‘Emishi Graphic Arts and Design’ opens new canvas for senior artist Emily Shirley

By: Cynthia Springer
cespringer16@transy.edu

Armed with a paintbrush and a vision, Transylvania senior and accomplished artist, Emily Shirley, has her eyes set on the future.

Shirley is in the process of opening a business, “Emishi Graphic Arts and Design,” with the desire to sell her art and services to Lexington and surrounding areas.

Emily Shirley, a senior studio art major, sits beside two of her abstract paintings which she hopes to sell as part of her new business, “Emishi Graphic Arts and Design.”

Emily Shirley, a senior studio art major, sits beside two of her abstract paintings which she hopes to sell as part of her new business, “Emishi Graphic Arts and Design.”

“The idea to open the business has been on the mind for quite some time,” said Shirley. “What better way to support myself as a painter than selling my paintings? They start filling up the room very quickly.”

The idea of opening a business, especially at a young age, is, to some, bold, and to others, courageous.

Shirley expresses her concerns and hopes the business is successful and that “customers [will] want to buy the work.”

With a leap of faith after months of careful planning and researching, she is ready to launch the business. Shirley is on track and compiling her portfolio with many works.

“Emishi Graphic Arts and Design” will feature decorative contemporary pieces inspired by Shirley’s interest in abstracts and the expression of color and texture.

According to Shirley, the logo for the business, which features an aqua seahorse, resembles the playful yet eloquent influences found in her work. This nautical creature will find itself on business and gift cards, stickers and online web browsers supporting the company in selling her paintings and personal commissions.

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Festival featuers a capella

Kelsey DeBord

Staff Writer

Whether you’re a young male interested in learning more about a capella singing, or someone who enjoys listening to performances of this nature, the Kentucky Youth in Harmony Festival has something to offer you.

This event will be held on May 12 at Northeast Christian Church. For those interested in participating, the workshop will begin at 10 a.m. and last throughout the day. For those interested in seeing the results of the concert, it will begin at 5 p.m.

The entire event is sponsored by the Kentuckians Chorus in association with the Harmony Foundation and Barbershop Harmony Society, allowing attendees to attend the concert for free. The entertainment isn’t the only thing without a cost; registration for the workshop is free as well.

For those who wish to participate in the workshop, it will run as follows: Every participant will be given three songs and rehearse them throughout the day in preparation for the evening performance, which will feature other groups as well. Adam Scott, music specialist for the Barbershop Harmony Society, and the award-winning collegiate quartet “Instant Classic” will be directing the workshop. This will offer the participants a world-class musical experience with some great tips to learn. Lunch will be provided for participants.

The festival has some participants who are familiar faces to the Transylvania community. The organizer, Kris Olson, is a Transy alumnus.

“I decided to organize this event because of the profound effect that music, especially choral music, has had on my life.  It has made me a happier, more energetic, and creative person, so I want to do what I can to enhance the musical experiences of other young people.  And belonging to a group like the Kentuckians Chorus means having access to the resources needed for such a festival,” said Olson.

Olson had many influences when organizing the festival, such as other artists and styles of music.

“The repertoire is four-part men’s a cappella.  If anyone wants an idea of the style, I suggest going to YouTube and typing in ‘Westminster Chorus.’  As that Dos Equis spokesman might say, ‘I don’t always worship a god, but when I do, it’s the Westminster Chorus,’” Olson said.

Josh Motley, also a Transy alumnus, is involved in the event.

“When Kris brought up the idea of the YiH Festival, I was immediately on board. There’s nothing more important for the arts community than exposing youth to diverse forms and styles of music. Barbershop, which is the focus of the Youth in Harmony festival, is specifically adept at teaching the mechanics of singing as well as many music theory fundamentals. This should turn out to be a successful event, with a great purpose and an overall positive effect on the local–and state wide–singing community,” Motley said.

The evening concert is open to anyone who wishes to attend. For more information and to register for the event, visit http://kentuckians.groupanizer.com/page/youth-harmony-festival.

 

Why Borie reads books

As a graduating senior, this is my last column for The Rambler, not just for the 2011-2012 school year, but forever. It’s been a great two years at The Rambler, and I’ve read some amazing (and not-so-amazing) books. Instead of doing the traditional thing, I’d like to take this time (our last together) to talk about why I read, and why book reviews are important.

From the time I was little, books have been my primary form of entertainment. Some people are drawn to games, some to music, and some to film, but while I enjoy all of these, printed word has always been my go-to. Books teach us, from our earliest days, how to live. We can live the greatest adventures through the words of others, without even leaving our own rooms. We can get through our own turmoil through the connections we feel and the examples we see in the books we read. We aren’t alone on this earth as long as we can relate to another person, however fictional or removed from us that person may be.

Personally, I have long believed in a varied diet of the written word—all genres appeal to me, if not equally, at least a bit. I even indulge in books that I consider to have no literary merit whatsoever—I consider them junk food for the soul and, much like the regular kind of junk food, enjoyable in their own way regardless of nutritional content. I believe that exposure to characters builds character, and so I believe that one of the best things we can do to broaden our horizons, not just as intellectuals but as human beings, is to read.

With this in mind, you may see why I feel the urge to proselytize. Like anyone full of fervor for an idea, I want to spread it. Talking about books, whether I liked or didn’t like them, and why—this is not only incredibly enjoyable on a personal level, it also helps me to feel as though I am leaving a mark on others, helping in some small way the society in which I live to better understand itself and to find the beauty and joy in the small things as I hope, someday, to commit completely to doing.

Reading for pleasure doesn’t have to involve turning off your brain. I prefer not to, and I don’t see why anyone should. So, please, if you haven’t agreed with me on anything else I’ve said in my two year tenure here—read. While you do, think about what you’re reading. You’ll grow, and your life will be so much richer for it.

Ritchie’s senior recital success

Holly Brown

A&E Editor

Senior recitals are always a joyous – if bittersweet – occasion at Transylvania, and

Candidate for graduation Caleb Ritchie gave his senior recital last Sunday at 3 p.m. in Carrick Theatre.

I’ve seen quite a few of them while here. As enjoyable as those previous concerts have been, they were all topped last Sunday at 3 p.m. in Carrick Theater, when candidate for graduation Caleb Ritchie performed his final concert as a member of Transylvania’s campus.

You may remember seeing Ritchie in any number of campus ensembles, or recall that he won Transy’s Concerto-Aria competition in his sophomore year. Perhaps you live under a rock and only recognize his name from the Schroeder-esque fliers advertising his concert with catchy and incredibly relevant appeals like “Have you eaten granola in the last forty-eight days?” or “Are you interested in gender encoding in religious texts? Then come to Caleb Ritchie’s Senior Recital.” Regardless of where you’ve encountered him, you almost definitely recognize Ritchie as a colorful personality and prodigious musician, and this was evident nowhere as much as in his performance on Sunday.

The post-recital consensus seems to indicate that attendees were elated by their experience as much as non-attendees were sick over missing this opportunity.

“It was a good mix of genres. Never got boring, because each new piece was not only as spectacular as the previous one, but interestingly different, letting the recital as a whole feel dynamic instead of stifled. There was clear artistry in the planning as well as the playing,” candidate for graduation and fellow attendee Melinda Borie eloquently described.

On the flip side, candidate for graduation and non-attendee, Danny Woolums, laments missing the experience with an emphatic “I wish I had been there!”

Though engendered by such different experiences, both of these perspectives are quite valid. If you missed it, grieve your loss with wailing and gnashing of teeth. If you were present, rest easy knowing that you have probably enjoyed the best two hours of free entertainment ever.

The success of Ritchie’s recital came from factors even beyond pre-performance strategy and skilled musicianship: he performs just as well when speaking as when playing or singing. His jokes created a more casual atmosphere than I have seen at other recitals, and his useful analogies made the concert material accessible regardless of musical knowledge. I have never before heard so much laughter or seen such an engaged audience at a recital.

Regarding the repertoire, Ritchie began the concert with a couple of his own compositions. Having not looked over the program carefully, I first assumed his opening song, “Prelude in E Major”, was composed by one of the greats in the current musical cannon. Perhaps not yet, but we’ll see what happens in the next few decades. His second number, “Duet for Clarinet and Piano” featuring rising junior Diana Gooding, proved that he can write just as beautifully for multiple instruments. The following sonata movements by Beethoven and Scriabin were beautifully performed, and Ritchie’s explanation of his choice of movements and their emotional connections greatly enhanced the listening experience.

After intermission, the concert was relocated to Coleman Recital Hall, where the electronic portion of the concert – Ritchie is a double major in Piano and Music Technology – took place. This half of the concert primarily featured pre-recorded works, but was kept interesting with great explanations and stories, as well as video and slide shows.

For the encore, Ritchie played his own composition, “Let’s Not Say Goodbye”, after informing the audience that he had finished writing the lyrics a whole four hours before performing them. This piece addresses the difficulties of keeping in touch after graduation, and was clearly meant to be a tear jerker for his fellow senior classmates. I sat through it stoically at the time, but as it was stuck in my head all the next day, I’m beginning to wonder if its catchiness was intended to wear down those who refused to cry during its initial performance.

What’s left to say? This was a remarkable recital. If you missed it, be sad; not only was it a great experience, but it may have been your last chance to watch this amazing musician perform for free.

‘Magic’ modernizes Shakespeare

Tyler Turcotte

Staff Writer

Coming soon to a Little Theater near you is a reimagining of epic proportions. “Rough Magic”, by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed by candidate for graduation Heather Porter, takes characters from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and places them in modern day Manhattan. In this magical meta-universe the evil sorcerer Prospero seeks to recover his stolen book of magic at any cost.

Thankfully, New York is prepared with a cast of unlikely heroes. Led by Melanie Porter (rising senior Laura Campbell), a reluctant magician with the ability to free characters from plays, the heroes consist of Chet Baxter (rising junior Tony Del Grosso), a 17-year-old Coney Island lifeguard, Caliban (candidate for graduation Joseph Underwood), Prospero’s hunky but dim-witted son, and Tisiphone (candidate for graduation Julion Cowen), a vengeful Fury from Ancient Greece.

These are just a few of the characters that make up the wildly varied and extensive cast of the play. No doubt, this will be a lot to take in at once, for both the audience and the performers.

“Putting [“Rough Magic”] up on the stage has proven at times to be difficult, but we love artistic challenges,” said Campbell.

The challenging combination of Shakespearean drama with the style of modern action-packed blockbusters is guaranteed to create an enjoyable performance for all. But if the synopsis above sounds a bit too nerdy to your tastes, don’t let it drive you away.

“Admittedly, the play is nerdy. But I don’t think that aspect should deter people from attending. It also has elements of romance, horror, action, and satire. Really it has everything that a play could ever hope to have. It has something for everyone, no matter who you are,” said Campbell.

The idea of putting a play of this scale together in the three weeks of May Term might seem insane, but this is actually a very realistic expectation for a professional theater company.

“On the one hand, it is a lot more stressful, because we literally have three weeks to rehearse and get everything done, so it’s really high-stakes,” said Campbell. “But on the other hand, most of us aren’t doing anything else to distract us. We can rehearse for seven hours every day of the week because there are no other demands on our time, which is actually how it is usually done in the professional world, which is pretty cool. This really gives us a good idea of what it’s like to rehearse for summer stock or other professional theatre opportunities.”

So wake up, those who fainted from the mere idea of doing anything for seven hours a day in May Term, and mark May 17 through May 20 on your calendars to support your hard working friends and to see this glorious amalgamation of a play at 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the 17-19, and 2 to p.m. on the May 20 for only $10.

More unreviewed books from Borie: Part 2

Continuing my series of great books I couldn’t graduate without reviewing, I have a few more selections for your enjoyment.

“Fall on Your Knees” by Ann-Marie MacDonald was inducted into Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club in 2002. This novel is a complex family drama spanning four generations of the troubled Piper family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. James Piper falls in love with 13-year-old Materia Mahmoud and elopes with her despite her family’s disapproval. They have a string of daughters, the oldest of whom, vivacious and beautiful Kathleen, is an aspiring singer and her father’s favorite.

The story is couched in mystery, a nonlinear storyline and shifting points of view, keeping the facts obscured until the final act. Parts of the story are known only by Materia, some are revealed in Kathleen’s diary and still others are revealed years after the deaths of everyone else in the family by Lily, the youngest. Secrets, crimes and race relations are large themes in this novel, which is a tragic examination of human frailty.

“The Brontë Project” by Jennifer Vandever is a fun satire of academia, Hollywood and single culture. This book follows doctoral student Sara Frost as she searches for lost love letters of Charlotte Brontë and deals with the frustrations of daily life at her university after her fiancé leaves her.

Sara, a shy and reserved scholar, is often pitted against flamboyant Claire Vigee, who teaches Diana studies (the feminist study of the life of Princess Diana), and a series of film industry bigwigs who want to use her research to write a movie about Brontë. Humorous and over the top, this is not a perfect novel but it’s worth a read.

“White Oleander” by Janet Fitch is an engrossing and luminous novel. It begins with Astrid’s account of life with her mother, poet Ingrid Magnussen. When Astrid is 12, her mother becomes obsessed with her lover and later murders him. With her mother in prison, Astrid is sent to a series of foster homes where she grows up — at turns abused, neglected and abandoned — all the while trying to make peace with the way her mother treated her.

A deeply emotional novel, “White Oleander” has one of the most absorbing literary voices I’ve encountered in my time as a reader. It is not a book for the easily upset, since it contains many troubling elements that may be disturbing to some.

“One Day” by David Nicholls is a love story following friends Dexter and Emma through their lives. It uses the device of narrating only one day out of every year, July 15. The story line follows Dex and Em through their lives as they make romantic missteps and career choices. Now a film starring Anne Hathaway, this book takes readers on a truly fantastic journey. Be warned, however; any life story inevitably contains death, and the intimate nature of this novel ensures that it is an intense experience.

After a brief break for finals, The Rambler returns for its final issue in May term, where I’ll have my last column, a final list of great reads.

Bash boosts arts

Kelsey DeBord

Staff Writer

It’s time to paint up your bodies with neon colors and glitter, to wear as much lace as humanly possible, and to put on the highest pair of heels in your possession. It’s time for the Beaux Arts Ball.

Beaux Arts isn’t just a night full of fun, it’s also for charity. This year, all of the proceeds from the ball will benefit Latitude Artist Community, LexArts, Chrysalis House and AIDS Volunteers Inc. (AVOL).

The organizations that will benefit from Beaux Arts present an array of worthy causes. Latitude Artist Community provides individuals who have any form of disability with the opportunity to make cultural, economic and political contributions through art and advocacy. LexArts promotes local cultural development. The Chrysalis House is a nonprofit agency that provides substance abuse treatment for women and their children. And AVOL collaborates with communities to address the AIDS epidemic.

The tickets are $25 ($30 at the door), and can be purchased at several locations, including POPS Resale, CD Central, Oneness Premium and then Pence Hall on the University of Kentucky’s campus. Tickets can also be ordered online by visiting http://beaux-arts-ball.org.

The ball will be held April 14 at Pepper Warehouse, located at 1200 Manchester St. Doors will open at 8 p.m. and the ball will last from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. You must be 18 or older to attend this event, and identification will be required. The shuttle service is $2, which, as the event’s website notes, is a pretty great alternative to drinking and driving. If guests choose, however, to take their own vehicle, parking will cost $10.

The event will feature artists including Spank Rock, Ana Sia, Corduroy Mavericks, Diminutive Remix and many others. The lineup is subject to change but promises to be entertaining all the same.

Tickets are going fast, so those interested should purchase one soon. In 2008, the Beaux Arts Foundation donated $23,000 dollars to student scholarships, the Hospital Hospitality House and the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program.

Since then donations have exceeded $118,000 total, supporting Lexington organizations such as the Lexington Community Action Council, Moveable Feast, the Children’s Advocacy Center, the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana and the Lexington Children’s Theater.

The Beaux Arts Ball is the largest student-run nonprofit organization in Kentucky, and it is enthusiastically supported by the local student population, including members of Transy’s campus.

“It’s almost impossible to put into words the amount of fun you have there,” said senior Cat Cummins.

“It’s really the greatest party in Lexington. Social inhibitions disappear even without the help of alcohol. We find pride in skin. We find pride in our identities. Everyone, in their own way, becomes themselves,” said alumnus Matt Bradley ’11. “And so we gather, unabashed by appearance, and celebrate the livelihood of man and woman, celebrating the fact that we’re alive, and then go home ecstatic for the next Beaux Arts Ball. It’s an experience quite separate from anything else out there.”

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