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Leader of the Band

Dr. Frank L. Battisti Festival poster with image of directorJoin the Grinnell College Symphonic Band and Frank Battisti in an free public open rehearsal and seminar beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. The seminar begins at 8 p.m.

Frank Leon Battisti is director emeritus of the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble. Under his leadership the ensemble established a national and international reputation for being one of the most innovative and premiere ensembles of its kind in the world.

Event organizers describe Battisti as “the world’s foremost living authority on the growth, expansion, and proliferation of wind band commissioning over the past 60 years. His teaching, conducting, writing, and arranging, worldwide, has had an immeasurable impact on wind band education for generations.” They add, “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Battisti in Iowa."

This event is part of a Frank Battisti Festival Week (Feb. 23 - March 1) held mainly at Central College and co-sponsored by the Central Iowa Wind Ensemble and Grinnell College. 

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

A History of the Noose

Jack ShulerJack Shuler will present a free public lecture, “The Thirteenth Turn:  A History of the Noose,” at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, in ARH Room 102 - Kallaus Lecture Hall.

Shuler is an associate professor & John and Christine Warner Professor of English and the author of a new book of the same name. His other works include Blood and Bone:  Truth and Reconciliation in a Southern Town. Assistant Professor of History Albert Lacson saysShuler's interest in race, violence, and historical memory animate both books.”

Shuler’s lecture is co-sponsored by the American studies and history departments.

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

Handel’s ‘Esther’

The Lyra Baroque Orchestra, a professional period-instrument ensemble from Minneapolis, will join forces with the Grinnell Singers to perform Handel’s Esther.

The Performance

The concert will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1, in Sebring-Lewis Hall. Although the concert is free and open to the public, tickets are required. Tickets may be picked up at the Bucksbaum Center box office beginning at noon on Monday, Feb. 23. For more information, call the box office at 641-269-4444.

Members of the orchestra will perform on replicas of instruments in use during the 18th century, including a full complement of string instruments, as well as oboes, horns and trumpets. Iowa Public Radio plans to record the performance to be broadcast across the state at a later date.

Handel’s oratorio tells the story of Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, as she acts courageously to save her people from destruction.

The production will feature guest soloists:

  • Linh Kauffman, soprano, as Queen Esther
  • Seth Keeton, baritone, as the villain Haman
  • Richard Joseph, tenor, as the King of Persia
  • Craig Lemming, tenor, as Esther’s Uncle Mordecai
  • Nicholas Miguel, baritone, as the Priest of the Israelites

Grinnell College Blanche Johnson Professor of Music John Rommereim will conduct.

The Panel Discussion

The performance will be preceded on Friday, Feb. 20, by a panel discussion titled “Stories Told and Retold: Handel’s Esther and Narratives of Oppression and Genocide from Biblical Times to the Present.”

The discussion will start at 4:15 p.m. in Lawson Lecture Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts Room 152. The panel will include Rommereim as well as:

Jacque Ogg, musical director of Lyra Baroque Orchestra will play harpsichord. The orchestra also includes Grinnell Music faculty member Guinevere McIntyre playing on natural horn.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in the rear of the building north of Sixth Ave., and Sebring-Lewis Hall is fully accessible. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.


Grinnell a Top Peace Corps School

Sachiko Graber '12

Sachiko Graber ’12 (left) with her teachers on day of cultural celebration.

For the third year in a row, Grinnell College has earned a spot on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. Moving up 11 places, Grinnell ranks No. 10 among small schools nationwide with 11 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 374 Grinnell graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers.

“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”

Sachiko Graber ’12 makes a difference as an education volunteer in Namibia. She teaches eighth grade math and leads several sports programs, including soccer, rugby, and track and field. Arriving in Namibia in July 2012, Graber chose to extend her service a third year to teach English and develop a science laboratory.

Graber graduated from Grinnell in May 2012 with a degree in physics

“Grinnell gave me was a self-sufficiency and self-motivation that has helped me immensely in Peace Corps,” she said. “At Grinnell, I always filled my schedule with every possible activity — organized or not — and I have been lucky enough to bring that same mentality to the village. I have found or created a lot of new projects, such as starting a science laboratory project, and I think that I was able to do this in part because of the confidence and willingness to branch out into many different disciplines that I acquired at Grinnell.”

Nationally, the University of Washington in Seattle pulled in the highest number of volunteers with 72 graduates currently serving in the Peace Corps. You can view the entire top 25 rankings for each school size category.

Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and work on sustainable development projects in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth development.

Volunteers return home as global citizens with cross-cultural, leadership, language, teaching, and community development skills that position them well for advanced education and professional opportunities in a 21st-century job market.

This year’s rankings follow historic reforms to Peace Corps’ application and selection process, led by Hessler-Radelet, that resulted in a 22-year application high for the agency in 2014. Through a one-hour online application, applicants can now choose the countries and programs they’d like to be considered for. Graduating college students are encouraged to browse open programs and apply by April 1 for assignments departing fall 2015.

Iowa-based Peace Corps recruiter Ryan Cairns, a returned volunteer who served in Bulgaria, advises Grinnell candidates.

Approximately 68 Iowa residents are currently serving in the Peace Corps. Overall, 2,316 Iowa residents have served since the agency was created in 1961.

About the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment, and youth development. 

Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit Peace Corps' website and follow Peace Corp on Facebook and Peace Corp on Twitter.


Artists@Grinnell: Stelios Manousakis

Artists@Grinnell welcomes artist-in-residence Stelios Manousakis for a two-week residency February 15–28, 2015.

Stelios Manousakis (Crete, Greece, 1980) is a composer, performer, sound artist, and researcher. He operates across the convergence zones of art, science, and engineering / composition, performance, and installation / the rich tradition of western sonic art and ‘digital-folk’ idioms. He studied music and linguistics in Greece, Sonology in the Netherlands, and is currently finishing a PhD in Visual and Performing Arts at the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS, University of Washington). You can view Manousakis’ portfolio online.

Manousakis will be visiting campus to share his process, produce work, and connect with students, faculty, and staff.

Please come to the following events in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Email Artists@Grinnell Residency for more information.

Scheduled Events

Student Lunch

Noon Wednesday, Feb. 18, in Bucksbaum Room 152

Artists@Grinnell and the Music Student Educational Policy Committee invites you to learn more about Stelios over an informal pizza lunch open to all majors and interested students.

Installation Tours

4:15 p.m. Wednesday, February 18, & Friday, February 20, in Faulconer Gallery

Manousakis’ sound installation titled "Act so there is no use in a centre" (2014) can be experienced in the Faulconer Gallery throughout his residency. The installation tours will be informal to give viewers a chance to ask the artist a few questions. The piece is an interactive radio-transmitted spatial play using text from Gertrude Stein’s “Rooms” (1914) and Manousakis’ audio archive.

Works in Progress Talk: Creating with Systems

4:15 p.m. Monday, February 23, in Faulconer Gallery

Stelios Manousakis will talk about feedback, musical cybernetics, and working with systems, processes, and texts. He will present some of his recent artworks and will discuss the creative processes involved while keeping an eye on a wider historical, scientific, and artistic context.

This talk is the first of a series called "Works in Progress Talks" where visiting artists are asked to speak about their processes.

Artists@Grinnell is an Innovation Fund project and a collaborative effort by Faulconer Gallery; the art and art history, music, and theatre and dance departments; and Writers@Grinnell. Manousakis’ residency is co-sponsored by the music department and Center for International Studies.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts and Faulconer Gallery are accessible. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

CERA Greenhouse Volunteer Opportunity

CERA Greenhouse with plantsVolunteers are needed to transplant seedlings, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, February 21, at Conard Environmental Research Area Greenhouse.
Are you interested in learning more about prairie, savanna, and wetland plants? Do you want to spend more time with plants? Join CERA Manger Elizabeth Hill to work on planting and transplanting baby plants in the CERA greenhouse.
Please RSVP for transportation to Elizabeth Hill. Meet at the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center drop-off area at 9 a.m.

Work gloves and light refreshments provided. Wear clothes that will be comfortable in the warm greenhouse. If you plan to drive out to CERA, please meet us at 9:30 a.m. and park by the Environmental Education Center.

TEDxGrinnell ‘Speak Out!’

A sold-out TEDxGrinnell conference featuring seven notable Grinnell College alumni will be available for the public on Saturday, Feb. 21 through live streaming from 1 to 5 p.m. Central time.

Talks will address a variety of issues on the theme “Speak Out!” from children learning to speak to speaking out against injustice.

Presenters include:

  • Wadzi Motsi ’12, an analyst at Clinton Health Access Initiative in Zimbabwe;
  • Joshua Tepfer ’97, an assistant clinical professor at Northwestern University School of Law and co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth;
  • April Dobbins ’99, filmmaker and recipient of the S. J. Weiler Fund Award.

TEDx conferences, which are self-organized events operating under license from TED, are local events that bring people together to share "ideas worth spreading." The conferences emulate the TED conference, an annual gathering of leaders in technology, entertainment, and design.

Grinnell College and the Donald L. Wilson Program in Enterprise and Leadership are sponsoring TEDxGrinnell.

“TEDx is not a place for people to learn everything there is to know about physics or art history,” said Meghna Ravishankar ’17, organizer of TEDxGrinnell. “It’s a place for self-discovery and curiosity, encouraging people to challenge preconceived notions and push themselves out of their intellectual comfort zones.”

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.

The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com.

TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia, along with the TEDActive simulcast event in nearby Whistler. The annual TEDGlobal conference was held in October 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

TED's media initiatives include:

  • TED.com, where new TED Talks are posted daily;
  • the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide;
  • and the educational initiative TED-Ed.

TED has established:

  • The annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action;
  • TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self- organized TED-style events around the world; and
  • the TED Fellows program, helping innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter or TED on Facebook.

Slavic Coffeehouse, Maslenitsa, and Balalaika Ensemble

The Russian department invites the Grinnell community to our annual Slavic Coffeehouse at 5:30–7 p.m. Saturday, February 21, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center Room 101.

A wide variety of sweet and savory Slavic foods prepared by Russian department faculty and students will be available for a nominal cost. Proceeds benefit activities in Russian House, a college-owned student residence where students studying the language are immersed in the language, culture, and customs of Russia.

This year we are pleased to welcome back to campus the fully costumed Luther College Balalaika Ensemble. The faculty-led student group performs Russian and East European music on traditional instruments. The ensemble features instruments of the balalaika and domra families, as well as accordion, percussion, and vocal. Founded by Luther College Russian Professor Dr. L. Iudin-Nelson in 1992, the ensemble has played over 150 performances in schools, community centers, and concert halls throughout the Midwest.

The Russian department and Russian House will also celebrate Maslenitsa in conjunction with Slavic Coffeehouse this year. Maslenitsa, a traditional Russian Orthodox holiday, marks the end of winter and the beginning of Lent — Russia’s version of Mardi Gras. People eat bliny (Russian crepes, or pancakes) which represent the sun, and burn a chuchelo (scarecrow), a symbol of winter. This year we will burn the scarecrow outside of Rosenfield Center Room 101 immediately after the coffeehouse and the balalaika concert.

Apart from the purchase of food, this event is free and open to the public, and is co-sponsored by the Russian Department, the Russian, Central, and East European Studies Concentration, the Center for International Studies, and the Department of Music.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. The Rosenfield Center and Room 101 are fully accessible. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Writers@Grinnell: Nami Mun

Nami Mun

Photo Credit: Brigitte Sire

Writers@Grinnell brings Nami Mun, author of Miles from Nowhere, to campus for two free public events on Thursday, Feb. 19 in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center.

Roundtable: 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, in Rosenfield Center 209

Reading: 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, Rosenfield Center Room 101

Nami Mun grew up in Seoul, South Korea, and Bronx, New York. For her first book, Miles from Nowhere, she received a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers and the Asian American Literary Award.

Miles From Nowhere was selected as Editors’ Choice and Top Ten First Novels by Booklist; Best Fiction of 2009 So Far by Amazon; and as an Indie Next Pick. Chicago Magazine named her Best New Novelist of 2009.

After earning a GED, she went on to get a bachelor’s in English from UC Berkeley, a master’s from University of Michigan, and has garnered fellowships from organizations such as Yaddo, MacDowell, Bread Loaf, and Tin House.

Her stories and non-fiction have been published in The New York Times, GrantaTin House, The Iowa Review, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Evergreen Review, Witness, and elsewhere. She’s an assistant professor and the director of the Master of Fine Arts Fiction program at Columbia College Chicago.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center rooms 101 and 209 are looped to supports telecoils. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Don’t Run, Embrace It All

Join teacher, mentor, and healer Tarell A. Rodgers ’93 as he returns to campus to present “Don’t Run, Embrace It All.”

In the small group session, Rodgers will talk about how to survive and thrive at Grinnell, describing motivational and self-healing techniques and answering students’ questions, says Stephanie Snow, interim assistant director of intercultural engagement & leadership.

"Don't Run, Embrace It All" will cover his own personal journey, including how he "discover[ed] my heart
had all I needed." He'll talk about the "importance of living from the heart, not the intellect," and lead a Sufi Dhikr chant and recitation, as well as private Sufi healings for participants with oils, chants and Quranic recitation.

When he was a student at Grinnell, Tarell was a member and president of Concerned Black Students, and a Student Government Association senator. He's since gone on to win awards like the Citizen against Recidivism Award for Leadership in Education.

Schedule of Events

“Don’t Run, Embrace It All”
Thursday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m.
ARH 302

Small Group Session
4:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20
Black Cultural Center

Both events are free and open to the public. Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Sponsored by Grinnell’s Office of Intercultural Engagement and Leadership; Peace and Conflict Studies; Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights; and Development and Alumni Relations.