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  • Join Studies in Arts and Culture for virtual open office hours

    Catherine Parayre, Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) will be hosting virtual open office hours on:

    Wednesday, Dec. 2 2020, 1-2 p.m.

    Wanting to know more about arts and culture, arts management, careers in the field? Do you have questions about our STAC courses? For any questions, or just to say hello, don’t hesitate to join Catherine Parayre, Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture on Wednesday 2 December 2020 from 1 to 2 pm.

    You are invited to call STAC Virtual Hour 2 Dec 2020 1-2 pm on Lifesize.

    Join the meeting: https://call.lifesizecloud.com/6623799
    Join the Lifesize meeting using Skype for Business: https://skype.lifesizecloud.com/6623799

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    Call in by Phone (audio only)
    Canada: +1 (844) 572-5683
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    Categories: Events, Future Students, News, Uncategorised

  • Dramatic Arts students mount ominous play from award-winning Canadian playwright

    Originally published in The Brock News WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2020 | by 

    Pictured above: Members of Sandbox Theatre, Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts fourth-year student-run company, rehearse a scene for their online production of Concord Floral by Jordan Tannahill.

    Ten teenagers must face their guilt — and their past — in the latest online production offered by Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART).

    Sandbox Theatre, Brock’s fourth-year DART student company, will present the evocative play Concord Floral next month through a virtual format.

    Written by Canadian theatre maker Jordan Tannahill, two-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, Concord Floral was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Drama in 2016 and has been produced by theatre companies across the country.

    Directed by Dramatic Arts Instructor Ali Joy Richardson, the play will be streamed on the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) YouTube channel on Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.

    Inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s 13th century literary classic The Decameron, the story follows 10 teenagers who are fleeing a plague of their own making after a rumour spreads that two girls have found a body in an abandoned greenhouse called Concord Floral.

    The gripping production features original design, choreography and musical composition by the student cast as they perform virtually from their homes.

    To reserve your free viewing spot on the MIWSFPA YouTube channel, please visit Brock University Tickets.

    While there is no cost for tickets, donations are encouraged in support of the Black Health Alliance, a community-led registered charity working to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada.

     

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, News, Uncategorised

  • Music@Noon concert series goes virtual

    Former Music students Gavino Oresta (left) and Eric Godfree perform their recitals during a previous Music@Noon Series event. This year, the concert series will be held online in accordance with public health guidelines.

    The RBC Foundation Music@Noon Series returns Tuesday, Nov. 17, albeit with a new format.

    The anticipated concert series will be held virtually this season, with Brock Music students recording solos from their own homes.

    In the past, performances have taken place live on the stage of the Recital Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC), adjacent to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA). This year, the PAC and Brock’s Department of Music changed the format in accordance with public health guidelines.

    Self-recorded performances from the solo recital students will be streamed Tuesday through the MIWSFPA and PAC YouTube channels and Facebook pages, marking the first online presentation of the 2020-21 concert series.

    Generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation, the free concert series takes place most Tuesdays at noon throughout the academic year. The recitals are open to the public and feature Brock’s performance faculty and special guests, as well as talented students and alumni.

    For full event details, please visit the Music concert listings page.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Weekend of virtual events to explore theatre in the age of climate change

    Originally published TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2020 in The Brock News| by 

    Pictured above: Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

    Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) has teamed up with the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre to offer online performances and virtual discussions from Friday, Nov. 13 to Sunday, Nov. 15.

    Convened by DART Professors David Fancy and Karen Fricker, the weekend will include the sharing of five commissioned performances meant to inspire conversation and critical thought, as well as a livestreamed performance of Broadleaf Theatre’s award-winning production, The Chemical Valley Project, co-created by Kevin Matthew Wong and Julia Howman, and a panel discussion with contributing artists including Fancy, Wong and Santee Smith from Kaha:wi Dance Theatre.

    As part of the Walker Cultural Leaders Series, Brock University commissioned 10 regional theatre artists to create short online presentations exploring the climate crisis in relation to any area of their interest. The first five performances will be showcased as part of the November event and will include artists who are performers, designers, educators and writers. These artists have explored a multitude of themes in relation to climate change including consumerism, feminism, colonialism, COVID-19, healing, ecological grief and more. Excerpts of these works in progress will be shown followed by a Q&A session allowing the audience to engage with the performers.

    “We’re committed to manifesting Marilyn Walker’s vision and legacy of cultural leadership by bringing creative and critical attention to the climate crisis,” said David Fancy. “We’re especially grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with the PAC on this series of presentations.”

    Annie Wilson, PAC’s Programming Supervisor, said the “climate crisis is going to require our collective creativity to rise to its challenges.”

    “We appreciate the chance to work alongside Brock’s Dramatic Arts Department to build this opportunity to reflect as a community on this most important issue.”

    For full event details, please visit our Walker Cultural Leaders page.

    Upcoming Walker Cultural Leaders Series events:

    Friday, Nov. 13:

    Walker Cultural Leaders Series commissioned artists — 5 to 6:30 p.m.

    • Dani Shae Barkley — exploring the economy, globalization, ecological grief and the climate
    • Kelly Wolf — exploring feminism and the climate
    • Iain Ellis Lidstone — exploring the relationship between land and healing

    Excerpts will be followed by a discussion chaired by Michelle Mohammed.

    The Chemical Valley Project by Broadleaf Theatre, co-created by Kevin Matthew Wong and Julia Howman — 7 p.m.

    Livestreamed performance from Robertson Theatre at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Presented by the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in partnership with Brampton’s Rose Theatre, Kingston’s Grand Theatre and Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts. Supported by Ontario Presents and Ontario Arts Council.

    Saturday, Nov. 14:

    The Chemical Valley Project by Broadleaf Theatre, co-created by Kevin Matthew Wong and Julia Howman — 2 p.m.

    A second livestreamed performance of The Chemical Valley Project from Robertson Theatre at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    Sunday, Nov. 15:

    Land, Water, Activism, Performance: A talkback and discussion panel — 1 p.m. 

    A panel discussion moderated by Karen Fricker featuring Kevin Matthew Wong of Broadleaf Theatre; Santee Smith, Artistic Director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre; and DART Professor David Fancy. Topics will include Broadleaf Theatre’s commitment to climate-focused dramaturgy; Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s Indigenous futurist dance production Skén:nen; and the upcoming Theatre Training in the Era of Climate Crisis volume and conference co-edited and organized by Fancy.

    Walker Cultural Leaders Series commissioned artists ­— 2 to 3:30 p.m.

    • James McCoy — exploring fatigue and the climate; the emotional response to climate change
    • Adrienne Smoke — presenting Rona” exploring colonialism, COVID-19 and the climate

    Excerpts will be followed by a discussion chaired by Michelle Mohammed.

    Tickets for The Chemical Valley Project are pay-what-you-can and are available on the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre website. There are no tickets required for The Walker Cultural Leader Series commissioned artists, and Land, Water, Activism, Performance: A talkback and discussion panel. These events will be livestreamed on the PAC and MIWSFPA Facebook pages and the MIWSFPA YouTube channel in addition to the  PAC’s YouTube page 

    All content will be available for viewing (by ticket holders where applicable) until Sunday, Nov. 29.

     

     

  • Bright future for Brock grad at leading Canadian arts festival

    Photo caption: Brock Graduate Dian Marie Bridge (BA ’99) appointed Associate Artistic Director of Luminato Festival Toronto.

    It’s no secret that 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for the arts, but for Dian Marie Bridge (BA ’99), there’s reason to celebrate.

    In September, Luminato Festival Toronto announced the appointment of Bridge as its new Associate Artistic Director.

    Based in Toronto, Bridge is an award-winning theatre creator and producer. A driving force in the local arts scene, Bridge graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Major in Theatre from Brock University in 1999.

    Her excitement for the future is electric.

    “Luminato offers unparalleled arts programming for the city, and beyond,” said Bridge. “This festival is a major cultural draw, and it is so exciting to open the door for a lot of artists.”

    In her new role, Bridge will be drawing on personal and professional experiences in theatre and the performing arts gained over the past 30 years. Along the way, she has met many artists, joined important arts committees (including Toronto Arts Council) and worked on numerous grant applications. Bridge has been closely following current trends in theatre and critically examining how the arts community is moving forward. She has been living this reality, too.

    Bridge is ready to put what she has learned into play, especially given the global pandemic and its traumatic effects on the arts industry.

    “There is a shift happening – a real desire for community,” she said. “We want to be more than just spectators. We want to experience this thing together. People have done a virtual shift.”

    Bridge said Luminato was somewhat lucky in terms of timing of the first shut down announcement early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “It came at a time when we were able to shift planning, yet still ensure artist’s contracts were honoured,” she said. “We were able to pivot with digital programming at the right time.”

    Bridge’s time at Brock University had a profound impact on her career path and helped her articulate her creative voice. While pursuing her theatre degree, she did a third-year exchange program at the University of Minnesota. There, she worked on her first professional production at the illustrious Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.

    It was a memorable year her as she lived and learned in the heart of a robust arts scene and attended some 40 productions. The exchange program shaped her artistic self and widened her perspective on theatre and performance, she said.

    During her time in Minneapolis, Bridge was taught directing by Lou Bellamy, Founder and then-Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre. Located in the neighbouring twin city of Saint Paul, Penumbra Theatre continues to create timely and high-quality productions through the lens of the African American experience. At the time of Bridge’s exchange, Penumbra premiered works of American playwright August Wilson, and Wilson himself gave a private master class for her third-year directing course. Her introduction to Black American theatre was through watching three of Wilson’s professional productions.

    Bridge was one of four racialized students in the Theatre department during her time at Brock, but often the only one in certain classes.

    Reflecting on how different the political climate was then she said as a young person in the 1990s, “it was all so new.”

    “We did not have the language around racial injustices,” she said. “This was right after Rodney King’s trial. There was understanding that things were not fair, but the critical thinking around how racial injustice works, and how to fight it, was still new to me.”

    Now, students have much more understanding of racial issues and are more politically activated, said Bridge.

    “We can challenge hierarchy and authority and understand the limitations of other’s education.”

    When the creative job market falls on hard times, as happened during COVID, she said it’s easy for decision makers to go with obvious choices.

    “This leads to trouble in terms of representation. Now we are demanding better from the people who contract artists, challenging our own bias, and putting in the work to get more diversity in theatre spaces,” she said.

    At Luminato, Bridge will lead the Artists in Residence program, offering artists an opportunity to envision and actualize their work on a larger scale. She’s motivated to highlight creative work that has developed in the margins.

    “The Artist in Residence program is currently only focused on established and senior artists, as there is a lack of support for this group of professionals,” she said. “There is a lot of focus on supporting emerging artists, but for racialized folks, once you go beyond emerging, the opportunity for work becomes thin in terms of the companies you can work for, or the projects that you choose to work on.”

    To the next generation of students, creators, artists and theatre-makers, Bridge said collaboration is key.

    “Create art collectives, meet the dancers, meet the actors, meet the mathematicians. We are all living in the same world, yet our experiences are so different. Art is often born out of the issues of the time. What does this say about us?”

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  • Dramatic Arts rewrites script for online learning with Shaw Festival

    Pictured above: Shaw Festival Theatre actors Jonathan Tan, left, and Olivia Sinclair-Brisbane coached Brock students online in DART 1F01: Acting for Non-Majors. (Photos by David Cooper)

    Originally published FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2020 | by 

    Brock Dramatic Arts students got a virtual backstage pass to the revered Shaw Festival Theatre this summer.

    An innovative teaching initiative gave students taking DART 1F01: Acting for Non-Majors the opportunity to connect online with and receive personalized coaching from professional actors Jonathan Tan and Olivia Sinclair-Brisbane from the Shaw Festival Theatre permanent company.

    For third-year student Jordan Henderson, the virtual experience was both valuable and uplifting.

    “Jonathan Tan had many wise words that really helped me build confidence in my acting skills,” he said. “He also helped me to understand that what I might consider a mistake, audiences may interpret as something completely different.”

    David Fancy, Professor and Chair in the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, developed the course’s online teaching material with the future in mind and produced 700 minutes of lessons over 70 separate videos.

    This foundational acting course, which Fancy describes as “extreme monologuing,” is designed to help students discover the underlying principles of acting. Students explore the actor’s process, including awareness, stimulus, impulse, intention and action.

    “We’re making some exciting changes to DART 1F01,” Fancy said. “We’re using this opportunity to build a course that we can also share with students who have to work remotely in the future.”

    In the virtual coaching sessions, students rehearsed monologues they’d written themselves with the Shaw actors, soaking in their expertise and knowledge.

    Second-year student Benoit St-Aubin gained unique perspective on the acting world, and it left him craving more.

    “I absolutely loved the session that I had with Olivia. We had the opportunity to run through our monologues with her and she gave us great tips to improve them,” he said. “I didn’t realize how much I missed being in class, but this meeting really made me want to go back in September.”

    Fourth-year student Alexandra Hunter was able to immerse herself in the story of her monologue, giving her a deeper connection and understanding of her character and the creative process.

    “I learned so much from Olivia,” Hunter said. “She helped me illustrate the emotions in a strong way so that I knew how to perform them and react accordingly.”

    This opportunity to leverage technology and connect students to professional actors was co-ordinated by Fancy and Dramatic Arts instructor Carolyn Mackenzie in partnership with the Shaw Festival. They worked alongside Shaw’s Senior Manager for Education Suzanne Merriam, Education Assistant Melissa Domingos and Education Co-ordinator Megan Gilchrist.

    This course is just one of the ways Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts is using innovative thinking and a creative approach to lead the charge on the future of performing arts. This fall, audiences can expect riveting new work, pushing the boundaries of live theatre with the Dramatic Arts mainstage production Scenes from an Execution by Howard Barker.

    More details on the Department of Dramatic Arts and the fall mainstage virtual production are available online.

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  • Health Sciences students learn to confront personal biases

    Though she may have appeared to be relaxing on a bench, Larissa DellaVentura was hard at work trying to see the world through the eyes of those around her.

    The third-year Medical Sciences student recently completed an observation exercise where she evaluated the behaviours of people while sitting in a public space and maintaining physical distancing. However, her preparation to complete the exercise started a few days earlier from the comfort of her home office.

    To become accustomed to observing the actions of others while also factoring in circumstances that are not initially obvious, DellaVentura and her Health in Canadian Society class completed an online experiential learning activity designed to heighten their perception of people’s body language as well as their own unintentional biases.

    In order to ensure the activity was completed in a physically distanced manner, local theatre company Mirror Theatre, which is mostly comprised of Dramatic Arts students and alumni, led the class through a virtual exercise that involved analyzing prepared photos and the body language of participants, while also attempting to make assumptions based only on what they had seen.

    “It really demonstrated how we have our own biases and our own unique perspectives,” said DellaVentura of the exercise. “Even as we were looking at the same pose on our screen, some interpreted it as embarrassed, while others believed the person was praying.”

    The course’s instructor, Assistant Professor Valerie Michaelson, said the lessons of empathy and self-reflection the exercise promoted are critical for aspiring health professionals.

    “When we are in professions in the health and medical sciences and don’t take the time to examine our biases, it can very literally be deadly,” she said. “This observation assignment also helps us to see how easy it is to make assumptions about why people have the health experiences they do. When we start to really pay attention, we see that some neighbourhoods have access to safe parks and fresh, affordable produce, but others just don’t. We start to consider how health is about a lot more than self-discipline, and that some of the most important health choices we make are often shaped by matters that are outside our control.”

    In addition to the broadened perspectives experienced by students taking part, those leading the exercise were also able to participate and grow.

    “We successfully accomplished our goal to assist us all in playfully and critically exploring our implicit perspectives on how we read the world,” said Mirror Theatre Artistic Director and Brock Professor of Drama in Education and Applied Theatre Joe Norris. “Feedback from a number of participants indicated that they became more aware of the assumptions that they make.”

    Mirror Theatre member and Brock graduate Bernadette Kahnert (BA, BEd ’19) said her team learned valuable lessons about their own assumptions when it came to online instruction.

    “The workshop was very informative of what can be done online,” she said. “It showed me that remote learning can open up doors I would not have in a traditional face-to-face atmosphere and has given me hope that I can still deliver an in-depth, reflective and educational experience.”

    Once the online portion wrapped up, DellaVentura put the reflective skills she learned to the test in a north-end St. Catharines plaza.

    As an aspiring physician, she said the exercise has encouraged her to look within herself while also being more aware of the circumstances of those around her.

    “We all have our own implicit biases that we may not even be aware of,” she said. “As a health-care professional, it’s important that we confront those biases and not let them influence our decisions.”

    Along with DellaVentura, some members of the class have chosen to safely visit outdoor public spaces, while others have decided to observe from their windows or through other means.

    Regardless of where they chose to conduct their observation, Michaelson is confident that the exercise will have a lasting effect.

    “These exercises light a flame in people, and it grows into something that is long-lasting and transformative,” she said. “We want our students to be leaders in the health-care system who have the skills to identify inequities so that they can then participate in the urgent work of dismantling them.”

    To learn more about Brock’s experiential education programs and in-class workshops, visit the Experiential Education website.

    Mirror Theatre is recruiting new participants from the Brock community with an online orientation meeting on Wednesday, October 7 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. Anyone interested in participating is asked to contact Norris at jnorris@brocku.ca for login instructions.

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  • Dramatic Arts graduate’s web series selected for digital innovation grant

    Image:Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) graduate Marley Kajan (BA ’14) and Connor Ferris, co-creators of new web series Like Comment Subscribe.

    (Originally FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 | by 

    Marley Kajan (BA ’14), who majored in Dramatic Arts during her time at Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, has good reason to celebrate.

    Last week, it was announced that the web series she co-created, Like Comment Subscribe, has been selected for the Canada Council for the Arts and CBC Digital Originals initiative. Kajan noted she and her co-creator, Connor Ferris, are honoured to be recipients of the grant and are excited to kick-off production of their pilot.

    Like Comment Subscribe follows millennial influencers and BFF’s Meaghan and Avery, who seem to have it all: fortune, fame and followers,” said Kajan. “But when COVID-19 sends their lives into lockdown, the impact begins to reveal the people behind the profiles.”

    In addition to co-creating and co-writing the web series, Kajan, alongside Ferris, will play the two leading roles. In partnership with the CBC, the series will be produced by Hamilton and Toronto-based production company Dei Gratia Pictures.

    Kajan, a bright talent in the Canadian dramatic arts scene, originally hails from Welland. Graduating with a concentration in Performance, she achieved First Class Standing. She was recently invited by the Department of Dramatic Arts to virtually perform for this year’s orientation, inspiring the next generation of students for what promises to be a historic year ahead for the arts.

    “The CBC’s Digital Originals initiative funded by the Canada Council aims to assist artists as they pivot their work, or create new original work, for online distribution as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” writes the Canada Council for the Arts. “While many artists are discovering new performance platforms, the creative team behind Like Comment Subscribe will certainly help forge the path to bring compelling stories to audiences across Canada, and beyond.”

    This story was written by Gillian Minaker.

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  • Brock hosts virtual arts conference for future teachers

    Image description: The 10th annual Arts Matter event took place online this year, bringing together approximately 40 teacher candidates for additional professional development in dance, music, drama and visual arts.

    (Originally published in The Brock News TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2020 | by 

    Brock University’s annual Arts Matter: Integrating the Arts Across the Curriculum conference is a highlight of the year for teacher candidates. This year, the opportunity to dig into the arts may be more meaningful than ever.

    Designed to give teacher candidates additional professional development in teaching four art forms, Arts Matter is the only conference of its kind in Canada. It was launched by Shelley Griffin, Peter Vietgen and Kari-Lynn Winters, who are all Associate Professors in the Faculty of Education.

    When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the three to reconsider holding the event, now in its 10th year, they decided to hold it online because of how important the arts are both in the classroom and in times of crisis.

    “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw how children, parents and caregivers were creating art in all of its forms to help cope with the anxiety we are all continuing to experience,” said Vietgen.

    “In these uncertain times, we are committed to the needs of our teacher candidates and to continued teaching and learning in the arts,” added Winters. “The arts make us human. During these historical moments, we need humanity more than ever.”

    The organizers hoped the conference would allow teacher candidates to tap into the arts for their own benefit while also building their capacity to teach these subjects in the future. On Sept. 16, approximately 40 teacher candidates participated in dance, music, drama and visual arts sessions. The sessions, which took place on Microsoft Teams, were facilitated by Ontario educators who are experts in teaching the arts.

    “We commit to exposing teacher candidates to all these art forms through additional professional development early in the instructional year so they can integrate their learning into their Bachelor of Education program and their practicum experiences,” said Griffin.

    Through these sessions, teacher candidates explored integrating the arts across the curriculum with a special focus on teaching and experiencing the arts through distance learning and using technology in teaching of the arts.

    “I chose to participate in this conference because I wanted to understand how the arts could be taught in an online platform,” said Elwin Anthonypillai (BA ’20), first-year Consecutive Teacher Education student.

    He thinks the Arts Matter sessions helped prepare him as a future teacher by providing resources to consult when writing lesson plans as well practical experience of how to blend different course materials with the arts in meaningful and exciting ways.

    “I feel much more confident in my future as a teacher because I feel I have a great foundation to build on with art courses, regardless of if my classroom will be online or in person,” he said.

    Building the confidence of teacher candidates is one of the goals of Arts Matter. The teacher candidates who participated will teach the arts as grade K to 6 or 4 to 10 teachers. This can be intimidating for those without experience in the arts.

    “I knew I had to step outside my comfort zone and become more knowledgeable on arts topics,” said Kailey Peirson (BSM ’18), second-year Consecutive Teacher Education student. “I have added more lessons to my teacher toolkit and feel as if I could walk into a classroom of any grade and teach at least three concepts from [the session],” said Peirson.

    Each session included just 10 participants to ensure everyone had a chance to interact. In some sessions, teacher candidates were able to work in groups of three or four in virtual breakout rooms.

    As well as engaging in activities, teacher candidates were also able to learn new tools or innovative practices using familiar tools to create engaging lessons for future students.

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  • Upcoming: The Department of Music virtually attends Royal Conservatory of Music College & University Music Fair 2020

    The Department of Music at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University is excited to virtually host future musicians at their online booth! The Royal Conservatory College & University Fair is going virtual this year. Set for October 3, 2020, registration is FREE. It has never been easier for future students to learn about the programs offered, admission requirements and much, much more. See you there!

    Register for free: https://bit.ly/2ZS1cLR

    To learn more about the programs offered through the Department of Music at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, drop by our degree programs page.  

     

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