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International Day of Peace: He Named Me Malala

In 1981 the United Nations General Assembly declared September 21 The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day"), celebrated around the world. It is devoted to "commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples." Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.

He Named Me Malala posterThe Grinnell College Peace and Conflict Studies Program invites all members of our campus and city community to take part in this Day of Peace by attending a free showing of the award winning film He Named Me Malala, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

The film provides an intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus in Pakistan's Swat Valley. The then 15-year-old was singled out, along with her father, for advocating for girls' education, and the attack on her sparked an outcry from supporters around the world. She miraculously survived and is now a leading campaigner for girl's education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund.

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) shows us how Malala, her father Zia, and her family are committed to fighting for education for all girls worldwide. The film gives us an inside glimpse into this extraordinary young girl's life — from her close relationship with her father who inspired her love for education, to her impassioned speeches at the UN, to her everyday life with her parents and brothers.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations, 641-269-3235.

Grammy-Winner Robert Glasper in Concert

Robert Glasper, a Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and hip-hop record producer, will perform a free, public concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, in Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Glasper's 2012 album, "Black Radio," won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.

While tickets are free, they must be picked up in advance from the box office in the Bucksbaum Center. Tickets for this performance will be available from noon to 5 p.m. starting Wednesday, Sept. 14.

Glasper has released seven studio albums: five as a solo artist and two with his trio, featuring Chris Dave and Vincente Archer. His first four albums, Mood, Canvas, In My Element, and Grammy Award-nominated Double-Booked, are primarily rooted in jazz, but feature other genres' influences.

In 2012, Glasper released Black Radio, which received wide critical acclaim, as well as a Grammy Award. The album demonstrates Glasper's' expertise as a producer, featuring artists from many different musical backgrounds while making a cohesive sound. Artists featured include Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway, Ledisi, Meshell Ndegeocello and Yasiin Bey. In 2013, Glasper released a sequel album, Black Radio 2, further exemplifying his skill in production.

In his most recent album, Covered, Glasper returns to his trio and covers a wide variety of songs, from Radiohead to Joni Mitchell.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations, 641-269-3235.

VIVA: Film, Discussion, and Dinner

The Cultural Films Committee presents VIVA at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

A panel discussion with Fredo Rivera ’06, assistant professor of art historyJohn Petrus, assistant professor of Spanish, Jaclyn Abing ’17, Frank Barca ’17, Armando Perez ’17, and Nelson Schicke ’18 will follow the screening.

A Cuban-themed dinner buffet is included.

VIVA stars Héctor Medina as Jesus, a young hairdresser working at a Havana nightclub that showcases drag performers, who dreams of being a performer himself. Encouraged by his mentor, Mama (Luis Alberto García), Jesus finally gets his chance to take the stage. But when his estranged father Angel (Jorge Perugorría) abruptly reenters his life, his world is quickly turned upside down. As father and son clash over their opposing expectations of each other, VIVA becomes a love story as the men struggle to understand one another and reconcile as a family.

VIVA was a hit at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival and was Ireland’s entry for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award.

Bridging East and West

Composer Chen YiWhat does it mean to be a global composer? Chen Yi, the Lorena Searcy Cravens/Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor of Composition at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, will address this question in a public talk at Grinnell College on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Rethinking Global Cultures series of events sponsored by the Center for the Humanities. The talk will start at 7:30 p.m. in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 152.

A prolific composer, Chen draws on both Chinese and Western traditions, composing works that transcend national, regional, and cultural boundaries as well as genres. From Chinese Rap, Thinking of My Home, and We are America to her compositions on the Grammy Award-winning Colors of Love, Chen's work reflects the wonder of what cultural transfer and exchange make possible.

Born in 1953 in Guangzhou, China, Chen was the first woman to earn a M.A. in music composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, before coming to the United States to finish her schooling at Columbia University in New York City. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts from Columbia in 1993.

Her music has been commissioned and performed worldwide by Yo-Yo Ma, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and BBC Proms, among others. She is the recipient of many awards, fellowship,s and commissions, including the Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was introduced into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2005.

There will be a faculty performance of Chen's compositions immediately following her talk. The performance will feature the following Grinnell College faculty members: Claudia Anderson, flute; Eugene Gaub, piano; and Nancy McFarland, violin.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodations requests may be made to Conference Operations, 641-269-3235.

Traveling Exhibition of Works by Alexander Archipenko

The Faulconer Gallery will open the 2016-17 academic year with "Archipenko: A Modern Legacy," a major traveling retrospective of more than 60 sculptures, mixed media reliefs and works on paper by Ukrainian-born sculptor Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964).

Featuring works from major museum and private collections as well as never-before exhibited examples from Archipenko's archives, the exhibition spans the artist's entire career, from Kiev, Ukraine, via Moscow to Paris, Berlin, and, finally, New York City, where he established a 40-year creative legacy.

The Faulconer Gallery exhibition opens with a reception at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. The exhibition highlights Archipenko’s vision as an innovator with both materials and forms in modern sculpture. He based most of his work on the human figure but drew on modern art principles to abstract the figure.

Archipenko also explored lead casting, electro plating, and polychrome patina; reintroduced color and experimented with reflective materials; introduced nontraditional materials such as Plexiglas® and Bakelite®; employed concave and convex abstractions to the human figure; and brought mixed media to the field.

The travelling exhibition was organized by International Arts and Artists in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally, in collaboration with the Archipenko Foundation.

"Sculpture and art history are very active parts of the Grinnell College curriculum, and we're happy to be able to present an exhibition from an earlier period to broaden our offerings for students and patrons," says Daniel Strong, associate director of Faulconer Gallery and curator of exhibitions.

"Archipenko is inspired by Picasso and Cubism, so people may recognize and see references throughout this comprehensive survey of Archipenko's work," Strong adds. "The exhibition design itself will be of interest as many of the works are fragile and must be displayed in unexpected ways, demonstrating the talents of Director of Exhibition Design Milton Severe."


Faulconer Gallery will host a series of events related to the Archipenko exhibition:

Opening Reception
4:30- 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. Refreshments will be served.
Yoga in the Gallery
With Monica St. Angelo, 12:15 to 12:50 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, Oct. 3 through Dec. 15 (except Thanksgiving on Nov. 24). All levels welcome. Mats provided. Co-sponsored by Live Well Grinnell.
Gallery Talk
"Archipenko's Networked Modernism" by Jenny Anger, Grinnell College professor of art history, 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10. Anger will consider Archipenko's position among French, German and American artists' networks, as well as his varied styles.
Gallery Talk
"Archipenko: A Modern Legacy" by Alexandra Keiser, research curator at the Archipenko Foundation and curator of the exhibition, 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24. Keiser will provide an overview of the exhibition and explore several displayed works in detail.
20 Minutes@11
Short programs by guest speakers encourage the audience to view the exhibition in a variety of ways. All talks start at 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 25: Eiren Shea, assistant professor of art history, Grinnell College
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1: Mark Laver, assistant professor of music, and Eric McIntyre, professor of music, Grinnell College
  • Wednesday, Nov. 9: Fredo Rivera, assistant professor of art history, Grinnell College
Concert by Fresh Flutes
Under the direction of Claudia Anderson, applied music associate, Grinnell College, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17.
Gallery Talk:
"The Material World of Archipenko" by Joyce Tsai, clinical associate professor of art education and curator of art at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30. Tsai will discuss Archipenko's sculpture, from abstract metal cast figures to later experiments in Plexiglas. 
Community Day
With hands-on art making activities open to all ages, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Refreshments will be served. Supported by funding from Shane and Lauren Jacobson.
Piano Music of Claude Debussy
by Eugene Gaub, Grinnell College associate professor of music, 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7. Although they apparently never met, Debussy and Archipenko both lived in Paris during the years 1908-18, each taking part in the modernist revolution.

Concurrent Exhibition

A concurrent exhibition of sculpture by Anders Krisár also is featured at the gallery through Nov. 27. He is a Swedish artist who first exhibited his work as a photographer in the Faulconer Gallery's 2005 exhibition, "Scandinavian Photography 1: Sweden." Returning now as both a photographer and sculptor, he creates figurative pieces that are uncannily lifelike, cast primarily from members of his own family.

About Faulconer Gallery

Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and admission is free. The gallery will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24, and the Archipenko exhibition concludes on Dec. 11.

For more information about the exhibitions and related programs, visit Faulconer Gallery or call 641-269-4660. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations, 641-269-3235.

Prairie Meanders at CERA

Prairie Meanders installation at Grinnell College's Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA) in rural Kellogg is an engaging hybrid art form that combines nature trail, gallery display, land art, and immersive performance. Visitors meander through maze-like pathways and viscerally experience global ecology on a local, human-sized scale.

Prairie Meanders opened to the public on Saturday, Sept. 10. The installation will remain open for tours by individuals and small groups, with instructions provided, until Nov. 1. All children must be accompanied by responsible adults.

Professors Baz Kershaw and Susan Haedicke of Warwick University (UK) created Prairie Meanders with help from students of Lesley Delmenico, associate professor of theatre and dance.   

An associate professor of theater and performance studies at University of Warwick, Haedicke focuses her recent work on performance and agriculture, particularly the performance of farmscapes.

Emeritus professor of theater and performance studies at University of Warwick, and creator of Earthrise Repair Shop, Kershaw has been the keynote speaker at many international conferences and a visiting researcher at leading universities on five continents.


Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement, Center for the Humanities, Center for Prairie Studies and CERA, Public Events Concert Series, concentration in environmental studies, and the theatre and dance department.

Cyro Baptista Opens 2016-17 Public Events Series

In the season opener of Grinnell College's Public Event Concert Series, on Friday, Sept. 9, Brazilian percussionist and composer Cyro Baptista will lead a winsome world-jazz quartet (Banquet of the Spirits) in a virtuosic romp through myriad musical styles.

These styles range from washed out surf rock splashes to blazing hardbop solos, all laced with exquisite Afro-Brazilian rhythms and a carnivalesque sense of joyous irreverence.

The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel, 1128 Park St., Grinnell.

A veteran of stage and studio work with Paul Simon, Grinnell College alumnus Herbie Hancock, John Zorn, Yo-Yo Ma, Laurie Anderson, Cassandra Wilson, Sting and many others, Baptista is widely considered one of the premiere percussionists on the planet.

Described by All About Jazz as "a must-listen," and as "a diversity of sounds and colors that can't be found anywhere else," Banquet of the Spirits embodies the Brazilian philosophy of anthropofagia, or cultural cannibalism — a term coined by Brazilian modernist poet Oswald de Andrade.

The quartet is made up of:

  • Baptista, percussion and vocals,
  • Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, bass, oud and gimbri
  • Tim Keiper, drums and kamel ngoni, and
  • Brian Marsella, — piano and keyboards

The quartet draws freely on sounds from around the globe to create unique, unapologetic music that remains refreshingly fun, forward thinking and totally accessible.

Cyro Baptista's Banquet of the Spirits has played major engagements at such venues as the Newport Jazz Fest, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Wexner Center, the Village Vanguard, Town Hall NYC, SFJAZZ, Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, SESC Pompeia in São Paulo, the Adelaide Festival in Australia and many more. The group has released three albums on Tzadik, each hailed by critics for their infectious grooves and sheer elemental beauty, most recently receiving a five-out-of-five star rating from All About Jazz.​

Although the Sept. 9 concert is free and open to the public, tickets are required for admission. They will be available starting Wednesday, Sept. 7, in the box office in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Herrick Chapel is accessible via the north door. You can request accommodation from Conference Operations and Events, 641-269-3235.

Exhibition of Nature Photographs

Owl perched on brown vegetation in a snowy field“Nature photography is my passion,” says Ken Saunders II, who retired from a long career with the College’s facilities management department in 2015.

“Looking at his photographs, one is compelled to add that nature photography is also his forte,” says Jon Andelson, professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Prairie Studies. “Ken’s striking photographs show us nature at its most beautiful. His favorite subjects are individual animals and plants, captured in their natural habitat at rest or in motion, with close-up or telephoto lens.”

Saunders took all of the photographs in this exhibit, titled “Portraits of Nature in Iowa,” within 40 miles of Grinnell. The exhibit will open Aug. 25 and run through Oct. 15 in Burling Gallery on the lower level of Burling Library, 1111 Sixth Ave., Grinnell.

It may surprise some viewers that this diversity of wildlife can be found so close to our community, Andelson adds.  

It seems likely that Saunders would agree with Henry David Thoreau’s statement, “What’s the need of visiting far-off mountains and bogs if a half-hour’s walk will carry me into such wildness and novelty?” — though in fact he also photographs in other parts of the country, especially in the mountain west.

Saunders recalls getting his first camera — a Kodak 104 Instamatic, which retailed for $15.95 – when he was about 7 years old. Many years later he advanced to a 35mm film single-lens reflex camera, a Pentax, and then in 2003 began experimenting with digital photography.  He got his first digital single-lens reflex camera in 2006, a Nikon D200, and has been working in this vein ever since.

The Center for Prairie Studies and the Faulconer Gallery are co-sponsoring the exhibit of Saunders’ photography. An opening reception will take place at Burling Gallery) at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2. Refreshments will be served.

Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.




Share the Joy of Choral Music

John RommereimStarting Monday, Aug. 29, the Grinnell Oratorio Society will begin rehearsals for a December performance of Handel’s “Messiah” with a professional orchestra and soloists. The chorus is open to all — Grinnell students, faculty, staff, and community members, and does not require an audition.

Rehearsals will be held from 7-9 p.m. Mondays at Sebring-Lewis Hall in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. The performance of the “Messiah” will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in Sebring-Lewis Hall. For more information, email John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music at Grinnell College. 

“The Grinnell Oratorio Society provides a wonderful opportunity for area singers to rehearse and perform exciting music with others who are passionate about singing,” says Rommereim, director of the group.

Originally founded in 1901, the Grinnell Oratorio Society was, in the early decades of the 20th Century, one of Iowa’s most auspicious musical institutions. Edward Scheve (1865-1924), a composer of symphonies, concertos, oratorios and chamber music, established the choir as an outgrowth of the music conservatory that was then part of Grinnell College.

In 2010, the Grinnell Community Chorus was renamed the Grinnell Oratorio Society as a way to draw attention to this proud history. The choir draws together students, faculty, and staff of the College, people from the town of Grinnell, and nearby communities such as Newton and Malcolm. 

Artistic Collaborations Online

Sasha Middeldorp ’18 and Arch Williams ’18, both members of Grinnell Singers, are helping launch a new project called the Grinnell Virtual Choir. In the project's most recent video, 25 singers used the technology to perform a movement from Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil.

In a virtual choir, each participant records one or more individual singing parts of a particular song, and the videos are then synchronized and combined into a group performance.

In the current video, Middeldorp and Williams are among the singers testing virtual choir technology and demonstrating how it works. It’s the first step in introducing both a testing tool for better choir singing and a new opportunity for musical interaction among alumni and current students.

User Friendly

Middledorp says she found her initial singing experience to be “simple and straightforward” from a technological standpoint. “I only had to practice once or twice to figure out some of the logistics,” Middeldorp says. “I was in a practice room, and I just recorded it on whatever video recorder is built in on the computer and watched John [Rommereim] conduct on the same device.”

Williams did the same “after finding a quiet spot in my house where I could sing,” he says. “I did a couple of takes before submitting my video. I adjusted based on the recordings of my own voice and as I got a better handle on the music.”

Taking Ownership

One of the goals of the virtual choir project is to develop innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Using videos to record individual parts may provide a better way to test and evaluate the contribution of singers and improve their accountability in the chorus.

“Often in choir you think you know your lines but you’re just relying on the person next to you,” Middeldorp says. “When it’s just you singing alone you really take ownership over the music. One of the great benefits of this is that you know if you’re truly solid on your part independently.”

The Grinnell Singers have already begun putting virtual choir technology to the test as a rehearsal tool. They are using it to practice Duruflé’s Requiem for a combined concert with the Grinnell Oratorio Society later this spring.

“I think that using virtual choir capabilities will be an exciting experience and will help us learn the music in a new, cool, and different way then we normally do in class,” Williams says.

Learning the Technology

Austin Morris ’15, a mathematics major and Grinnell Singers alumnus, is the talent behind the scenes. He says learning to synchronize audio and video files from various devices has been challenging but worthwhile. Innovation Fund support for the project helped secure dedicated equipment for his work.

“Once we get the videos from all the people that we contact, it’s my job to put them all together in the final project,” Morris says. “My goal is to make it look as good and complete as possible.”

Fun and Inspiring

“The main goal of the Grinnell Virtual Choir is to create an online platform that facilitates choral performances that are connected virtually,” says John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music. “It’s a way to engage alumni in an artistic way so they can collaborate with current students and with each other.”

Current singers and alumni are invited to contribute additional vocal parts on All-Night Vigil and other works via the website. In addition to instructions for accessing the score and conducting video, the site offers musical and technical tips for getting a workable recording.

Essentially, singers can make it as simple as putting on earbuds and singing into their phones or laptops.

“We want it to be fun and a little inspiring,” Rommereim says. “We’re hoping it will blossom into a significant artistic endeavor.” 

Sasha Middeldorp ’18 is an anthropology major from Northfield, Minn. Arch Williams ’18 is a chemistry and political science double major from Minneapolis.