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These Heavy Sands

John RommereimThese Heavy Sands, a concert of new and recent music by John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music, will be presented at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 17, in Herrick Chapel.

The concert, which is free and open to the public, includes four world premieres:

  • Together with the Voca String Quartet, soprano Rosie O’Brien ’16 will perform the premier of the featured work on the program: “These Heavy Sands Are Language,” with text by James Joyce.
  • The premiere of two songs will be sung by Rommereim with pianist Marlys Grimm: “The Gift” (text by Louise Erdrich) and “Elegy for a Walnut Tree” (text by W. S. Merwin).
  • Grimm, the College organist, will premiere “Veritas and Humanitas,” a piece written for the College’s annual commencement and reunion celebrations. 

Jazz saxophonist Mark Laver, assistant professor of music, will join with Rommereim to present improvisatory music for saxophone and piano. In addition, Laver will accompany the ensemble in a performance of Rommereim’s “Amara [grace].”

Flutist Claudia Anderson will perform “Weather Conversations,” a work for flute and electronics co-composed with Rommereim.

The Voca String Quartet will also perform “Illimitable Distance” from Rommereim’s 2004 string quartet, and selections will be offered from Rommereim’s chamber opera, “Rheingold,” a reimagining of Wagner’s opera commissioned by the Taiwan Ministry of Culture and performed with Craig Quintero’s Riverbed Theatre in Taipei in 2014. 

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations through Conference Operations and Events.

About John Rommereim

Rommereim conducts the Grinnell Singers and the Grinnell Oratorio Society and he teaches composition. He has conducted the Grinnell Singers on concert tours across the country and in Estonia, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey.

Rommereim’s choral works have been performed by distinguished ensembles across the United States, including Magnum Chorum, the Princeton Singers, VocalEssence, Voces Novae, Roomful of Teeth, and The Rose Ensemble, for which he served as 2008-09 composer-in-residence.

The New York Times praised the “richly expressive” character of his work for voice and piano, “Into the Still Hollow (2006).” In addition to his numerous choral works, Rommereim has composed a chamber opera, songs, electronic music, and works for piano, organ, guitar, flute, saxophone quartet, brass quintet, and string quartet.

Swing into Spring Contra Dance

Grinnell College's Contra Dance club is holding its Second Annual Contra Dance at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22. The free, public event will take place in Main Quad Dining Hall.

The dance will feature live music by Can I Get an Amen, one of Chicago's foremost folk bands. Nikki Herbst, a renowned contra dancer from Iowa, will be calling the social dances.

Contra dance is an American folk tradition, similar to square dancing. Fun for both skilled and beginner dancers, this live dance is a unique opportunity to experience one of America's folk traditions firsthand.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from Conference Operations and Events.

This event is supported by the Grinnell Department of Music with funds from the Terri Thaler ’82 Memorial Endowment.

Mini-Grant Awards

A dozen local projects and initiatives will benefit from $35,000 in grant support this year from the Grinnell College Mini-Grant Program.

Community Enhancement and Engagement supports the College’s mission by helping our hometown become an energetic place to live, work, and study through grants that enhance the experience of life in Grinnell.

One grant program that provides catalyst funding for small- to mid-scale off-campus projects is the Mini-Grant Program. These grants focus on arts and culture, as well as recreational and educational initiatives that address human needs and enhance the safety, beauty, and economic vitality of the area. Since 2002, the program has directed more than $348,000 towards 164 community initiatives.

“We are pleased to help support so many wonderful projects in Grinnell that make our community even stronger. It is amazing to see all of the initiatives funded in 2016 and the amount of strength they will give to Grinnell, both now and in future years,” said Sarah Smith, program and communications manager for Community Enhancement and Engagement.

The College has awarded mini-grant funding to the following 12 initiatives for 2016:

  • Grinnell Newburg Educational Excellence, towards the purchase of a grand piano for the Grinnell High School Auditorium to enable all students in the Grinnell Newburg School district to have the opportunity to hear the quality of music produced by a Steinway Grand Piano. ($5,000)
  • Grinnell Area Arts Council, toward the purchase of an iPad to incorporate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) concepts and learning into the Arts Academy. ($2,000)
  • Grinnell Area Arts Council, for the Grinnell Public Art Initiative and the vitality these pieces of art will bring to the community. ($5,000)
  • Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool, for professional development for the entire staff to increase the quality and programs offered at the daycare and preschool. ($1,335)
  • Grinnell Historical Museum, for “Our Prairie Town,” a third-grade social studies text, which will help students gain understanding and appreciation of the history of their hometown. ($2,500)
  • Grinnell Regional Medical Center, towards the purchase of a Patient Care Simulator to enhance GRMC’s employee training and practice-care techniques prior to caring for patients. ($2,582)
  • Grinnell Outdoor Adventure Club Scaling Frozen WaterfallGrinnell-Newburg Community School District, for the Grinnell Outdoor Adventure Program to offer students an opportunity to experience the outdoors while also developing leadership skills. ($5,000)
  • Grinnell Little League, for new softball equipment, which will contribute to the safety and enjoyment of the children involved in the program. ($2,000)
  • Imagine Grinnell, for a bicycle repair station to assist cyclists who use the Grinnell Area Recreational Trail. ($2,500)
  • Poweshiek County Fair Foundation, for renovation of the kitchen at the fairgrounds to increase utilization of the fairgrounds through improved facilities. ($2,000)
  • Poweshiek County Heritage Park, towards construction of a sidewalk, ramp, and porch at Heritage Park, which will enhance safety and accessibility ($2,583)
  • St. John’s Lutheran Church-Grinnell Giving Gardens, for improving access to fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruit to individuals experiencing low incomes or food scarcity. ($2,500)

For more information about the mini-grant program, contact Sarah Smith, 641-269-3900. Learn more about the College's community contributions at Community Investments.

Dave Stamey & Grinnell Symphony Orchestra

The Grinnell Symphony Orchestra will perform with celebrated Western musician Dave Stamey in concert at Grinnell College on Saturday, April 16.

A singer, songwriter and guitarist, Stamey also has been a cowboy, a mule packer, a dude wrangler, and is now one of the most popular Western entertainers working today. His "Vaquero Song" is widely considered one of the best Western songs of all time.

The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel. No tickets are required for this event, which is free and open to the public.

Stamey also will conduct a songwriting workshop from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. Friday, April 15, in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 103. The workshop, which is free and open to all, offers a great chance to talk with Stamey and learn about the art and business of songwriting.

In 2010, 2011, and 2013, Stamey was named True West Magazine's "Best Living Western Solo Musician." The Western Music Association has voted Stamey Entertainer of the Year seven times, Male Performer of the Year six times, and Songwriter of the Year five times. He also received the Will Rogers Award from the Academy of Western Artists.

Stamey says he has long dreamed about it, but this will be his first time performing with a symphony orchestra, said Grinnell Professor of Music Eric McIntyre who directs the Grinnell Symphony Orchestra. Stamey will sing 10 of his songs that McIntyre has arranged for orchestra.

"The orchestra has a long history of performing with soloists and ensembles that are not from the standard classical tradition," McIntyre said. "These include collaborations with Grinnell College's Young, Gifted and Black gospel choir, Jazz Ensemble, a hip-hop DJ narrator, and even a traditional German Oompah band.

"This performance will be the first time the orchestra has worked with a singer/songwriter," McIntyre added. "It is a wonderful opportunity to expand our range of styles and savor the experience of working with a popular artist."

McIntyre noted that Stamey has a big following and that the College has received inquires from people who plan to travel to Iowa to hear Stamey perform with an orchestra.

"It's going to be an amazing show," he said. "We recommend that people come early to get good seats."

The Grinnell Symphony Orchestra is comprised of student musicians representing all disciplines within the College who are unified by a love of music and a dedication to the art of orchestral performance.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from Conference Operations and Events.

Roberto Devereux, Live in HD

Grinnell College will stream the Metropolitan Opera's production of Gaetano Donizetti's Roberto Devereux at noon on Saturday, April 16, at the Harris Center Cinema.

This will be the fifth opera of the spring season in which the Met is celebrating its 10th anniversary of "Live-in-HD" movie theater transmissions.  

Set in Westminster Palace in London between 1599 and 1601, the opera follows Queen Elizabeth I as she is compelled to sign the death warrant of the nobleman she loves, Robert Devereux. Soprano Sandra Radvanovsky plays Queen Elizabeth I, one of Donizetti's three Tudor queens she will play this season. No actress has played all three Tudor Queens in one season since Beverly Sills in the 1970s.

Radvanovsky will star alongside tenor Matthew Polenzani, who portrays Roberto Devereux. Maurizio Benini conducts. There will be no opera talk before this broadcast.

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before the opera and during intermission.

Tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children, and Met Opera members.

The Office of the President has generously funded tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff, and students, and tickets are available for free at all locations. Family members not employed by the College are required to purchase tickets.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Visitor and accessible parking is available in the lot to the east of the Harris Center. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Observatory Open House

A close-up view of the moon and Jupiter will be featured at an open house at 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 15, at Grant O. Gale Observatory on the north edge of the campus. 

Robert Cadmus, Breid-McFarland professor of science, professor of physics and director of the observatory, will lead the free, public observation. If the weather is cloudy, the program will consist of computer imaging demonstrations and recorded views through the telescope.

The Grant O. Gale Observatory is north of 10th Avenue and adjacent to Les Duke Track. 

To receive notification of future observatory open houses, contact Robert Cadmus, Grinnell College Department of Physics, at 641-269-3016 (office), 641-269-3014 (observatory) or by email.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Individuals with mobility disabilities may park near the south end of the accessible path connecting the observatory to the drive on the north side of the Bear Recreation and Athletic Center. The observatory provides an Induction Hearing Loop System for persons with T-Coils in their hearing aids. In addition, the observatory has an audio and visual system that communicates between the first-floor classroom and the telescope for individuals who cannot climb the stairs to the telescope dome. Please contact Conference Operations and Events for other accommodations.

Writers@Grinnell: Rob Spillman

Award winning author, Rob Spillman, will read from his work and discuss writing on Monday, April 18 at 8:00 p.m. in ARH 302.

In addition, Spillman will lead a roundtable discussion which is free and open to the public, at 4:15 p.m. April 18 in JRC 209.

Rob Spillman is Editor and co-founder of Tin House, a sixteen-year-old bi-coastal (Brooklyn,Rob Spillman photo New York and Portland, Oregon) literary magazine. He is the 2015 recipient of the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing as well as the 2015 VIDO Award from VIDA. Tin House is the recipient of the 2015 Firecracker Award for General Excellence and has been honored in Best American Stories, Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, O’Henry Prize Stories, the Pushcart Prize Anthology and numerous other anthologies. He is also the Executive Editor of Tin House Books and co-founder of the Tin House Summer Workshop, now in its thirteenth year. His writing has appeared in BookForum, the Boston Review, Connoisseur, Details, GQ, Guernica, Nerve, the New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone, Salon, Spin, Sports Illustrated, Time, Vanity Fair, Vogue, among other magazines, newspapers, and essay collections. He is also the editor of Gods and Soldiers: the Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing, which was published in 2009. He is on the board of CLMP (the Community of Literary Magazines and Small Presses), the Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council, Narrative4, and is the Chair of PEN’s Membership Committee. He has guest taught at universities around the world, including Queensland University in Brisbane, the Farafina Workshop in Lagos, Nigeria, the SLS Workshops in St. Petersburg, Russia and Nairobi, Kenya, the Catholic University of Santiago, Chile, the University of Florida, New York University, Brooklyn College, Amherst, Williams, and is currently a lecturer at Columbia University. His memoir, All Tomorrow’s Parties, will be published by Grove Press in April, 2016.

Celebrate the Earth During April - May 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016 - 4:00pm to Saturday, May 7, 2016 - 12:00pm

Grinnell College will host a series of events throughout April and early May in celebration of Earth Month. The free, public events will be focused on local food, creativity, volunteering and exploration.

Monday, April 11

Fred Magdoff
4:00 PM Roundtable - Noyce 1022
7:30 PM Public Talk - Joe Rosenfield ‘25 Center 101

Fred Magdoff, Professor Emeritus of Soils at the University of Vermont, will give a roundtable, Soil and Soil Health at 4:00pm in Noyce 1022; and a public talk, Capitalism and Agriculture, at 7:30pm in JRC 101.

Tuesday, April 12 and Thursday, April 14
Undergraduate Research Symposium
11:00 AM-1:00PM, Joe Rosenfield ‘25 Center, various locations

Undergraduate research panel and poster presentations include many student talks on local and global environmental and food justice topics. Arrive at 11:00am to grab a free lunch and full presentation schedule.   Panel presentations in JRC rooms: 202, 203, 209, 225-227. Poster/performance sessions in JRC 101.

Saturday, April 16           

Spring Fest
12:00-4:00 PM, Ecohouse

Join Ecohouse members for a celebration of spring, local foods, music, and community. Explore Ecohouse’s environmental projects and take part in seed planting. Enjoy live music from student performers, springtime crafting, and more!

Saturday, April 16                

National Water Dance
3:00 PM, Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA)

Join Grinnell College and community dancers and         musicians in celebrating the importance of water in our lives through music and dance.

RSVP to Jan Graham grahamj[at]grinnell[dot]edu. Van leaves JRC drop-off zone at 2:15pm, and Mayflower Community at 2:25pm. If driving on your own, meet at EEC at 2:50pm

Monday, April 18             

Site-Specific Studio Critique
1:00-4:00 PM, Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA)

Join Professor Lee Emma Running and her ART320 - Site Specific Studio students for the critique of their place-based art installations at CERA. Student art installations explore how we connect to the Iowa landscape.  RSVP to hilleliz[at]grinnell[dot]edu for transportation.

Tuesday, April 19

Fracture: Essays Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America
7:30 PM, Joe Rosenfield ‘25 Center 101

Join Taylor Brorby (ed.) and Iowa-based writers and thinkers - Debra Marquart, Carolyn Raffensperger, and Frederick Kirschenmann for a book reading and Q&A session on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Wednesday, April 20                  

Richard Oppenlander
7:15 PM, ARH 302

Consultant and researcher Richard Oppenlander, author of “Food Choice and Sustainability” will guide the audience through a fact filled journey of the food choice-animal agriculture-environment connection, revealing why humanity is currently on a path of pseudo-sustainability.

Wednesday, April 20                

Ecohouse Movie Night
9:00 PM, Bob’s Underground Cafe

Join Ecohouse members to watch “The Secret Life of Plants,” a 1979 documentary based on the book of the same name. The film features time-lapse photography of plants and fungi growing and original score by musician Stevie Wonder.

Friday, April 22

20 Minutes @ 11: Culling the Herd
11:00 AM, Bucksbaum 131 - Faulconer Gallery

Explore our human relationship to white-tailed deer with Professor Lee Emma Running, who will present her recent project “Cure” in which she carves and gilds the bones of roadkill, and CERA Manager Elizabeth Hill, who will provide background on deer management in Iowa.

Saturday, April 23
The Power is Ours! Spiritual Reflections on Earth Day
12:30 PM, Grinnell United Church of Christ

Join UCC members in welcoming Grinnell College faculty Liz Queathem and David Campbell, together with Associate Chaplain and Rabbi Rob Cabelli, who explore spiritual connections to Earth Day and Climate Change.

Saturday, April 23

Eco Fair
11:00 AM-1:00 PM, Joe Rosenfield ‘25 Center, 1st floor and outdoor patio

SEC and Off-the-Grid students will present posters and demonstrations on topics pertaining to sustainable and off-the-grid living, including the tiny home movement,  water sanitation and heating, backcountry camping tips, permaculture, urban gardening, and composting toilets.

Sunday, April 24

Arbor Lake Cleanup
2:00 PM, Arbor Lake Park, 123 Pearl Street

Join IOWATER club in removing waste and beautifying Arbor Lake Park. Be prepared to get dirty, please wear rain boots and old clothes. RSVP to Iowater[at]grinnell[dot]edu. Meet at GORP room in Harris Center or at Arbor Lake Park

Tuesday, April 26

Woodland Wildflower Hike
4:15 - 6:15 PM, Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA)

Join CERA Manager Elizabeth Hill on a 1.5 mile spring ephemeral wildflower hike at CERA. Wear sturdy walking shoes. Hike starts 4:45pm at CERA. Van leaves from JRC drop-off zone at 4:15 P.M. RSVP to hilleliz[at]grinnell[dot]edu for transportation.

Thursday, April 28            

Ecofeminist Organizing Workshop
4:00-5:30 PM, ARH 102
Learn about inclusive organizing with two extraordinary activists! Join Bakken Resistance Pipeline Coalition co-founders and Women Food and Agriculture Network board members Ahna Kruzic and Dr. Angie Carter for a workshop on ecofeminist activism and organizing.

Friday, April 29                              

Food For Thought May Day Celebration
5:00-8:00 PM, Cleve Beach

Join members of Grinnell College’s Food For Thought group to celebrate early May Day. Bring a dish to the potluck and enjoy face-painting, music, and a discussion about campus food activism. Come and find out what Food For Thought is doing to increase the amount of “real food“ on campus!

Saturday, May 7

Tallgrass Audubon Bird Banding
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Bob and Connie VanErsvelde’s house

Join members of the Tallgrass Audubon Society to learn about bird banding and the natural history of migratory birds. Families welcome! Van leaves from JRC drop-off zone. RSVP to hilleliz[at]grinnell[dot]edu for transportation or address

Sponsored by: Center for Prairie Studies, CERA, Environmental Studies, Faulconer Gallery, Peace and Conflict Studies, Food for Thought, Iowater, Student Environmental Committee, Ecohouse, Poweshiek County SWCD, Advancing Animal Compassion Together, Student Government Association.