Home » Staff

Staff

The Listening Path II

Abby Aresty’s The Listening Path II: Disparate Times and Places uses soundwalking to connect people in disparate places in a unified act of silent respect for our natural surroundings.

The Listening Path II entails two short site-specific soundwalks, the first at Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA), and the second in Tempe, AZ, as part of the 2015 Balance/Unbalance Conference at Arizona State University.

Online documentation of these listening paths and their respective soundscape recordings will juxtapose the diverse soundscapes of two iconic American landscapes: the desert and the prairie.

This project blends the historically significant act of silent marches organized in the wake of tragedy with the creative research practice of soundwalking. In weaving together these themes, it suggests that communities separated by time and place can practice collective silence to listen to the land, to demonstrate respect for our unique local environments, and to raise awareness of the extraordinary environmental challenges we face.

This free public event begins at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7 at the Environmental Education Center at CERA. Please contact Elizabeth Hill if you need transportation to CERA from the Grinnell College campus. Those traveling to CERA together will meet in front of Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center at 2 p.m. Please wear warm clothes for a short hike.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Please contact Elizabeth Hill if you have questions about accessibility or accommodations.

Pacifica String Quartet

Pacifica String Quartet will present a free public concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in Bucksbaum Sebring-Lewis Hall. The quartet offered a master class at Grinnell College earlier in the week.

The group regularly performs in the world’s major concert halls and was the quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art 2009­12. They earned a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Chamber Music Performance.  The members of the Pacifica Quartet are the quartet-in-residence and full-time faculty members at the Jacobs School of Music.

 “The Pacifica Quartet has carved a niche for itself as the preeminent interpreter of string quartet cycles, harnessing the group’s singular focus and incredible stamina to portray each composer’s evolution, often over the course of just a few days,” according to their biography.

The quartet’s visit is sponsored by the Department of Music.

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

 

Noted Soprano Gives Recital

Soprano Amy S. Johnson ’85, one of America's finest singing actresses, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, in Herrick Chapel.

Her free public recital will feature Korngold's virtuosic "Songs of the Clown," and include works by Beethoven, Charpentier, and Wagner. She will be accompanied by pianist Donna Hallen Loewy, the accompanist-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. A native of Iowa, Johnson is assistant professor of voice at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Johnson has performed with opera companies across the country, including the New York City Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Portland Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, and the Austin Lyric Opera, among others. Johnson's acclaimed portrayal of Salome aired over Iowa Public Television in a vivid production by Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre.

Johnson also has performed abroad with the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, Belgium, and at the Spier Festival in South Africa and festival Musica e Musica in Italy. She recorded her first solo CD, "Amy Johnson - Red, White and Blue: Arias of the Passionate, Pure and Perverse" with the MAV Symphony of Budapest, soon to be released on the Hungaroton label.

Her repertoire encompasses more than two dozen roles, ranging from Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" to the title role in "Salome." Johnson has earned special praise for her portrayal of the title role in Puccini’s "Tosca," which she has performed with more than a dozen companies, most notably New York City Opera as seen on PBS' "Live from Lincoln Center."

"Johnson is dramatically sound, convincing of the woman's extreme emotions," wrote Carl Fourle in his review of "Tosca" for the Independent in Cape Town, South Africa. "Johnson," he added, "is a confident soprano with an authoritative, dramatic tone. Her melodies were flexible, her top notes powerful, and her phrasing different from that of other Toscas."

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Herrick Chapel is fully accessible and equipped with an induction hearing (telecoil) loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

 

Sacrifice of the Great War

Vincent SherryVincent Sherry will consider the fate of “sacrifice” as a category of value in the political, military, and personal experience of the Great War of 1914-18 in a talk called “Bare Death: The Failing Sacrifice of the Great War.” He will present at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

He will engage, in particular,  Giorgio Agamben’s much discussed work Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, which provides the basis for his title.  

Vincent Sherry is Howard Nemerov Professor in the Humanities and professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches and writes about modernist literatures in English. He has written several books, has edited the Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the First World War and is editor of the forthcoming Cambridge History of Modernism. He is currently working on A Literary History of the European War of 1914-1918

This free public lecture is the latest in the Center for the Humanities year-long theme “A Century of War: 1914 and Beyond.”

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Shaping Campus Culture

Every student pays a few hundred dollars a year to the College in the form of the student activities fee. The College immediately gives that money back to the student body to do with as it wishes, from bringing speakers to campus to having concerts nearly every weekend.

Any student can have a say in how the money is spent.

The student activities fee is split between the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Student Publications and Radio Committee (SPARC). Two-thirds goes to SGA, and one-third goes to SPARC.

SGA further divides its portion of the money between a number of committees, which take recommendations from students on speakers and performers to bring to campus. The students can also serve on any of the committees — Concerts, All-Campus Events, Student Planning, and Service. “Grinnell’s student government has a lot of freedom and money,” says former SGA treasurer Gargi Magar ’16. “It’s up to students to determine what kind of things they want on campus.”

The two committees with the most funding are the Concerts Committee and the All-Campus Events (ACE) Committee. The ACE Committee handles events that are open to all students on campus — mainly speakers, but also Harris parties and other events not connected to a specific student group. “ACE Committee serves as a conduit to the student body, both to turn their ideas into reality and answer questions that they may have regarding events and policies,” says ACE co-chair Abby Goreham ’15. “As chair, I enjoy doing my part to make sure that the Grinnell traditions I've come to love in my time on campus continue.”

 “SGA at Grinnell has more independence and ability to create student events than most other colleges,” says ACE co-chair Ryan Hautzinger ’15. “The All-Campus Events part of SGA is a perfect representation of that power. The money is there solely to put on events students want.” Last semester, ACE brought Malcolm London, a Chicago poet, and Hudson Taylor, who founded Athlete Ally, to campus. This semester, the committee is working to bring standup comic and frequent visitor Hari Kondabolu back to campus.

The Concerts Committee brings more than 50 artists to campus each year. This semester, Concerts Chair Violeta Ruiz Espigares ’15 is especially excited about Baltimore-based rapper-producer duo TT The Artist; Mighty Mark; Lust for Youth, a Swedish dream-pop group; and Saba, an up and coming rapper from Chicago.

In addition to suggesting speakers and performers, students can propose and vote on initiatives each semester to address issues on campus. In the past, successful initiatives have resulted in more printers being installed in academic buildings and a swingset being constructed outside the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center.

Each year, students host more than two dozen concerts; 100+ all-campus events ranging from speakers to parties in the Harris Center to the Grinnell Relays; events, such as an Eid al Adha dinner and the Titular Head film festival, which are hosted by student groups; and more. Most importantly, though, any student can have a hand in shaping the culture on campus.

Abby Goreham ’15 is a political science major from Queen Creek, Ariz.

Ryan Hautzinger ’15 is a history and political science major from Grand Junction, Colo.

Violeta Ruiz Espigares ’15 is a German and philosophy major from Granada, Spain.

Gargi Magar ’16 is a chemistry major from Plainfield, Ill.

Standing for Parliament

Win or lose, Todd Foreman ’95 will start a new chapter in his political life on May 7, 2015, election day in the United Kingdom. Foreman is the Labour Party candidate for North East Somerset, a constituency in southwest England. If elected, he’ll serve in the House of Commons along with 649 other Members of Parliament.

“This was the right time in my life to stand for Parliament,” Foreman says. “I don’t like what the current government is doing to health care nor the widening gap between rich and poor,.” Foreman says.

“Politics is something I’ve been passionate about for as long as I can remember,” says Foreman, a political science and French double major. He won a Watson Fellowship that set him firmly on the political path.

During his yearlong fellowship, he worked for the Labour parties in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. He examined the ways the party could advance equality for women, ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. “My fellowship shaped my political values and political thinking,” he says. “I knew that in the Labour Party I had found my political home.”

Foreman earned a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania and in 2001 moved to London to practice law with an international law firm. He’s currently taking a break from his job with Axiom, an alternative legal services provider, where he specializes in banking and financial services law.

Banking is one of the issues Foreman cares deeply about. He earned a master’s in banking and finance law from King’s College, London, and his experience in the banking field is one of the reasons the Labour Party selected him to stand for this election.

“During the financial crisis in 2008 where taxpayers had to bail out banks and are still paying for it, that issue really resonates with people in North East Somerset,” Foreman says. “Bankers are not being held accountable. I think my experience as a lawyer will be valuable in Parliament.”

If he wins his election, Foreman has promised to be a full-time MP and not take outside work. And if Labour wins enough seats, Foreman says the party will crack down on MPs being allowed to have second jobs. He notes that his opponent, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative elected in 2010, works for a hedge fund in addition to his MP duties.

“I’m standing against one of the most right-wing MPs sitting in Parliament now,” Foreman says. “I don’t think he’s serving the priorities of the vast majority of people living in North East Somerset.”

If Foreman wins, this will not be his first successful race. In May 2014, he completed a term as a councilor, an elected position at the city government level, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London.

Foreman has since moved to the North East Somerset constituency with his spouse Mark Sutter. The two were married Dec. 22, 2014. “We are a partnership politically as well,” Foreman says. They’re both working full-time, unpaid, on the campaign.

Election campaigns in Britain are “very focused on door-step campaigning, going out and knocking on doors and meeting people,” Foreman says. Approximately 70,000 voters live in the constituency near Bath.

Money is needed, of course, but much less than in U.S. campaigns, he says. Money is raised for running the campaign headquarters, staff, leaflets, etc. Individual candidates aren’t allowed to do television or radio advertising.

Originally from Kansas, Foreman became a British citizen in 2006.

The Music Composer

Dan Ehrlich ’14The Grinnell experience is different for every student. For Dan Ehrlich ’14, that experience took him from the chemistry lab, to the recital hall, and eventually to graduate school in music composition.

“I’ve been a saxophonist since I was 7 years old,” Ehrlich remembers. “Someone just put the horn in my hands and I went for it.” With a strong interest in jazz, Ehrlich, a Canadian citizen raised in Ann Arbor, Mich., played the saxophone through high school, where he also sang in the choir.

However, when he arrived in Grinnell, Ehrlich decided not to focus solely on music, but to double-major in music and chemistry. “I like to work hard — especially when I feel I have a lot at risk,” Ehrlich says, and he initially found chemistry to satisfy that desire.

Pursuing a double major allowed him to pursue multiple interests — in part for the love of learning — even if a major doesn’t result in a career.

As his studies progressed, Ehrlich found himself returning again and again to his “two loves,” saxophone and voice. After spending a semester abroad in Italy studying only music, Ehrlich decided to devote his remaining time at Grinnell to music. “I wouldn’t say I lost interest in chemistry,” Ehrlich says. “I just realized I didn’t want to be a chemist.”

With his focus solely on music, Ehrlich completed two Mentored Advanced Projects (MAPs) in composition, one with Eric McIntyre, associate professor of music, and another with John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music. Over the course of these projects, Ehrlich completed a string quintet, a choral piece for the choir of his high school, and several works for solo voice. He also conducted the Grinnell Singers in the premiere of his original work, Hine ma tov.

After his graduation —  and after winning numerous honors, including the Steiner Award for Creativity in Music —  Ehrlich went on to graduate school. He currently studies composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he receives instruction from such distinguished clinicians as Anders Hillborg, Zoe Martlew, Oliver Knussen, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

At the Royal Academy, Ehrlich is required to compose five to six pieces at once. “I was only working on one piece at a time at Grinnell, but I was also working on a paper, and a lab report, and research for another paper,” Ehrlich says. “So my splitting of my academic brain hasn’t changed, it’s just all focused on one thing now.”

Once he completes his studies at the Royal Academy, where will he go from there? Ehrlich isn’t sure. “I’m very much in the phase of realizing my potential as an artist and a person,” he says. Wherever life takes him — whether to the recital hall or even back to the chemistry lab — Ehrlich knows that he will use the skills he honed at Grinnell.

“You have to seek out your own opportunities,” Ehrlich says, “and Grinnell offers you those opportunities — MAPs, concerts, awards — and teaches you to seek them out.”

Artists/Writers@Grinnell: Dan O’Brien

Dan O'BrienAward-winning poet and playwright Dan O’Brien will be in residence March 1–7 and April 16–19, sponsored by Writers@Grinnell and Artists@Grinnell.

O’Brien is giving a free public works in progress talk about his creative process at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in Faulconer Gallery.

His plays include The Body of an American, winner of the Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play, the PEN Center USA Award for Drama, and other awards. His poetry collections include Scarsdale and War Reporter.

In March, O’Brien is teaching an English and theatre short intensive course on the creation of a one-act play. Students of the course are learning the fundamentals of dramatic structure and will write, rehearse, and present their own completed one-acts during his second visit in April.

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

Gulag Town, Company Town

Alan BarenbergJoin historian Alan Barenberg for a free public talk, “Gulag Town, Company Town: Reconnecting the ‘Archipelago’ to Soviet Society and History.” He will speak at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, in ARH Auditorium – Room 302. Refreshments will be provided.

Barenberg is assistant professor of Russian history at Texas Tech University where he specializes in the social and economic history of the Soviet Union, especially from 1930s-70s. His research covers a range of topics of the Russian Empire and the USSR. 

According to Yale University Press, Barenberg’s book, Gulag Town, Company Town: Forced Labor and Its Legacy in Vorkuta ”offers a radical reassessment of the infamous ‘Gulag Archipelago’ by exploring the history of Vorkuta, an arctic coal-mining outpost originally established in the 1930s as a prison camp complex. [His] eye-opening study reveals Vorkuta as an active urban center with a substantial nonprisoner population where the borders separating camp and city were contested and permeable, enabling prisoners to establish social connections that would eventually aid them in their transitions to civilian life.”

Barenberg has a doctorate and master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College. He has earned several fellowships.

Barenberg’s visit is sponsored by the Department of History and the Russian, Central, and East European Studies Concentration.

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

A Century of War: Vincent Sherry

Vincent SherryVincent Sherry will present a free public lecture, “Bare Death: The Failing Sacrifice of the Great War,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

Sherry will consider the fate of “sacrifice” as a category of value in the political, military, and personal experience of the Great War of 1914-1918. There was an exorbitant reliance on sacrifice in the political rhetoric of the war: “sacrifice” provided a tonic and resolving note, it offered a way to explain and absolve the millions of deaths being undergone, it became increasingly clear, for no overt purpose.

Sherry will reconstruct the cultural understanding of sacrifice before the war and following the fate of this established understanding through the course of the conflict, concentrating mainly on the prose fiction of combat. He will consider the implications of this development for the future through engagement in particular with Giorgio Agamben’s much discussed work Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Sherry will show how the atrocities of mid-century begin in the circumstances of the Great War, where the value of life essential to the value of sacrifice is undone.

Sherry is Howard Nemerov Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Sherry's free public lecture is the latest in the Center for the Humanities year-long theme "A Century of War: 1914 and Beyond."

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.