Tony Award winner visits Saint Mary’s

first_imgIn recent years, Saint Mary’s students have welcomed various theater professionals to the college, including actor Glenn Close and comedian Lily Tomlin. Tony Award-winner and Broadway actress Donna McKechnie joined that list when she hosted a master class for students Monday. “How fortunate we are that our students are able to learn from the masters like Donna McKechnie and Lily Tomlin, both Tony Award winning-actresses,” Mark Abram-Copenhaver, a theatre professor at the College, said in a press release. “Ms. McKechnie is a master of not only the theater, but of what makes theatre sing — music and dance.” McKechnie, who teaches an acting class in New York, told the students in Monday’s class why teaching others to act is important to her. “My job in a class with students I teach in New York is to ask them, ‘How do we make this more real for you?’” McKechnie said. She said it is important to personalize a role and not to let fear cause hesitation. “We have to stay out of our own way,” she said. McKenchie won a Tony Award for best actress for her role as Cassie in “Chorus Line,” according to the press release. Other credits include “On the Town,” “Promises, Promises” and “State Fair.” “My soapbox in life is American musical theater,” McKechnie said. “I learned with people who are incredible. I am a professional student and I have studied and I will continue to study.” During master class, held in the studio in Regina Hall’s basement, four Saint Mary’s theater students came before McKechnie and performed a musical number each had been working on, and she supplied them feedback. After each performance, McKechnie gave the student direction and they worked through the song with her. Throughout the musical numbers, McKechnie said students need to put their fear aside. “We try to show because we aren’t in complete relaxation with ourselves,” she said. “Really feel it before you say it. It’s not about pain, it’s about freeing ourselves.” McKechnie said the difficulty in acting is bringing all the elements together. “We’re integrating the words and the feeling and all of this,” she said. “That’s why it’s so complicated.”last_img read more

International committee emphasizes diversity awareness

first_imgWithin the Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) is the Council of Committee Chairs (CCC), headed by senior Katie Stare and made up of 18 committee chairs and co-chairs who lead 12 different committees.Stare said the 12 committees encompass aspects of the College community such as alumnae, athletic, community, first-year concerns, food services, market research and media, mission, social concerns, Sophia Program, sustainability and technology. But one of the committees worth spotlighting, having established and accomplished noteworthy goals during the fall semester, is the international committee, Stare said.The international committee is spearheaded by co-chairs Catherine Sullivan, a senior, and sophomore Ruby Truong, who is an international student from Vietnam, Sullivan said.“As committee chairs, we arrived back on campus a week earlier than everyone else in August to work on first-year orientation, and even before that, we did group bonding time where we broke into groups and talked about our goals for the year,” Sullivan said. “Those goals are still posted in the SGA office, and we check them off as we go along.”Along with Truong, Sullivan said she recognized early in the year that the International Committee would focus on three major goals.“One of the first goals we worked towards was the diversity dinners, which bring together different cuisines and groups of international students to celebrate the diversity of our student body,” she said. “We wanted to have four or five the first year (this school year), which highlight different aspects of the culture that represents Saint Mary’s and also the tri-campus community.”Sullivan said the two diversity dinners held during the fall semester were very successful — more successful than she and Truong had predicted.“The Italian dinner, which took place in September, was the kickoff diversity dinner event, and then we had the Chinese diversity dinner in November,” she said. “They both sold out, so to speak, because each dinner is limited to 50 people, and we had some extras sneak in.”In the spring semester, Sullivan said the international committee has planned for a Tunisian dinner and a Vietnamese dinner to take place.“It’s great, because all of the food is either cooked by our students, by our faculty or is donated by local restaurants,” she said. “So we are also helping local restaurants in the South Bend community, alongside our international community.”According to Sullivan, the committee’s second goal for the year was to help the international students at Saint Mary’s make their way into the bigger community as a whole.“At Saint Mary’s, we have that issue that the international students are sort of on their own. Even at orientation, the international group is separated,” she said. “We wanted to work on integrating them as best as we could, so the Diversity Dinners work towards this goal — in that anyone can come to them, and it also teaches non-international students about other cultures.“At the Chinese dinner, we were actually taught about the seven different areas of China and the different cuisine that come with each region and why that happened and how that developed. One of our Fulbright scholars did the presentation on it, so that was really great.”The third and final goal of the committee is the International Buddy Program, which pairs each new international student with a returning student, Sullivan said.“Basically, you sign up to be a roommate for an international student and end up rooming with the person,” she said. “This way, the international students can easily feel a part of the community and have a friend base, which intertwines with our second goal.”This program will begin during the spring semester or next fall and will be organized under an application process and facilitated by the international committee and Residence Hall Association.“This will majorly help with the rooming situation for international students because oftentimes these students are juniors or seniors who get randomly paired with first-year students, and it doesn’t work out so well,” Sullivan said. “And single [dorms] are a bad idea because they don’t get to practice English or meet anyone.”Tags: international committee, saint mary’s, sga, SMClast_img read more

Saint Mary’s launches chapter of Active Minds

first_imgActive Minds, a nation-wide organization that seeks to create conversations about mental health and provide a supportive community for college students, started a chapter on Saint Mary’s campus, senior Bridget Dedelow said.According to the Active Minds website, the club was started by a college student who lost her brother to suicide. The website states that the club works to “combat the stigma of mental illness, encourage students who need help to seek it early and prevent future tragedies.” Dedelow, who brought the club to Saint Mary’s with the help of associate professor of psychology Catherine Pittman, said she hopes the club will help better inform students about mental health issues.“[We] want to make better the state of mental health and the state of people thinking about their own and others’ mental health as well,” Dedelow said. Dedelow said interest in the club was high, especially because it offered resources that students weren’t finding otherwise.“Basically, we … hope to create awareness around Saint Mary’s campus,” Dedlow said. “We’re aiming to advocate for more resources at Saint Mary’s and to bring people together and say, ‘You’re not alone in this — if you’re struggling with a mental illness at college, you’re not alone.’”Dedelow said the club meets once a month to discuss fundraising and relevant topics, all the while providing a supportive environment for students. “This club is very open and very accepting of all kinds of people,” Dedelow said. “We also tell people that even if they don’t deal with mental illness, they can still be in this club and make new friends and meet new people. We accept all kinds of people.“We all get a space to talk about issues. We don’t talk over each other. It’s not as structured as raising your hand to talk, but you can talk openly without fear of judgement.”Dedelow said the Saint Mary’s community can greatly benefit from the presence of an Active Minds chapter on campus.“Even if you don’t join the club, it has a positive impact on the students,” Dedelow said. “You’ll hear about things that are going on, and everything we try to do in the club is positive.”“Obviously, if the students are having a better time dealing with their mental health, the community will be strengthened,” she said. “Even if you’re not directly affected by it, you’re affected by it in some sort of way. By having the club on campus, we hope there will be an overall understanding that this is a safe place and it will make Saint Mary’s a safer place to be for some people.”The club plans to bring in guest speakers to discuss their experiences with mental illnesses and to host informational panels next semester, Dedelow said. She said the club also plans to host calming events for Stress Less Week around finals week. Tags: Active Minds, Mental health, Saint Mary’s Active Minds, stigma, Stress Less Weeklast_img read more

Saint Mary’s introduces new musical theatre minor

first_imgSaint Mary’s has expanded its list of minors to make way for the start of something new: a musical theatre minor.Specialist in costume design Melissa Bialko said in an email that she proposed the idea for the minor — which requires 17 credit hours — to her colleagues after years of polling students and alumnae.“I presented the idea to my wonderful colleagues after several years of polling alums, and after hearing many times that students were interested in such a minor,” she said. “My colleagues in music, dance and theatre were enthusiastic, and we moved forward, collectively agreeing upon the 17-credit hour music, dance, and theatre-based curriculum.” Bialko said she credits her colleague for the establishment of the minor.“Katie Sullivan, professor of acting, took all of our thoughts and composed our formal proposal, which was readily accepted by our friends on the Curriculum Committee and in Academic Affairs, who were necessary and helpful in this process,” Bialko said.Sullivan said in an email that her students’ enthusiasm propelled the minor forward.  “We have known that our students love musicals and that there is always a really high turnout when we produce one, so we gathered that the interest would be there,” she said. “We also wanted to promote the interdisciplinary nature of this theatrical genre, which is a definite underpinning to the liberal arts tradition and philosophy that Saint Mary’s is built upon.”Sullivan said the minor will feature a wide range of dance, music and theatre classes. “There will be an assortment of selected and pertinent courses in singing and piano in order to develop one’s understanding of the structure of music and to help in being able to sight-read as a singer,” she said. “As well, there will be selected types of dance technique that are frequently used in musical theatre productions.”The minor spans disciplines and trains students in the various components of theatre, according to Sullivan.“Also required are an introductory acting course, a more advanced one focusing on musicals and a course on stagecraft so that students can learn some of the rudiments of getting a show actualized and on its feet, in terms of scenery, lighting, props, costumes and sound effects,” she said.Dance professor Michele Kriner said in an email that students do not need to have advanced dance experience to minor in musical theatre. “All levels of proficiency are welcome, from beginning to advanced,” she said.Bialko said she feels the minor is important to the theatre program because it engages students in the arts.“I think [the minor] is a new way to draw interest into our arts programs,” she said. “This is a joint program for music, dance and theatre, and it allows arts students to enrich their academics in a way we have not been previously able to offer. However, we also intend this musical theatre minor program for students of any major or minor.”Bialko said students with an interest in musical theatre who may not want to major in theatre or the arts will find the musical theatre minor especially endearing.“We want the student who was active in theatre in high school or loves musicals or simply wants an arts degree to be able to fulfill herself without having to commit to a major in theatre,” she said. “While most theatre majors double with other programs — and we create an especially flexible curriculum in order to accommodate doubling in other majors — we fully appreciate that the theatre major is not for everyone, whereas our 17-credit-hour musical theatre minor should be readily completable by students in any field. This is truly for the business or bio student that adores theatre but simply does not have the time for another major.”Kriner said the minor will give students the opportunity to broaden their performance abilities and increase their knowledge for potential teaching careers. “Musical theatre has been presented onstage at Saint Mary’s for years,” she said. “This minor will give students more tools and experience in musical theatre that can broaden their ability to contribute to musical theatre as an onstage performer or perhaps at a school that they might teach at in the future or their community after college.”Sullivan said students will not need to have expertise in singing or dancing to minor in musical theatre.“[Students] will be learning how to do these things, and they will all start at different places with different strengths and weaknesses and different amounts of past experience,” she said. “All are equally welcome.”Bialko said she hopes students have fun with the minor and also gather necessary skills to propel themselves into graduate education.“I hope students gain an enhanced appreciation for the various skills needed for a successful life in the world of musical theatre, and I hope they simply have fun as well,” she said. “It is important to enjoy fun things and to enrich ourselves in terms of our passions, not only to move our careers forward.” Sullivan said students should not worry about their expertise as stage performers.  “It is performance-based,” she said. “But one can certainly be going through it with the idea of getting generally knowledgeable about musical theatre. … Starting very beginner is equally expected.”Music professor Nancy Menk said those worried about the required voice and piano classes do not have to be expert singers themselves.“The idea behind taking voice and piano is, even if you’re not a singer, you would learn how to talk to a singer,” she said. “If you’re working with a singer on the stage, you would understand what they’re doing. It doesn’t mean you have to become a great singer yourself. Just knowing how the voice works and what’s important to a singer will help you work with a singer.”Professor Mark Abram-Copenhaver said students who earn this minor will gain applicable life skills.“You pick up with the skills you come in with and we expand upon that,” he said. “It’s analogous.” Sophomore Sandy Tarnowski said she awaits earning a minor in musical theatre.“I feel more included,” she said. “Not many people appreciate musical theatre all that much, and to have a program that celebrates musical theatre makes me feel more included in the theatre program and at college in general.”Sullivan said she is happy to talk with anyone who is interested in learning more about the minor. She said the new musical theatre minor will teach students valuable skills, no matter which path in life they wish to pursue. “Theatre, in itself, teaches one how to be creative, imaginative, collaborative, analytical, how to compromise, meet deadlines, organize one’s tasks and how to communicate,” she said. “Our new musical theatre minor will be no different in that respect, and those learned skills will be applicable and needed in all sorts of careers and work situations in which one may find herself over the years. Theatre teaches a person invaluable skills and readies a student for so many different paths in life.”Tags: arts, minor, musical theatre, musical theatre minor, Theatrelast_img read more

SMC students nominated for acting scholarship

first_imgSeveral Saint Mary’s students have been nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition that will take place in Indianapolis in December. The competition, which will take place at the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF), is statewide and features students from colleges around Indiana. Sophomores Rebecca Strom and Genesis Vasquez and senior Makena Henell were nominated for their performances in the fall play, ‘Once a Belle.’ Junior Stephanie Johnson and sophomores Katy Stalter and Elizabeth Ferry were nominated for their roles in this past semester’s spring performance, ‘Lucky, Liar, Loser.’ Strom said she believes she was nominated because of the vulnerability and honesty required of her role as an openly lesbian professor. “The scenes in which I played the professor were especially emotional and honest,” she said. “I had to learn to be emotionally vulnerable onstage, so it became increasingly difficult to run through those scenes each night because my character was facing so much opposition and stress. I think the ACTF respondents and theatre professors really responded to the emotional weight of the scene. I was honored to be nominated for the award, but I really believe that the credit should go to all of the students, faculty members and alumni who shared their stories with us.”Johnson said she will be attending the American College Theatre Festival not only for the competition, but also for the opportunities the festival provides. “I will be attending ACTF not only because I was nominated for the Irene Ryan scholarship competition, but also because the festival provides me the opportunity to meet more people from other colleges, learn new skills and enjoy other’s art,” she said. Johnson said her process for getting into character is different each time. “I change my process depending on the role I am preparing for,” she said. “For my role in ‘Lucky, Liar, Loser,’ I spent more time focusing on musical pieces than I would in a production where I would not be playing an instrument on stage. My acting process is one of constant discovery and exploration, learning more about the character and how I relate to them.”Strom said she prepares for her roles by filling in the character’s background and using it as the basis for her portrayal. “For every role I’m cast in, I always try to fill in the “unknowns” of the character’s background based on context from the script,” she said. “It’s important for an actor to imagine the entirety of their character’s life, not just the events within the play. For ‘Once a Belle,’ this process was a bit different because we were working with real interviews from members of the Saint Mary’s community. For my role as the professor, I made sure to read the original interview, which included some experiences and thoughts that didn’t make it into the final script. My goal was always to honor the experiences of the professor who was courageous enough to share her story with us.” Johnson said she thinks that good acting is inseparable from being dedicated to the work.“Good acting to me is putting yourself into the work,” she said. “You don’t need to be the best actor on stage. If you care and are dedicated to what you are doing, you deserve the credit for that.”Strom said focus is what separates a good actor from a great actor. “To me, good acting means focus,” she said. “An actress must always be focused on every aspect of the character she is portraying, including her motivation, movement, desires, speech, relationships and background. A good actor will make the audience forget that there was ever a script.”Strom said acting has given her the opportunity to express herself without fear. “Being a part of theatre productions has always been a way for me to express myself without fear of judgment,” she said. “I am severely introverted, so people always ask me how I manage to stand onstage and perform in front of large audiences. I tell them that when I am onstage, I can’t be afraid because I’m a completely different person. Becoming the character I’m portraying and immersing myself in the world of the play allows me to release any anxiety or fears that I have in real life.”Johnson said even though performing onstage is frustrating, it is worthwhile upon completion of the show.  “The ability to perform is equivalent to working out. It is difficult, but ultimately makes you feel stronger and happier once you have completed a show,” she said. Tags: ACTF, Acting, award, scholarshiplast_img read more

University hires security to monitor students in quarantine, isolation

first_imgIn order to prevent students under quarantine or isolation from violating safety protocols, Notre Dame hired additional security personnel to patrol the properties, the South Bend Tribune reported Wednesday.Students who fail to remain in their assigned rooms will face disciplinary action, “including possible dismissal,” University spokesman Dennis Brown said in the article.Notre Dame contracted with Monterrey Security and VSS Security Services to hire officers for off-campus quarantine and isolation sites. In addition, Indiana State Police Alliance troopers will monitor the sites at night beginning Thursday for students violating the code of conduct they were required to sign upon quarantine or isolation.The University has also contracted with six off-campus facilities, Brown said. While Notre Dame has declined to reveal the sites, The Observer sources have determined students are quarantining and isolating in the Morris Inn, The Foundry, The Landings and University Edge.Notre Dame has refused to publish the number of students in quarantine or isolation.“That is not a number that we will be providing publicly,” Brown said in the article. “It is ever-changing. People are added and then safe and healthy and able to leave, so we’re not going to try to keep track of that on a daily basis by any means.”According to the report, residents of The Landings have expressed concern to management over students in quarantine and isolation failing to abide by safety protocols.“Unfortunately, we have received reports of students failing to abide by the code of conduct,” a letter to residents said. “As a result, the University is working quickly to enhance security measures at The Landings in order to closely monitor student behavior and ensure compliance with all polices. I understand that this is not ideal and I understand your concerns.”Tags: COVID-19, Dennis Brown, Isolation, quarantine, securitylast_img read more

Wegmans Receives Enough Masks For Employees To Wear

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) ROCHESTER – Colleen Wegman delivered a message Wednesday, updating the company’s COVID-19 response.She says Wegmans has received enough masks to make it possible for employees to adhere to the CDC’s advice.“All along, we have followed the guidance of the CDC for the latest trusted advice,” Colleen said.The masks will arrive at the stores in the next few days. Wegmans says it will continue to follow standards for social distancing, sanitation, and plexiglass screens at check out.Colleen Wegmans says, “we are confident in the measures we’ve taken to keep our stores a safe and positive place to be during this time. We thank you for your support as we continue to learn and ensure progress is made daily.”Read her full message below:We are a family company who has never felt more like a family as we come together during this trying time, and we hope the same for all of you.  On a daily basis, we are so moved to hear the stories of kindness and connection happening in our stores.  Our people and our customers continue to be nothing short of amazing.We thank our people who continue to show up every day with a positive attitude, ready to deliver incredible service, equipped with the most up-to-date trusted science to protect themselves and our customers.  Our customers support us every day, taking time to recognize our people and encourage us to keep going, which truly makes a HUGE difference.We understand this is a trying time for everyone.  We are extremely grateful for the way people – our suppliers, employees, customers and community partners – are pulling together to help.All along, we have followed the guidance of the CDC for the latest trusted advice. Most recently they are advising that the application of masks may prevent the spread of the virus.  We are fortunate to have secured enough masks, arriving at stores in the next few days, to make it possible for our people to adhere to this advice.  As we continue to follow the highest standards for social distancing, sanitation, and plexiglass screens at check out, we are confident in the measures we’ve taken to keep our stores a safe and positive place to be during this time.  We thank you for your support as we continue to learn and ensure progress is made daily.As the world around us continues to change at a rapid pace, we continue to make decisions with the most up-to-date science in mind, while always leading with our hearts.  We express our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you.All Our Best,Colleenlast_img read more

First Significant Snowfall Likely Tonight As Lake Effect Snow Returns To Region

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) JAMESTOWN – We could see our first significant snowfall of the season tonight as lake effect snow will impact the area.A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Southern Erie and Wyoming counties from 5 p.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. on Monday.In total, we could see around 4 to 7 inches of snow accumulations with winds gusting as high as 45 mph, strongest near the Lake Erie shoreline. Plan on slippery road conditions with patchy blowing snow that could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute.Viewers can submit snow reports through social media using #MyLocalWx or via email to [email protected] wind advisory is also issued for Chautauqua County until 7 a.m. on Monday. Winds from the south at 30 to 45 mph are expected Sunday, with winds shifting west to northwest 30 to 40 mph in the afternoon to evening. Prior to the storm, on Sunday we will see rain showers likely before changing to snow late in the afternoon. Otherwise it will be cloudy with highs in the mid-40’s. Breezy conditions are also likely, especially ahead of the cold front.Any left over snow showers will begin to taper off Monday morning.For Monday, we will be mostly cloudy with a few rain or snow showers possible. Highs in the upper-30’s.As we head into mid and later week a pattern shift will take place. Dryer and warmer weather will return as the low-60’s will return to the area quickly melting any snowfall from earlier in the week.WNYNewsNow is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program. Winter weather in Jamestown, New York. WNYNewsNow file image 11/12/19.last_img read more

Just Cindy! Keke Palmer Will Join Broadway Cast of Cinderella

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 4, 2015 Palmer’s film and TV credits include Animal, Masters of Sex, The Trip to Bountiful, Akeelah and the Bee, Joyful Noise, The Cleaner, True Jackson, VP and 90210. Her debut album So Uncool was released by Atlantic Records in 2007. Back in 2012, Palmer told that singing was her first love, saying “it would be really fun” to come to the Great White Way. Well, wishes come true! She will be the first African American actress to play Cinderella on Broadway. Directed by Mark Brokaw, the production brings to the Broadway stage for the first time the tuner that originally aired as a TV special in 1957, starring Oscar winner Julie Andrews. This Cinderella features a completely re-imagined book by Douglas Carter Beane and additional Rodgers and Hammerstein songs originally composed for other musicals. Check out Palmer and Broadway favorite Jeremy Jordan’s duet from Joyful Noise below! In addition to Faure, Cinderella currently features Nancy Opel as Madame, Joe Carroll as Prince Topher, Tony winner Victoria Clark as Marie, Ann Harada as Charlotte, Stephanie Gibson as Gabrielle, Todd Buonopane as Jean-Michel, Peter Bartlett as Sebastian and Phumzile Sojola as Lord Pinkleton. Related Shows View Comments Cinderella A new princess is heading to the Broadway Theatre! Small screen star and talk show host Keke Palmer will join the cast of Cinderella. The Just Keke host will don the glass slippers beginning September 9, taking over for current Cindy Paige Faure. As previously announced, Faure will lead the national tour of the Rodgers and Hammerstein tuner beginning October 10.last_img read more

Riding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes to Close Early Off-Broadway

first_imgRiding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes is set to close early on November 30—the off-Broadway show had been scheduled to end its limited engagement on December 28. Directed by Jeffrey Altshuler, the production is playing at the Barrow Street Theatre. View Comments Related Shows First he wrote the best-selling book. Then came the Oscar-winning film. Now, with Riding the Midnight Express, comes a solo show performed by the man who lived it. Billy Hayes recounts his time in a Turkish prison and his harrowing escape. There will be a Q&A between Hayes and the audience following each performance. Riding the Midnight Express Hayes’ autobiographical book, Midnight Express, was released in 1977 and adapted into a film a year later, starring Brad Davis, Randy Quaid and John Hurt. It won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Riding the Midnight Express previously played a limited engagement at St. Luke’s Theatre earlier this year. Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 28, 2014last_img read more