPA award ceremony at Butler on March 5 at 6:00 p.m.)

“The idea of servant leadership was suggested by the faculty,” said Gary Edgerton, Dean of the College of Communication. “All six CCOM departments were involved. And it’s a fitting topic. Leadership is on everybody’s mind, and this is an approach that’s consistent with the Butler Way—instead of the top-down, authoritarian strategy of leadership, the whole idea is that leaders serve, real creativity comes from interactions with others, and lots of good ideas come from the bottom up.”

A day-by-day schedule of the Symposium on Servant Leadership follows, and there’s more on Brantly below.

Monday, March 2
Student Day

10:30 a.m.: BU Student Servant Leadership Panel with current students Brittney Stephan, Eric Day, Liz Niemiec, and Maggie Brennan.
Patricia Falotico

Noon: Patricia Falotico, CEO, Robert K Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. Before joining the Greenleaf Center in September 2014, Falotico spent 31 years at IBM, where she worked on projects including technical sales, sales management, service business development, software distribution, marketing, and development of business partner relationships.

2:00 p.m.: Courtney Knies, Greenleaf Workshop on Servant Leadership. Knies currently serves as the Executive Director of Mentors for Youth of Dubois County, formerly Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

6:00 p.m.: Jill Geisler, Principal of Jill Geisler Leadership LLC and an Affiliate Faculty Member at the Poynter Institute. An internationally recognized expert in leadership and management, Geisler has led Poynter Institute leadership and management programs for journalists worldwide. She is the author of Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know.

Tuesday, March 3
Doug Boles

10:30 a.m.-noon: Noah Parker, Doctor of Laryngology. Parker, whose talk is titled “Servant Leadership in Healthcare and Finding Fulfillment in Your Work,” is a surgeon specializing in voice, swallowing, and breathing disorders, otherwise known as the field of laryngology.

Noon: Doug Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Boles, whose talk is called “Winning—When Others Cross the Finish Line First,” was named the President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July 2013 after serving as the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Communications for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation and its parent company, Hulman & Company.

4:15 p.m.: Local leaders panel, featuring Heidi Schmidt of College Mentors for Kids, Amanda Moore of the Intercollegiate YMCA, Terri Morris Downs of the Immigrant Welcome Center, and Jonathan Allinson with People for Urban Progress.

7:00 p.m.: Benefit concert for the Butler Aphasia Community, featuring the Jai Baker Band.

Wednesday, March 4
Ann Lieberman

Noon: College of Education collaboration, featuring Ann Lieberman, Senior Scholar at the Stanford Center for Opportunity and Policy in Education; Professor Emeritus—Columbia University.

2:30 p.m.: Ted Green, Emmy-winning Indianapolis filmmaker. Green has produced five documentaries in the past five years, including Undefeated: The Roger Brown Story and Bobby 'Slick' Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier.
James Trippi

4:15 p.m.: Dr. James Trippi, Gennesaret Free Clinics. Gennesaret Free Clinics came into being in 1988, when Trippi, a local physician, was volunteering at a church soup kitchen. His clinics were the first agency in Indianapolis to bring medical care to the homeless.

6:00 p.m.: Dave Zirin, The Nation. Zirin will deliver the Howard L. Schrott Lecture. Named by UTNE Reader as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World,” Zirin writes about the politics of sports for The Nation magazine. He is their first sportswriter in 150 years of existence.

Thursday, March 5

3:00 p.m.: John “Stan” Schuchman, Professor Emeritus and former Dean, Vice President, and Provost of Gallaudet University. With Gallaudet from 1967 to 1999, Schuchman was honored with a Distinguished Faculty award (1991) and a research appointment as Schaefer Professor (1998). He developed techniques for videotaping oral history interviews of deaf individuals who use sign language. In 1991, he organized and chaired the first international conference on deaf history.
Dennis Bowden

7:00 p.m.: Dennis Bowden, former CIA officer. Bowden will speak on “Servant Leadership in the Shadows: Leading and Following in the CIA.” He served as a CIA officer and manager for 26 years, holding several executive positions at the CIA, including responsibility for the President’s Daily Intelligence Briefing.

More about CEPA award winner Dr. Kent Brantly is below and at blogs.butler.edu/cepa.

Kent Brantly, who was named along with other Ebola fighters as Time magazine “Person of the Year for 2014,” has been a forceful advocate for increasing awareness and aid for the West African nations and peoples suffering from the Ebola outbreak there.

He is a native of Indianapolis and a graduate of Indianapolis Heritage Christian School. He received his undergraduate degree from Abilene Christian University in 2003 and went on to medical school at Indiana University, receiving his medical degree in 2009. Brantly completed his residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2013, and then became a family physician in Fort Worth. During his academic career, he exhibited a definite, powerful calling to be a medical missionary.

While at Abilene Christian, he went on mission trips to Tanzania and Uganda. Fluent in Spanish, he also participated in two mission trips to Honduras and Nicaragua. He took on a two-year commitment with the organization Samaritan’s Purse as a physician at the ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa) Hospital in Liberia.

Brantly and his wife, Amber, moved to Monrovia, Liberia, with their two children in October 2013, and were in that country when the Ebola epidemic surfaced in 2014.

They were on the ground when the disease spread to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in West Africa.

“I worked as a physician to support the woefully inadequate healthcare system of a country still struggling to recover from a brutal civil war,” he told the U.S. Senate in September. “Resources were limited, and we often saw patients die of diseases that would be easily treatable in the United States. It was a challenging job to provide quality care even before the Ebola virus tore through the country.”

Brantly came to personalize the Ebola epidemic for Americans when he was stricken with the disease in summer 2014. Healthcare workers are at extreme risk during this emergency because of their close contact with persons suffering from this highly infectious disease. When only two doses of an experimental medication (one never tested on human subjects at that time) were made available, he insisted that another American healthcare worker be the first to receive them. But doctors decided Brantly’s case was so grave that he had to be given a first dose.

He was then airlifted to the United States for treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and subsequently recovered from the disease. He has since provided blood for others suffering from Ebola, which it is thought could serve as a sort of vaccine for such patients.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

The Making of Rejoice!

by Haley Stevenson ’19

Over a hundred sets of eyes rest on Maestro Richard Auldon Clark as he stops rehearsing Hail to Christmas by Victor Herbert to straighten out an error. There’s something missing—the fire and excitement needed to make the piece really pop. “Waltz with me, orchestra! This is a dance!” He says.

Rejoice! has been an essential part of Butler University’s holiday season for years. Each December, Dr. Eric Stark and Dr. John Perkins tag-team this massive undertaking with Professor Clark or Professor Colburn, uniting choir with the symphony orchestra or wind ensemble, depending on the year. The team is always looking for new methods to make the performance exciting for both the players and the audience.

“For me these pop songs have to have a surge of energy,” Professor Clark says. “Everybody’s heard all of these songs before; they can’t be played the same way they always are. This stuff is exciting and passionate! It should explode! We’ll have our pretty and slow moments, but Sleigh Ride isn’t Gustav Mahler.” He means that quite literally—the orchestra really rocks out to Sleigh Ride, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and many other classic favorites.

The ensembles begin rehearsing Christmas music individually as early as mid-October, practicing the pieces to perfection, and then combine rehearsals in November. More than 160 people are all working toward a single goal: making Rejoice! one of the largest group projects that happens on Butler’s campus. Senior violist Meagan Barnett has performed the concert with the orchestra twice and the choir once. “My favorite part about Rejoice! is the amount of students that are on stage making music together. I love collaborating with the different departments in the School of Music and Rejoice! is the perfect opportunity for that!”

Barnett says, “I really enjoy collaborating between the orchestra and the two choirs. As a string player, performing with choirs is a very different experience. We have to be sensitive to them and make sure all of the words can be heard. The Butler Symphony Orchestra is quite large this year so we have had a lot of fun working with the balance and sensitivity of our sound.” There is even more than just the orchestra and two choirs at work: the premiere of a graduate composition student is part of the repertoire, esteemed Butler faculty will give readings between some pieces, and a guest choir from Shortridge High School, the IPS magnet performing arts high school, will perform as well.

Rejoice! is a unique part of Butler’s holiday season because it is probably one of the biggest musical performances the School of Music puts on during the year. It’s a great way to end the fall semester and also a great way for the audience to get into the holiday spirit,” Barnett says. Join Butler’s School of Music and many friends this weekend at Clowes Memorial Hall at 7:30 PM both Friday and Saturday night for a spectacular musical celebration that you won’t want to miss.


Interested in attending this year's Rejoice!? You can buy tickets online or at the Clowes Hall Box Office.

Arts & Culture

The Making of Rejoice!

  “Waltz with me, orchestra! This is a dance!”

The Making of Rejoice!

by Haley Stevenson ’19
Arts & Culture

Butler Theatre Presents The Wolves

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

Butler Theatre will present the Indianapolis premiere of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves, a comic drama that follows the hilarity and heartbreak of a high school women’s soccer team, November 28 through December 2 in the Lilly Hall Studio Theatre.

Show times are:
November 28, 29, and 30 at 7:00 PM
December 1 at 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM
December 2 at 3:00 PM

Tickets are $5-$15. They are available at ButlerArtsCenter.org.

The Wolves, a Pulitzer Prize finalist that's set on an indoor soccer field during a team’s weekly warmup drills, marks the Butler Theatre directorial debut of Assistant Professor of Theatre Courtney Elkin Mohler. She joined the Department of Theatre faculty in fall 2017.

Mohler said she chose the play, which is the fifth-most-produced play in the country during the 2018-2019 season, in large part because she wanted the student-actors to have an opportunity to portray characters who are similar to themselves.

"It’s not all that often that you get to see girls—not young women, but girls—represented in drama that aren’t in relationship to a male character," she said. "They’re not serving as a prize to be won or a distraction or the moral, emotional core of the play. It’s these women who are coming into their own. They’re athletes and they’re serious about their sport and they’re interested in getting recruited by scouts and they have all the crass and funny and inappropriate dialogue that young women, unobserved by their parents or coaches, would."

Mohler said audiences will experience being a fly on the wall of this team as it goes through its practices. The floor of the Lilly Hall Studio Theatre will be covered in Astroturf and the girls will be kicking around soccer balls as they talk.

She said that while the play is about soccer, friendship, and teamwork, it's much deeper than that.

"It's also about fighting hard for what you want, even when you're not given the same resources as—in this case—boys' teams are, or the same type of attention by scouts," she said. "I think it's kind of a metaphor for the women's fight in general in this moment."

The Wolves is the kind of play Mohler has worked on and championed since she was an undergraduate at UCLA. As a junior there, she was "bitten by the academic-theatre bug" and knew she wanted "the captive audience of a classroom."

At 21, she went directly into the doctoral program at UCLA. Her first tenure-track job was at Santa Clara University, a private school in Silicon Valley that’s just a little bigger than Butler.

Three years ago, when her husband, George, a data scientist and Indianapolis native, got hired at IUPUI, the Mohlers relocated to Indianapolis with their children. Courtney spent a year at IUPUI in a position that included teaching American Studies and serving as Director of the Intercultural Literacy, Capacity, and Engagement Department. (Her lineage is Santa Barbara Chumash—Native American people who historically inhabited the central and southern coastal regions of California—and her teaching specialties are in the areas of Critical Race Theory, Native American Studies, and Theatre History.)

Now, in her second year at Butler, she looks forward to presenting The Wolves and other contemporary plays.

"New plays, contemporary plays, ensemble shows are sort of my thing," she said. "So it’s fun to get to do that with these students."

Arts & Culture

Butler Theatre Presents The Wolves

Butler Theatre will present the Indianapolis premiere of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves.

Nov 14 2018 Read more
Arts & Culture

Visiting Writers Series Presents David Gessner

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 24 2015

Natural history essayist David Gessner will speak on April 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Clowes Memorial Hall Krannert Room as part of the spring 2015 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

All events in the series are free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.

David GessnerGessner, winner of the John Burroughs Award for Best Natural History Essay, is the author of nine books, including the forthcoming All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner and the American West; Sick of Nature (2003); My Green Manifesto (2011); and The Tarball Chronicles, which won the 2012 Reed Award for Best Book on the Southern Environment and the Association for Study of Literature and the Environment’s award for best book of creative writing in 2011 and 2012.

His Return of the Osprey (2002) was chosen by the Boston Globe as one of the top 10 nonfiction books of the year and the Book of the Month club as one of its top books of the year. The Globe called it a "classic of American nature writing."

Gessner taught environmental writing as a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard and is currently a Professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he founded the award-winning literary journal of place Ecotone.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Celebration of Diversity Lecture Series Announces Spring Speakers

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 21 2015

Actor/social activist George Takei, urban revitalization strategist and Peabody-winning radio broadcaster Majora Carter, and journalist Michel Martin will speak at Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University this spring as part of the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series.

Takei will begin the series on February 16, followed by Carter (March 18) and Martin (April 2).

Admission to all talks in the series is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available in person at the Clowes Hall Box Office or online at Ticketmaster.com.

There is a limit of two tickets per person.

More about each speaker follows.

George TakeiGeorge Takei
February 16, 7:30 p.m.
Clowes Memorial Hall
“An Evening with George Takei”

Takei is an actor, social justice activist, social media mega-power, star of the upcoming Broadway musical Allegiance, host of the AARP-produced YouTube series “Takei’s Take,” and subject of To Be Takei, a documentary on his life and career.

Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. He starred in three seasons of Star Trek and later reprised his iconic role in six movies.

Mashable.com in 2012 reported Takei is the most influential person on Facebook, currently with more than 7.2 million likes. Takei also has more than 1.25 million followers on Twitter.

Takei, a Japanese American who from age 4 to 8 was unjustly interned in two U.S. internment camps during World War II, is an outspoken supporter of human right issues and community activist. Takei is Chairman Emeritus and a Trustee of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

The openly gay Takei has served as the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign "Coming Out Project," and was Cultural Affairs Chairman of the Japanese American Citizens League. He was appointed to the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission by former President Clinton and the government of Japan awarded Takei the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his contribution to U.S. - Japanese relations.

Majora CarterMajora Carter
March 18, 7:30 p.m.
Clowes Memorial Hall
“Home (town) Security”

Carter is probably the only person to receive an award from John Podesta's Center for American Progress and a Liberty Medal for Lifetime Achievement from Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. Fast Company named her one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business; The New York Times described her as "The Green Power Broker;" and the Ashoka Foundation's Changemakers.org recently dubbed her "The Prophet of Local."

Carter hosts the Peabody Award-winning public radio series "The Promised Land" and serves on the boards of the U.S. Green Building Council and The Wilderness Society. She has a
long list of awards and honorary degrees, including a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship.

Carter founded and led Sustainable South Bronx, from 2001 to 2008, when few were talking about "sustainability"—and even fewer in places like the South Bronx.

By 2003, Carter coined the phrase "Green the Ghetto" as she pioneered one of the nation's first urban green-collar job training and placement systems, and spearheaded legislation that fueled demand for those jobs. Her 2006 TEDtalk was one of six presentations to launch that groundbreaking website.

Since 2008, Carter's consulting company has exported climate adaptation, urban revitalization, and leadership development strategies for business, government, foundations, universities, and economically underperforming communities.

Michel MartinMichel Martin
April 2, 7:30 p.m.
Clowes Memorial Hall
“Tell Me More”

Martin has spent more than 25 years as a journalist—first in print with major newspapers and then in television. Her NPR show “Tell Me More,” which aired from 2007–2014, marked her debut as a full-time public radio show host. Martin has also served as contributor and substitute host for NPR newsmagazines and talk shows, including “Talk of the Nation” and “News & Notes.”

Martin joined NPR from ABC News, where she worked since 1992. She served as correspondent for “Nightline” from 1996 to 2006, reporting on such subjects as the Congressional budget battles, the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, racial profiling and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At ABC, she also contributed to numerous programs and specials, including the network's award-winning coverage of September 11, a documentary on the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy, a critically acclaimed AIDS special, and reports for the ongoing series "America in Black and White."

Before joining ABC, Martin covered state and local politics for the Washington Post and national politics and policy at the Wall Street Journal, where she was White House Correspondent. She has also been a regular panelist on the PBS series “Washington Week” and a contributor to “NOW with Bill Moyers.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

When Jonathan Franzen Speaks, People Bristle

BY Maggie Sweeney MFA '17

PUBLISHED ON Feb 17 2015

One of the perks of being an MFA student at Butler is meeting renowned visiting writers such as Margaret Atwood, Louise Gluck, Cheryl Strayed, and Jonathan Franzen. In addition to the public readings, students are invited to intimate Q&A sessions and private dinners. Whenever possible, MFA students also get the opportunity to interview writers for Booth, the Butler MFA program's literary magazine.
Jonathan Franzen

When Franzen came to Butler on October 28, 2014, MFA nonfiction student Susan Lerner interviewed him, and their conversation in Booth kicked up other conversations across the Internet.

Lerner's story was posted on Friday, February 13, and within eight hours, the interview had generated over 13,000 views. Sites including Salon, Jezebel, Vulture, Huffington Post, Gawker, and Flavorwire all responded to the interview, in which Franzen expressed derision about Young Adult fiction and the work of author Jennifer Weiner.

The interview even trended on Twitter.

Lerner is notorious in the program for her preparation and hard work, which paid off in the interview.
Susan Lerner

“I pretty much abandoned my family for the month before the interview, reading every other interview he’s done and dissecting his work,” she said. “I did my homework and felt really prepared. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had enough confidence to poke him a bit.”

The students and faculty are proud and impressed with Lerner’s interview. She returns the compliment.

“Nowhere else in the country would an MFA student get this opportunity!" she said, handing out kudos to English Department Chair Andy Levy, MFA Program Chair Hilene Flanzbaum, and the Vivian S. Delbrook Writers Series. She also credited Robert Stapleton, Booth's Editor-in-Chief, "who had the chutzpah to ask Franzen for an interview (which I don’t think he grants very often) and gave me the gig.”

She also credits Franzen.

“He’s the best kind of interviewee,” she said. “He has strong opinions and doesn’t mind being provocative.”

Arts & CultureCommunity

Butler to Hold Peace Festival

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 08 2015

Butler University will hold a Peace Festival October 19–22 that will feature discussions about topics such as sustainability and the Darfur refugee crisis, and culminate with an address by Holocaust survivor Eva Kor called “The Triumph of the Human Spirit: From Auschwitz to Forgiveness.”
Butler's Peace Pole stands between Jordan Hall and Atherton Union.

“The purpose of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program is to reach out to students of all backgrounds and show that social justice issues, as well as opportunities to promote reconciliation and peace, can exist within many different parts of life,” said Annika London ’17, the coordinator of the festival. “We want the Peace Festival to reflect on that concept by giving students a chance to learn about some of the biggest current conflicts here and abroad, and how they can participate in making a positive change both as individuals and as a community.”

Here is the schedule of events:

October 19–22
• “Remembering Our Youth,” Boots Display by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 49, 11:00 AM–2:00 PM, at the Peace Pole outside Starbucks.

October 19
• “2016: Can Elections Make Room for Peace?” Panel Discussion with Veterans, Students, and Peacemakers, 7:00 PM, Pharmacy Building room 150.

October 20
• Yoga at the Blue House, 8:00–8:45 AM, Center for Faith and Vocation.
• “Privilege and Opportunity, It’s All in the Game,” with Professors Vivian Deno and Terri Jett, 4:30–6:30 PM, Pharmacy Building room 106B. Snacks provided.
• Luminaries for Domestic Violence Awareness, 8:00 PM, at the Peace Pole.

October 21
• Darfur Women Information Table, 11:00 AM–1:00 PM, Starbucks.
• Sustainable Indiana 2016, followed by a dance piece by the Movement Exchange called “On the Edge,” 4:30–5:30 PM, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.

October 22
• Thoughts and Prayers for Peace, 12:20-12:50 PM, at the Peace Pole.
• Beyond Right and Wrong, film screening sponsored by the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice, 6:30 PM, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.
• “The Triumph of the Human Spirit: From Auschwitz to Forgiveness,” an address by Holocaust survivor Eva Kors, Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series, 7:30 PM, Clowes Hall. Free tickets available at Clowes box office.

For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit, http://www.butler.edu/event-accommodations/.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Woods Series Presents Jessica Green

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 05 2015

Jessica Green will discuss “Cities Unseen: How Microbes Can Make Public Spaces, Buildings, and Human Beings Healthier" on April 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Atherton Union Reilly Room, the final lecture in Butler University’s 2014-2015 J. James Woods Lectures in the Sciences and Mathematics.

Her talk is free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9657.

Jessica GreenHow can a deeper understanding of microbes help us create sustainable cities, healthier buildings (including our hospitals and homes), and more robust green spaces? Green explains how in this visually stunning talk, while ultimately touching on even deeper questions about humanity: What does it mean to be an individual? Where does your identity begin, and where does it end?

Every person has a unique and unseen universe of microorganisms living in, on, and around them. These trillions of tiny creatures define who we are. Yet we are only just beginning to understand how our microbes interact with the people around us, our buildings, and the natural environment. How do microbes make us healthier, more resilient, and more vibrant? How do microbes influence our moods, our public spaces, our relationships with everything we touch? Green, a scientist and TED Fellow, explores the microbial cities living in our gut, on our skin, and in our homes.

A Professor at both the University of Oregon and the Santa Fe Institute, Green wants people to see how the microbial blueprint of our bodies, homes, cities and forests impacts our world, and our future. As founding director of the innovative new Biology and the Built Environment (BioBE) Center, she envisions a future for urban design that promotes sustainability, human health and well-being.

Green is internationally recognized for highly cited publications in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Her research has been featured in Discover, Scientific American, the Boston Globe, and she was selected for the 2012 Portland Monthly Brainstorm award (one of eight “innovators changing our world”).  She was a National Science Foundation bioinformatics postdoctoral fellow, completed a PhD in nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley, and earned a BS in civil and environmental engineering at UCLA.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Fred Hammond to Headline 26th Annual GospelFest

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 13 2015

Fred Hammond, the “father of urban gospel,” will headline Butler University’s 26th annual GospelFest on Saturday, February 7, at 7:00 p.m. in Clowes Memorial Hall, with special guests Hezekiah Walker and Le’Andria Johnson.

Tickets are $42 for adults, $36 for seniors, and $32 for students. They’re available at the Clowes Hall box office and Ticketmaster. For more information, contact the Butler University Office of Diversity Programs at 317-940-6570.
Fred HammondGospelFest 2015 is presented by the Butler University Office of Diversity Programs, Efroymson Diversity Center, djgeno.com, Meridian Media Productions, WHMB-TV, and the stations of Radio One.

More about the artists follows. (Information from allmusic.com)

Hammond, a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and vocalist for the soulful black gospel group Commissioned during the 1980s and 1990s, also became one of the most popular praise and worship leaders in the field. Born in Detroit, Hammond began singing with his church choir at the age of 12. He played bass and sang with the Winans during the early 1980s, then joined Commissioned later in the decade. Hammond's concurrent solo career began in 1991 with I Am Persuaded. Hammond set up his own label imprint, Hammond Family Entertainment, and released the CD/DVD set Life in the Word in 2010. God, Love & Romance followed in 2012. Hammond is a Grammy winner, and has won multiple Dove and Stellar Awards.

Brooklyn, New York-based Pastor Walker was the leader of the Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church Choir, one of the most popular choral groups in contemporary gospel. Debuting in 1990 with Crusade Choir, Walker and his singers quickly became one of the star attractions on the church circuit, earning their greatest success to date when 1994's Live in Atlanta at Morehouse College scored a Grammy. His most recent recordings include Souled Out (2008) and Azusa: The Next Generation (2013).

Johnson was the twice-divorced single mother of three children when she fell on hard times, losing her home to foreclosure the day before a friend convinced her to drive to New Orleans in a borrowed car to audition for the BET’s Sunday Best. Johnson ended up being declared the winner at the end of the show's third season in 2010, a placing that not only came with the gift of a new car and a cash prize, but also, in time, a recording deal. A debut seven-song EP, The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson, was released in 2011, earning her first Grammy for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music performance for her debut single, "Jesus." This was followed by a second seven-song EP, The Evolution of Le'Andria Johnson, in 2012. A second full-length, live CD, Le’Andria Johnson - The Experience, also appeared in 2012.

Arts & Culture

Visiting Writers Series Presents Lois Lowry at Clowes Hall

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 20 2015

Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry will speak in Clowes Memorial Hall on March 4 at 7:30 p.m. as part of Butler University’s spring 2015 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

Admission is free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.

Lois LowryLowry writes in many ways about the importance of human connections. A Summer to Die (1977), her first book, is a fictionalized retelling of the early death of her sister and of the effect of such a loss on a family. Number the Stars (1989), set in a different culture and era, tells the story of the escape of a Jewish family from Copenhagen during the Occupation of Denmark in Second World War.

The Giver (1993)and the three subsequent books of the series it started—speak to the need of people to be aware of their interdependence, not only with each other, but with the world and its environment. The Giver was made into a major motion picture in 2014 with a cast that included Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, and Taylor Swift.

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Visiting Writers Series Presents Denis Johnson

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 15 2015

Award-winning novelist Denis Johnson will speak in the Atherton Union Reilly Room on Wednesday, November 11, at 7:30 PM as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

Admission is free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.

Denis JohnsonJohnson is the author of numerous novels, including Fiskadoro (1985); Tree of Smoke, winner of the 2007 National Book Award; and Nobody Move (2009). Jesus’ Son (1992), his collection of short stories, was made into a movie of the same name. Johnson's latest novel, The Laughing Monsters, was released in November.

Johnson, who typically writes about people on the margins of society, published his first collection of poems, The Man Among the Seals (1969), at the age of 20. Subsequent collections include Inner Weather (1976), The Incognito Lounge and Other Poems (1982), and The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly: Poems Collected and New (1995). He has received a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction and a Whiting Writers’ Award.
Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & Culture

Visiting Writers Series Presents Catherine Barnett and Ellen Bryant Voigt

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 06 2015

Poets Catherine Barnett and Ellen Bryant Voigt will conclude the spring 2015 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Clowes Memorial Hall Krannert Room.

All events in the series are free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.

Catherine BarnetteEllen Bryant Voigt

Poet, editor, and teacher Catherine Barnett is the author of two collections of poetry: Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (2004) and The Game of Boxes (2012), which was the recipient of the 2012 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her other awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Writers’ Award. Barnett works as an independent editor and as Writer-in-Residence at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, where she teaches writing to mothers in the shelter system. She has been the Visiting Poet at Barnard College and teaches at the New School and New York University.

Ellen Bryant Voigt’s poems traverse the worlds of motherhood and family, the rural South, and music. Her 1995 collection Kyrie: Poems is a book-length sonnet sequence exploring the lives of people affected by the influenza epidemic of 1918–1919. She published a volume of selected poems, Messenger, in 2007. Her most recent book is Headwaters.

Voigt was a founder of the Goddard College low-residency MFA program, the first program of its kind, which is now the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and she continues to teach creative writing. She has also written a study of the sentence in poetry, The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song, and a collection of essays, The Flexible Lyric (1999). With Gregory Orr, she co-edited Poets Teaching Poets: Self and the World (1996), a selection of essays on writing.

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Woods Lecture: 'Why Skin Color Matters'

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 28 2015

Butler University’s J. James Woods Lectures in the Sciences and Mathematics finishes the fall 2015 series with Nina Jablonski speaking on December 2 at 7:30 in the Atherton Union Reilly Room about “Why Skin Color Matters."

Nina JablonskiAll events in the series are free and open to the public without tickets. For more information and to sign up for the series email list, visit http://legacy.butler.edu/woods-lectures. For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit www.butler.edu/event-accommodations/

Jablonski explores the evolution of human skin color in response to environment, and what skin color means in modern life, health, and society. Jablonski, a Professor of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University, has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and other major honors for her scholarship and social action against racism.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Woods Lecture Series Presents Michael Mann

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 21 2015

Michael Mann (“The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”) will speak in the Atherton Union Reilly Room on October 27 at 7:30 PM as part of the J. James Woods Lectures on the Sciences and Mathematics.

Michael MannAll events in the series are free and open to the public without tickets.

For more information and to sign up for the series email list, visit https://www.butler.edu/woods-lectures. For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit www.butler.edu/event-accommodations/

Mann’s “Hockey Stick graph” presents understandable data that connects global warming to increased industrialization and fossil fuel use. Mann, the Director of Pennsylvania State University Earth System Science Center, pioneered statistical analysis of historic climate change. He actively defends climate science against “scamming” detractors.

He will be followed in the series by Penn State Professor of Anthropology Nina Jablonski (December 2, 7:30 p.m.) speaking on "Why Skin Color Matters."

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Celebration of Diversity Lecture Series Presents Michel Martin

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 23 2015

Journalist Michel Martin will speak at Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University on April 2 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series.

Admission is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available in person at the Clowes Hall Box Office or online at Ticketmaster.com.

There is a limit of two tickets per person.

Michel MartinMartin has spent more than 25 years as a journalist—first in print with major newspapers and then in television. Her NPR show “Tell Me More,” which aired from 2007–2014, marked her debut as a full-time public radio show host. Martin has also served as contributor and substitute host for NPR newsmagazines and talk shows, including “Talk of the Nation” and “News & Notes.”

Martin joined NPR from ABC News, where she worked since 1992. She served as correspondent for “Nightline” from 1996 to 2006, reporting on such subjects as the Congressional budget battles, the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, racial profiling and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At ABC, she also contributed to numerous programs and specials, including the network's award-winning coverage of September 11, a documentary on the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy, a critically acclaimed AIDS special, and reports for the ongoing series "America in Black and White."

Before joining ABC, Martin covered state and local politics for the Washington Post and national politics and policy at the Wall Street Journal, where she was White House Correspondent. She has also been a regular panelist on the PBS series “Washington Week” and a contributor to “NOW with Bill Moyers.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Visiting Writers Series Presents NoViolet Bulawayo

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 12 2015

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award winner NoViolet Bulawayo will speak on February 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Atherton Union Reilly Room as part of Butler University’s spring 2015 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

NoViolet BulawayoAll events in the series are free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.

Bulawayo is the author of We Need New Names (May 2013), which has been recognized with the LA Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Pen/Hemingway Award, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, and the Barnes and Noble Discover Award (second place), as well as been selected for the National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” list .

We Need New Names was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award and selected to the New York Times Notable Books of 2013 list, the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers list, and others. Her story “Hitting Budapest” won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing.

She earned her MFA at Cornell University, where she was a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where she now teaches as a Jones Lecturer in Fiction. She grew up in Zimbabwe.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Celebration of Diversity Lecture Series Presents Majora Carter

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 05 2015

Urban revitalization strategist and Peabody-winning radio broadcaster Majora Carter will speak about "Home (Town) Security" at Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series.

Admission to all talks in the series is free, but tickets are required. They are available at the Clowes Hall Box Office or online at Ticketmaster.com.

Majora CarterCarter is probably the only person to receive an award from John Podesta's Center for American Progress and a Liberty Medal for Lifetime Achievement from Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. Fast Company named her one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business; The New York Times described her as "The Green Power Broker;" and the Ashoka Foundation's Changemakers.org recently dubbed her "The Prophet of Local."

Carter hosts the Peabody Award-winning public radio series "The Promised Land" and serves on the boards of the U.S. Green Building Council and The Wilderness Society. She has a long list of awards and honorary degrees, including a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship.

Carter founded and led Sustainable South Bronx, from 2001 to 2008, when few were talking about "sustainability"—and even fewer in places like the South Bronx.

By 2003, Carter coined the phrase "Green the Ghetto" as she pioneered one of the nation's first urban green-collar job training and placement systems, and spearheaded legislation that fueled demand for those jobs. Her 2006 TEDtalk was one of six presentations to launch that groundbreaking website.

Since 2008, Carter's consulting company has exported climate adaptation, urban revitalization, and leadership development strategies for business, government, foundations, universities, and economically underperforming communities.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

archive
Arts & Culture

A 4,763-Mile Trip for Five Minutes Onstage? Yes, Please.

BY

PUBLISHED ON Nov 17 2014

Butler Dance Professor Marek Cholewa took five Butler Ballet students to Bratislava, Slovakia, November 19-24 to participate in the “International Concert of Dance Schools,” a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the prestigious Dance Conservatory of Eva Jacz.

Marek Cholewa with Eileen Frazer and Ricardo Dyer
Marek Cholewa with Eileen Frazer and Ricardo Dyer

 

Butler students Ricardo Dyer, Eileen Frazer, Marie Harrison, Taylor Nash, and Renee Roberts, who were selected through an audition process, performed on a program that includes conservatories from Berlin, Budapest, London, and Vienna, as well as professionals from around Europe.

Each group was only onstage for five minutes, but Cholewa said the 4,763-mile trip was worthwhile for the students and the Butler Ballet program.

“There’s a certain level of PR for us presenting our school among the best schools,” he said. “We will be seen by many very well-known choreographers and teachers. It is a very important opportunity for the dancers. Since we will be bringing three seniors who will be looking for jobs in the near future, there will be a chance for them to network on a global level, which doesn’t happen that often for dancers from the United States.”

Cholewa said when dancers are auditioning for a company or in the audition process, they typically can only demonstrate their technical skills.

“Granted, that is a necessary stage in the process,” he said. “However, the artistry and beauty of the dancer that is garnered from a choreographic piece cannot be demonstrated that way. The totality of a dancer cannot be ascertained through just the means of an technical audition.”

The invitation to perform in Slovakia came after Cholewa had taken a group of 36 students to Europe in May. One of the stops was Bratislava, where the Butler group worked with the Eva Jacz conservatory.

The piece they performed at the November 21 event is called “Displacements.” Cholewa, who choreographed the dance to an original score written by Butler Dance Department Chair Larry Attaway, describes the choreography as a contemporary new work that tells the story of a group of people who attempt to drift from one another as a way to create change within their own lives. But they also have to acknowledge that this is not possible and soon realize that the attraction that bonds them is inseparable and cannot be undone.

Attaway said the trip was an incredible opportunity for the Butler dance program to be seen on a truly global stage.

“We are so honored to be included in this extraordinary group of dance schools,” he said, “and we are so proud to present this quintet of performers as international ambassadors representing dance in the United States.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Art: The Secret Ingredient

Cindy Dashnaw

from Spring 2016

Common Core State Standards outline what to teach students so they can graduate. What the standards don’t address is how to do that.

In this void, College of Education (COE) Professor Arthur Hochman saw an opportunity for Butler to influence the way teachers teach and students learn for decades to come.

Art Meets Education

We know today that the arts improve educational performance. But it wasn’t until 2002 that a first-of-its-kind research study showed that students exposed to arts education scored higher on standardized tests, developed better social skills, and had more motivation than their counterparts.

Hundreds of studies since have reached the same conclusion: Integrating the arts with other subjects improves the performance of K-12 students. 

Why, then, haven’t schools changed? 

“In 2002, teachers weren’t being taught to teach this way,” Hochman said. “And they still aren’t, for the most part—frankly, because standardized tests don’t emphasize it.” 

Teachers who might want to add an arts component to lesson plans are on their own.

“They have only their own experience to draw from. And think about that: all of us—teachers—included, grew up doing sums on the board, not moving in front of the class,” Hochman said. “So how can we expect them to naturally integrate an art form into the way they teach?” 

Hochman’s solution began with his creation of the Arts Integration (AI) course.

Art for All

Hochman recruited Tim Hubbard, Arts Integration Specialist, to help teach the required course in 2004. AI ensures that future teachers get a base of knowledge about successfully marrying the arts with other subjects. 

It’s our responsibility as an educational institution, Hochman said. 

“We always hear that the arts are for everyone, but they’re not. When families cannot afford to take their children to a performance or exhibit, school is their only chance,” said Hochman. “We want to make sure teachers know how to give students what they need.”

The arts can be integrated into any subject—math, for example. Twenty students solving the same equation may come up with the same answer. But when they can use their bodies to express their thought processes, Hochman said, individuality, retention, and attitudes soar. 

“The arts are inherently personal. They demand our own interpretation. So when I, as a student, connect math with the physical movement of my body, the math becomes a personal expression of me. After all, what am I more connected to than me?” he said.

Effective Arts Integration

The approach intrigued Superintendent of Kokomo-Center Consolidated School Corporation Jeff Hauswald. He asked Hochman and Hubbard for help in developing an arts-integrated elementary school. Thanks to exceptional community support, the Wallace School of Integrated Arts opened in 2012 with a waiting list. Eleven of its 14 teachers are Butler graduates. 

One of those is Veronica Orech ’14, who wrote in an email that Butler transformed her ideas on how to be a teacher. She also saw the approach at the Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler University Lab School 60, a COE partner. 

"The arts are inherently personal. They demand our own intepretation."

“No matter the subject, arts integration is my favorite way to teach. The overall experience is more rewarding for everyone involved because everyone is more motivated to take ownership of their learning experience—myself included,” she wrote. 

For more information, visit the Wallace School of Integrated Arts

Embracing a Love of Music

Jen Gunnels

from Spring 2016

For the Starost Speicher family, music was and is a gift to be shared with others. Helen Starost Speicher earned her bachelor’s degree from Butler in 1941 and her master’s degree in 1948 before going on to play music professionally, often alongside her sister Lillian, who also earned music degrees from Butler. The sisters embraced a love of music from their parents and grandparents, and spent their lives passing that love on to others. Both women spent many years teaching music in Indianapolis Public Schools and were active in arts organizations throughout the Midwest. 

Together with her husband Bill ’35 and her sister Lillian ’38 MA ’48, Starost Speicher also chose to share her love of music by establishing three scholarships at Butler during her lifetime: The William and Helen Speicher Outstanding Music Performance Award, The Anne Starost Memorial Music Award, and The Starost Speicher Music Memorial Award. 

“My mother and aunt were both professional musicians and they were very grateful for their education,” said Helen and Bill’s daughter Anne Soper. “They wanted to afford others with the same opportunities they had because they knew how difficult it is to become a professional musician, especially how financially difficult it can be.” 

The scholarships also honor Helen and Lillian’s parents, Anne and Charles Starost, who were both accomplished musicians. The three endowed scholarships currently benefit six Jordan College of the Arts students; Whitney Cleveland ’17 is the current recipient of two of those scholarships. 

“It wouldn’t be possible for me to attend Butler without my scholarships,” Cleveland said. “I’m from a small town in western Montana, and while I grew up being very fortunate to have great teachers and strong and thriving community theatre, I didn’t have any friends my age who were serious about music. Being able to be surrounded by talented, dedicated musicians every day inspires me to work harder to fulfill my own potential.” 

Soper says it would have brought her parents great joy to know that the scholarships they established are helping promising students like Cleveland pursue music at Butler. 

“There was a lot of family history at Butler,” Soper said. “Butler was a very special place in their hearts.” 

Arts & Culture

Embracing a Love of Music

by Jen Gunnels

from Spring 2016

Read more
Arts & Culture

Illustrator Michele Wood to Sign Books at Butler

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 26 2015

Butler Libraries will host a book signing with local children’s book illustrator Michele Wood on Wednesday, February 5, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in Irwin Library as part of Butler Founder’s Day activities.

Chasing Freedom CoverThe public is invited to attend.

A representative from the University bookstore will be on hand to sell copies of Wood’s new book with author Nikki Grimes, Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony Inspired by Historical Facts. Chasing Freedom richly imagines the experiences of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, illuminating historical events like the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

Wood, an Indianapolis native, is a painter, illustrator and designer. She won the American Book Award for Going Back Home and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for I See the Rhythm. More about her is at MicheleWood.com.

Grimes won a 2014 Coretta Scott King Honor for Words with Wings, and she is the author of four other Coretta Scott King Honor books: Talkin’ About Bessie, Jazmin’s Notebook, The Road to Paris, and Dark Sons. She also won the Coretta Scott King Award for Bronx Masquerade and is the recipient of the 2006 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. More about her is at NikkiGrimes.com.

 

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Famed Clarinetist Performs World Premieres of Butler Student Compositions

BY Marc Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Mar 07 2019

Alex Shanafelt ’19 acknowledges being "a little nervous" when he and his classmates were asked to compose music for famed New York clarinetist Thomas Piercy.

"Dr. Schelle said this huge clarinet guy is going to play your pieces, and I thought, 'I don't have anything for clarinet right now,'" says Shanafelt, an Indianapolis native who's a music composition major. "But he kept pushing and pushing and I figured I might as well submit something because an opportunity like this doesn't come around very often."

Shanafelt's contemporary classical piece Overhearing will be one of four compositions by Butler University students that Piercy will perform—alongside the composers—on Tuesday, March 19, at 7:30 PM in the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

The idea to play students' pieces came together when Professor of Music and Composer in Residence Michael Schelle and his wife, pianist/composer Miho Sasaki, invited Piercy to perform at Butler. Schelle and Sasaki have written pieces that Piercy has performed as part of his Tokyo to New York concert series, which features new works composed for Western and Japanese classical instruments, and celebrates the connection between the two cities.

Schelle asked Piercy, "What if my kids wrote pieces for clarinet or clarinet and piano and you picked a few to do in the program?"

Piercy liked the idea. Schelle presented the opportunity to his students and four—Shanafelt and graduate students Matt Mason, Seth David, and Justin Hung—submitted compositions. Piercy decided he'd play all four pieces at the concert.

"That's what I hoped he'd say," Schelle says. "So four world premieres by four of our students. Then he'll take them back to New York, he'll play them in New York, he'll play them in Japan. So it gives my kids an opportunity to get outside of Butler. That's huge."

The Japan connection turned out to be serendipitous for graduate student Mason. He was reading a book called Japanese Death Poems, the last poetry of early Japanese haiku poets, when Schelle requested compositions. Mason wrote a piece called Reflections on Ichimu's Death Dream that will be played at the concert.

Piercy, he says, "seems like the kind of person who's really collaborative, and he's championing new music, which is great. As a composer of new music, we're battling not only other new composers, but we're also battling the classical masters. So to have someone come along who's really gung-ho for just the new music, it gives us the opportunity to get our work out there and show that we can do this, too."

Mason, a Lincoln, Illinois, native who did his undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan, says he appreciates the opportunity "to write for Piercy, have him say it's good enough to play, and get to play it with him."

The March 19 concert also will feature Piercy performing a few pieces on a Japanese wind instrument called the hichiriki—including a new composition by Schelle called Jukai (named for the suicide forest at the base of Mt. Fuji), a new work by Sasaki written for bass clarinet and bayan accordion, and a John Cage composition that will feature Piercy with Schelle, Sasaki, and the four student composers.

"This is definitely a cool opportunity," Shanafelt agrees. "It's sort of like dipping your toe into the freelancing world, where you get a commission, you write a piece, it's performed, and you get more commissions from that. That'll be cool to have, because most of my performances are from student players and this will be the first time a professional musician will be performing a piece. So it's a really good experience."

Arts & Culture

Famed Clarinetist Performs World Premieres of Butler Student Compositions

Four Butler student composers will have their pieced played on campus, in New York City, and abroad.

Mar 07 2019 Read more
Arts & Culture

Visiting Writers Series Presents Maurice Manning

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 27 2015

Poet Maurice Manning will speak on February 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Clowes Memorial Hall Krannert Room as part of Butler University’s spring 2015 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

All events in the series are free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.

Maurice ManningManning was born and raised in Kentucky and often writes about the land and culture of his home. His first book of poems, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions (2001), was chosen by W.S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.

His subsequent books include A Companion for Owls: Being the Commonplace Book of D. Boone, Lone Hunter, Back Woodsman, &c. (2004); Bucolics (2007); The Common Man (2010), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry; and The Gone and the Going Away (2013).

Manning has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has taught at DePauw University, Indiana University, and the Sewanee Writing Conference and in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College. He is a Professor of English at Transylvania University.

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Arts & Culture

Artwork on Display, Inspired By Biblical Text

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 22 2015

Artists who participated in Butler University’s fall Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts symposium will show their work at a culminating exhibition on January 28 at Christian Theological Seminary’s Shelton Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
Isaac, the Defiant -- by KC Ferrill

More information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/914161761927732/?ref=22

A reception at 6:00 p.m. will begin the evening with visual work from Kyle Ragsdale, Casey Eskridge, KC Ferrill, Sofiya Inger and Bruce Lowenthal, who were among the participants in this initiative designed to bring together people from diverse artistic disciplines, practices, and religious/spiritual perspectives for sustained study and reflection on a biblical text.

At 6:30 p.m., the program will begin with compositions and performances by Jean Arnold, Gabrielle Cerberville, Anthony Elia, Heidi Fledderjohn, Gail Payne, Wendy Vergoz, Shelly White Wood, and Roger Roe.

Twelve selected participants were part of the seminar, using sacred text to inspire new work that could include music, poetry, visual art, dance, drama, narrative, or liturgical art. The initiative is directed by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and is a project of the Butler Center for Faith and Vocation.

The project continues in spring 2015 with new artists. They are: Von Biggs, Michael Brady, Hector Hernandez, JL Kato, Kris Mobley, Kate Oberreich, Terry Ofner, Sherry Polley, Ben Rose, Jeff Rothenberg, Gary Walters, and Michele Woods.

Faculty participants for round three will be Michael Sells, Julia Muney Moore, and Shari Wagner.

 

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

From Bulldog to Ogre

Marc Allan

from Spring 2016

Where in the world is John Thyen?

Depending on when you’re reading this, the 2010 graduate could be in Egypt dressed as a green ogre. Or in Asia, disguised as one of the three little pigs. Or in Australia singing in a chorus. Throughout 2016, Thyen is on a world tour with Shrek: The Musical, understudying the title role while also appearing nightly as a featured ensemble player. 

“I’ve never left the country before,” he said prior to the tour, which began in January 2016 in Istanbul. “So I think it’s going to be life-changing to see so many different cultures and bring an art form that is awesome to so many different places.” 

Thyen grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana, and chose Butler because the Jordan College of the Arts (JCA) offered an all-encompassing degree rather than a specialized one. Versatility, he realized, would be important for someone hoping to break into theatre. In fact, after sophomore year, Thyen changed his major to Arts Administration so he’d have a fully rounded view of the business. That, he said, “has been a huge benefit for me as a professional.” 

After graduation, Thyen worked in Butler’s Office of Annual Giving for seven months, then took a job at a nonprofit for about a year. In his off hours, he performed in the Indianapolis Civic Theatre’s production of Rent and with Indianapolis Opera. But at work, he found himself thinking, “I’d rather be in rehearsal right now.” Thyen felt he owed it to himself to try to be a full-time actor. 

So he packed up a car and drove to New York. He lined up a place to live and a temporary job and went to auditions. That led to some Off-Broadway and regional theatre work, then a national tour of Seussical the Musical. And now Shrek, where he will be dressed in 70-75 pounds of costume and prosthetics and, some nights, airbrushed in green paint. (Follow his trip on Instagram or his website, johnhthyen.com.) 

Thyen said that when he took off for New York, the initial reaction from family and friends was mixed. “Your family is always a little bit like, ‘Oh, you’re going to give up a salary and benefits to go be a waiter.’ But I think they saw that I really wanted to do it,” he said, “and I’ve been able to show that hard work pays off.” 

Arts & Culture

From Bulldog to Ogre

by Marc Allan

from Spring 2016

Read more

Seeing the Music

Marc Allan

from Spring 2016

Nathan Blume ’03 came to Butler from Fort Wayne, Indiana, with a plan to double-major in Chemistry (on a pre-med track) and Trumpet Performance. A year later, thanks to the guidance of Professor of Music Michael Schelle, he went “all in” on music. 

“Once I did it,” Blume said, “even the act of changing my major, I felt like that was exactly what I wanted to do. It took Schelle to get me to do that. Throughout my time there, he really became a mentor and instilled in me—not just through personal advice but in his teaching—a confidence about myself and my abilities. I always knew that I wanted to come out to L.A. and try film music. I don’t think I’d be out here without Dr. Schelle’s advice and help.” 

Schelle’s confidence proved spot-on—Blume’s resume now includes composing music for The CW Network’s Arrow and The Flash, CNN’s The Seventies, NBC’s Blindspot, and the popular web series Vixen

But before Blume got to Hollywood, there were detours—a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University to build up his composition chops, followed by a couple of years with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra while he and his future wife, Megan McGarry ’05, figured out their next steps. They married in 2006 and moved to California in 2007 so he could attend the University of Southern California’s (USC) Thornton Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program. That one-year intensive curriculum, taught by working professionals, is “the front door into the film music industry,” Blume said. “That’s where you meet a lot of people and you start networking.” (In the meantime, McGarry founded and now serves as principal of a charter middle school in San Fernando.) 

After USC, Blume found work consistently, first on short films, then on the TV series Eastwick, where he began collaborating with well-established composer Blake Neely. Blume credits his education for teaching him not only how to compose music but how to work fast (composers typically only get a week to write 35 minutes of music for a 42-minute show) and appreciate the way his work fits with everyone else’s. 

“You want something that sets the tone for the piece,” he said. “You’re working as a collaborator. It’s not about you and your musical abilities. It’s about your ability to work with the project and accomplish the end goal that everyone’s trying to accomplish.” 

Arts & Culture

Seeing the Music

by Marc Allan

from Spring 2016

Read more

Setting the Barre

Cindy Dashnaw

from Spring 2016

While most high-school juniors were getting their driver’s licenses, Karnjanakorn “Gift” Sapianchai was saying goodbye to everyone and everything she knew. 

She was moving 8,100 miles from home to dance ballet. 

“Home” is Bangkok, Thailand, on Southeast Asia’s Indochina peninsula. While younger Thai children can learn ballet at studios, dance offerings in general are severely limited in her country, Sapianchai said. 

“I think art hasn’t developed in the same way there that it has here or in Europe. Sports are more developed [in Thailand]. My sister is a swimmer for the national team, and she plans to try out for the Olympics in a few years. 

"Dancing allows me to express what's inside of me."

“I started ballet because my parents thought it would improve my posture,” she said. “I also did piano, art lessons, swimming, all the other sports. Eventually, they all went away except for ballet.” 

Sapianchai’s ballet instructors followed the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) syllabus, an internationally recognized portfolio of exams and assessments that outline a progressive structure for learning and achievement. But it goes only so far in a culture that doesn’t value ballet, she said. Bangkok City Ballet is the country’s only professional ballet company. 

Fortunately, a teacher in Sapianchai’s studio danced professionally and recognized her potential. He recommended that she audition for the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC. 

“I sent in a video, and they accepted me,” Sapianchai said. “We had academics in the morning, then four hours of ballet in the afternoon and sometimes rehearsals.” 

The experience strengthened her love of ballet. She chose to attend Butler because she knew it had one of the top dance programs in the country and offered a wide range of dance styles. 

“Even if you’re a dance major, you’re not restricted to just dancing. You can take Arts Administration, Arts Pedagogy, or the History of Dance. The Dance professors really know what they’re doing, and students are very connected to them. They offer you very personal advice,” she said. 

“And they encourage you to do a second major or a minor that’s completely separate from Dance, so that when you graduate, you don’t feel like your only option is to be a professional dancer. You will have other skills.” 

Sapianchai appreciates the “strong sense of community in Ballet, the College, the entire campus” she has found at Butler. She also is glad for the hard work. 

“In the RAD system, it is the same class every single day, just repeated. Here, at Butler and at Kirov, every class is different. They make your brain work in different ways because you have to apply different combinations to music you may never have heard before. 

“I grew up with a lot of classical ballet. I wasn’t aware of other types of ballet like modern or Balanchine. Now that I’m here, I’m doing a wide repertoire and learning there’s a lot more to ballet,” she said. 

Sapianchai plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in Dance Performance, then audition for a dance company here in Indianapolis. 

“Ballet allows me to express myself. I’m not a very vocal person, so dancing allows me to express what’s inside of me,” she said. 

Arts & Culture

Setting the Barre

by Cindy Dashnaw

from Spring 2016

Read more

The Arts at Butler

S. L. Berry

from Spring 2016

The arts are more than an essential part of Butler University's academic mission. They exemplify Butler’s emphasis on experiential education, show our commitment to diversity, and bring our entire community together. In fact, as a magnet for Indianapolis-area residents, they attract more people to the campus annually than any other activity. 

Butler’s central role in the cultural vitality of Indianapolis is the basis of the Arts at Butler, a new strategy for positioning the University as the arts and culture hub of Central Indiana. Its foundation is the collective strength of Butler’s interdisciplinary academics, performing arts events and venues, and community-centered programs. 

“The Arts at Butler is what we are,” said Ron Caltabiano, Dean of the Jordan College of the Arts (JCA). “We teach each art form in the context of other art forms.” Pointing to the University’s nationally acclaimed dance program as an example, he said its students explore music, theatre, and visual arts, as well as arts administration. It’s an approach designed to deepen their understanding of—and appreciation for—creative and practical concerns outside of their discipline. 

To that end, the Arts at Butler offers a unified approach to promoting the array of art experiences available on campus. “We do more and more collaborative work,” said Susan Zurbuchen, Chair of JCA’s Arts Administration program. “But audiences still tend to identify as those who love dance, those who love theatre, those who love music, and so forth. We’re trying to help people understand they can experiment a little bit with what they attend.” 

Such campus events as the annual Butler ArtsFest provide an opportunity to do precisely that. Every April, ArtsFest brings renowned performing and visual artists from throughout the world to campus to take part in a diverse range of events alongside students and faculty members. It’s a chance for artists and audiences alike to expand their horizons. 

Building relationships with government agencies and corporations enables Butler to bring international artists to Central Indiana. The Arts at Butler will help focus attention on the diversity of those artists, with the goal of attracting equally diverse audiences. 

“There’s a great energy on and off campus about what the arts at Butler can mean for our students and for Indianapolis.”-Ron Caltabiano

Diversity is also the basis of the University’s community outreach programs, which have long been an important part of its relationship with its neighbors as an anchor institution in Midtown and Greater Indianapolis. The Arts at Butler enables the University to highlight such success stories as the Butler Community Arts School (BCAS), which provides instruction to 2,000 students ages 5 to adult throughout the academic year. Summer camps give another 10,000 underprivileged children the chance to explore the arts. 

In addition to community outreach through the BCAS program, Clowes Memorial Hall marks its 25th season of arts education programming for students, teachers, and parents statewide through their “Experience Learning Through the Arts” energizing, educational, and inspirational offerings. Throughout the program’s history, Butler’s campus and Clowes have welcomed and hosted over 1,000,000 patrons— many experiencing their first live theatre performance in support of educational curriculum and academic standards. A life-changing event for many cultivating informed and educated arts consumers of the future. 

“We want the Central Indiana community to see Butler not just as a place for a great education and the home of a great basketball team,” said Zurbuchen, “but as a place that positively impacts quality of life in the neighborhood, city, and region.” 

Contributing to that vision is the variety of professional venues on campus. From the 110-seat Black Box theatre and 140-seat Eidson-Duckwell Recital Hall to the 450-seat Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts and 2,200-seat Clowes Memorial Hall, the venues comprising the newly created Butler Arts Center offer settings ranging from intimate to grand. They also offer opportunities to experience everything from student recitals to Broadway tours. 

Additional opportunities stem from the collaborative relationships the University enjoys with professional arts organizations, including the American Pianists Association, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indianapolis Children’s Choir, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, and Indianapolis Opera—all of which perform at Butler’s venues, with most maintaining administrative offices on campus. 

“I don’t think there’s another university that has as many professional arts organizations on its campus,” said Caltabiano. Such proximity provides students with opportunities to learn from arts professionals, as well as to attend performances and events held by these organizations on and off campus. 

Overall, the Arts at Butler strategy is based on the synergy between students, venues, performers, and the community. Its vision has Butler as the fulcrum—the supportive and sustaining center of arts and culture in Central Indiana. 

“There’s a great energy on and off campus about what the Arts at Butler can mean for our students and for Indianapolis,” said Caltabiano. “By bringing together all of our considerable assets, we have the opportunity to create a world-class center for arts and culture thought, programming, and innovation right here at Butler University.” 

Arts & Culture

The Arts at Butler

by S. L. Berry

from Spring 2016

Read more
archive
Arts & CulturePeople

StoryCorps Editor Tells Freshmen: Learn From Those Around You

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 25 2014

Lizzie Jacobs remembers the story of that day in 1997 when she left her suburban Chicago home for Williams College in Massachusetts.

Lizzie Jacobs, outside Clowes Hall
Lizzie Jacobs, outside Clowes Hall

 

“Arthur, my teddy bear, had fallen out of the minivan—or possibly been pushed,” she said. “It was like a cord cutting. I think I was nervous, but I also was excited because I felt like everything was ahead of me and I was on my own. I actually wasn’t on my own—my sister went there—but I felt like I was on my own in all the good ways.”

So when Jacobs, the Co-Executive Producer, Animation and Senior Editor for Print at StoryCorps, got in front of Butler University’s Class of 2018 on Monday at Clowes Memorial Hall, she understood how they might be feeling.

Jacobs was at Butler to talk about Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps, this year’s common reading for the incoming class. Jennifer Griggs, Director of Butler’s Learning Resource Center, said the University chose Ties That Bind as the common read because “it really had an angle on diversity that matched our common values.”

“I believe this book is a perfect book for this time in your lives,” Jacobs told the 974 first-year students. “It’s a book about relationships—the surprising ways they begin and the myriad ways they change our lives for the better. And, yes, you’re all here to learn. You come here to learn and to prepare for the working world, and you’ll be in labs and music rooms and classrooms and library carrels.

“But all that time, if you’re smart, you’ll be focusing just as much on the people around you—your professors, of course, but also the staff in the dining hall and the dean’s office, the people maybe at the pizza joint, and, most of all, each other. The people sitting to the left and the right of you and that you’ll be surrounded by every day of your time here. Your freshman roommate, your lab mate, classmate, teammate. And years from now, you’ll remember and lean on the things you learned from each other as much as what you learned in class. And if you’re lucky, there’ll be two or three whose friendship will change your life forever.”

Jacobs said being part of StoryCorps, the national project to inspire people to record each other’s stories, has taught her to ask questions that get meaningful answers and encourage loved ones to be open and honest.

Too often, she said, we smooth things over and keep the conversation light. But StoryCorps, which over the past 10 years has recorded the stories of more than 50,000 people, shows that asking the right questions and encouraging others to talk helps us understand each other.

“People actually want to be asked about their lives,” Jacobs said. “When you ask them to share something about themselves, it tells them they’re important to you. So in these coming months and years, as you spend time together … try asking them about their grandparents. Or what their dreams are. Why did they come here? What are they proudest of? These are the big questions we encourage you to ask. And you might get some surprising answers. You might actually get to know one another.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

The Art of Creating Butler Artsfest

Patricia Snyder Pickett ’82, APR

from Spring 2016

 

Those who perceive Butler ArtsFest as a showcase of the Jordan College of the Arts (JCA) are clearly not in tune with the vision of Ronald Caltabiano, JCA dean. 

Launched in 2013, ArtsFest has evolved into an annual event that presents renowned performing and visual artists from around the globe alongside students and faculty from JCA. 

It all began when Caltabiano, a New York native, landed on Butler’s campus in 2011 as its newly appointed Dean of JCA. Along with JCA faculty and staff, he quickly began to formulate plans for an event that would not only feature the many facets of the College, but one that would be rooted in collaboration and create a cross pollination of artistic talent spilling well beyond the Butler campus. 

That vision ultimately became the first Butler ArtsFest— themed “Revolution!”—that premiered in April 2013 with 40 performances and events over an 11-day period. That premiere provided a festive and impressive backdrop for the opening of the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts. 

“It was evident from that first year that there was much more to it than celebrating the launch of the new building,” said Caltabiano. “For our students, Butler ArtsFest is a way for them to progress. It enables them to collaborate across the arts. We know that—with the most rare of exceptions—that will serve them well in their careers after Butler.” That concept is well illustrated among the students of JCA. 

Caltabiano points to a piece of art on his office wall. “I asked the student who painted that piece what she was doing during the summer,” he recounted. “She said, ‘Well, my real major is theatre, but I’m going to spend the summer playing violin in a rock band.’ That’s really an example of what the future holds for these young artists— that sort of multifaceted work across many platforms.” 

It’s a stark contrast to the perceived classic tradition of arts education. From an academic standpoint, Professor of Music at Butler and Orchestral Conductor Richard Auldon Clark believes cross-disciplinary collaboration at the college level is imperative to both ArtsFest and the future of the arts. 

“It’s great to embrace our history and the past, but not at the expense of the future,” Clark said. “Providing this breadth of work through ArtsFest, and the relationship the experience creates for all those involved, translates into one of the most unique and valuable programs a liberal arts college can offer.” 

It’s also a valuable driver of support, both on and off the Butler campus, according to Caltabiano. 

“Initially, we had a few skeptics … but they gave me a ‘bye’ the first year. By the second year, they began to see how it helped our students, our reputation, and our bottom line. Now people at the University and in the arts community are embracing it year-after-year.” 

By embodying the essence of Butler’s arts program, ArtsFest provides an ideal opportunity for potential students and donors alike to engage with the University. Perhaps no one understands this better than Howard Schrott ’76, whose generous gift helped move Butler’s new, state-of-the-art performing and visual arts venue from the drawing board to fruition. 

“As we chatted with Butler, we landed on this idea that arts students truly needed a ‘lab space’—much like the business or science students—in which to practice their craft,” according to Schrott, who said he was initially drawn to the arts from his high school years spent playing the saxophone. “Butler ArtsFest is a wonderful way of bringing that ‘lab experience’ to the stage.” 

“We are right on track with my vision,” said Caltabiano, “It began with a 10-year plan to grow the festival from a budget of less than $100,000 to $1 million. While we initially hosted all performances on Butler’s campus, as we grow, we want to include off-campus performances as a means to further enhance our students’ experiences and position Butler as a leader in the Central Indiana arts scene.” 

Now in its fourth year, Butler ArtsFest 2016 will take place April 7–17 with more than 40 performances and events, including dance, music, theatre, visual arts, and family programs. From the measured beats of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet to the ancient sounds of a chanting Buddhist nun, from newly commissioned dance and theatre productions to a work composed in a Nazi POW camp, this year’s theme “Time and Timeless”—drawn from Indiana’s bicentennial celebration—explores the many ways we think about, measure, and use time.

Arts & Culture

The Art of Creating Butler Artsfest

by Patricia Snyder Pickett ’82, APR

from Spring 2016

Read more

Jauvon Gilliam ’01

Jauvon Gilliam ’01 came to Butler on a full piano scholarship. He left a timpanist—and a darn good one.

In the years since he graduated with a degree in arts administration, he went on to perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for seven years and, for the past five-plus years, as the principal timpanist for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. He’s also performed with the symphony orchestras in Cleveland, San Francisco, Detroit, and Indianapolis, as well as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

“I feel like I have the best job in the world—I get paid to beat stuff,” he said with a laugh. “I get paid to bang on drums.”

Gilliam had played a little bit of drums and percussion in youth orchestra while in high school, but it wasn’t until his sophomore year at Butler when he met Percussion Artist in Residence Jon Crabiel that he thought about timpani.

“We had a three-minute conversation,” Gilliam recalled, “and he said, ‘You know, you can make money playing drums.’ I said, ‘Really?’”

He talked it over with his piano teacher/academic advisor, Steve Roberson, who told Gilliam to follow his heart. Two days later, he changed his major to devote full time to timpani.

From his piano training, Gilliam already knew how to make music. What he needed was a proficient teacher who could instruct him in technique. He found that in Crabiel.

After a year of Crabiel’s tutelage, he was playing at a national percussion convention.

“I cannot give him enough praise,” Gilliam said. I’ve called him a hundred times and said, ‘Dude, I love you, thank you, because I couldn’t have done it without you.’”

Professors Crabiel, Roberson, and Dan Bolin, he said, “were like father figures to me. Even thinking of it now, I wish I could give all three of them a hug because I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Jauvon Gilliam
OutcomesArts & CulturePeople

Jauvon Gilliam ’01

  Jauvon Gilliam ’01 came to Butler on a full piano scholarship. He left a timpanist—and a darn good one.

Josh Pedde ’04

Joshua Pedde came to Butler in 2000 wanting to get into choral conducting—and did he ever come to the right place. Sixteen years later, Pedde was named as the new Artistic Director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir (ICC). He's now in his second year.

Pedde took over for Henry Leck, the longtime Butler professor who founded the choir 32 years ago and grew it to the point that it provides music education to more than 5,000 children in central Indiana. Each week, the choir holds 110 rehearsals and music classes at Butler, where the organization is housed.

“I’m really honored that the person who started it chose me to take over,” Pedde said. “It’s the biggest compliment.”

Pedde had chosen Butler based on recommendations from several of his high school music teachers in Kokomo, Indiana, who knew Leck and the quality of the music program. “A lot of arrows kept pointing to Butler,” Pedde said. “Once I came to campus, it just felt like home. It felt right to me.” He met Leck at his audition and Leck became Pedde's choir director his freshman year. That year, Pedde walked into the ICC office to ask about becoming a choral conductor.

He said Leck and many others at Butler instilled in him values including hard work and a strong moral and ethical compass. “You put in your time, you put in your effort, but you always bring your best to the table,” he said. “Bring quality and it will always pay off for you.” He also became interested in political science, which broadened his view of the world and the part music can play in creating common culture.

Pedde received his Bachelor of Vocal Music Education and was a graduate assistant in 2005 and 2006 while earning his Master of Choral Conducting. After graduating, he taught elementary school in Zionsville and continued to work with the ICC. Then, four years ago, they created the position of assistant artistic director, and he joined the choir full-time.

“I cannot say thank you enough to the faculty and staff at Butler,” he said. “They are truly top-notch. What they put into their students and what they give is incredible. And the way they care about them as a whole person and help them mature into those people we see out in the community is absolutely wonderful.”

Josh Pedde
OutcomesArts & CulturePeople

Josh Pedde ’04

  He learned from the master. Now he’s taking over for the master.

Amber Mills ’14

Amber Mills ’14 said Butler provided her with a blank canvas—a fitting analogy for someone whose profession is graphic designer.

“I got to explore who I was, what I was passionate about, and who I wanted to become, and then Butler gave me the tools and the confidence to go out and get it,” she said.

Mills, one of the University’s first Art + Design majors, is now a Graphic Designer at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, the largest fully professional resident non-profit theater in Indiana. In that role, she works on the website (irtlive.com), designs ads, marketing materials, and does some photography. The job “changes by the minute,” she said. She even designed the theater’s current logo during its 2015 rebranding.

She said Butler prepared her well—whether it was what she learned in the classroom or in her internship with the University’s Marketing and Communications Department, where she designed the Hinkle Fieldhouse replica doghouse that is still on display in the campus bookstore. Mills did four internships while in school.

“Butler goes beyond teaching just the basic skills and theories in the classroom,” she said. “It teaches you how to communicate effectively. It teaches you how to solve problems. It teaches you how to think critically. And then it sends you out into the world to apply those skills and really gain the experience that sets you apart. There’s nothing like going into a job interview right after you graduate and being able to say, ‘Hey, I know I just graduated from school, but I’ve been making money as a graphic designer for two years and here’s my portfolio and my references to back that up.’”

Mills grew up in New Carlisle, in northern Indiana, and wanted a small school in a city. She found Butler to be “a nice steppingstone” with a community feel that reminded her of home. And she found people who are “exemplifying and living out the golden rule—being kind to one another, helping each other out, lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down. That’s the Butler Way.”

Amber Mills
OutcomesArts & CulturePeople

Amber Mills ’14

  Butler provided her with a blank canvas.