By Gillian Ellis, assistant publicist
It’s been a hectic month in Varner 207 as the academic and performance years drew to a close, even without Muriel there to keep them on track. We welcome Muriel back from medical leave and thank Amber Cooper for all she has done in helping keep the department up and running.
We offer our congratulations to Kathy Boersma, our Production Coordinator, who was the worthy recipient of a 2011 Administrative Professional Bonus Award. In his note to her, Dean Sudol wrote that the award “reflect[s] our very deep gratitude for the long hours you have invested in the smooth running of our facilities in music, theatre and dance. I am familiar with the challenges you face and highly impressed by the professional atmosphere surrounding our many public performances in Varner Hall and beyond.”
Assistant Professor Deborah Blair recently attended the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in New Orleans, along with 13,000 educators from all over the world, including Chelsea Otten, who has a BM in Music Education from OU and is enrolled in the department’s master’s in music education. Chelsea currently teaches elementary general music in South Lyon schools. Getting a paper accepted at the conference is a huge achievement; the competition is fierce, but Deb and Chelsea’s collaborative qualitative research presentation, “I'm Not that Teacher Anymore: A First Year Teacher's Narrative of ‘Then’ and ‘Now,’" was accepted.
Chelsea said that Dr. Blair's methods courses were always designed to promote reflective practice and encouraged peer discussions about developing teaching practices. "We were asked to keep journals, or even document peer-to-peer discourse. By the time I finished my degree, I had a large collection of journals, emails, teaching videos, and Moodle posts that seemed to provide a timeline of my progress as I learned how to develop my skills as a teacher. When I began my master's program at Oakland, Dr. Blair [and I] . . . decided to look back at my old journals and videos, and I was (once again) able to reflect about how my practices or thoughts about teaching have continued to develop over the past six years. We concluded that reflective practice has shaped (and continues to shape) the teacher that I have grown to be. The result of this research was a narrative paper." Read more about AERA: www.aera.net
One of Assistant Professor Melissa Hoag’s independent study students also presented at a conference recently. Megan Trewhella, a clarinetist studying Music Education who plans to study music theory at the graduate level, is the first undergraduate music major to present academic research at a national conference. Her paper, “Never to be Performed in Public: Beethoven’s Promissory Note in the ‘Quartetto Serioso’” was presented at the prestigious National Conference of Undergraduate Research in Ithaca, NY on March 31. Megan will also present the paper at the annual undergraduate research conference “Meeting of the Minds,” to be held this year on the OU Campus on May 13. Read more about the Meeting of the Minds Conference: http://www.oakland.edu/mom/
Faculty who have recently attended conferences include George Stoffan, Associate Professor of Clarinet, who performed in recital at the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors Conference, at the University of Florida School of Music, and Professor Jackie Wiggins, departmental chair, who was a keynote speaker at the International Conference for Research in Music Education (RIME) in Exeter, England. There she met up with her former PhD student Alex Ruthmann who is now teaching at the University of Massachusetts – Lowell and working on inventing music education software, among other things.
Theatre major Andrew Sandoval recently attended the premiere of the movie Appleville
at the DIA, along with 1200 people other people. Andrew reports it was, “incredible to say the least.” It was Andrew’s first premiere and he was the star of the show. Literally. He auditioned for a supporting character in the Michigan Creative Film Alliance (MCFA) production and was pleasantly shocked to be offered the lead. Andrew says, “I have been doing Theater for the past eight years and I have loved every second of it but when I was on camera, I truly felt at home. Working these scenes and having these intimate moments which on stage may have been lost . . . is an experience I will never forget. I saw the movie for the first time at the premiere and at first I was absolutely terrified, but after seeing the amazing actors I had the privilege of working with on screen, I sat back and enjoyed the experience with the rest of the audience.”
He adds, “Because of the Michigan Creative Film Alliance which put this movie together, I was able to jump start my career. I want to thank all my teachers at Oakland for everything they taught me because without them, I know I wouldn't have had the success I've had this year.” The MCFA is a joint venture of University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Wayne State. Andrew first heard of the opportunity through a friend who attends U of M. You can read more about MCFA: http://mi-cfa.com/
And speaking of premieres, Special Lecturer Leslie Littell recently heard from playwright, alumna, and MaTilDa winner Anetria Cole. Anetria’s play Bronzeville Gold
will receive its world premiere this June as part of the 4th Annual Juneteenth Urban Arts Festival at the Long Branch Higher Education Center in New Jersey. Bronzeville Gold
is set in 1933 Chicago. It’s a powerful African American family saga that revolves around a “gambling numbers wheel” and a young Mississippi newcomer as he, and the entire African American community, chase the ever-elusive American dream. You can see more details: http://www:.brookdalecc.edu/pages/4735.asp
In her note to Leslie Anitra writes, " I really want to thank you Oakland University Theatre Department for
everything you've done for me. You really supported my journey and I'll
never forget you guys. I think of you all often. Your classes were such a
blessing to me."
Keep that good news coming!
Photographs: Clockwise from the top left: Chelsea Otten, Megan Trewhella, Andrew Sandoval, Anetria Cole.