I’m back! For any of you who might have been checking ZFB regularly, apologies for the long delay in posting. I was busy graduating from my Master’s program (which I did!).
Today I’m happy to share with you an exciting product of the time I have not been blogging: my performance piece entitled “…of both worlds.” The past two months I did some serious reflecting and thought a lot about how different my experiences were as a music major at Ithaca College compared to my experiences as a Student Affairs student at Iowa State University. I realized that though student affairs experiences informed my studies as a music major, I had not allowed music to inform my experiences as a student affairs student. The only proper way to offer a final reflection at ISU was to use music, so I crafted this piece with a ton of help from others. It was performed on May 4, 2009 in Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall with an audience of about 65 people (more than I expected to come!).
Below is the video, the original program notes, and then some artistic notes to help make meaning of some of the symbolism I meant to convey in the piece. For more even more background, you can read the analysis and reflection I submitted to my professors, which also includes the full script. Enjoy!
(This new version of the video, uploaded January 22, 2014, restores the last few seconds that were cut off from the original rip.)
A capstone narrative in six phases.
A Note From the Artist
I am very excited to share this special performance with all of you today. Truly, I think it captures my experiences here at Iowa State University in ways no other format could. My performances are the closest thing I have to “spiritual” experiences. Music, though totally an invention of humanity, has a sort of higher power to connect our hearts in ways no other force can. I relish the opportunity to perform for others, not because I like the spotlight, but because music is the most meaningful gift I have to share. I hope that during the short time I have you as my audience I can stimulate not just your eyes and ears, but your heart and mind as well. Thank you for joining me today.
“Listen to the song that I sing and trust me, we’ll be fine.”
This performance piece is dedicated to my fellow members of the 2009 ELPS Master’s Cohort. You all made sure my time in Iowa was anything but flat! Through all the ups and downs, you have been a constant source of learning. You have helped make me the person I am today. This performance is my thanks to you and our two years together.
My amazing performers: Jesse Donner, Michael Heath, Janae Hohbein, Kayla Kaufmann, Bryce Larsen, Deanna Rae Martinez, Margaux Mireault, Taryn Packheiser, Jason Pollard, Stephanie Sanyour, Mariana Seda, Meghan Sigwarth, Katelyn Thompson, and Anna Ward. Thank you for helping me tell my story and for being inspiring artists!
To everyone with whom I’ve connected through Musical Theatre Class and Gypsy: Thank you for welcoming me into the performing arts family here at Iowa State! It means a lot!
Brad Dell: Thank you for being an amazing friend, for giving me opportunities me to reconnect with music and theatre, and for just plain getting me on days no one else seems to.
Nancy Evans: Thank you for allowing me to express myself through this unique performance!
Colin Morgan: Thank you for helping document and preserve this special performance!
Extra Symbolic Ideas to Consider
Note: All of these ideas refer to intentional choices, not coincidences.
Ithaca College’s colors are blue and gold; Iowa State’s are cardinal red and gold.
My fraternity, Mu Phi Epsilon, is a music fraternity, and its colors are purple and gold. (Greek life is an aspect of student affairs.)
At the beginning, Taryn removes a piece of paper from the piano. It’s hard to see in the video, but on the paper is simply a large blue square. When it returns at the end, it has been covered by a red heart. Taryn’s dress also has hearts on it.
The stage is a timeline.
The piano is a bridge.
Half of the solo performers were singing songs they had already worked on (Bryce, Jesse, Katelyn, Steph, Anna, and Mariana).
All of the performers except Taryn were students I had worked with as their teaching assistant and/or assistant musical director. Taryn was a directorial colleague of mine (the choreographer) in Gypsy.
For most of the show, I am NOT the focus of attention.
The theme from Wall-E (thanks to theowne for his arrangement!) needed to stand apart from the rest of the show, because it represented my journey to Iowa State. Taryn’s improvised dance that accompanies it is similarly unique. The rest of the piece is enclosed between The Bells of Iowa State and Iowa State Fights.
“What’s a Chickering?” refers to a comment I made at our program’s orientation in August 2007. Arthur Chickering is a reknowned theorist of student development.
Though “Corner of the Sky” and “Lost in the Wilderness” are from two different shows, they are by the same composer. The juxtaposition works well. Bryce sings, “Eagles belong where they can fly,” and Jesse counters, “Don’t you ever watch the eagle fly to the sun and wonder how he got to feel so free?”
I originally performed “Hallelujah” at my high school baccalaureate ceremony. It was the first time I ever sang a solo for an audience self-accompanied. It’s also one of the only songs I ever taught to myself without sheet music.
I originally wrote the monologue at 3:00 AM on March 13, 2009 and it was only revised slightly after that. This was the first time I have ever written a monologue or performed one for an audience.
Anna and Deanna refer to “Oshkosh” and “NASPA.” The Oshkosh Placement Exchange and NASPA Placement Exchange are both opportunities for student affairs professionals to interview for multiple positions across the country. Incidentally, I went to neither.
Mariana was reprising her role as Mme. Rose from Gypsy. At the beginning of Come So Far, Meghan is the first to join her and sing with her on stage, recalling her portrayal of Louise alongside Mariana in Gypsy.
While this performance might not have been technically “perfect,” I do, in fact, consider it perfect for what I was trying to convey.