Author Archives: Clare Lee ʼ16

Kalamazoo Thespians Perform Peer with a Twist

By Sarah Wallace

Peer Gynt: Performers in the Theater Department''s rendition of Peer Gynt rehearse. Peer will close out the troop''s 50th season.

Henrik Ibsen’s slightly profane, possibly offensive yet thrilling romantic dramatic play will be performed by Kalamazoo College students as a part of the close to the Festival Playhouse’s 50th season .

The romantic dramatic play is Peer Gynt, and Kalamazoo College will be putting on Colin Teevan’s adaptation of it for the modern stage, first written by Henrik Ibsen.  The show is playing this Thursday through Sunday, May 15-18, in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse.

Peer Gynt is the both the name of the play and its main character, and is played by Kyle Lampar ’17. Peer is characterized as someone who will do and say anything to get what he wants.  Lampar described his character as “vulgar, carefree, and unapologetic…but behind that persona of tough teenage angst, there’s a fragile individual who only wishes to fulfill his dreams.”

This modern stage edition of Peer Gynt comes with updated language and situations. Guest Director Todd Espeland believes will make this more accessible for Kalamazoo College students.

“The roughness of the language, modernizing Peer’s adventures by making him a human trafficker, and its references to the way we idolize TV celebrities, brings Ibsen’s message into the 21st century while still keeping the heart of the fairy tale.”

These differences include the mentioning of current cultural norms. Dramaturg David Landskroener ’14 elaborated on the modernization.

“The ever-increasing modern societal message is that everything is about ‘me,’ which this adaptation deconstructs in an even more timely and resonant fashion through references to reality TV,” said Landskroener.

The show opens Thursday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. (which is “pay-what-you-can” night), and runs Friday and Saturday, May 16-17, at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, May 18, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for seniors, and $15 for other adults and may be purchased at the door. To make reservations, please call 269.337.7333 or visit the website www.kzoo.edu/theatre for more information.

Gilmore Free-Day Comes to Kalamazoo

By Emily Kotz

Kalamazoo College welcomed Welsh pianist Llŷr Williams to perform last Tuesday in Stetson Chapel as part of the Gilmore International Piano Festival’s free day at the College.

The festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary, so far holding five such similar concerts all in the chapel at 2:00 p.m. In his third performance of the festival, Williams continued to perform a collection of Beethoven Sonatas with paramount talent, shining through each piece’s technical difficulties with effortless ability.

The selected program included Beethoven’s famous “Funeral March,” sonata No. 27 in E Minor, Op. 90, and sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111. Each piece exemplified Williams’ mastery of Beethoven’s swift thematic changes and explosive finger patterns imbedded within each movement.

The extreme nature of Beethoven’s work, the sweeping range of intense highs and lows, fill his sonatas to their core. Williams began the program with the “Funeral March,” a reflection of Beethoven’s abrupt and dynamic compositional methods, and so requiring an extreme sense of dexterity to grapple with and play.

Williams’ transitions between Beethoven’s musical mood swings with succinct eloquence in both sound and stamina. His hands work total control over the high tempos and chilling tumult of notes to then transition smoothly into the grandeur, deep, and echoing melodies.

Sonata No. 27 offers different challenges, none of which Williams had doubt over. A call and response narrative is played between the two hands, comparing the two main themes of the piece in individual style. Translated from German, the piece’s title comes to be, “with liveliness and with feeling and expression throughout,” and Williams portrays this to the greatest effect possible. Harsh, resounding chords are contrasted to light crystal clean touches given to the shrill high notes.  Williams approaches the keyboard with an equal mixture of toughness yet sensitivity, able to draw out the two opposing aspects of the piece with force and flowing style.

Positioning Sonata No. 32 as his last piece, Williams displayed his virtuosity in commanding Beethoven’s work. The sonata is full-bodied, all encompassing work, leaving nothing out to mesmerize the audience in awe of its both simple and complex themes and phrases.

And William’s did just that, making the audience become completely immersed in the differing subtle voices arranged in the work. Williams expert use of the foot petals added to the vastness of the arrangement, magnifying each somber or angelic chord. Lifted out of their pews, the rose to give Williams a standing ovation after the final note was allowed to float off into infinity.

This concert being a prime example, it has been another successful year for the praised Gilmore Festival.

Saturday’s Jazz Band Performance not a Drag

By Emily Pizza

Jazzy Nights: Ian Willaims ''17, Sam Lichtman-Mikol ''15, and Brad Stech ''15 jam out in drag during Saturday night''s performance.

The Jazz band concert Saturday was definitely a change of pace from previous concerts, as several of the band members were dressed up in drag. Stepping onto the stage, these performers looked completely different, but as soon as they started playing, their true identity showed through.

Their first song, Rooster Parade, required the audience to start the tune by clapping to the beat which definitely pulled them into the uphill of this musical rollercoaster.

The star of this song was piano player Ian Williams ’17, who moved his hands up and down the keys as if he was born to do just that. Even director Tom Evans couldn’t contain his impressed clapping as Williams finished.

The second song, Rivers, was another tune, which featured drummer Chris Monsour ‘16. Even though his legs and arms moved at lightning speed, his sunglasses gave him the appearance that it was just another walk in the park.

Baritone saxophone player, Lasse Grunewald WMU ’15 was also a spectacle in this tune; dropping to those low notes from an octave above was impressive to everyone listening.

A later piece, Freddie Freeloader, was slower and more bluesy than the earlier songs. While multiple soloists performed, two really stuck out. Alto sax player Joe Barth  ‘14 moved up and down scales during his solo like crazy, and never missed a note.

Bass player Curtis Gough ’14 finished the song out with a solo that made everyone’s eyes bug out. His ability to move up and down his instrument showed a mastery that many players could only dream of.

For a chance of pace, a Latin piece, Fiesta Bahia, was thrown into the mix. The song took off so fast that I could hardly keep the beat. Luckily, drummer Monsour was able to keep it better than I could.

Barth one again showed his skills during his solo, moving through scale notes in a peculiar order that kept the audience on its toes, but never gave a wrong sound.

However, piano player Ian Williams once again stole the song with his solo that used every key on the piano, top to bottom.

The whole group, however, really showed skill in their unison pauses. As a musician myself, I can attest to how difficult It can be to get four people to stop playing at the same time, let alone 17.

Finally, the band concluded with an encore of “Walk The Dinosaur” featuring Brian Craig ’14 singing the lyrics and doing the dance up on the stage. The audience erupted into cheers at the end of the song and putting an end to a truly fantastic year of formal jazz band concerts.

Pizza’s Kitchen: No Labels Drives Me Nuts

By Emily Pizza

After seven weeks of changing my diet and going from starvation to plentiful meals, I completed my final week of restricted dieting: no nuts.

Peanut and tree-nut allergies are the most prevalent food allergies, effecting 3 million people in the United States. This contributes to many Americans having an allergic reaction, which could land them in the hospital.

Once I started my journey, I realized that most foods were not going to be a problem. I obviously would not eat peanut butter or peanut sauce, but for the most part the meal itself wasn’t the problem. Instead what I was forced to keep an eye on were the desserts, which definitely caused me some trouble.

Every day I would go to the dessert section and watch as every single food had “contains nuts” signs next to them, which was definitely frustrating. There was never a dry dessert option like cookies or brownies. I suppose you could always eat ice cream, a bowl of cereal, or a cup of fruit. But chocolate chip cookies without nuts would have been a great treat for me every once and awhile.

That said I understand that the chance of contamination is a problem. So, I think that a sign above the foods, cautioning that there could be some contamination; similar to what the cafeteria does for the fried foods on the Home Line.

But poor labeling extends beyond the cafeteria. Since the start of my journey six weeks ago, I realized how important the labeling in the cafeteria is since some foods that contained an allergen surprised me. However, I didn’t realize that as much as I did this week.

Trying to buy a cookie at the Book Club was like flipping a coin, maybe it was totally fine, or maybe (if I actually had a nut allergy) it could kill me.

While putting stickers on the cookies – like the ones on the signs in the cafeteria – would definitely be ideal. Perhaps just having the name of the cookie on the basket where they are contained would have made things much easier. You would be surprised how similar peanut butter and sugar cookies look.

Overall, I have to congratulate the cafeteria on their progress these past few weeks. I have seen lots of improvements every week that have only helped me through my process.

Although there will probably never be a perfect solution to all of these dietary restrictions, I am really glad that we have a group of people so dedicated to making sure that every student can have a safe and yummy meal.

Letter to the Editor: An Open Letter in Response to Criticism Involving Frelon and Its Directors

First and foremost, we want to apologize for the amount of time it has taken for the Directors to respond to the campus in this public of a manner. After many discussions, we’ve decided that using the platform of our K email would be the most effective way in which to reach the majority of our campus community. Many of our peers are angry at our lack of formal and public apology regarding Frelon’s proposal of racist t-shirt usage and incorporation of twerking into the Senior Dance. Through this letter, we’d like to both respond to this anger while also thinking proactively about what’s coming next for the future of Frelon as a student organization.

In not formally and publicly saying: “We’re sorry” for what happened regarding those events, we hope to not have been perceived as denying our wrongdoing. As your peers, friends and students who aspire to be as conscientious about racial issues as possible, we hope that you can recognize our preexisting efforts, and acknowledge that, much like yourselves, we are still learning.

The acknowledgement that was published to Facebook was not intended to undermine the gravity of the issues at-hand, but rather, to acknowledge the mistake that we had made by using the image of Mr. Miyagi and by incorporating twerking into the Senior Dance. With that said, the lack of technical apology on that page and thereafter was intentional on our part. During the times that we had made the initial marketing decisions and had chosen to choreograph the twerking, we had no malicious intentions to be hurtful or insensitive. We refrained from formally apologizing because we did not feel that that would be the most sincere and genuine way to correct the mistake that was both unforeseen and unintentional. As to be conscious of our wording we thought that the common phrase of  “I’m sorry” might be patronizing, and still are figuring out what the phrase means to us in certain dialogues. We thought that it might imply a position of authority or hierarchy to those who felt (and feel) offended—as if to say, “I’m sorry that you feel that way. But I simply cannot understand.” However, that does not mean that the image or choreography was not racist. As we reexamined our decisions in this process we became more aware of how the image and the choreography was both insensitive and racist. Therefore, we made the executive decision to not use the image or the choreography in our respective show.

We apologize if our campus community was disappointed in the decisions that we made to address these issues. However, we cannot change the actions that we previously took. We can only learn from our mistakes and apply the things we have learned to become a more critically aware and inclusive student organization. Racial consciousness is a process that—as students and people living in and out of our time at K—we’re all still learning.

We acknowledge that offenses have been made and we acknowledge that our decisions as Directors have contributed to many hurt feelings of our campus community. We hope that in moving forward we continue to have conversations regarding race and racism on our campus as it is manifested in the institution and its student organizations. We hope that everyone can recognize the action (and inaction) that has ensued since the final Frelon performance, and hopefully, that the positive learning experiences we’ve had since that time have been greater than the grievances committed. As we move forward in our director selection process we hope to apply some of the lessons that we have learned and to make productive changes within our organization and our performances.

We hope that if there are any unresolved questions, comments, concerns or suggestions for how Frelon can productively discuss and address issues of racism, please do not hesitate to address one of us. Also, if there a further desire to do so, we’d love to open up the campus to facilitate greater conversations about institutional racism, beyond the confinements of this short and concise letter.

Thanks for reading, and happy end-of-6th-week, Hornets.

Lux Esto,

The Frelon Directors:

Francesca DeAnda

Rachel Pieciak

Madeline Vermuelen

Caitlin Donnelly

Jack Massion

Letter to the Editor: Anne Dueweke’s Call to Action

By Lisa Brock

In response to the heartfelt series written by Anne Dueweke, which I read as a call to action, I offer the following sources to those who want to dig deeper in their understanding of race, racism and the African-American Experience in the United States. Here are twelve books and four films/documentaries that address the topic in different ways and on different epochs. I hope this is useful.

 

Books

1.         Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Free Press, 2012)

2.         Martha Biondi, The Black Revolution Campus (University of California Press,      2012)

3.         Eduardo Bonilla Silva, Racism without Racist; Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America  (Rowan and Littlefield, 2013)

4.         Michael Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South (Univ. of North Carolina Press,     1998)

5.         Cheryl Harris, Whiteness as Property (Harvard Law Review, Vol. 106, No. 8, pp. 1707, 1993)

6.         Leon Litwack, Trouble in Mind (Vintage Press, 1999)

7.         Jeanne Theoharis, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Beacon Press, 2013)

8.         Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark (Vintage, 1993)

9.         David Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (Verso, 2007)

10.       Randall Robinson, The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks (Plume, 2001)

11.       Craig Wilder, Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery and the Trouble History of America’s Universities (Bloomsbury Press, 2013)

12.       Harriet Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present     (Doubleday, 2007)

 

Films/Documentaries

1) Eyes on the Prize: American Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1985 (Produced/Directed by  Henry Hampton of Blackside, released 1987)

2) Twelve Years a Slave (Director, Steve McQueen, 2013)

3) Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enactment of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (Written by Douglass Blackman, Producer/Director Sam Pollard, 2012)

4) Fruitvale Station, (Produced & Directed by Ryan Coogler, 2012)

 

Dr. Lisa Brock, Associate Professor of (African Diaspora) History & Academic Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.

Letter to the Editor: Proud to be a Hornet

By Ryan Gregory

While last week’s issue gave a voice to a player who felt alienated by the Football Program, he failed to acknowledge his overrepresentation of the black community as a whole.  As a former captain of the football team and an African American male, I feel it is imperative to portray the FAMILY that I have been a part of for the last four years.  Arriving on K’s campus was definitely a culture shock; the diversity and beliefs here differ greatly from the Metro Detroit socialization I received.  However, that is the beauty of going to college, especially an institution like Kalamazoo College.  You are supposed to leave your comfort zone; things that worked in high school will not guarantee you success in college, whether it’s academically, socially or athletically.  Yes, things can be difficult here. We’re all experiencing new things and learning on the fly, but getting through this and coming out on the other side is the most rewarding part – being able to say I made it.

As student-athletes we made the decision to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and to accept the ups and downs that come with this decision.  Sometimes the only way to overcome those challenges is to dig deep and discover the answer yourself.  Players, both black and white, have chosen to walk away from the team. However, these were personal decisions that were not based off of race.

During the recruiting process, Kalamazoo College was the only school that went above and beyond to ensure that I felt a part of a family, and not just another black kid who was good at football.  I’m aware that other minorities have come on this campus and felt alienated or without a support group, but before I ever stepped foot on this campus I felt a part of a family.  As a freshman, I began fall quarter with 80-plus brothers (of all races) who had my back and were willing to help me grind through any obstacle I encountered.  Even if a player was not on the same page as the team or wanted nothing to do with us, we supported them and let them know that we were there for them, because that’s what families do.

Besides my brothers on the team, I had a father figure in Coach Zorbo who was always on my side.  Coach has pushed me to be the best in everything that I do. Because of Coach Zorbo, I’ve learned not to be content with the average, but rather, to always strive for excellence.  I’ve seen this man bend over backwards to ensure that all his players are capable of reaching their full potential, especially African American players.  Coach isn’t naïve to the cultural differences here at K, and I know he has done everything in his power to make Kalamazoo feel like home to all his players.  I can’t think of another group or team on K’s campus that is as diverse or accepting than the football team.

I’m writing this letter to express there are other outcomes for African Americans here.  You have the power and ability to gain as much as possible from this institution and football program. It all depends on how much you put into it and if you take advantage of the opportunities placed in front of you.  I promise you that doors will open for you like you have never imagined possible.  I have enjoyed and loved my four years as a student-athlete at K, and will forever be a Hornet.

Ryan Gregory is a K senior. 

Letter to the Editor: Making an Educated Decision for Secretary of Finance

By Kelly Ohlrich

Due to the upcoming run-off election, I believe the student body needs to be better informed about the positions they are voting for. As current Secretary of Finance for Student Commission, I feel that I can accurately tell you who is needed for this very demanding full-time job.

Being the Secretary of Finance requires a great deal of energy, patience, and humility. This person is not only in charge of managing over $112,000 of your money, but also constantly works with student organizations to make sure their events can run smoothly. From registration to reimbursement, the Secretary of Finance is your advocate for accessing Student Activities Fee money. Just as this position is extremely important, so is your decision in this Thursday’s election.

To start, this position requires constant and instant replies to emails – always. You can never be late, forget, or skip a meeting, and exceptional organization is needed to balance things smoothly. You must have excellent time management skills, as there is little time to study because you will inevitably put your job and fellow students first. This is not a resume booster. It requires constant dedication and persistence, and a real and deep desire to help your fellow students. Students need a Secretary of Finance who is so proactive that they have already made it a priority and started the job as a commissioner. They must already know what they are doing and have a plan in place for next year. They have even already called the bank personally to finally figure out how to get student organizations debit cards.

I have certainly not been perfect in this position. However, after four quarters, I know what it takes to do this job well and believe that I have done the best I can. This is your money on the line: which candidate will you trust with this responsibility? Take a look at the one who has really been campaigning and reaching out to students – the choice should be clear.

Kelly Olrich ’14 is the Secretary of Finance for the Student Commission.

A Closer Look at the Women of Conditioning

By Trisha Dunham

Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday morning, the dedicated students of the Conditioning and Speed physical education course pull themselves out of bed and head over to the Anderson Athletic Center’s weight room for the 6:15 a.m. start time. The course consists of about 70 students. A majority of them are members of the Football team, for which the course is mandatory. However, the remainder of the students are voluntary participants, seven of which are female.

According to assistant coach Ryan McElwain, the common goal of the course which is “to increase your overall fitness level as well as awareness” and improve overall “physical and mental health.”

McElwain said that all participants of the course take part in the same activities, regardless of gender. He added that throughout the course he himself does not “motivate the women differently” and that motivation “varies by individual, not by gender.”

Female students Claire McCarthy ’16 and Simone Arora ’15 confirmed McElwain’s statement.

“[The coaches are] very encouraging at whatever level any of us are at,” McCarthy said.

“The coaches really push us in a positive way,” Arora explained.

Coach McElwain reflected on the impact the women have had on the football players.

“The women are inspirational for the football players. They are willing to come and want to get in shape,” he said.

McCarthy said her reasoning for taking the course was that she “missed having a team and being held accountable.”

“I’m doing it for me, not for anyone else,” McCarthy added.

She explained that, although in the beginning she felt a bit uncomfortable and intimated by the football players, she has come to understand that she is not working against them, but working with them.

McCarthy said she has begun to feel more empowered.

“I am using my body in a very physical way. I am proving to myself that I am strong,” she said.

Arora added that her reason for taking the course was that she “wanted to learn something new from people that really know what they’re talking about.”

She said this has definitely become one of her favorite courses she has taken at K.

Fellow student Lauren Zehnder ’17 explained that during the course she has not necessarily become more empowered because she never felt powerless.

“But I definitely feel more confident,” Zehnder said.  She added that she is really enjoying the course and hopes to take it again next year.

 

Kazoo Frisbee Teams to Hold Annual BBUT Tournament

By Trisha Dunham

On Saturday May 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Kalamazoo College Ultimate Frisbee (KCUF) teams hosted their annual Beez Buzz Ulitimate Tournament. This is a hat tournament in which anyone from either the Kalamazoo College community or greater Kalamazoo community is welcome and encouraged to play.

Women’s team captain Christina Lehman ’14 explained that the tournament is a fundraiser for the Frisbee team, and that the organizers try to advertise as much as possible by inviting the entire campus and tabling in Hicks.

“There’s a fundraising element, [but] it’s really about tradition,” said men’s team captain Woody Tauke ’14. “Members of the community really rely on it”.

A majority of the members of the community that participate are either alumni from KCUF or members of the Kalamazoo Ultimate Disk League, known as KUDL and pronounced like “cuddle”. This year’s tournament was one of the biggest yet, with about 80 people signed up. The cost for each participant is $10, which includes refreshments and lunch. All remaining profits are put into the KCUF account for the following year’s team.

Tauke explained that the club has, “never really done much fundraising” and that “it’s something new to the club this year.”

The reason behind these fundraising efforts involved difficulties the team encountered during winter quarter when trying to secure practice space from school facilities. KCUF had to pay an outside facility in order to continue practicing. The money raised during fundraising went to paying for practice space, but also was put into the club account for next year’s team and team trips.

One of the overall goals of KCUF is to keep the club’s cost as low as possible, so that everyone interested is able to participate, something they are only able to do with the support of the school and fundraising.

“[This was] part of the reason for the tournament. In case we lose funding from the school, we’ll be able to continue the philosophy of inclusion,” Tauke said.