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.

SGA treasurer election: Round Three

Holly Brown

A&E Editor

Although students have voted twice already to decide next year’s Student Government Association treasurer, the winner is still unknown.

In last week’s runoff election, there was a perfect tie between sophomores Jordan Perkins and Ashley Carter for this position.

This comes after junior Wes Becker was eliminated from the running in the first round of voting, leaving neither Carter nor Perkins with a majority.

Because of the rarity of such an event, senior Josh Edge, the current SGA president, had to dig through the SGA bylaws to figure out how to handle the situation.

“It certainly is not something that happens typically,” said Edge.

According to the bylaws, the election must be opened up to new candidates, but only those who are already members of SGA. All eligible students must turn their petition to run into Edge by this Friday.

After new candidates have had a chance to enter the race, a third election will be held. This voting, according to Edge, will occur at some point during finals week. Students eligible to vote can keep an eye on their inboxes, where a survey link will be sent.

Grace Notes goes solo

Holly Brown

A&E Editor

A year after forming, Transylvania University’s women’s a cappella group, Grace Notes, will host its first solo concert at 8 p.m. April 30 in the Campus Center gym.

“The repertoire is mostly pop (and) jazz, and we’re super excited to finally have our own concert,” said sophomore Ashley Keating, the group’s founder.

“I honestly expect that it is going to be great! We’ve been putting so much work into this music, and I really feel like we have a great sound,” said first-year Rebecca Keith.

The group has been planning the concert since the beginning of the term, and its members seem to have found that such efforts have enhanced their musical efforts.

“It’s been really good for us to have a goal to work toward; it’s helped us make a lot of progress this semester,” said senior Jessie McIntyre.

“I would definitely say that having a show has influenced our workload this semester — and I’m so happy about it. This is all about challenging ourselves so we can really shine and showing people that yes, we can do this!” said Keith.

The group also hopes that a solo concert will add to its image within the campus community.

“The group is still evolving as far as trying to develop an image on campus. When people hear a cappella, they think TBA (Transy Boys a Cappella). We hope to make the group more memorable with this concert,” said senior Robin Kunkel.

Another way the group plans to prepare is by performing at a Lexington Legends game April 17.

“I expect the show will be a great opportunity to get feedback from the audience, since we’ll be performing a range of styles,” said Kunkel.

While Keating didn’t want to give away the entire concert repertoire, she mentioned that the group will be performing “1,000 Miles,” “The Way I Am” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Besides Keating, Keith, Kunkel and McIntyre, current Grace Notes members include juniors Molly Crain and Katelyn Shouse; sophomores Macy Gould, Meghan Johnson, Sarah Tatum and Emma Yetter; and first-years Rachel Boden and Kelsey DeBord.

While the concert will primarily feature Grace Notes, some guest acts are expected. These include TBA, sophomore Ryan Anderson, first-year Luke Gnadinger and, tentatively, the Divastators.

“It’s going to be fun and relaxed, not like a typical show,” said McIntyre.

What should the audience look forward to?

“Popcorn and music,” said Keith. “For free. I mean, really, what’s not to love?”

New SGA executives take office

Holly Brown

A&E Editor

Decision 2012

Student Government Association elections have come and gone, leaving Transylvania University with a new group of SGA officers for the coming academic year.

According to senior Josh Edge, the current SGA president, 422 students voted in the election, which is a little higher than the average participation rate.

With all votes tallied, junior Charli Fant will succeed Edge as SGA president alongside vice president Kayarash Karimian, a sophomore. Sophomore April Ballard will take the role of secretary.

For the treasurer position, however, there will be a runoff election since no candidate received 50 percent of the vote in the first round. The two candidates participating in this runoff are sophomores Ashley Carter and Jordan Perkins.

The runoff election for SGA treasurer will run concurrently with the election of senators, which takes place today and Friday. Once again, students will receive an email with a link to SurveyMonkey, where they will be able to cast their votes.

Fant attributes her win to several factors including a solid platform, her choice to have in-depth conversations with other students about her campaign rather than just telling them to vote for her, and her wide variety of experiences, which may have allowed a large range of students to find her relatable.

Fant already has an idea of the major goals that she hopes to accomplish next year. One of these is a revision of the alcohol policy, particularly in regard to the rules on the quantity that students are allowed to keep in their rooms and the discretion policy about bringing alcohol into residence halls.

“I want to make (the alcohol policy) more in line with what actually happens here on campus,” said Fant. “I’d be interested in looking at open container policy, but I don’t feel really strongly one way or the other about that. So, specifically, I would like to deal with the quantity rule and the discretion issue.”

Apart from revising student policy, Fant also hopes to make some more internal changes for SGA. Her first aim is to increase SGA office hours in the early part of the year, before first-year elections.

“My plan is to have someone study in there for about two hours a night,” said Fant. “The door’s going to be open; students will be able to come in, ask questions if they need to. … I want to make sure that students are coming in to see representatives, that we’re not just talking about ourselves and our interests but that we have a lot of student interest.”

This increase in office hours would specifically be directed at allowing the new treasurer, Perkins, to be available several hours a week to discuss funding issues with students who are interested in seeking SGA funding for their organizations.

“We’re hoping to have the treasurer there several times during the first few months so that students can get really acquainted with how to write funding requests, how to ask for operating funds, and things like that,” said Fant.

Along with giving organizations more opportunities for obtaining advice concerning funding requests, Fant would like to double the operating funds awarded to organizations by SGA, offering approved organizations $200 as opposed to the current $100 amount.

“I think organizations can really do more with that money and really take hold. A lot of organizations start off and in their first couple of years they don’t last very long because they don’t have enough money to thrive,” said Fant. “After you ask for operating funds, you can still come and ask for funding requests.”

Fant also hopes to makes some constitutional changes.

“I think we need two (public relations) chairs, one for each of the two major committees,” said Fant. “It’s an internal change, but I really think it’ll make a big difference with how SGA communicates with the student body.”

Outside of the president’s seat, Ballard expressed her wish that the student body become more involved in SGA’s work.

“I really want to make SGA more accessible to all students. I think in the past SGA has been seen as a group that isn’t open for suggestions and isn’t for the entire student body, but I want others to know that we want feedback and people to come to our meetings,” said Ballard. “Our whole purpose is to represent the student body, and we can’t do that without them.”

All officers-elect will officially begin their tenures April 11.

Duo uses ‘Just Dance’ for research

by Holly Brown

A&E Editor

Put your dancing shoes on and get ready to play video games in the name of scientific research.

The hit Wii game “Just Dance,” which uses the system’s motion controllers to track the player’s movements, is a primary tool that senior Tori Elrod and Dr. Kirk Abraham are using to conduct research. The study aims to estimate the average energy expenditure caused by playing “Just Dance.”

“I wanted to do this study because I love the ‘Just Dance’ games, and after I finished playing I always felt really tired,” said Elrod. “This always made me wonder, could I count this as my actual workout for the day? So when Dr. Abraham told me he wanted to do a study involving this game, I jumped at the chance to work with him on it.”

In order to estimate the energy expenditure required by “Just Dance,” Elrod will be estimating the percentage of participants’ VO2max that they use while playing this game — a measure that, according to Elrod, calculates the body’s maximum amount of oxygen consumption, which is used to estimate maximum aerobic potential.

“So if we find that subjects are only working at about 20-30 percent of their VO2max, we can say that the game does not provide much of an aerobic workout,” Elrod said. “But if they are working at 50-60 percent, then we can say this is a good aerobic workout, comparable to a jog or playing a game of soccer. Eighty to 100 percent would be the very intense exercise.”

In all, the testing should take about two hours to complete. Participants will be asked to complete a pretesting interview, engage in a five-minute step test that should help the experimenters estimate their VO2max, and then dance three songs through to familiarize themselves with the dance moves. Following this, they will dance through the three songs while wearing a heart monitor and end with a post-testing interview.

“I can then use their average heart rates to estimate the percentage of their VO2max they were working at and, in turn, how intense the activity is,” said Elrod.

For the experiment, Elrod needs volunteers from various populations. Faculty, staff and students are all equally welcome to participate.

Those interested in participating can contact Elrod via email at vrelrod12@transy.edu.

Valentine’s fundraiser benefits new cause

by Holly Brown
A&E Editor

The Singing Valentines fundraiser may be familiar, but this year the old campus favorite is generating funds for a slightly different cause.

Singing Valentines, formerly a service provided exclusively by Transy on Broadway (TOB), is being conducted by the Transylvania Theater Guild for 2012.

While both groups are student-led and centered on drama, TOB specializes in musicals, while the Guild focuses on straight, nonmusical plays.

In past years, both groups presented annual productions, but due to funding and restructuring in the theater department, the groups have decided to alternate their productions, with the guild putting on a play this year and TOB waiting to present its next show in 2013.

Due to the change in production schedules, TOB has a shortage of members at present and was unable to host its annual fundraiser. Because the guild has a significant portion of overlapping members, and because it is the student organization that will need funding for a play this year, it decided to take over the fundraiser.

In addition to the change in production schedules, the guild and TOB will soon combine into a single student theater group and join their accounts.

“This also prevents the two groups from inadvertently competing with one another in their fundraising attempts,” said senior Robin Kunkel, Theater Guild president. “There will still be musical theater at Transy. We will alternate musicals and straight plays.”

For those unfamiliar with Singing Valentines, the fundraiser essentially sells singing telegrams that can be delivered to anyone on — and sometimes off — campus. Each valentine is $2, and the song can be anything that the sender chooses.

“People often send Singing Valentines to their boyfriend or girlfriend, but they’re also a funny way to just brighten a friend’s day. They’re more often sent to friends as a silly prank,” Kunkel said.

The guild’s production for this year, which the fundraiser will support, is “Rough Magic.” This play conjures up a magical universe in which an unlikely quartet of heroes must defeat the evil sorcerer Prospero.

“It’s going to be amazing and very unlike anything that has been previously done at Transy, at least in recent years,” said junior Laura Campbell, guild secretary.

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Transy Choir goes coastal

by Holly Brown
A&E Editor

For some people, winter break means putting in long days of sleeping in and other tiresome activities that tend to happen in front of electronic screens. For the Transylvania Choir, however, it meant going on its annual tour.

Though the choir had planned to tour Europe in May, by October it was clear that the current state of the economy was going to prevent many of the participating students from affording the expense of an international trip.

Instead, the group chose a domestic tour, with performances Jan. 3-6 across four venues in Georgia and Florida and then a final concert at Transy Jan. 11.

Dr. Gary Anderson, professor of music and director of choral ensembles, always coordinates tours with contacts suggested by the alumni office, and this year it recommended a cluster of alumni in Florida.

The Transylvania Choir toured Florida and Georgia during the last week of winter break. They performed in four venues, but still had time left over for some fun activities.

“That turned out to be not only a great deal of fun for us, frankly, because we went to Fort Myers, Fla.,” said Anderson, “but we connected with a lot of alumni, which made it, as a university tour, really worthwhile, too.”

Though Anderson had chosen the concert’s repertoire last summer with a European audience in mind, the same selections worked well for a domestic tour. The concert included several pieces by European composers, followed by a few songs from Transy Boys a Cappella (TBA), and ended with a section of American folk songs and spirituals.

The tour is undoubtedly an enjoyable experience for the choir, but Anderson also emphasized its role in promoting the university. Each of the concerts was attended by alumni, and many high school students were introduced to Transy through the concerts, as well.

“For me one of the best experiences was singing at the high school in Brandon, Fla., because the students were so excited to host us,” said sophomore choir member Rachel Norris. “After the concert, several students came up to me and said that they would now be looking at Transy as a possible school.”

“It turned out to be a terrific, terrific tour, even though we put it together really quickly. We connected to alumni, we connected to students. … Our folks had a ball,” Anderson said.

This year’s tour follows a long-standing tradition for the Transy Choir; with the exception of a single year, the choir has made an annual tour since the 1940s.

While Anderson has yet to determine when the choir will next plan a tour to Europe, he expects to reach a decision on the issue at some point this May term.

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