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    From whimsy to wisdom

    Teacher candidates in the Faculty of Education rehearse for this year's annual musical: Kindergarten.

    Bachelor of Education students will celebrate the whimsy of childhood and wisdom of old age in their annual musical, which opens this week.

    All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is based on Robert Fulghum’s best-selling book of the same title and takes a funny, insightful and heartwarming look at what is profound in everyday life.

    In a performance of theatrical storytelling, teacher candidates will deliver monologues, dialogues and original songs while getting a hands-on, authentic musical learning experience.

    “It’s been an absolute joy to spend the past two months preparing for this production,” says Holly Ogden, one of two faculty leaders for the production of Kindergarten and adjunct assistant professor for Education. “Together we have learned so much – not only about music, drama, and dance, but also about how arts-based learning can excite, thrill, and inspire.”

    Kindergarten also serves as a way to connect the Queen’s and Kingston communities by sharing the production free of charge with groups of students and seniors in the community. Students from the Limestone District School Board, seniors groups, and adults from the Kingston’s H’Art Centre will be offered tickets to the production.

    “We believe that by providing teacher candidates with this experience during their year at Queen’s, they will be better able to promote this form of teaching and learning within their classrooms,” says Christopher DeLuca, faculty leader for the production and assistant professor in the Faculty of Education. “Learning through the arts fosters cooperation, problem-solving, and improvements in spatial and verbal skills as well as develops a sense of connection, belonging, and positive learning spaces.”

    Kindergarten runs on February 5 and 6 at 7:30pm in the auditorium at Duncan McArthur Hall. Tickets are $5 and available at the door or in the Queen’s Education Students Society office at Duncan McArthur Hall (Room B137).

    For more information on Kindergarten, follow this link.

    Victims of violence given voice in upcoming play

    [If We Were Birds]
    Members of the cast and production crew talk over a scene during a rehearsal for the Queen’s Drama Department’s upcoming staging of If We Were Birds at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (Photo by Allie Gottlieb)

    For its winter major production the Queen’s Department of Drama is staging one of the most powerful contemporary Canadian plays.

    If We Were Birds is a Governor-General Award winning play by Erin Shields based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the poem that also inspired Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, and is a poetic re-telling of the myth of sisters Philomela and Procne. In Shields’ work the ancient tale is transformed into a modern parable about violence against women in times of war as revealed through a chorus of testimonials of loss and suffering.

    The play was selected as it has a large female cast explains drama professor and director Kim Renders, who points out that the department is comprised primarily of women. She also says the subject matter is particularly timely because of the ongoing conversation on campuses across the country, including Queen’s, surrounding sexual assault.

    It’s a powerful play, Renders says, and a great script,

    As a result, one of the main challenges in the production has been how to handle the powerful testimonials. There are times when the material is so heavy that a lighter touch may be required, Renders says.

    “Dealing with this script at various times, that’s the balancing act,” she says. “When do we really punch it in and drive it home to the audience with hair pulling and chest beating and when do you need to hold back and just let the words do the work by themselves.”

    Months of preparations are down to the final weeks and days but there is an eagerness to take to the stage. Renders, a co-founder of Nightwood Theatre and former artistic director of Theatre Kingston, says she is impressed by how the students are approaching the play from acting and production perspectives as well as the three student assistant directors.

    “I’m feeling people are taking a very responsible approach to the material, very mature, professional,” Renders says. “People are quite dedicated to the work, and there is a ton of work because one of the students, Adrienne Miller , is choreographing the chorus and another student, Deanna Choi, is creating a soundscape that goes all the way through the entire production. And she is also playing music live.”

    For the assistant directors it’s a further learning experience as they step off the stage and take on wider responsibilities.

    “I think that being an assistant director is a very interesting learning experience because we are observers on one part, where we are watching and learning from Kim and her decisions as well as the actors,” says Holly Molaski (Artsci’15). “With such a big cast they have so many ideas too. So I’m really trying to observe and get ideas from everyone else.”

    For Colleen Rush (Artsci’15) seeing the wider scope of the production has been valuable.

    “What I’ve found interesting is seeing how quickly the images take form,” she says. “I also find interesting that Holly and I have a lot of input and it matches up. There’s a lot of agreeing.”

    If We Were Birds will be staged at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Performances will take place in the Studio Theatre Feb. 4-7 and 12 at 8 pm, with a matinee on Feb. 8 at 2 pm. The play will be staged in the Grand Lobby on Feb. 10 and 11 at 8 pm as well as a special “Sunrise Performance” scheduled for the morning of Feb. 7. The time has yet to be finalized.

    Tickets are $22 for general admission, $15 for students and seniors and can be purchased online at theisabel.ca/tickets, at the Isabel box office (12:30-4:30 pm), or at the door prior to performances.

    Playing the odds with Union Gallery

    Making good art requires hard work and exceptional talent, but thanks to Union Gallery, getting good art simply requires a bit of luck. That’s the idea behind Cezanne’s Closet, Union Gallery’s annual fundraiser. Attendees of the event are entered into a draw to win artwork that has been donated by artists from Queen’s, Kingston and beyond.

    Union Gallery has been open in Stauffer Library since 1994. (University Communications) 

    While musicians play and hors d’oeuvres are served, those at the fundraiser get to view the available art pieces, speak to artists and track their favourites. Once everyone has made their picks, names are drawn one by one and the winners get to choose their prize.

    “It’s a fantastic event,” says Jocelyn Purdie, Director, Union Gallery. “Queen’s staff, faculty, parents, alumni and community members all come out to show their support.”  

    Even though everyone in attendance will win a piece eventually, there’s still a healthy spirit of competition.

    “People cheer when their name gets picked and groan when it doesn’t, so we keep the atmosphere fun,” she says.

    Proceeds from the event go towards supporting Union Gallery, a non-profit gallery that includes exhibits of contemporary work by students from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program as well as other student artists and professionals. Located in Stauffer Library, the gallery has professional staff, but students play a large role in its operation.

    “Students are involved in every aspect of the gallery: its board of directors, its committees, its programming of displayed work and events, and the gallery’s governance,” says Ms. Purdie.

    "Oh Dear ..." by Laura Rosentzveig is among the pieces available at Cezanne's Closet. 

    Because Cezanne’s Closet holds such importance to the gallery, students are happy to make a contribution.

    “The event is a great way to support the gallery and an excellent professional opportunity for the student artists involved,” says Lindsay Wilson, BFA ’15 and the President of Union Gallery. “Cezanne’s Closet is a bridge between Queen’s and Kingston’s art communities.”

    She says the event and the benefit it confers to gallery are a major boon to fine arts students.

    “Union Gallery is a huge draw to the BFA program at Queen’s — getting to show your work at a professional gallery while still a student is something you otherwise don’t get a chance to do,” she says.

    Cezanne’s Closet is on Saturday, Feb. 7. Tickets are $150 can be purchased from Union Gallery’s website

    Artful reveal

    • [Jan Allen, Director, Agnes Etherington Art Centre]
      Jan Allen, Director, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, spoke to a full house at the season launch. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
    • [Marla Dobson explains her exhibition]
      Marla Dobson (second from right) curated The Park and the Forest under the supervision of Alicia Boutilier as part of a practicum course in the graduate program of the Department of Art History and Art. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
    • [Charles Stankievech]
      Artist Charles Stankievech in his exhibition Monument as Ruin. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
    • [Stephanie Dickey]
      Stephanie Dickey (Art History), Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art, introduced Artists in Amsterdam. (Photo by Tim Forbes)

    The Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s unveiled its new exhibitions during a season launch event last week. Several hundred patrons explored the exhibitions and met artist Charles Stankievech, whose works are featured in Monument as Ruin, a probing examination of 20th-century military forms and the ways they’ve shaped spaces of conflict. Mr. Stankievech also participated in a panel discussion with David Murakami Wood, Canada Research Chair in Surveillance Studies, on Jan. 14 that filled the atrium of the Agnes.

    Other shows featured this winter include The Park and the Forest – an exhibition of watercolours and sketches by British-born artists who received artistic training in England and worked in Canada during the 19th century – and Artists in Amsterdam – a new exhibition drawn from The Bader Collection that offers insight into the flowering of a distinctive school of art in 17th-century Amsterdam. The Agnes has also created a new display in the Etherington House focused on Sir John A. Macdonald.   

    Piano Festival a treat for music lovers

    Piano Festival
    The Queen's School of Music's 10th Piano Festival is being held Jan. 16-18, featuring Roman Rudnytsky and Amanda Johnston (Mus’93). (Supplied photos)

    The Queen’s School of Music is marking the 10th edition of the Piano Festival with an outstanding lineup of artists and events.

    Being held Jan. 16-18 and March 13, the festival will be headlined by Roman Rudnytsky, a winner of 10 international competitions who has enjoyed a varied career as performer and is currently Distinguished Professor at Dana School of Music, Youngstown State University.

    Mr. Rudnytsky will hold a piano master class on Saturday, Jan. 17 starting at 11 am in Room 124, Harrison-Lecaine Hall. He will also perform a recital at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Sunday, Jan. 18 at 2:30 pm.

    Bringing top-level artists to Kingston has drawn interest not only from music lovers but students as well.

    “I have found that the master classes, recitals and lectures offered by PianoFest guests inspire students to play better,” says festival organizer Ireneus Zuk, a professor in Queen's School of Music. “They hear the calibre of performances by artists on the international scene and then strive to reach that level. It is very important for students to be able to interact with and learn from such exceptional individuals."

    Also participating in the festival is Amanda Johnston (Mus’93), an associate professor of music at the University of Mississippi. Her studies at Queen’s and institutions in Germany and the Czech Republic helped her establish a multifaceted career as an accompanist, coach and diction specialist. 

    Ms. Johnston will take part in a pair of events Friday, Jan. 16: a colloquium presentation at 12:30 pm and a master class for voice students at 3 pm. Both events are in Room 124, Harrison-Lecaine Hall. On Saturday, Jan. 17 she will hold a voice and piano recital with tenor Robert Martin at the Isabel.

    On March 13, a pair of events will be held featuring Yoko Hirota, a professor of piano at Laurentian University.

    The festival receives support from the G.T. Richardson Fund, the Faculty of Arts and Science Visiting Scholar Program and the International Visitors Program.

    All events are free with the exception of Mr. Rudnytsky’s recital which is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door.

    For further information, visit the Queen’s School of Music’s website.

    Creating connections

    On a Thursday in early December, several high school students step out the back door of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre (FDASC). They stand in boot-deep snow and listen attentively as Dustin Kanonhsowanen Brant shows them how to sand the handle of the cow horn rattle they are creating.

    Dustin Kanonhsowanen Brant demonstrates for high school students the technique for sanding a piece of wood into a handle for a cow horn rattle. The activty was part of the weekly after-school leadership program hosted by Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre.  

    The eager high school students are taking part in the Aboriginal Youth Leadership program, one of several outreach programs FDASC is spearheading.

    FDASC invited students from Grades 8-12 to join the weekly after-school leadership program. The goal is to give high school students a safe space where they can interact with positive role models including Aboriginal Queen’s students, while they develop leadership skills.

    “We really want to promote healthy relationships in a culturally relevant setting,” says Ashley Maracle, Aboriginal Community Outreach Liaison, FDASC. “The program also helps fill a gap that was created after Katarokwi Native Friendship Centre closed. We are trying to offer positive and engaging programming for Indigenous students in the city.”

    In addition to participating in a variety of different activities each week, the students worked to make a difference. Throughout the fall, they conducted a fundraiser to support the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation in northern Ontario. The students collected food, clothing and funds that will be sent to the northern community this winter.

    "We want Indigenous students in the city to feel that Four Directions is a home for them and a safe space even when they’re in high school." 

    — Ashley Maracle, Aboriginal Community Outreach Liaison

    The recruitment aspect of Ms. Maracle’s job requires her to spend a lot of her time on the road. While she visits Aboriginal communities throughout Ontario to extol the virtues of Queen’s and post-secondary education, she doesn’t want to ignore Aboriginal students in Kingston and the surrounding area.

    “We are trying to build relationships with the Indigenous community living here in Kingston and pull in those students earlier,” she says. “We want them to feel that Four Directions is a home for them and a safe space even when they’re in high school. We believe they are more likely to apply to Queen’s knowing that Four Directions is here for them.”

    Another component of FDASC’s outreach efforts is a partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario to offer physical activity and healthy lifestyle programs for Aboriginal youth and adults across the city. Students can attend after-school programs on Tuesdays while families can gather on Wednesday nights and play different games each week.

    FDASC also established a new mentorship program with the Katarokwi Aboriginal Alternative School in Kingston. The one-on-one mentorship program sees Queen’s students travel to Katarokwi Aboriginal Alternative School each week and work with the students as they strive to achieve a personal or academic goal they have set for themselves.

    “The programs are a great way for Queen’s students to engage with the Aboriginal community on a weekly basis,” Ms. Maracle adds. “All of the outreach programs give Queen’s students the opportunity to build a positive relationship with the Indigenous community here in the city, while promoting leadership skills for students engaged.”

    For more information about the outreach programs, contact Ms. Maracle via email or at ext. 77986.

    Painting a picture of history

    Queen’s University professor Gauvin Bailey (Art History) is one of only two scholars outside the United States to win the award from the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. With the funding, Dr. Bailey is undertaking the first comprehensive study of the arts and architecture of the French Atlantic Empire.

    His forthcoming book, Art and Architecture in the French Atlantic World, will be the first book that examines both the artistic and architectural heritage of the French Atlantic Empire and looks at the connections and interactions between its many colonies.

    Queen's professor Gauvin Bailey has earned funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

    “For almost two decades I have worked on the arts and especially architecture of colonial Latin America, including both the Spanish and Portuguese empires,” says Dr. Bailey, Alfred and Isabel Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art. “But it has always fascinated me that there was a third Catholic empire in the Americas at the same time which covered a similarly vast territory with its own cities, country mansions, and missions, yet which is virtually unknown to Latin Americanists. That empire is the French Atlantic Empire, extending from West Africa to Lake Superior, and from Lake Superior to French Guyana.”

    The funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship will allow Dr. Bailey to conduct research travel and visit buildings, museums, and archives in distant places which would not otherwise be possible to visit. One of the really exciting things is that in places like Martinique or French Guyana some of the buildings have never even been researched before.

    “They are interested in funding me because I am taking a topic that is generally only studied on a country-by-country basis and moving it beyond geographic barriers,” explains Dr. Bailey. “As in Canada, the United States has a huge French heritage that is frankly very little known and the funding agency probably saw that by placing it in the context of the Canadian, Caribbean, and African heritage that the book would be able to ask larger questions about the nature of this vast empire and the ways in which its arts and architecture expressed particular ideologies and attitudes.”

    The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded $17.9 million in grants for 233 humanities projects. These include research for a book on a Hollywood-based Jewish spy ring that infiltrated and sabotaged Nazi and fascist groups in the U.S. in the 1930s and 40s, and the conservation of artifacts pertaining to the history of the Ancestral Pueblo people, homesteaders, and the Manhattan Project held by the Los Alamos Historical Society.

    For more information on the grant visit the website.

    An ode to Gordon Lightfoot

    [Carolyn Smart and Gordon Lightfoot]
    Carolyn Smart speaks with Gordon Lightfoot during the launch event for “50-plus Poems for Gordon Lightfoot,” an anthology of poetry in honour of the music legend. (Supplied photo)

    Imagine being a teen girl in late-1960s Toronto and meeting Canadian music icon Gordon Lightfoot – the patron saint of the city's arts scene at the time - and in his own home no less.

    That personal connection is the inspiration for Carolyn Smart’s (English) contribution to a newly-published book of poetry called 50+ Poems for Gordon Lightfoot.

    A lifelong Lightfoot fan, Ms. Smart was contacted by Fred Addis, the curator for the Stephen Leacock Museum in Lightfoot’s hometown of Orillia and the organizer of the project, to provide a piece for the anthology. She was honoured just to be asked.

    “I was just thrilled out of my mind. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me because, in fact, the poem that I wrote for this anthology tells the story of a true event that happened to me when I was in Grade 13,”she says.

    As Ms. Smart, a published poet with six books to her credit who teaches Contemporary Canadian Literature and Creative Writing at Queen’s University, tells the tale, she and a pair of friends got up the courage to knock on the door of Lightfoot’s house.

    As they tried to talk their way past the housekeeper Maria, who said the singer was not home, Lightfoot himself intervened.

    “She was protecting him. He was preparing for his upcoming Massey Hall concert and just at that point we said ‘Well, we can hear him in here.’ She said ‘No he’s not here.’ He came down the stairs and he invited us in and he had Maria serve us tea,” she says. “We all sat around in his living room, had tea and chatted away.”

    Guitarist Red Shea then entered the room and told Lightfoot that it was time to go. But the good times weren’t over for Ms. Smart and her friends.

    “He went out one door and we went out the front door and were sort of floating around on the sidewalk and at that point two girls approached us from our high school – girls that we did not like,” she recalls with a laugh. “And at that exact moment Gord and Red Shea drove by and Gord honked his horn and waved at us. And these girls said ‘Oh my God, Oh my God’ and we said ‘Oh yeah, we’ve been hanging out with him.’

    “It was the most amazing event, so that’s what I wrote the poem about.”

    At the book’s recent launch in Toronto, with Lightfoot in attendance, Ms. Smart was among nine poets to read their piece while several musicians played songs and recounted what Lightfoot has meant to their careers.

    “Each of the musicians spoke so generously about Gord and his kindness and his support of them when they were up-and-coming,” she says. “Throughout the evening it became crystal clear, as if I didn’t know it already, what an important impact he has had for generations in this country, both in music and in literature. He was just charming to me afterwards as usual, just the kindest, most respectful person. It was wonderful.”

    Three other members of the Queen’s community are also in the anthology: Toronto poet laureate George Elliott Clarke, who earned his PhD from Queen's; Daniel David Moses, a professor in the drama department; and Ms. Smart’s former student Darryl Whetter, now a professor at Université Sainte-Anne.

    The Isabel Goes Alt with two new shows

    A new music series aimed at bringing some of Canada’s most sought-after young performers to Kingston will continue in 2015 with performances by Owen Pallett and the Barr Brothers.

    Owen Pallett will take to the stage at the new Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Feb. 6, with The Barr Brothers performing on March 13 .

    Owen Pallett will be playing at the Isabel on Feb. 6. (Photo Supplied)

    Composer, violinist, keyboard and vocalist Owen Pallett is well regarded for his distinct use of a loop pedal as part of his experimental sound. A classically trained violinist, Pallett composed his first piece at age 13, as well as two operas while in university. In 2006, Pallett, who was then performing under the moniker Final Fantasy, won the Polaris Music Prize, and was nominated again in 2013 for his newest album, In Conflict. A sought after collaborator, Pallett has recorded and toured with Arcade Fire, The National, Franz Ferdinand, and many others. He has also been a musical guest on the CBC Radio program, The Vinyl Café.

    The Barr Brothers are a Montreal-based folk quartet comprised of Andrew and Brad Barr, Sarah Page and Andres Vial.  Known for an eclectic sound the incorporates everything from R&B to West African music, the band released their debut, self-titled LP in September 2011 and have been winning accolades ever since. After a performance on The Late Show with David Letterman in November 2014, the host jokingly offered to manage the JUNO-nominated band. The Barr Brothers have performed all across the world, including as headliners at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

    The Barr Brothers are playing in the Isabel Goes Alt series on March 13. (Photo supplied)

    Tickets for Owen Pallett are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the performance.

    Tickets for the Barr Brothers are $20 in advance, and $25 on the day of the performance.

    All tickets are general seating.

    In order to make ticket prices accessible for students, the Isabel Goes Alt series is sponsored by Burgundy Asset Management.

    For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the Isabel’s website

    The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts is a hub for artistic study, creation, exhibition and performance at Queen's. It is home to the Department of Film and Media and also provides learning and working space for the university's other creative arts disciplines.

    The Isabel was made possible by a transformational gift from Alfred Bader (Sc'45, Arts'46, MSc'47, LLD'86) and his wife, Isabel (LLD'07) as well as the financial backing of the federal and provincial governments, the City of Kingston and additional philanthropic support.


    Membership offers perks for art patrons

    [Agnes Membership]
    Membership at the Agnes Agnes Etherington Art Centre provides access to special events featuring artists and curators. (University Communications)

    Art lovers in Kingston and around the globe now have a new way to support the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

    The gallery began offering direct memberships earlier this fall. The response to the gallery’s new membership platform has been strong, with 170 people signing up in the first month.

    “Membership provides a way to bring together those — across campus, in the region and beyond — who appreciate the visual arts. Our members will sustain and advance the Agnes as a leading art museum and a hub for arts supporters,” says Jan Allen, director of the gallery.

    All membership categories boast a “+ one” feature, through which an additional member is included free of charge.

    “Viewing and learning about art is often best experienced with a friend; “+ one” encourages this social dimension of the gallery,” Ms. Allen says.

    Membership benefits also include:

    • Free gallery admission, email bulletins and the gallery’s print newsletter.
    • Discounted access to fee-based courses, programs and ticketed Agnes events, as well as special members’ events and gatherings with visiting artists, curators and scholars.
    • Additional behind-the-scenes access and annual recognition events for Curator’s Circle and Director’s Circle members.

    Members also have opportunities to get involved in the work of the gallery. A steering committee will meet in January 2015 to craft plans for The Agnes Society, a group for active volunteers.

    “Interest in our programs and collections is high, and attendance has increased. To expand opportunities and respond to new possibilities, we hope to draw on the energy and ideas of our supporters,” Ms. Allen says. “We already benefit from a dedicated core of volunteers who assist us with collections, gallery tours and research resources, and we anticipate The Agnes Society will build on this success.”    

    To recognize the many contributions of the Gallery Association (GA), an independent charitable group that supported the Agnes up until this year, the gallery is offering GA members free Agnes membership. To take advantage of this special offer, they must apply for Agnes membership by Dec. 31, 2014.

    Membership forms are available online at www.agnes.queensu.ca or at the gallery.


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