Monthly Archives: December 2010

Holiday Food Drive Collects 825 Pounds of Food

The University of Iowa Division of Performing Arts just made the holidays a little brighter to families in need. Our food drive for the Johnson County Crisis Center collected 825 pounds of food that will be distributed to local families. This year, the School of Art and Art History and the Arts Living Learning Community joined the effort as well.The generosity of the arts community on this campus is really remarkable!

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Holiday Tubas Warm Up the Old Capitol

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‘Tis the season for tubas!

Crowds gathered near the steps of the Old Capitol Friday for the annual “Holiday Tubas” concert. Tuba/Euphonium Professor John Manning donned his Santa suit to lead The University of Iowa Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble a mix of season favorites. This year tuba, euphonium, and sousaphone players throughout the community were invited to play alongside the students. In addition to enjoying the unique sound of the tuba ensemble, concert goers filled several large boxes with toys for Toys for Tots, which distributes the toys to needy children around the area.

“Usually, [the best part is] just seeing the reaction of people watching, and people stopping to listen, and seeing little kids dance around when we play,” said Blaine Cunningham, a DMA candidate in Collegium Tubum.

Holiday Tubas has been a part of the Iowa City December scene since the 1970s. Bob Yates, a former music professor at UI, began the performances to bring the holiday spirit to campus. A welcome break from tradition this year was the weather–unseasonably warm temperatures found even more people out and about who stopped to listen to the music. Equally pleased were the musicians, who generally have to contend with cold fingers and freezing valves on their instruments due to the cold December weather.

The ensemble performs numerous concerts during the school year, including Oktubafest, Spooky Tubas, and studio recitals, but Holiday Tubas is the only outdoor event. The music played at Holiday Tubas is also easier for the players because they are joined by amateur musicians including children, alumni, and volunteers.

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Arts Students Wow Friends and Each Other

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Students from the Arts Living Learning Community organized their own talent showcase event on Saturday, December 4th at the University Capitol Centre Recital Hall. More than a dozen fabulous acts were on stage, with community residents Meghan Batterson and Sydney Hayes leading the audience in an energized Jingle Bell Rock sing-a-long. The variety was astonishing, ranging from puppet theatre, classical musical performance, readings of original poetry, and a jazzy jump rope demo that brought the lively audience of about 100 people to its feet. The evening allowed residents to show off talents that may not have been evident to their dormitory floor neighbors, and get some well-earned fun time with each other as their first semester of college comes to a close.

Two graduate assistants who share oversight responsibility for the community were very pleased with the results and participation. Becky Simons, graduate programming assistant, felt the students did a great job of organizing the show. She added that the students hope to repeat the showcase during spring semester, with even more participants. Scott Wojciechowski, graduate assistant hall coordinator said, “I had a blast!  If that is our dress rehearsal for the spring, I CANNOT wait for that show!”

The performance was followed by a reception for performers and audience members sponsored by the Division of Performing Arts. Division Director and Theatre Arts chair Alan MacVey said, “The showcase was a Christmas treat that was filled with energy and fun. Almost as much fun as the acts on stage was the action in the audience, who whooped and hollered and clapped for their fellow performers. Fourteen weeks ago these students had never met each other and now they seem like lifelong friends.” The Division of Performing Arts has supported this living learning community since 2001 with funds from the Elizabeth M. Stanley Endowment. The School of Art and Art History joined the community this fall.

Students elect to live in the Arts Living Learning Community based on their major or on a strong interest in one of the performing or visual arts. They live and study together, perform together, and this year, take a common course and attend events as a group. The Arts Living Learning Community is a joint enterprise of the Division of Performing Arts, which is made up of the UI Departments of Dance, Music, and Theatre and the School of Art & Art History.

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UI Saxophone Studio Continues to Excel

University of Iowa Saxophone Ensemble

The University of Iowa Saxophone Studio under the direction of  Professor Kenneth Tse continues to collect accolades for outstanding musicianship!

Most recently, the  University of Iowa Saxophone Ensemble was selected to perform at the 64th Annual Midwest Orchestra and Band Clinic in Chicago. This rare and prestigious honor is bestowed on only the very best student ensembles in the country. The members of the saxophone ensemble are José Cabán-Zayas, Nathan Bogert, Kaelah Caldwell, John Hallberg, Cody Maranell, Stephen Page, Justin Rollefson, James Skretta, Ryan Smith, Michael van Heel, Tessa Welterlen, Calvin Wong and Colin Young,  The UI Saxophone Ensemble will perform Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 4 p.m. at McCormick Place West. A reception for School of Music alumni and friends will follow the concert at the Hyatt Conference Center adjacent to McCormick Place. Contact Jane Van Voorhis at the UI Foundation, jane-van-voorhis@uiowa.edu for more information on the reception.

In the past year, UI saxophone students also achieved unprecedented success at three different competitions throughout the U.S. Axius Quartet, a student saxophone ensemble in the University of Iowa School of Music, won the silver medal in the Senior Wind Division of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, America’s most prestigious competition for chamber music ensembles. The final competition was May 9, 2010 at Notre Dame University. Founded in 1973, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition has grown to become the largest chamber music competition in the world, and one of the most prestigious classical music prizes.

Axius, one of 48 ensembles from around the world invited to the Fischoff Competition, was also the national winner at the Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Competition, and second-prize winner in the Quartet Competition of the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference. Also at the NASA conference, UI doctoral student Stephen Page won first prize and master’s student Nathan Bogert won second prize in the classical solo competition. Tse’s students won three of the top four awards in the conference’s classical competition, a first in the history of the conference.

The North American Saxophone Alliance is composed of performers, teachers, students, scholars and enthusiasts of the saxophone. Its mission is to provide resources for saxophonists at all levels of skill, of all ages and backgrounds, and of varied musical styles by disseminating information about saxophone performance and pedagogy, by providing opportunities for music making, by fostering and facilitating the creation of new repertoire, by providing a communication network and by promoting the musical activities of its members.

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