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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
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 & 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
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
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 & 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 & 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 & 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
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
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
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
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

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