Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Great Plains Chamber Winds in Concert at Peru State College

At 7:00 pm in the Jindra Recital Hall, The Great Plains Chamber Winds presented a most enjoyable evening of music.

This popular wind quintet group formed in 2003 in Lincoln and is part of the Lincoln Arts Council. The group features
Bassoonist Joyce Besch; Horn player Lawrence Dietrich; Clarinetist Martin Gardner; Oboist Susan Hraban; English Horn player Lee Lowry; and Flautist Anne Sheedy Gardner, who presently teaches at Peru State College.

I recorded two of the evenings many excellent pieces. First, listen to the beautiful opening selection from the concert, Second Suite in F by Gustav Holst.

The second selection--a Tango, Por Una Cabeza by Carlos
Gardel--features Joyce Besch's wonderful work with her bassoon.

These groups sound grand in the new recital hall, so watch the video and make sure to attend the next event.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Some Madrigal Spring

Stepping out of the Fine Arts Building to make a quick trip across campus to the library, I stopped to listen to the Madrigal Singers practice outside on a wickedly stunning spring day.

The combination of the Madrigal Singers' beautiful voices
and the birds' melodic calls compelled me to made a quick video.

And if you listen carefully, you will hear Northern
Cardinals and others join in on the fun.

The music made the beautiful day even more stunning.

Enjoy the video.

Ralph Nader Visits Peru State College

On Monday, March 27, Ralph Nader spoke at Peru State College, the last of this year's speakers for the Peru State College Distinguished Speaker Series.

I was out of town for the first speaker, but did attend and create a blog page for Sonia Nazario's discussion of her best-selling book, Enrique's Journey.

The series had originally scheduled Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and expert on the Middle East Anthony Shadid, who recently died tragically in Syria. Ralph Nader, on his blog page tribute to Shadid, calls the author of the posthumously published House of Stone "The Most Gifted Foreign Correspondent in a Generation."

And the first section of the video I made from Ralph Nader's
presentation includes Nader's discussion of Shadid and his significance.

In the second section of the You Tube video, Nader addresses one of his great concerns, the need for citizens to become actively interested in and take part in civic activities, from knowing how the local city hall functions to learning about how prisons function.

I also posted photographs from the reception for Ralph Nader and his address to a large crowd in the Peru State Theater.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

ICFA/IAFA in Orlando 2012

ICFA Pool PictureWhite Ibis at Merritt Island

China Mieville, Jim Casey, and Kelly Link


On Tuesday, March 20, I flew to Orlando for this year's IAFA conference, The
International Conference on the Fantastic and the Arts, the 33rd Conference: The Monstrous Fantastic.

Last year's conference featured, among others, Andrea Hairston, the conference's Guest Scholar. As many on the Peru State Campus know, Andrea Hairston and Pan Morigan, both of whom I met at last year's conference, visited Peru this past fall term,
serving as special guests of the College 101 Freshman course.

I look forward to seeing Andrea this spring inn Madison, WI, at WisCon--she will serve as this year's Guest of Honor and recently won the Tiptree Award for her novel
from which she read in Peru, Redwood and Wildfire. See the link for her Peru visit to look at pictures and video, especially of Pan and Andrea's dramatic readings from the novel.

This year's gathering featured three stellar writers and
individuals: Guest of Honor, China Mieville; Guest of Honor, Kelly Link; and Guest Scholar, Jeffrey J. Cohen.

I have known Kelly for the past fifteen or more years and met China at an ICFA conference in Fort Lauderdale a decade ago. And what fun to meet Jeffrey, with whom I look forward to talking more about Zombies.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kony 2012 at Peru State College

On Thursday evening in the Peru State Theater, the recently established Peru State College Rotaract Club sponsored the presentation on campus of the Invisible Children's hyper-popular video--now with over 100 million views--about one of the world's most wanted criminals, Joseph Kony, leader of the the notorious Lord's Resistance Army.

Brook Earnest--pictured on the right here with Elizabeth
Warren of Invisible Children on her left--and her fellow club members did an excellent job organizing this event that drew a enthusiastic and interested crowd, as the collected photographs underscore.

The video has created quite a stir, to be sure, and the volunteers, including Elizabeth Warren and especially Ugandan
Komakech Lawrence (pictured on the left) addressed numerous issues, from how Invisible Children spends its money to the whereabouts of Joseph Kony.

The video includes footage of Lawrence and his colleague addressing the audience and questions raised.

The Invisible Children, Kony 2012, web page offers lots of
additional information about the organization and ways that the interested can contribute.

While many questions remain about the organization and Jason Russell's recent
behavior (Russell created and narrated the viral video), the enthusiastic response of the young impresses me.

I hope that come April, this monster gets nabbed and
brought to international court for crimes against humanity.

Congratulates to all the people involved with this event,
most of whom appear in the following photographs.

Well, done!

Career Fair at PSC

On Tuesday, March 13, the Wheeler Center hosted this year's successful Career Day.

The numbers pleased the event's organizer, Alice Holtz, whose hard word created a very successful event last April.

This year between 11:00 in the morning and 3:00 on a beautiful afternoon, 160 students and 65 faculty, staff and southeast Nebraska residents visited with the 42 employers at their tables on the basketball court.

To get a good idea of the enthusiastic activity at Wheeler Center, give the photographs a look.

Jazz Competition on Campus

Dr. Anyson Banks

Omaha South Senior Combo

On Wednesday, March, 14, I visited the Peru State College Theater to check out the 39 Annual Jazz Festival, which brought a dozen High School Bands to the college.

I enjoyed watching the various groups, from Auburn to Gretna, from Elmwood to Omaha South.

And after each school performed its fifteen minute set, Dr. Anysn Banks, this year's clinician and a member of the Jazz Division at the University of Lousiville, offered the band members a friendly yet incisive critique, often playing either the piano or the trumpet with the groups to help them improve.

The slide show will give you an idea about the Jazz Festival and Dr. Banks' helpful
involvement with the young musicians.

And you can learn more about Anysn Banks, listen to him play trumpet, and even purchase a CD or Dr. Banks' book, Trumpet Synthesis: Blending Jazz Style with Classical Technique.

The competition ran from eight in the morning until six that night, featuring two performances of PSC's Hoyt Street Jazz

Elkorn South Senior Jazz Band earned highest marks for the day by a slim margin over a band I did manage to record, The Omaha South Senior High Jazz Combo.

The video contains three pieces, one each in order of presentation by Bellevue West Senior School Jazz Band, the Omaha South Senior High School Jazz Combo, and The Hoyt Street Jazz Ensemble.