Review of TCNJ Art Gallery’s Featured Exhibition: Video Cubano, by Scott Samuels

Please welcome Scott Samuels, a junior studying Art Education and Spanish, to the TCNJ School of the Arts & Communication blog! Scott reviewed the TCNJ Art Gallery’s featured exhibition, Video Cubano, which is on display now through December 15, 2013. See what Scott’s reactions were, and be sure to check out this free exhibition for yourself before the end of the semester!

Scott Samuels

Scott Samuels, Junior, Art Education and Spanish

Scott Samuels is a junior studying Art Education and Spanish.  His hobbies include painting, playing drums, tennis, and creative writing, and he is currently coaching the speech and debate team at Bridgewater-Raritan High School.

 Video Cubano:
What: Video Cubano, a collection of 22 videos from 18 Cuban artists
When: October 23 – December 15, 2013 (Gallery hours: Tues, Wed, & Thurs 12pm-7pm, Sun 1pm-3pm)
Where: TCNJ Art Gallery, AIMM Building, First Floor, Space 115
www.tcnj.edu/artgallery

Hamlet Lavastida (b. 1983), Reflexión, 2009. DVD 3:05, courtesy the artist and The 8th Floor.

Hamlet Lavastida (b. 1983), Reflexión, 2009. DVD 3:05, courtesy the artist and The 8th Floor.

The current exhibit in The College of New Jersey’s Art Gallery features videos by artists from our island neighbor to the south.  The goal of the show is to let Cuban art permeate the sometimes impenetrable wall that exists between Cuba and the United States, giving us a glimpse at life within the socialist state, and providing Cuban visionaries the opportunity to share their stories.

The exhibition’s official pamphlet contains a brief interview with one of the artists, Geandy Pavón, which sheds light on the power of art and anti-government sentiment in Cuba.  Pavón recalls that on the opening night of his first exhibition in 1988, a multitude of people showed up, including many who had no particular interest in art, simply because they had heard that the works “portrayed Castro and some of the issues that were taboo in the country at the time.”  But before the doors could open, the state authorities intervened, prohibiting the controversial works from being shown.  In response, the artists extricated their pieces and displayed them in a well-lit storefront, an act which became “a public catharsis” for scores of frustrated Cuban citizens who could not freely and openly express their political views.

Geandy Pavón’s contribution to Video Cubano is a piece called “Timing Revolutions,” in which we see a pair of hands folding a photograph of a fatally wounded Ché Guevara into an origami elephant, perhaps signifying a Hinduism-inspired reincarnation of ideals.  Sandra Ramos gives us a heart-pounding relay race, or “Carrera de Relevo” in which hand-drawn, cartoony figures pass a green baton inside a cavernous stadium filled with roaring fans.  The baton starts off in the hands of a Renaissance prince, who runs it to Uncle Sam, who passes it to Hitler, then to Lenin, and then to Fidel Castro, who, being shot by an unseen bullet, collapses and tosses the baton precariously to a young girl dressed in pink.  Ramos’s animation suggests the notion that, after an age of shifting political ideologies, the power of the idea is finally in the hands of the people.

Jeosviel Abstengo-Chaviano’s “Prendas Corpus” is a series of clips where various individuals (whose faces are off-screen) strap slabs of raw meat onto different parts of their bodies, trying to assimilate the extra flesh in order to smuggle it to their destination.  “Concierto” by Analía Amaya is a beautiful rendition of nighttime scenes in Cuban neighborhoods, in which the vistas are built piece-by-piece to a moving classical score reminiscent of the climax of a dramatic film.  And Alexandre Arrechea’s “Making Room” features a split screen: on the right a wrecking ball demolishes a historical building in black and white, while simultaneously on the left, a dark-skinned man dons multiple pairs of pants in an ambience of electronic trance music.

One of the more powerful videos is “La Ronda” by Adonis Flores, in which a Cuban soldier dressed in camouflage prowls the streets of an affluent city on all fours, wearing five-fingered black rubber boots on his hands to match the conventional boots on his feet.  Onlookers cautiously move out of the way as he struggles by, some staring with curiosity and others aghast.  A symbolically loaded piece comes from Amilkar Feria Flores, whose work “Tengo una idea” shows a hand lighting a match against a black background.  The match then ignites a row of tiny human figures standing arm in arm, whose heads are themselves made of matches which promptly burst into flames, signifying the incendiary spread of ideas and the potentially destructive aftermath.

“Invencible” by Ricardo Miguel Hernandez is a frantic scene of shaky handycam footage showing a man darting behind barricades, tossing Molotov cocktails at an unseen enemy.  We are immersed in the din of explosions, helicopters, gunfire, and sirens, yet when the character finally gazes out from behind a rusty barrel, we see that there is no assault, just an empty field in front of him.  Finally, “Diglosia” by Ernesto Leal is a compilation of words filmed from different billboards, signs, and advertisements, which form the sentences of a political discourse.  The words come from different public places throughout Cuba; some seem old and withered, some are new, some zoom in or out, others are out of focus.  At the outset of the video, Leal provides a definition of the term “diglosia,” which represents the divergence of the two forms of a language, one written and one spoken.  When we interpret this definition in the context of the piece, we realize that a duality is set up between the language of pro-government propaganda, and the actual conversations that take place in Cuban homes regarding the country’s social and political situation.  One of the (translated) phrases reads, “Today’s Cuban no longer believes in the happy utopia of a supreme and immortal socialism.”  We see that a widening disparity exists between the communist party’s constructed public image and the living opinions floating in the minds of the Cuban people.

The works of Video Cubano are the vehicles of dissemination for a generation of artists acting as the leaders of a new ideological movement.  Through their images and sound, these artists aim to illuminate diverse perspectives, influence the world’s perception of Cuban society, and fight for the right of the Cuban people to be global citizens.

Video Cubano Opening

Opening reception of Video Cubano, a collection of 22 videos from 18 Cuban artists

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Blogging the Brown Bag Series: Round Two by Katharine Callahan

Katharine Callahan, freshman Communication Studies major, reports on the variety of this semester’s Brown Bag Series. Find out more about these special guest presentations, and be sure to catch the last two of the semester in the Mayo Concert Hall, Friday, Nov. 15 and 22, 11:30am to 12:20pm! Bring your lunch and relax!

Dr. Lucas Blair, Little Bird Games

Dr. Lucas Blair, Little Bird Games

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the brown bag on October eleventh, Little Bird Games, which was presented by Dr. Lucas Blair, as I had a schedule conflict with an event I had to attend. However, if you would like to learn more about Dr. Blair’s company, Little Bird Games, which specializes in making educational and therapeutic video, board, and card games, I have attached a link to the company’s website here.

Jeffry Cudlin, Imposters, Interlocutors, and Dilettantes

Jeffry Cudlin, “Imposters, Interlocutors, and Dilettantes”

Finishing up the Brown Bags for the month of October was Jeffry Cudlin with his presentation entitled, Imposters, Interlocutors, and Dilettantes.  Mr. Cudlin is an art curator, art critic, and artist himself. He has written art critiques for the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, and Sculpture Magazine, and worked previously as a curator for the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia. Mr. Cudlin is the first artist we have had present at TCNJ’s Brown Bag Series, and you can view his artwork and read about his process on his website. Mr. Cudlin’s work as an artist relies heavily on collaboration from other trusted artists, and generally takes the form of a parody that takes an awkward turn; especially in his works such as “The Request.”

TCNJ Wind Ensemble performing Dr. Stephen Gorbos's "Bounce"

TCNJ Wind Ensemble performing Dr. Stephen Gorbos’s “Bounce”

Another significant work discussed during TCNJ’s Brown Bag Series was Dr. Stephen Gorbos’s “Bounce,” a traditional string-instrumental piece selected by two separate New York City orchestras to be preformed. In his presentation entitled Inside a Composer’s Studio: The Process of Revising a Piece, Dr. Gorbos explains that a traditional string ensemble has a homogeneous sound, while wind ensembles have a heterogeneous sound; for that reason, Dr. Gorbos decided to adapt his work to be played by a wind ensemble. Dr. Gorbos stated that wind ensembles are “a newly emerging orchestral style,” and he transformed his work with the help of TCNJ’s very own Professor David Vickerman. Professor Vickerman led the TCNJ Wind Ensemble in performing excerpts of Gorbos’s wind ensemble-adapted piece “Bounce” while Gorbos outlined the reconstructive process of adapting a string ensemble to a wind ensemble. The entire piece was performed later that night by the TCNJ Wind Ensemble for an audience in the Kendall Main Stage Theatre.

Geandy Pavón, Flying Che, oil on canvas

Geandy Pavón, Flying Che, oil on canvas

The next Brown Bag presentation was given by Geandy Pavón, and was entitled, Vanitas: The Political Still Life.  Pavón was born on the eastern half of the island of Cuba, and began his work as an artist very early in life. After he and his art troupe were expelled from every art university on the island, they took their controversial work to the streets of Cuba. When Pavón came to the United States, it was because Amnesty International granted him a visa on account of his artwork. Pavón focused mainly on his hyper-realistic oil on canvas paintings in his collection called “Wrinkled,” in which Pavón uses the symbolism of his art as a political statement. His collection “Vanitas” is reminiscent of the vanitas style artwork of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that uses skulls to symbolize the shortness of life.

Next week’s Brown Bag on Friday, November 15, This Trenton Life: Screening and Discussion, will be given by Dr. Susan Ryan, TCNJ Associate Professor of Communication Studies who collaborated with TCNJ students on this short documentary. The final Brown Bag on Friday, November 22, Constructing the Past and Shaping the Present in Appalachia Through Dance, will be presented by professors of dance from Radford Univeristy. For more information, please visit www.tcnj.edu/bbs.

Improv(ing) Your Life by Shannon McGovern, Junior Music Education Major

We’d like to welcome new student blogger Shannon McGovern, a junior Music Education major with a Vocal Concentration. In her first blog post below, Shannon explains the LARCH rule and how it’s been “impov(ing)” her improvisation skills, and how you can use it to improve your daily life, too!

Shannon McGovern, Junior Music Education Major, Vocal Concentration

Shannon McGovern, Junior Music Education Major, Vocal Concentration

Hello everyone, and welcome to my first blog post for the School of the Arts & Communication blog! Glad you could make it. My name is Shannon McGovern, and I am a junior Music Education major with a Vocal concentration. I am currently involved with the TCNJ Chorale, All College Theatre, The Mixed Signals Improv troupe, and Alpha Psi Omega. In my spare time I enjoy yoga, riding my bike, photography, and peanut butter.

I feel obligated to excel in many areas, which seems to be a commonality amongst most people. But in trying to “have it all” I usually end up hurting myself the most. Why is it that I am willing to sacrifice my own happiness and well-being for things that I am less than passionate about? I’ve been asking myself this question more and more, and the only answer I come to is that I shouldn’t be. So this semester, I’ve been trying to change the way I approach day-to-day life so that I can be successful without derailing my sanity.

I am a member of the Mixed Signals Improv Comedy Troupe on campus. We practice twice a week and have shows once every month (you should definitely check out our November 2nd show!). My Dad is always very interested in how we “just know what to do,” and the truth is, we practice playing games a lot. It’s never the same scene, but you use “rules” in every game to help guide you to create a strong scene. One of the rules is called LARCH and it stands for “Location, Action, Relationship, Character, and History.”

While these terms are applied a little differently in improv, I find the terms can also be applied for success in everyday life as well.

Location : Place yourself in an environment where you can succeed.  I am incapable of doing my homework around people I am friends with. I have tried many times, and have handed in incomplete or poorly done work because of it. So now, I go to the library by myself or work in my room with the door shut. And that’s okay. Finding/creating a place where you can excel is important.

Action : Work for yourself. When deciding what new projects I want to take on, I now reevaluate whether or not it is for something I like/care about/am interested in/will help me to grow. If the answer to those questions is no, I won’t do it. A low value (Value = Perceived Benefits / Cost) may not be worth it to my overall well-being. When you start looking out for your own interests, you become your own best advocate.

Relationship : Find people. Preferably ones who will support you, and laugh with you, and will share their experiences with you. TCNJ is full of exceptional humans who are high achievers in all different areas — don’t neglect them just because you’re involved with different activities. Friends can come from anywhere, so never forget to keep looking.

Character : Discover what you care about. Once you determine what is important to you as an individual, it is much easier to do everything else. Without a strong character in improv, it is much harder to make choices in your scene. The same goes for life. If you have strong ideas or passions, knowing what you need to do next is already laid out.

History : Learn from your past mistakes. The most cliché of all, but the most true. Knowledge comes from mistakes, and success can come from knowledge (and some luck). College is a great place to make mistakes — we are in a safe environment where everyone around us wants us to succeed. People will be there to dust you off and set you on the right path. Don’t be afraid to mess-up, so long as you’re willing to try and fix it.

The ideas behind LARCH are helping to keep me focused and well-aligned this semester, and I’m very grateful for it. The concepts are basic, but the constant repetition and reminders are keeping me sane, steady, and mostly stress-free.

If you often feel overworked/overwhelmed, I’d suggest trying to apply LARCH to your own life. But if you only jive with one of the LARCH ideas, run with-it and ignore the others. One of the greatest “rules” in improv is that the “rules” are meant to be broken, so don’t be afraid to change things up when you need to. What else is keeping you balanced?

If you have any questions about Improv Comedy, The Mixed Signals, or being busy, feel free to email me at mcgoves1@tcnj.edu.

Blogging the Brown Bag Series: Round One by Katharine Callahan, Freshman Communication Studies Major

Please welcome one of our new student bloggers for the TCNJ School of the Arts & Communication blog, Katharine Callahan! She’s been busy attending the Brown Bag Series lectures and presentations. Read what Katharine has to say about the first four Fall 2013 Brown Bags!

My name is Katharine Callahan, I am a freshman this year at TCNJ, and am majoring in Communication Studies. My track is public and mass communications, with a minor in International Studies and Marketing. I work in Ewing and Trenton during the week between classes, and come spring semester hopefully I won’t have to work at so I can join some of the clubs on campus!

The presenters this fall semester for TCNJ’s Brown Bag Series are not just TCNJ Alumni who landed a job early after graduating, semi-professionals who got a lucky break in their endeavors, or unenthusiastic individuals repeating monotone lines they have used a dozen different times in presentations just like this. No, the Brown Bags thus far have only showed hard working individuals, regardless of if they are TCNJ alumni or not, who have worked and struggled to achieve the success they have today, and continue to work and struggle because of their enthusiasm for the arts.

Cheese Sandwich Days

Christy Ney, Asst. Stage Manager, “Wicked”

Christy Ney, TCNJ Alumni and Assistant Stage Manager of the Broadway Musical Wicked, presented the first Brown Bag, “A Life in the Wings,” and introduced the concept of “Cheese Sandwich Days,” days when you can’t afford to pay for your rent, your bills, or for your groceries, so you resort to eating bread and cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Christy was a communication studies major at TCNJ with a minor in theater (which is no longer offered at TCNJ), she opted to study the television and film production track during her time here, and was an active part of TCNJ’s Theater club and the TSC (Trenton State College) Update, which you might know now as Lions TV. Besides keeping up with school and extracurriculars her senior year, Christy also had an externship (essentially job shadowing at a company or corporation) in NYC working for Disney Theatrical on their Broadway production of The Lion King, which led to her receiving a job on the production of the play only ten days after graduation.

Christy worked with The Lion King for four years before she decided to leave and began working with Wicked; a dream job that she landed because of both her experience and connections in the field. Christy stressed that networking is not only essential to her job as Asst. Stage Manager, where she is the center point of communication during the show during every performance, but also to the field of communications. She has started her own company called “Broadway Basics” to teach upcoming individuals the fundamentals of working and networking on Broadway. “Learn as many names as you can,” Christy says, “because you never know when knowing a name will come in handy.”

Dean John Laughton, Joan Myers Brown, Risa Kaplowitz, and Karen Calloway-Williams

Dean John Laughton, Ms. Joan Myers Brown, Ms. Risa Gary Kaplowitz, and Ms. Karen Calloway Williams

One name worth knowing in the arts field is Joan Meyers Brown, founder and Executive Artistic Director of PHILANDANCO, the world-renowned Philadelphia based African American dance company. Ms. Brown, Karen Calloway Williams, who was the first African American tap dancer to appear in Riverdance, Risa Gary Kaplowitz, a predominant figure in the ballet world, and our very own Dean of the School of the Arts and Communication, Dr. John Laughton, were all a part of TCNJ’s second Brown Bag event, “By Way of the Funk.” The premise of their conversation was of the bias many African Americans face in the world of dance, especially ballet. Ms. Brown told of how when she was growing up, during segregation in the 1960s, she was the only African American girl in her ballet class, and how difficult it was to become a professional in her field because of her race. This is why, in 1970, she founded the Philadelphia Dance Company known as PHILANDANCO, a dance company that tries to equalize the representation African Americans have in the dance community. Karen Williams explained the prejudices she faced, and still continues to face, in her successful career as a tap dancer. Risa Kaplowitz, who herself is not African American, explained the lack of African American dancers she sees in professional ballet, noting that Misty Copeland is one of very, very few African Americans to “make it” in ballet. The conclusion of their lecture examined segregation in the past to bias in dance now, with Dean Laughton referencing a conversation he once had with Rosa Parks, and the audience applauding Ms. Brown’s winning of the National Medal of the Arts from the President in 2012.

Filmmaker Luis Salas, Dr. Susan Ryan, and Professor Lorna Johnson-Frizell

Filmmaker Luis Salas, Dr. Susan Ryan, and Professor Lorna Johnson-Frizell

Luis Salas, a 2002 alumni of TCNJ, spoke of his latest work, a  “mockumentary” entitled Dead Man Working, about the dead rising as a cheap workforce that results in a loss of jobs for the living. Salas says that the inspiration for his work came from the zombie pop culture craze in 2008 along with the year’s economic downfall in the United States. Prior to Dead Man Working, Salas had worked on documentaries such as 2006’s Far From the Island, which focused on Cuban Immigrants to the United States. Salas says that he got his start in film by doing a lot of unpaid work, and at one point helped to film in the adult film industry, where Salas says many filmmakers begin their work but try to hide it because they do not want to be known for that kind of work. However, Salas leaves us with the understanding that where you begin your work does not define your future work, and states that getting your foot in the door is the most important factor in beginning a career in film.

Dr. Benjamin Gross gave the fourth Brown Bag lecture, and went in to detail about David Sarnoff, the founder of NBC and main proponent of RCA Laboratories’ success as the “center of America’s consumer electronic industry.” Sarnoff only attended school until eighth grade, when he then moved to the United States and worked full-time to help support his family. RCA Labs, located in Princeton, was created in 1919, and it is because of RCA labs that we today have such inventions as the color television, liquid crystal displays, and semiconductor devices. However, none of this would have been possible without David Sarnoff, who believed in investing immensely in the lab’s research development department. Dr. Gross ended his lecture with a quote from Sarnoff that describes the pursuit of knowledge many TCNJ students embody, “There is no security in standing still. Those who rest on the rock of stabilization sooner or later find that that rock becomes their tombstone. There is no security for the future in the mere knowledge of today. There is hope and opportunity in what we can learn tomorrow.”

TCNJ Sarnoff Collection, Roscoe West Hall, 2nd Floor

TCNJ Sarnoff Collection, Roscoe West Hall, 2nd Floor

Big Moves for the TCNJ Wind Ensemble by Andrew Unger

Senior Music major and TCNJ Wind Ensemble member Andrew Unger is back with his first blog post of the Fall 2013 semester. Check out the major performances that TCNJ student musicians have coming up for this academic year!

Andrew Unger

Andrew Unger, Senior Music Major

Someone attending a performance for the first time may not realize it, but the TCNJ Wind Ensemble is a diverse bunch. It’s like a musical flowerbed. Some, like music education majors and other music majors are well-represented, while singular students from various non-music departments provide valuable accents to the whole.

This year, senior music majors make up the majority; as many as 20 of us could be graduating this May. I’m one of them, and I think I can speak for us all when I say that we have done great things together as a class. These things include performances all over the tri-state area, premieres of pieces by notable composers, recording sessions, collaborations with professional performing groups, and many other exciting engagements and opportunities. We’ve come a long way.

Late this summer, we received even more exciting news. The TCNJ Wind Ensemble was accepted to perform in the March 2014 College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Eastern Division Conference in Boston! Along with musicians from other high-level music schools like the New England Conservatory, we will be performing for conductors, bandleaders, educators, and high-profile musicians and musical personalities from all over the country. This will give us a chance to distinguish ourselves and our amazing faculty in ways that we have not been able to in years.

The French horn studio also received a piece of sensational news this summer. We, along with our incomparable teacher, Kathy Mehrtens, were invited to play as a horn ensemble at the Northeast Horn Workshop in March 2014. We will be traveling to Rowan University to show the horn world what we can do, and for that we’re as proud as we are grateful.

By this time next year our red dot on the map of America’s music schools will shine even brighter as more and more people learn about the awesome things we’ve done, and the trail we plan to blaze in the future. I have been confident in my class and my school since I first set foot in the music building, and these events will provide further validation of the tremendous value this school has for New Jersey’s musical community.

For more information on the CBDNA Eastern Division Conference and the Eastern Horn Workshop, you can check out these sites, respectively:

http://www.cbdna.org/cgi-bin/div_conf.pl?ea

http://www.hornsociety.org/dp-calendar/43

Stephanie Schoppe Returns from South Africa!

Stephanie Schoppe, a fifth-year senior majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Music, recently returned from her summer study abroad internship at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. We are glad to welcome Stephanie back to TCNJ! Read all about Stephanie’s experiences–from bungee jumping to visiting South African schools to getting up-close with elephants–in her first blog post of the fall 2013 semester!

“It was after I went to South Africa that I became what I am now.” – Gandhi

Hi there, everyone! Welcome back! Or welcome, if you’re new here! For those of you that are new to TCNJ, or if this is your first time reading the TCNJ School of the Arts and Communication blog, let me introduce myself. I’m Steph, and I’m a fifth-year senior (sometimes affectionately nicknamed “super senior”) Communication Studies major and Music minor. This is my second year writing for this blog and I’m so excited about this post especially.

TCNJ South Africa Crew at Sani Pass in the Drakensberg Mountains

TCNJ South Africa Crew at Sani Pass in the Drakensberg Mountains

In a post I did last semester I talked about being accepted for an internship in South Africa, and how I didn’t think I’d be able to do something like that with the struggles I’ve had academically in my earlier years here. Well this past month I did go to South Africa! I and eight other students, along with Communication Studies professor Dr. John Pollock, spent three weeks in Durban, South Africa. We were there to learn about the idea of “entertainment education” and how it can be used to educate people in South Africa about HIV/AIDS.  We watched various TV shows and commercials that have been very successful in persuading people to make healthy lifestyle choices (I highly recommend checking them out – one was a soap opera called Intersexions and another was an ad campaign called Scrutinize). We also got the opportunity to speak to some of the leading professors in the health communication field at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), as well as interact with Communication Studies students at the university.

Rachel (back) and Jabulani (front). Jabulani means "rejoice" in Zulu. We got to touch and feed them!

Rachel (back) and Jabulani (front). Jabulani means “rejoice” in Zulu. We got to touch and feed them!

But it wasn’t all just research and learning! We got to do some awesome and fun stuff, too! Some of us bungee jumped off of Moses Mabhida Stadium (where the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup was held), took surfing lessons, went shark diving, and rode the longest zip line in South Africa. One of the highlights of our trip was spending two nights at Bayete Zulu, a resort on the Hluhluwe (that’s pronounced shoo-shlew-eh) game reserve, where we went on four safaris and saw lions, rhinos, giraffes, warthogs, and so many more amazing and wild animals. While also at Hluhluwe, we got to touch and feed not one, but three elephants!

TCNJ South Africa Crew with students from Ekwazini Secondary School

TCNJ South Africa Crew with students from Ekwazini Secondary School

While Hluhluwe was indeed a highlight of the trip, the one moment that we realized “this is why we’re here and this is why we do what we do” came during the last week of the trip when we visited two secondary schools in Durban. We visited these schools with DramAIDe, an organization that uses the arts to educate youth about issues such as HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence. The first school we went to, Ekwazini Secondary School, will probably be a day I won’t ever forget. To see a room of 8th and 9th graders speak so knowledgeably about what to do when facing gender-based violence at school and at home, to see their faces light up and to hear how grateful they were that we visited them, to not be able to leave the room because they all wanted to hug us and take pictures with us – I wish there was a stronger word for “inspiring”.

Going to South Africa was truly an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. It’s one that I’ll remember forever, because it’ll be really hard to forget since on our last day there I got a tattoo on my arm and I’m pretty sure those are permanent. And if you liked what you heard, if you want to experience something like this, you can! The trip will be happening again in summer 2014. Keep your eyes peeled for info from the Center for Global Engagement or from the Department of Communication Studies! There will be a study abroad fair on Wednesday, September 11th from 11:00am-2:00pm on Alumni Grove (between Eickhoff Hall and the Library) and we’ll be there! Until then, enjoy some photos from my trip and be jealous. And again, welcome back and good luck this year!

View of Durban, South Africa from the beach

View of Durban, South Africa from the beach

End of Year Wrap Up by Andrew Unger

Music major Andrew Unger reflects back on the Spring 2013 semester’s music performances and concerts in his end of the year wrap up. Thank you for following the TCNJ School of the Arts & Communication blog! Congratulations to all graduating seniors and we hope you all have a great and safe summer break! More student blog posts to come this Fall 2013!

What an exhausting, valuable, and fun academic year it’s been. I’m writing this blog post on the morning after performing with the TCNJ Wind Ensemble under Dr. David Vickerman in Shadows, a concert which marks the culmination of a year of very diverse and engaging concerts showcased by the Music Department. With only one concert left – Just Because! by the TCNJ Choirs – the entire student body can look back on a year of which it can be quite proud.

The TCNJ orchestra, choirs, and bands have all worked tirelessly to enrich the campus community with music in whatever way they can. To be a part of this process has been extremely fulfilling, and I’m already looking forward to two more seasons of incredible concerts.

During the tumult of finals week and the conclusion of classes, it’s just as important to look back on these wonderful experiences as it is to study for said finals. As a student of the fine arts, end-of-semester performances are a channel for months of hard work to be converted into something extremely positive, and for that I am grateful. Thank you to the students and faculty of the music department for an awesome year, and I’m anticipating another great one very soon. After all, September is not so far away.