Brock Odyssey 2017: From Delphi to Olympia

The Department of Classics takes selected students on a study tour or archaeological excavation each summer. These trips allow students to experience the art and culture of the ancient Mediterranean world in an entirely new way.

This year, Professor Allison Glazebrook and the CLAS/VISA3M23 students are on a study tour of Greece from June 5-18th. During this time, students will be blogging about their experience on the course blog and sharing picture on our faculty’s Instagram and Facebook. Follow along on social media with their hashtag, #brockodyssey2017!

We will be sharing a few of their blog posts with you here. Today’s post is by Sarah Murray, a third year Classics student in the archaeology stream.

To learn more about the Department of Classics’ study tours, visit their information page.

The road from Delphi to Olympia descends from Mount Parnassus at an elevation of 1,800 feet to the Gulf of Corinth at sea level. It is a thrill ride of switchbacks on narrow mountain roads, that takes you from the Ancient Greeks’ most important sanctuary at Delphi, to the fertile farmland around Olympia.

The route passes through country that is harsh and rugged, but filled with pink and white rhododendrons and wildflowers that support the bees from the numerous apiaries located on the mountainsides. From the bus you see the houses pass in flashes of white stucco and red terracotta roofs, white-walled cemeteries full of tall white crosses, beside little white churches and the  frequent small and brightly painted roadside shrines. Many of the rounded mountains are topped with windmills and houses wear solar panels on their roofs-a reminder of the modern world-in a landscape where you can see the remains of abandoned farms hiding in the tall yellow grass. The old and the new exist side by side here in Greece-the past runs into a present in a state that must struggle to meet the needs of its living citizens while preserving the legacy its ancestors.

Incredible engineering of the Rio-Antirrio bridge. Photo by Stephanie Semenuk.

One image of modernity is the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge  (the longest fully suspended cable type bridge in the world) that spans the Gulf of Corinth and connects mainland Greece to the Peloponnese. You can see the length of it gleaming white in the distance as you reach the coastal plain. The cables that suspend the bridge arch gracefully towards the sky giving the structure an appearance of lightness that belays the reality of the supporting piles that anchor it to the sea bed sixty-five feet below the surface of the treacherous strait. It is a blend of technical mastery over the elements and yet still a thing of beauty-so very Greek.

The bridge takes you to the Peloponnese where the land is lush and fertile, for there is water here to nourish the growth of the vegetables and vines that grow in abundance, and the olive trees of course. Tall green cedars rise above everything as they soar towards the sky like dark spears against the backdrop of blue.  This landscape is such a contrast to the rugged power of the sanctuary in the mountains, but both scenes have their own particular beauty.

Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge. Photo by Sarah Murray.

This is the landscape of the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, an ancient site where athletes worshipped the god in athletic competitions that drew participants from all over the ancient world. The ancient Olympics began here in 776 B.C.E. and like the modern games were held every four years. Before the games started word would go out in all directions to inform the various city states that the games would be held soon, so that hostilities would cease and the games would be peaceful. The tradition was ended at the end of the fourth century C.E. but the modern Olympics are based on those long ago athletic events.

At Olympia the ruins of the Temples of Hera and of Zeus, state treasuries and monuments such as the Philippeion sit along paths that are shaded by large trees. Under some of the trees there are architectural fragments from the site that provide a pleasant place to sit and enjoy the breeze. The foundations of the Temple of Zeus hint at the grandeur of the temple that once stood here, but only one lonely column stands among the tumbled ruins that have succumbed to floods, earthquakes and the passing years.

Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Photo by Sarah Murray.

The museum displays the wealth of the archaeological finds from the site, from the votives left by worshippers, armour and weaponry dedicated to Zeus and moulds used in the workshop of Pheidias who created the enormous statue of the god that resided in the Temple of Zeus. The museum also displays the magnificent sculptures from the temple pediments that have to be seen in order to appreciate their scale and the mastery of the sculptors.

Students take on the original Olympic foot race, the stade, at Olympia. Photo by Sarah Murray.

The truly adventurous can enter the ancient stadium through the same gateway that the ancient athletes and umpires used, stand behind the balbis (the starting line) and race against their friends to the finish line about 200 yards away. If you do run, you can say that you raced at Olympia and be proud of that feat, after all the only people who know that you finished last were the friends who cheered you all the way to the finish line.

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Brock Odyssey 2017: Experiencing mountains and temples

The Department of Classics takes selected students on a study tour or archaeological excavation each summer. These trips allow students to experience the art and culture of the ancient Mediterranean world in an entirely new way.

This year, Professor Allison Glazebrook and the CLAS/VISA3M23 students are on a study tour of Greece from June 5-18th. During this time, students will be blogging about their experience on the course blog and sharing picture on our faculty’s Instagram and Facebook. Follow along on social media with their hashtag, #brockodyssey2017!

We will be sharing a few of their blog posts with you here. Today’s post is by Adelina Misasi, a history major heading into her fourth year of studies.

To learn more about the Department of Classics’ study tours, visit their information page.

We started June 11 in the Neda hotel in Olympia. We packed up and headed out to the bus to take a trip to the temple of Apollo  at Bassae. The trip was a two hour long bus ride which allowed some of us to enjoy the scenery where we saw more mountain ranges, goats and other types of nature that we did not see in places such as Athens. It also allowed some of us to catch up on sleep.

Driving through the mountains was a very different and over whelming experience. To be on a very small road on the side of a mountain did not feel all too safe; however, our bus driver Panos was fantastic getting us to the temple. The views we were able to witness from driving along the mountains were incredible.

Student Will Durward took this photo of Greek mountains from the top of Mount Lykaion.

Once we had arrived, the temple  was explained by Dr. Glazebrook and Teagan. It is one of the only temples that is still standing with most of its original limestone and marble.  Dr. Glazebrook had mentioned that it is the first world heritage site designation in Greece because of how well preserved the temple is.

We learned that the temple has been covered by a protective tent and any reconstruction the temple has gone through it is primarily to preserve the existing architecture. They had done this through beams and other scaffolds in order to keep the temple from shifting or breaking any further.  The temple was very overwhelming to see because this was the first temple we have seen mostly in tact and that did not have large pieces of new marble fixing the temple to show visitors its original form.

While at the temple we encountered very interesting background music that made me feel a little uncomfortable because it made the ambiance of the temple very creepy. While looking at the temple I thought one very interesting feature was the use of all three orders (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian) throughout the temple.

After the temple we were back on the bus and drove a few more hours to the site of Messene.

The site of Messene was a very interesting site to visit because it was one of the first sites that was very interactive.  While walking through the site there were a few areas that I found extremely interesting.

First off, the bath house that was located in the Agora of Messene still had most of its heat stones intact.

Next at the site of Messene another aspect that I found very interesting to see was the stadium.

Walking through the stadium was overwhelming because of how large the stadium is  and how intact the seats and stadium are.  Sitting in the stadium I felt that I truly was a part of history watching games and athletes show their strengths.

Later on in the day after the site at Messene we went to the location of the gates at Messene, where we had Mike present on the gates and he explained how the gates were used as a well made fortification and had many different watch towers. Today when going to the site most of the gate is no longer intact, but what is still standing is a sight to see.

Overall it was really interesting to see both the temple of Apollo and the site of Messene.

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Brock Odyssey 2017: Learning history where it happened

The Department of Classics takes selected students on a study tour or archaeological excavation each summer. These trips allow students to experience the art and culture of the ancient Mediterranean world in an entirely  new way.

This year, Professor Allison Glazebrook and the CLAS/VISA3M23 students are on a study tour of Greece from June 5-18th. During this time, students will be blogging about their experience on the course blog and sharing picture on our faculty’s Instagram and Facebook. Follow along on social media with their hashtag, #brockodyssey2017!

We will be sharing a few of their blog posts with you here. Today’s post is by Sabrina Peixoto, who is heading into her third year of History and Concurrent Education.

To learn more about the Department of Classics’ study tours, visit their information page.

The final members of our group arrived in Athens Monday, June 5, around nine thirty in the morning. Once we got to the hotel we dropped our bags and headed up to the rooftop restaurant, hearing that it had an incredible view of the city (fig. 1).

Figure One - View of city from roof of Astor Hotel

Figure One - View of city from roof of Astor Hotel

We were given about an hour to grab some lunch or take a quick nap if we needed to before we started our day. A handful of us walked around finding a little cafe where we enjoyed pizza and paninis. We had a hard time at first trying to place our orders since the lady we were speaking to did not speak any English and had to get one of the other workers to translate our orders for us.

Regrouping around noon we then walked over to the Kerameikos, along the way I was overwhelmed trying to take in everything we were seeing as we walked through the streets. Along the way we did see the Church of Panagia Kapnikarea (fig. 2), which was built in the eleventh century. I was very interested to get a look at the mosaic with a depiction of the Madonna and a child on the south side of the church.

Figure Two - Church of Panagia Kapnikarea

Figure Two - Church of Panagia Kapnikarea

Personally seeing the Kerameikos (fig. 3) was an unreal experience for me, based off the fact that it was the first time I have ever physically seen a site like that before. A fascinating thing was seeing the difference in ground level of the site compared to street level, showing us how far they had to dig down, knowing they had to destroy what was above it to get to those ruins. Another couple of things we saw that caught my interest were seeing the oldest of the walls amongst the ruins and hearing Professor Glazebrook’s explanation on how they had to rush in the building process in order to fend off the Persians. The site of the Kerameikos is thought to be where Pericles delivered his funeral speech to honour those who had lost their lives in the war.

Figure Three - The Kerameikos

Figure Three - The Kerameikos

We got a chance to go inside the Kerameikos Museum and get a look at some of the objects found on the site. I appreciated the layout of the museum, specifically the center piece of the marble bull in the middle of the museum under the skylight.

Next we walked up to the Pnyx, an ancient meeting place, where we had a great view of the city and the Acropolis, it was a great opportunity to take lots of pictures. After walking a bit more around the city we ended up at the restaurant where we would be having our welcome dinner (fig. 4).

Figure Four - Enjoying the welcome dinner

Figure Four - Enjoying the welcome dinner

The staff at the restaurant were super friendly, the service was fantastic, and so was the food! They kept bringing out different appetizers, such as greek salad, calamari, tomato balls, so many that most of us were almost completely full by the time the main course came out. They made us a wonderful lamb dish with french fries and tzatziki sauce. It was a perfect opportunity for all us to get to know each other better as well as enjoy some delicious Greek food.

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Brock alumni, faculty, and staff recognized for contributions to the St. Catharines arts community

The Bacchae, a Twitches & Itches Theatre production, was on stage at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in January 2017. (Photo by David Vivian)

Brock’s alumni continue to contribute to St. Catharine’s art scene long after graduation and this year a number of them are being recognized by the community with nominations for the St. Catharines Arts Awards.

Two individual alumnae and one group of alumni have been nominated for St. Catharines Arts Awards—Emerging Artist 2017. Visual artist Lauren Regier (BA ’14), costume designer Jo Pacinda (BA ‘13) and the Twitches & Itches Theatre group have all been nominated for their contributions to St. Catharines’ art scene.

Lauren Regier (BA '14) working in her studio. (Photo by Lauren Regier)

Lauren Regier (BA ’14), a graduate from Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, explores the relationship between nature and machines through her photography, video, performance, and installation art.

Regier used an artist residency position in British Columbia in 2016 to explore the functional and survival properties of plants for her BioArt series of work. Regier combines plants with industrial products to create strange prototypes, which she then photographs in black and white and hand-tints with watercolours.

Participating in the local arts community is important for Regier.

“Some of the best people and institutions in St. Catharines have positioned themselves to be generously receptive of new ideas, artwork and dialogue,” says Regier.

“When it comes to contributing to the arts community post-graduation, it’s our willingness to attend talks and show by people we don’t know, or to introduce and guide newcomers that truly makes on an accessible and valued member of the cultural community.”

Regier showed art from her Fantasy Fleur series at Malcolm Gear Studio in Welland earlier this year, which was featured on the blog.

Most recently, her work was part of the Brock University and State University of New York at Buffalo collaboration “Post-Industrial Ephemera: Sounds, Gestures, and Poetics” at Silo City,
Buffalo.

Twitches & Itches Theatre is a multi-disciplinary artist ensemble committed to developing local acting talent. Eight of the group’s nine core performers trained at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

The group was founded in 2009 by Colin Bruce Anthes (BA ’14, MA ’16) and Tom DiMartino, and moved
to St. Catharines in 2013. They hope to show emerging actors that they don’t need to leave the region to pursue their craft.

The ensemble has done six full productions; their first independent production “The Bacchae” was performed at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in January. They have also participated in community events, Culture Days, and charity fundraisers.

The group includes alumni Hayley Malouin (BA ’15), Sean Rintoul (BA ’15), Kaitlin Race (BA ’13), Sean Aileen McClelland (BA ’16), and Marcus Tuttle (BA ’15).

Staying in Niagara has always been important to nominee Jo Pacinda (BA ’13) . Pacinda is a Brock theatre graduate and aspiring costumer who works with a number of theatre companies in Niagara. Her recent work includes company costumer and design assistant for Essential Collective Theatre and wardrobe assistant for Theatre Project, Foster Festival, and Twitches & Itches.

“I’ve always wanted to start and build my theatre career in Niagara and this nomination means I’m headed on the right path with that,” says Pacinda.

Pacinda credits her Brock experience with helping her give back to the community.

“Brock holds a great place within the local arts community and the overall support the school has for its current student, alumni, as well as staff, is really fantastic. It’s with all this support that alumni are able to contribute and build St. Catharines’ art scene.”

The recognition of these Brock alumni is an honour for the students, alumni, faculty, and staff of the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, says Director David Vivian.

“If our graduates can bring their hearts and minds to make St. Catharines and the region a better place, whether because of their professional work in costuming or by making innovative and provocative art that asks us the tough questions we face and that encourage us to generate imaginative insight leading to change and sustainability, then the faculty and staff at the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts have successfully done the work the community is entrusting us to do,” Vivian says.

It’s not only alumni contributing to St. Catharines’ arts community; a number of current Brock staff and faculty have also been recognized with nominations.

Gordon Cleland, a professor with Brock’s Department of Music and principle cellist with the Niagara Symphony, has been nominated for his work in the music community. Cleland is an instructor with Suzuki Niagara and with the Niagara Youth Orchestra. He has also been a featured performer across North America.

Danielle Wilson, a Brock dramatic arts professor, has also been nominated. Wilson has worked across Canada as an actor, director, and voice and acting teacher. She is also the co-founder and co-artistic director of Stolen Theatre Collective. The collective was founded in 2007 and is committed to the creation of original material and experimentation with different theatrical styles.

Gregory Betts, a poet and professor with the Department of English Language and Literature, is a tireless advocate for literature in St. Catharines. He is the artistic director and founder of the Festival of Readers. The festival is an annual event held each fall and designed to build a literary culture in the Niagara region.

Marcie Bronson, acting director and curator at Rodman Hall Art Centre, has been nominated for her central role in the transformation of Rodman Hall into a nationally recognized institution of excellence that supports local artists.

Rodman Hall Art Centre has also been nominated in the Arts in Education category.

The Arts Awards were first presented in 2005 to celebrate St. Catharines’ artists and supporters and to cultivate support for the arts sector. Awards are given out in five categories: Arts in Education, Emerging Artist, Established Artist, Making a Difference, and Patron of the Arts.

This year’s recipients will be announced at an evening of performances and celebration on Monday, June 5, at First Ontario Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are available from the performing arts centre box office 1-855-515-0722.

An earlier version of this post appeared in Brock News.

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Nouveau Reach: Brock professors bringing luxury studies to Canada

What is luxury and why do we value it?

Depending where you are in the world, luxury can mean many things to many people.

Critical luxury is an emerging field of study in Europe that examines the relations between historical and contemporary ideas of luxury. Now, two Brock University professors are helping to bring it to Canada.

History Professor Jessica Clark and Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures Professor Nigel Lezama are co-organizers of the Nouveau Reach: Past, Present and Future of Luxury conference being held this week at Ryerson University.

The conference has brought together more than 30 scholars and industry professionals from around the world to examine the idea of what we consider luxury and why. They’re discussing the rapidly evolving global luxury market and how it impacts Canada.

“I think that we all live with an idea of what luxury is,” says Lezama. “It ranges from a bit of fancy chocolate to an expensive indulgence to time spent with close friends.”

“Critical luxury studies gives us a large box of tools to analyse the things and experiences that we consider luxuries. It allows us to determine where value lies, whether it’s in the thing or experience itself, or whether it’s imposed by systems like capitalism, or an internal system like psychology.”

The critical luxury field crosses a range of disciplines.

“Whether you look at language and signifiers, as Nigel does, or history, as I do, by relating our research back to the theme of ‘luxury,’ we can have dynamic conversations across disciplines,” Clark says.

Participants in the conference include anthropologists, historians, philosophers, media studies experts, fashion scholars, designers, businesspeople and others.

The field of critical luxury studies is a new one. In the past two years, a book by authors Joanne Roberts and John Armitage on the subject, Critical Luxury Studies: Art, Design, and Media was published and the Victorian and Albert Museum mounted an exhibit curated by Jana Scholze called “What is Luxury?”

Last May, the two Brock professors represented the University at a conference in New York, which connected them with other groups of scholars in this emerging field.

Much of the research in the critical luxury field is based in the United Kingdom, but the conference in Toronto this week is a way to bring the conversation to Canada and involve scholars from this country.

“Seeing the international interest in luxury as a field of study first-hand made us wonder what luxury looks like in Canada,” says Lezama. “We realized Canadian scholars and makers had a lot to say on this issue, and we wanted to bring them together, along with the international community of critical luxury scholars.”

The discussion won’t end when the conference is over, says Lezama, as they will be creating the Canadian Luxury Consortium, a group of scholars and industry players invested in continuing the conversation.

The four-day Nouveau Reach conference is organized by Clark and Lezama along with Alison Matthews David, Robert Ott and Dylan Kwacz from Ryerson University. Scholze, Roberts and Armitage will also be in attendance.

Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts MA student Hayley Rose Malouin​ has helped professors Clark and Lezama. Interdisciplinary Humanities PhD​ candidate Julia Polyck O’Neill will be presenting on “Vancouver’s Monuments and Counter-Monuments to Capital: The Public Artworks of Douglas Coupland and Ken Lum.”

The conference is sponsored in part by Brock’s Humanities Research Institute.

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French student Alex Finlayson wins prestigious national award

Alex Finlayson, a third year Brock student in French Studies and Concurrent Education, was recently awarded the very prestigious 2016-17 Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Endowment Fund for Study in a Second Official Language.

Given to only three students from across Canada each year, the award comprises a $7,000 bursary and letter of congratulations and is designed to support second or third year university students studying French or English as a second language.

Receiving the award is an enormous achievement. The rigorous application process includes an essay, documentation of community involvement, plan of study, nomination form, and reference letters. While the award is open to students from any discipline, each university can only put forward one candidate.

We asked Alex about her experience studying French.

What inspired you to study French?
I was offered the chance to join a mid-french immersion program in grade 4 and was very excited about the idea of being able to speak another language.  Nobody else in my family spoke french at the time, so I thought it would be neat to be the only one!

Studying a second language can be intimidating. In your experience, what are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of studying French?
I find that it can definitely be scary to speak French with people for the first time because it’s a little more challenging to improvise in French than in English.  However, it can also feel extremely rewarding to converse with someone in French, particularly when considering all the work that has been put into learning the language.

Has anything surprised you about studying French?
I took another language course in my first year at Brock (Italian) and was surprised at just how easily I was able to pick it up!  Although Italian comes with an entirely new vocabulary, the majority of grammar rules and verb conjugations are very similar to French, which really helped me with the learning process.

This is a prestigious award, with only three students in the country receiving it each year. What motivated you to apply for it?
It was suggested that I apply for this award based on my field of study.  As someone who loves both French and English, I was thrilled to discover such an applicable award.

Can you tell us how you plan to use the scholarship to further your studies?
At this point, the majority of the scholarship has gone towards my tuition at Brock; however, I have also set a portion aside to one day put towards a trip to France.

Finally, do you have any advice for students thinking of studying French at Brock?
I would just say that there are so many opportunities for French students at Brock so try to get involved with as many as possible!

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Visiting Research Chair Kevin White gives the first Marilyn Rose Lecture

The first annual Marilyn Rose Lecture Series was held on March 30 in Sankey Chamber. The lecture series, organized by the Department of English Language and Literature, the Centre for Canadian Studies, and the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation, will explore themes and ideas that reflect Rose’s interests.

This year’s lecture was live streamed on our Facebook page and can be viewed at http://www.facebook.com/pg/brockhumanities/videos.

A version of this article appeared March 28th in the Brock News.

Kevin White, Brock-Fulbright Research Chair in Transnational Studies, gave the inaugural Marilyn Rose Lecture with a talk titled “Crossing Borders and Boundaries: Real, Imagined, and Ancient.”

Marilyn Rose, the founding Dean of Brock’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and Professor of English, who passed away in 2015, was a beloved colleague to many people. Now her memory will live on through an annual lecture created in her honour.

“The lecture marks the beginning of a new venture, honouring Dr. Rose and all of her work by building a community around her various academic interests,” says event organizer Professor Gregory Betts.

The annual lecture will be run by the Centre for Canadian Studies, the Department of English, and the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation, with some collaboration with the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film. Themes will change each year but will reflect Rose’s own passions, which included detective fiction, national and literary iconography, modern and contemporary poetry and Canadian short fiction.

“These were her principal areas of interest,” says Betts. “This range affords us a great deal of freedom to cover an enormous range of topics, including creative writing.”

The event included a poetry reading by award-winning Nisga’a poet Jordan Abel, who is currently studying for a PhD at Simon Fraser University, where he focuses on digital humanities and Indigenous poetics. He has published three books and had his poetry published in numerous magazines and journals across Canada. His most recent collection of poetry, Injun, examines racism and the representation of indigenous people.

Kevin White, Brock-Fulbright Research Chair in Transnational Studies, gave a lecture titled “Crossing Borders and Boundaries: Real, Imagined, and Ancient.”

White’s paper explored questions and ways of thinking about borders and boundaries from the Haudenosaunee perspective.

“Sometimes these borders are geographic features that are mutually agreed upon spaces of existence. Other times these boundaries become lines on paper that are fraught with historical, political and cultural complexities and complications,” White says. “Then there are times where we frame these pathways as actually between worlds — such as with Haudenosaunee Creation.”

“It seems appropriate to start the series off with a talk on Iroquois cosmology narratives, as the foundational cultural form of the region,” says Betts.

Marilyn Rose was a popular professor in the Department of English and served as the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies from 2004 to 2012.  She was a distinguished educator, author and administrator.

“Marilyn was vital to the development of programs like Canadian Studies, as well the development of Graduate Studies at Brock,” says Professor Ann Howey, Chair of the Department of English. “She was a highly regarded teacher and a researcher with an amazing breadth of expertise.”

Rose’s contribution to the Brock community went well beyond academics.

“What was most impressive about Marilyn, though, was the ethics of care with which she approached everything: administration, teaching, research, participation in a community of scholars,” adds Howey.

“It made her an important mentor to many here at Brock, and she is still deeply missed.”

The late Professor Marilyn Rose is now honoured with an annual lecture series organized by the Department of English, Centre for Canadian Studies, and Centre for Pedagogical Innovation.

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Department of Music to add string orchestra

Brock University’s Department of Music will add a string orchestra to its ensemble bank this fall. Photo credit: Bethany Ditecco.

A new string orchestra coming this fall will help attract new students and community musicians to Brock University’s Department of Music.

For the first time in its 47-year history, the Department of Music will offer String Orchestra as part of its ensemble bank starting in September. The addition will make the Department’s programs more appealing to potential students, as it brings a much stronger string presence to its activities.

“We have been trying to attract quality string students to the Department, and our lack of in-house orchestra has definitely been a detriment,” says Department of Music Chair Karin Di Bella.

The string group will be added to the existing ensemble roster of the Brock University Choirs, and the Brock University Wind Ensemble.

The String Orchestra has been developed to serve two key needs: filling a need in the Department’s curriculum; and providing a place for community string players to share their talents.

“We have appreciated a partnership with the Niagara Symphony Youth Orchestra and the community-based Mercredi Musique in the past, but incoming students really want their ensemble experience to be housed at the University,” says Di Bella.

Based on the successful model of the Wind Ensemble, the String Orchestra will work as a partnership between the Department and the community, welcoming community members to the group to fill out the numbers needed for the ensemble to be viable.

Mercredi Musique is a key partner in the development of this new ensemble. Following the loss of their long-time music director Paul Van Dongen, the group ceased activity at the end of the 2015-16 season.

“We are enthusiastic in our support of this endeavour. It’s an ideal direction for both the community and the University,” says Chris Thorne, former concertmaster of Mercredi Musique.

Community string players are welcome to audition for the new Brock University String Orchestra. Auditions will be held this summer, with information posted on the Department website in the coming months. Auditions for an ensemble conductor will also be held. Any string specialists interested in applying for the conductor position should check Brock’s Human Resources listings, and let the Department know of their interest.

The String Orchestra will rehearse during the academic year from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays in Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

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Student Spotlight: Danielle Whitter, co-editor of “The General”

Danielle Whitter is fourth year Concurrent Education student, with a major in History (Honours). She is this year’s co-editor with Emily Byrne of The General, Brock’s Undergraduate Journal of History, which is run as a fourth year history course.

This is the second year of the journal, which will be celebrated with a launch party at the beginning of April. Danielle shares how working on The General has opened her eyes to the variety of employment opportunities that come with a history degree, as well as providing her with key skills for future work in academic publishing.

I often get asked by friends, family and strangers what it is that I am going to do with my history degree. If I weren’t pursuing my dream of being a teacher, I honestly don’t know how I would answer this.

Little did I realize that there are some really cool alternatives besides being a history teacher!

I discovered this last semester when I applied for the position of co-editor for The General – Brock’s Undergraduate Journal of History.

The General made its debut in April of 2016 and currently it is in its second year of production. Offered as a new fourth year course for the 2017 Winter term, The General showcases the academic achievements, particularly the written work and research, of humanities undergraduate students.

Lucky for me, I secured the position and I am now serving as co-editor!

Working with a team to produce and publish the journal seemed daunting at first. However, the experience has been tremendously rewarding on so many levels.

As a fourth year history student I have lost count of the number of journal articles I have had to read for classes. Working on the flip side has given me a new appreciation for scholars and has made me want to strive even more to achieve my best research and written work.

This experience has given me a taste of what it would be like to work in the academic editing and publishing field and has allowed me to gain necessary skills to work in academic editing and publishing.

As co-editor of The General, I have been able to get a glimpse of what it would be like to select papers to be included in the journal. We received a large volume of submissions so the process of picking the top ten was a little stressful. I also correspond with undergraduate authors to meet deadlines, I have edited research papers, worked to compose a layout, commissioned a cover artist, have had to work within a budget and so much more! I have been able to work alongside brilliant faculty members, which is a bonus!

The more I spend being part of the team that is producing such a cool collection of work, the more I consider pursuing a career in academic publishing (if teaching doesn’t pan out).

One thing that is really cool about The General is that it gives recognition to students for their academic work. As a history student I know the amount of time put into researching, writing, and editing a paper for a class.

Recognizing undergraduate students for their hard work is one of the many neat things about the publication The General. Students were encouraged to submit a previously written paper for one of their humanities classes, on any topic of his or her choosing, with a minimum grade of 80%.

In the beginning of April there will be a launch party for the second edition of The General! We want to celebrate the achievements of the students whose papers were chosen, as well as put the word out there of the future opportunities of getting undergraduate work published.

Please keep your eyes and ears open for information on the upcoming event!

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Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Pereira experiences the meaning of ‘ensemble’

This week’s entry is a throw-back to the excellent performance of Gormenghast by Brock drama students and faculty last fall at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre. The play tells the bizarre and twisted story of the dysfunctional House of Groan from the UK cult classic fantasy trilogy by Mervyn Peake. Directed by Professor Mike Griffin and designed by Professor David Vivian, the production gave undergraduate drama students the opportunity to showcase their talents.

Elizabeth Pereira, who played the role of The Countess, is a fourth year student doing a double major in Dramatic Arts and English. She is planning to go on to do her MA in English.

Emma McCormick, Rachelle Scott, Meryl Ochoa, Elizabeth Pereira, and Jazmine Jeffrey get to know the puppets. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Pereira)

From the very first day of workshops, Gormenghast was a show to be reckoned with. It was an accumulation of so many different theatrical styles and forms which was, personally, pretty intimidating.

Prior to this Mainstage, I had never worked intensively on a physical theatre piece, tried my hand (literally) at puppetry, or had the opportunity to perform a character so large and other-worldly.

As a fourth year, it is fairly easy to fall into the trap of selfishness – not in the “me-and-only-me” way, mind you, but in the “are-there-even-any-third-or-second-or-first-years-in-this-school” way. Right before the first day of workshops began, the cast had naturally separated into two groups and I remember recognizing a few of the students, but really having no idea what to expect from the ensemble as a whole.

We rehearsed three to four days a week, warmed up together, and spent hours with one another, but as many actors know these moments can break an ensemble as easily as they can make one.

After all the productions and classes I had been in, I believed I knew what “ensemble” meant in the theatre world when really I didn’t fully grasp it until I became a part of Gormenghast.

I was lucky enough to work very closely with the talented Chorus members and puppetry coach Kyla Read; we began playing from day one with our puppets by naming them and creating cat choreography. We never stopped playing.

It was also wonderful to work with and watch other cast members make discoveries about their characters as we experimented with Laban’s action movements. The exercises Mike Griffin integrated into every rehearsal pushed all of us to grow as individuals, actors, and a strong ensemble.

Oddly, but wonderfully, enough, the divide which is often silently maintained between cast and crew was non-existent. Everything and everyone clicked together. All of the individuals who worked on the show were equally valued and warmly included in the opportunity to be part of the world of Gormenghast.

This was, I think, the real power behind the show, and I know these experiences will be invaluable to my future ensemble work in theatre.

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