Articles tagged with: Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

  • Dramatic Arts grad’s road to success was paved at Brock

    Jacelyn Holmes (BA ’08) is set to release her debut album this winter and credits her success in the arts to her start in Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts.


    (From The Brock News, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    Among many things, Brock University taught Jacelyn Holmes (BA ’08) to defy her anxiety and be fearless.

    The Dramatic Arts alumna learned to harness the confidence she embraced in University and now uses it each time she takes the stage to sing.

    With the 10th anniversary of her graduating class set to be celebrated at Brock Homecoming this weekend, Holmes couldn’t help but reminisce about her artistic journey and how her Brock degree helped her achieve her career goals.

    “It’s been an interesting ride so far and it’s funny to recount where I am and what I’ve done,” said Holmes, who studied at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts before its move to the new downtown St. Catharines facility.

    After graduating, Holmes was involved in theatre productions and was cast in various television spots before realizing that her true passion was in the music industry.

    She has since landed gigs playing for the Toronto Jazz Festival, Canadian Music Week, the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival as well as booking international tours and showcases in Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, Asia and the U.S. She will be releasing her debut album in February, with a Christmas album to follow later next year.

    “Now that it’s all coming together, I’m excited to continue honouring my commitment to learning through art and creativity and discovering myself as an artist,” she said.

    An actress since childhood, her lifelong dream had always been to work in theatre and film — making the Dramatic Arts Department at Brock a perfect fit.

    “It was an amazing education,” she recounted. “At Brock, you spend four years constantly putting it all out there, learning to be vulnerable and available to failure in an environment where you can thrive with help from acclaimed professionals. It’s quite a beautiful thing.”

    Although her passion for the craft was evident, struggling with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and anxiety made focusing on schoolwork extremely difficult.

    “When I got to university, it became very apparent that I was not working at the same level as other people,” she recalled. “That brought out insecurities, shame and questions of why I was even there. I felt like I was drowning.”

    Holmes credited the support she received from Brock’s A-Z Learning Services for helping her overcome those barriers.

    “Feeling empowered to go and ask for the help that I needed or extra time on tests really allowed me to excel,” she said. “The staff at the Learning Centre were patient and taught me how to apply all that I had learned to my schoolwork and in the real world.”

    Her grades went up, she was awarded scholarships and would even receive the Spirit of Brock Award — given to the student who embodies the spirit of Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, by inspiring other students — in 2008.

    Department of Dramatic Arts Chair Joe Norris congratulated Holmes on all of her success and her ability to channel the skills she developed with her degree to find success in the arts and life overall.

    “Professors in the Department of Dramatic Arts aspire to inspire students in the entire range of their creative endeavours,” he said.

    Holmes agreed that her theatre background has been key to her success as a performing vocalist.

    “It was because of my theatre background that I am able to perform; it taught me to be fearless,” she said. “Some people would think that someone with anxiety would have a hard time getting up on stage, but it is my escape — and that feels awesome.”

    Shelley Huxley, Brock’s Director of Alumni Relations, said she is always pleased to hear of student successes.

    The Brock University Alumni Association works diligently, she adds, “to keep alumni informed about what’s happening at the University, and we work to connect alumni with each other for personal and professional gain.”

    “As the largest constituency of the University, alumni are our most loyal supporters and our best ambassadors,” she said. “We want our alumni to care about the University long after they’ve graduated. Engaged alumni benefit both the University and each other, but more importantly, engaged alumni help raise the reputation of Brock, and by virtue, the reputation of their degree in the marketplace.”

    This year’s Homecoming celebration takes place from Friday, Sept. 21 to Sunday, Sept. 23 with a variety of activities happening on campus and in the community.

     

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    Categories: Alumni, Department/Centre News, News

  • Get creative with Brock and the MIWSFPA during Culture Days

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) and Rodman Hall Art Centre (pictured) will be giving area residents a chance to meet artists and exercise their creativity as part of the national three-day Culture Days festival, Sept. 28 to 30.


    (From The Brock News, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 | by Alison Innes)

    Brock’s arts facilities are welcoming in the public for a series of activities and performances during the annual Culture Days celebration later this month.

    Rodman Hall Arts Centre and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) will be giving area residents a chance to meet artists and exercise their creativity as part of the national three-day festival Sept. 28 to 30.

    “We are so pleased to host another weekend of art and culture during Culture Days 2018,” says Rodman Hall Administrative Assistant Danny Custodio. “This year we’ve partnered with local artists and arts organizations to provide more activities, turning Rodman into a cultural hub.”

    Rodman Hall Arts Centre is hosting free hands-on workshops by area artists in addition to tours of their current exhibition, Up Close and In Motion: Selected Works from the Permanent Collection.

    Local artist Geoff Farnsworth, who specializes in portraiture, will be demonstrating drawing techniques and leading a drop-in workshop on expressive drawing Friday, Sept. 28 from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 29 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m..

    For those who would like to try their hand at painting, artist Jana Simms-Bergsma will lead workshop participants through a colourful exploration of expressive landscapes. Visitors can also work with artist Diana Williamson to capture the historic façade of Rodman Hall in a collaborative mural.

    Both Simms-Bergsma’s and Williamson’s offerings will take place Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

    Rodman Hall will also host two performances. The Drama Garden, by Carousel Players, is a promenade-style theatre experience with opportunities for audience participation on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

    DJ Marinko Jareb will be animating the Walker Botanical Gardens with an electro-acoustic soundscape performance Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

    The MIWSFPA will be offering guided and self-guided tours all weekend. Visitors are invited to view current VISA Gallery exhibition “Three to Eight” by Associate Professor Murray Kropf. Proceeds from Kropf’s exhibition will support student scholarships.

    The downtown St. Catharines arts school will also be bringing back a classic piece of Brock artwork. Michael Snow’s Frame 3 was initially commissioned by Brock University for a site-specific photo and video installation in the Mackenzie Chown Complex in 1972-73.

    In addition, the MIWSFPA will host the St. Catharines Poetry Slam workshop Spoken Word Poetry and You, which will teach participants the fundamentals of creating and delivering spoken word pieces.

    Culture Days is an annual festival giving Canadians the opportunity to meet creative professionals in their community and to foster an appreciation of artistic and cultural life.

    A full listing of St. Catharines events, including Rodman Hall workshops is available online.

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    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Events, News

  • Vocalist Fides Krucker to open Walker Cultural Leaders Series

    Internationally acclaimed artist and vocalist Fides Krucker, far right, will be the first presenter in the 2018-19 Walker Cultural Leaders Series, presenting on Sept. 19. (Photo by Cam MacLennan)


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    An innovative lecture and performance by renowned vocalist Fides Krucker will open the annual Walker Cultural Leaders Series when it returns to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

    Krucker, a teacher, interdisciplinary artist and singer, will present in Studio C, located in room MWS 251 of the MIWSFPA.

    Working across Canada and internationally, Krucker has devoted 35 years to contemporary vocal practice. Her experience as a singer of contemporary opera and her interest in non-verbal human sound textures, as well as her strong belief in sustainable vocal practices serves as the basis for her emotionally integrated voice teaching method.

    Brock Assistant Theatre Professor Danielle Wilson is especially looking forward to bringing Krucker to the series this year, as her own research on voice and embodiment techniques in the rehearsal process has links to the work Krucker does.

    “I am excited for her to share her unique perspective on the connectivity of breath, voice, body and creative impulse,” said Wilson. “I had heard of Fides for years as a pioneer of voice work and when I saw In This Body, her show at Canadian Stage this past spring, I knew I had to work with her.”

    In her lecture and performance, Krucker will explore voice through non-verbal vocalization. She offers a unique opportunity for connection through breath; to slow down and connect to the deeply felt, unseen parts of body and mind.

    Wilson and Brock Associate Theatre Professor Gyllian Raby had the opportunity to work with Krucker once before on Sabina’s Splendid Brain, a production opening Friday, Sept. 14 at the Walker School.

    That collaboration further cemented Krucker’s well-deserved place as the series’ opener this year.

    “The connection to breath is at the heart of life,” Raby explained. “Fides is an acting teacher who can sing in five octaves and knows the human shape of poetry. I am honoured and inspired to see her work with our students.”

    Krucker’s concert and demonstration is free and open to the public.

    Seating is limited and is being offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

    The concert marks the first event in another great lineup of workshops and performances in this year’s Walker Cultural Leaders Series, bringing leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics to Brock’s MIWSFPA.

    Elizabeth Vlossak, Director of the Walker School, said the series aims to engage students and the community with outstanding programming and cultural opportunities.

    “Our dynamic and impressive lineup of professionals in this year’s series will present content that is engaging and lively while also being challenging and thought-provoking,” she said. “These sessions celebrate artistic endeavour and achievement, as well as the indelible role of culture in our society.”

    2018-19 Walker Cultural Leader Series:

    Alejandro Cartagena

    Public lecture: Oct. 17, 6 p.m., Robertson Theatre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
    Exhibition opening: Oct. 17, 5 p.m., VISA Art Gallery and Student Exhibition Space
    Exhibition runs: Oct. 4 to Nov. 7

    Christine Cucciniello

    Zine-making workshop: Oct. 18, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., MWS 229A (inside the Learning Commons).
    To reserve a spot, please contact Catherine Parayre at cparayre@brocku.ca

    David Jalbert

    Masterclass for piano students: Nov. 16, 2:30 to 4 p.m., Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
    Public recital (part of the Encore Series): Partridge Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, at 7:30 p.m.

    David Psalmon

    Public talk and workshop: Towards a Contemporary Political Theatre
    Jan. 10 at 7 p.m., Marilyn I. Walker Theatre

    Alinka Echeverria

    Public lecture: Looking Back to Look Forward: The History of Photography in Contemporary Image-Making
    March 7 at 6 p.m., Robertson Theatre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
    The Road to Tepeyac: Opening Reception March 7 at 5 p.m., VISA Gallery
    Exhibition runs March 5 to 26

    Walker String Quartet

    Vera Alekseeva and Anna Hughes (violin), Faith Lau (viola) and Gordon Cleland (cello)
    RBC Music@Noon performance: March 5, Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

    Adam Dickinson

    Author’s talk: March 18 from 1 to 2 p.m., MWS 156

    Shawn Serfas, Adam Dickinson and Lorène Bourgeois

    Serfas, Dickinson and Bourgeois will be celebrated during a book launch through Small Walker Press, which publishes books by professors and students at the MIWSFPA and in the Humanities.
    Guest speaker: acclaimed artist/critic John Kissick
    TBD, week of May 6, MWS 156

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, News, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Sabina’s Splendid Brain opens at MIWSFPA Sept. 14

    Cellist Grace Snippe (BMus ’16), left, and Danielle Wilson bring the story of 20th century psychoanalyst Sabina Spielrein to life in Sabina’s Splendid Brain. The performance opens on Sept. 14 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. (Photo by George Enns.)


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    While Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung have become synonymous with psychoanalysis, the name Sabina Spielrein might leave you drawing a blank.

    The Stolen Theatre Collective hopes to change that by bringing the rarely told story of the Russian-Jewish psychoanalyst to life in a new production at Brock beginning next week.

    Sabina’s Splendid Brain, which opens Sept. 14 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), chronicles the life of the tenacious and passionate Spielrein as she struggles through the circumstances of her family, her education and her therapy, the professional barriers facing women and wartime anti-Semitism.

    Spielrein was often known in relation to her famous colleagues: first as a patient, then as a lover of Jung, and later as a student and friend of Freud. As a psychoanalyst in her own right, however, she moved beyond them both to become one of the great thinkers in 20th century psychology.

    Her work was all but wiped from the history books due to Joseph Stalin’s repression of intellectuals and the Nazi invasion of her hometown of Rostov-on-Don, where she and her daughters were killed. Her diaries were recently discovered, however, and her publications were re-examined to reveal the profound impact that her work had on her teachers and peers.

    “Sabina had to fight for her voice,” said Brock Associate Theatre Professor Gyllian Raby, the production’s Director. “She walks the boundary between genius and delusion, and this production invites the audience to experience her journey from a screaming teenager with spittle in her hair to the woman who wowed Freud’s intellectual Vienna Circle.”

    Scripted by Carol Sinclair, Sabina’s Splendid Brain is rendered on stage in sets by Nigel Scott, projections by Karyn McCallum and lighting by James McCoy (BA ’14), and features performances by Brock Assistant Theatre Professor Danielle Wilson and cellist Grace Snippe (BMus ’16).

    “This is a project that fully explores the interdisciplinarity between the arts that was the founding dream of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts,” said Wilson, who is also the co-founder and co-artistic director of Stolen Theatre Collective. “Music, theatre and philosophy are a natural trio in this story of how psychoanalysis helped shape modern consciousness.”

    Fides Krucker, a Canadian interpreter, vocalist, opera singer and teacher, collaborated on the interdisciplinary production with Stolen Theatre. Her innovative vocal techniques and interdisciplinary work will be further highlighted later this month as part of the Walker Cultural Leaders Series on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the MIWSFPA.

    Sabina’s Splendid Brain opens with back-to-back weekend performances Sept. 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22, all beginning at 7:30 p.m. Additional matinee performances will take place on Sept. 16 and 23 at 2 p.m.

    All performances are held at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, located at 15 Artists’ Common in St. Catharines.

    Tickets are pay-what-you-can-afford ($10, $25, $40 and $55) and can only be purchased in advance through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office.

    Limited paid parking is available on-site, but city parking is available within close proximity to the venue.

    For more information on the production, please contact info@stolentheatrecollective.ca

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    Categories: Alumni, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • First-year orientation activities for DART, Music, VISA, and STAC students

    Welcome to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA)!

    As a new student with the school, you are invited to The New Student Welcome and Academic Orientation as your official welcome to Brock University on September 4! The orientation begins at 8 a.m. in the Ian Beddis Gym, where you’ll hear from President Gervan Fearon and enjoy an inspirational keynote to begin your day and kick-start your term. Afterwards, you are welcome to connect with your faculty and upper year student mentors to receive important information about academic supports and resources. Then, go check out the vendor and welcome fair, take a campus tour and to locate your classes, and get an orientation to the Brock Library. * Don’t forget to register for this orientation at Experience BU.

    As a student in Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts or the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, you are invited to then attend the Faculty of Humanities orientation session, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre on Brock’s main campus.

     


    First-year MIWSFPA mixer and lunch

    September 4

    12 to 1:30 p.m.

    MIWSFPA lobby

    Downtown St. Catharines

    15 Artists’ Common

     

     


    There are also several department-specific orientation events that you are encouraged to attend!

    Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture

    Sept. 4:   2 to 6 p.m.
    Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Room 334
    15 Artists’ Common

    Visual Arts

    Sept. 7:  3 to 4 p.m.
    Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Lobby
    15 Artists’ Common
    *This will be followed by an opening of Murray Kropf’s new exhibit, Three to Eight at 4 p.m. in the VISA Gallery

    Dramatic Arts

    Sept 24: 6 to 8 p.m.
    MIWSFPA Theatre
    15 Artists’ Common

    Music

    September 11: 12 -12:50 p.m.
    Cairns Recital Hall.
    For all Music majors, single or combined.  

     

     

     

     

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

  • Exploring family history through art

    Chidera Onyegbule and Osaze Usuanlele make cyanotypes, an early type of archival photography, using images from their families’ histories. Fifteen youth aged 14 to 18 have been participating in the week-long workshop, which is a partnership between Rodman Hall Art Centre, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, and the City of St. Catharines.


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | by Alison Innes)

    Old family photos were given new life during a special Brock workshop held last week.

    Fifteen young artists from St. Catharines spent the week working with Visual Arts Professor Amy Friend to explore their family history and create new works of art.

    During the workshop organized by Rodman Hall Art Centre, participants used camera-less photography techniques on their familial documents as they conceptualized, planned and executed their artwork.

    “The program takes key ideas from Rodman Hall’s summer exhibition Carry Forward, such as how social and political biases get carried forward into how history is recorded, into the everyday lives of youth living in Niagara,” says Elizabeth Chitty, Rodman Hall Programming Officer.

    Chitty worked with community organizations and teachers to invite young artists from culturally diverse backgrounds to participate.

    Students spent several days at Rodman Hall exploring the ideas presented in Carry Forward, such as the complex history of documentation and power relations, engaging with colonialism, propaganda and authenticity.

    Participants were asked to consider how Rodman Hall itself is an archive, Friend says.

    “Students were encouraged to think about what an archive is, what it means to look at documents related to their own lives and how to use the archive as an art form to explore histories not well known.”

    Fifteen young artists from St. Catharines spent the week working with Visual Arts Professor Amy Friend to explore their family history and create new works of art.

    Working in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts darkroom as well as outside, the young artists used cyanotypes, silver gelatin prints and mixed media to engage with their own histories.

    Ness Griffin never met her grandparents or her extended family. Her family’s connection with their Haudenosaunee culture was cut in the Sixties Scoop.

    Working with reproductions of family photos that she made during the workshop, Griffin scratches out faces to represent her loss of connections with extended family.

    “It was a hard decision to make to cut up the photograph because it is deeply personal,” she said.

    Chimera Onyegbule also worked with photos of family she never met. Her great grandfather was born to a British father and Nigerian mother in the colonial era in Nigeria.

    “I call this piece The White Flag,” she says. “He’s like the white flag in a war between two sides.”

    The Grade 11 student at Holy Cross Catholic High School recently visited an aunt in London, England, where she learned more about her great grandfather.

    “I’ve always wanted to know more about my family history,” she says. “It’s important to keep stuff like this alive.”

    The pieces created through the special program will be featured during a public exhibition that will run until Sept. 2 in The Film House lobby of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    The public is invited to attend the exhibition’s opening on Tuesday, July 17 from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.

    Carry Forward is on at Rodman Hall Art Centre until Sept. 2.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Youths to get taste of the arts at Brock summer camps

    Young artists have the opportunity this summer to explore art and drama through day camps hosted by Rodman Hall Art Centre and Youth University. Both organizations will be hosting art camps at MIWSFPA for the first time.

    (from The Brock News, Monday, June 18, 2018 | by  )

    Young artists will have the opportunity to experience fine and performing arts through Brock University this summer.

    Youth University and Rodman Hall Art Centre will both be hosting summer programming at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts for the first time.

    “This is a great opportunity for youth to discover the school and meet faculty, staff and members of the artistic community as they start to formulate ideas about their aspirations for study after high school,” says MIWSFPA Director David Vivian.

    Students who are entering Grades 5 to 9 in September can choose from Youth University camps in arts media, performing arts, or performance props and effects, which run at various times in July and August.

    Young artists will be encouraged to get messy and creative each day using media such as charcoal, splatter painting, clay, mixed media and paper making.

    Youth interested in theatre can develop their voice and acting techniques while exploring what it means to be on stage and how to leave an impression with an audience, or explore costume making, performance make-up, lighting, and prop and set designs using a variety of materials.

    “Our camps offer a balance of adventure, creativity and innovation, and key to this experience is the relationship they develop with our Brock student mentors,” says Michelle Leone, Program Manager of Youth University.

    “We are grateful to have developed a partnership to bring Youth University camps downtown this summer. The MIWSFPA is a stunning and inspiring facility for our young artists.”

    The camps are also an opportunity for Brock’s arts students and recent graduates to develop key professional skills as they take on instructor roles, says Vivian.

    “This is a meaningful way for the students to develop important professional and mentoring skills that will assist them in their longer-term plans for studies and professional work in the arts, culture and educational sectors.”

    For more information on the Youth University camps or to register, visit brocku.ca/kids

    While Rodman Hall Art Centre has been offering arts camps for youths for years, the art centre is also hosting digital and textile arts camps at MIWSFPA for the first time in 2018.

    Participants in the digital drawing camps, which run in July and August, will use the school’s state-of-the-art computer labs to transform traditional drawings into digital artworks.

    “This will provide our campers with the opportunity to engage with the arts in our community, in new and innovative ways,” says Camp Co-ordinator Kylie Mitchell. “I am very excited to now provide our campers with the chance to engage with a modern art practice that will allow them to experiment and explore the world of digital art.”

    Youth ages 13 to 17 also have the opportunity to experiment with textile art with artist Nancy Nigh, learning embroidery basics and weaving, and creating their own artwork using wool felting processes.

    For more information about Rodman Hall’s arts camps or to register, visit brocku.ca/rodman-hall/learn/camps

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Future Students, News

  • Brock prof honoured at St. Catharines Arts Awards

    Visual Arts Associate Professor Derek Knight.

    (from The Brock News,  Tuesday, June 12, 2018 | by )

    A Brock professor known for his contributions to arts education was honoured for his longstanding efforts at last week’s 2018 St. Catharines Arts Awards.

    Visual Arts Associate Professor Derek Knight was presented the Arts in Education Award at the June 4 celebration.

    “I am thrilled and humbled by this recognition, and thankful to those dear colleagues who took the initiative to nominate me,” says Knight.

    “My various roles at Brock over my 30-year tenure as a teacher, art historian, curator and administrator have provided me with many opportunities to interact with the community in both profound and lasting ways.”

    Knight served on the Rodman Hall Art Centre Advisory Board from 2003 to 2015, and on the User Committee in support of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    He currently teaches courses in 20th century European and North American art history and contemporary art and theory, and works with MA students in the Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts program.

    Knight is also a past director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    “When I assumed the directorship, our objective then was to plan and build a state of the art facility in support of innovative studio or performance degree programs and history or cultural theory degrees,” says Knight.

    “The impact of this transformative project on the University and community at large has been profound. It remains a testament to our collective efforts and to the legacy of Mrs. Walker, our remarkable benefactor.”

    Knight nurtured a legacy of productive relationships among the departments making up the arts school, says current MIWSFPA Director David Vivian.

    “Through all aspects of the development and building of our school and leading to the opening of the facility in 2015, Derek has been a generous, indefatigable mentor to us.”

    Also presented during last week’s celebration was the Emerging Artist Award, sponsored by Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    The honour’s two recipients included Markino Jareb, a multidisciplinary visual artist and DJ whose work has been described as an “intersection of street culture, the dance floor and the gallery walls,” and Jessica Wilson, a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who has performed in theatre, as a soloist with various Canadian symphony orchestras and at various acoustic shows across Niagara.

    Also recognized during the event was Shauna MacLeod, founder and director of the Willow Community, who received the Jury’s Pick Award for her exceptional commitment to the arts in St. Catharines. The non-profit arts organization, based at Rodman Hall, provides free artistic training and exhibition opportunities to community members with lived experience of mental health and addiction.

    The Arts Awards have promoted St. Catharines artists and cultural industries and honoured cultural leader since 2005. Recipients receive $500 to support their work and a certificate or a hand-crafted award.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Student completes music degree started 18 years ago in Mexico

    Mexico’s Luis Gerardo Molina will graduate from Brock Friday with a degree in Music.

    (from The Brock News,  Tuesday, June 05, 2018 | by )

    For 20 years, Luis Gerardo Molina worked his way up the corporate ladder of a growing computer software firm in his home country of Mexico.

    After high school, he had made what he viewed as a responsible decision to choose a stable career in technology over a fragile one as a classical pianist, but his love of music kept pulling at him like a magnet.

    Eventually, he gave in, and on Friday, June 8, at the age of 48, his career change will be official when he graduates from Brock University with a degree in Music.

    “It means everything,” said Molina. “That was a dream that I always wanted to make happen and I really struggled to get it.”

    Born into a family of talented musicians, Molina grew up around choirs and instruments, and by the age of six it was obvious he had a gift. At nine, he started working with a piano teacher and for eight years he attended a specialized school of music that turned his hobby into a craft.

    “I finished my high school and I had that dilemma many people face — should I devote my life to music? Is that a safe path for the rest of my life?” Molina said. “I decided to follow an alternative career. I always really liked the maths, so I decided to choose engineering.”

    A literal flip of a coin at the age of 17 made Molina choose computer engineering over civil engineering, and that set in motion a software career that lasted 20 years.

    But while his career progressed to the point of becoming a manager, so did his ongoing love of music. Having never truly given up his dream of being a professional pianist, Molina went back to the University of the Americas part time in 2000, completing two years of a four-year degree before realizing the workload wasn’t sustainable.

    Luis Molina’s music career has taken him to competitions and performances around the world.

    “It was just too much,” he said.

    But an invitation to an international piano competition in Paris in 2003 ramped up his duelling interests. After beating out nearly 100 competitors from 35 countries to win the contest, he was invited to more international performances and competitions, leading to the production of his first album of live recordings.

    “I got very good support from the company I was working for. The owner was a kind guy who was also involved in music and he always felt proud to tell them he had an employee with this background in competition and music,” said Molina, who traveled to the U.S., Germany, Russia, Poland and elsewhere over the years.

    “After doing all that, I decided the music is calling me more and more,” he said. “The company I was working for was growing and every day it was getting more complicated to do both things together.”

    Finally in 2015, the door opened to make music his full-time endeavour. He was hired as a pianist with a philharmonic orchestra in Mexico and went back to university for his third year of music school.

    Then, in 2017, a trip to Canada to visit friends in Niagara led to another big change.

    “I loved the Niagara region so I thought, if I’m going for my passion in music, I found the perfect place to do it,” he said.

    A tour of Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and a meeting with Associate Professor of Music Karin Di Bella confirmed that Brock was where Molina would finish his degree.

    “I fell in love with what I found here. And now that I’m almost done, I feel very lucky to have had this great opportunity in this great country and at this great University,” he said.

    Di Bella called Molina “the real deal.”

    “He possesses a rare combination of drive, discipline, musical maturity, technical facility, innate musicality and a true flair for performance,” she said. “Despite his many accomplishments, he is very humble and always eager to learn, making him a true joy to work with.”

    After graduating Friday in the final day of Brock’s Spring Convocation, Molina will move on to do his master’s in musical literature and performance at Western University.

    From there, a PhD and potentially a teaching career are in his sights.

    “I’ve been performing for more than 30 years and I want to continue doing that, but I’d like to share my perspectives and teach others,” he said.

    Molina credits his wife, Marcela Lagunas Burgos, herself a talented musician who plays the cello, as playing a major role in his career success.

    “We’re definitely on the same frequency. She has supported me with everything and all the decisions.”

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Future Students, In the Media, News

  • MIWSFPA welcomes Elizabeth Vlossak as Director

    Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will take on the role of Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1.

    (adapted from The Brock News, Sunday, June 03, 2018 | by )

    Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will be become Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1 when current Director David Vivian begins a year-long sabbatical.

    “I’m really looking forward to continuing to strengthen our community partnerships and perhaps develop new ones,” says Vlossak. “I’m thinking of ways to bridge the Humanities so that there is more interaction and collaboration between the MIWSFPA and other departments on the main campus.”

    Being a historian, Vlossak says she loves how “the city’s past has been preserved in a way that is relevant to the present, while also looking to the future,” in terms of the MIWSFPA building. But the school isn’t just the building. “It’s the people — students, faculty and staff — doing incredible work that enriches Brock as well as St. Catharines and the Niagara region.”

    Vlossak’s research area is 20th century European history, with particular interest in cultural history during the two world wars, women’s history, gender and nationalism, and memory and the politics of commemoration.

    She is a founding member and Associate Fellow of The History Lab, a collaboration with the Niagara Falls Military Museum, Seedling for Change in History, and Associate Professor Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas.

    Vlossak has also consulted with the Department of Dramatic Arts on two Mainstage productions, Ring Around the Moon (2006) and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (2016), sharing her research specialization with students and contributing to their successful performances.

    “The executive of the school is particularly excited by Associate Professor Vlossak’s record of community engagement through undertakings such as The History Lab,” says Vivian. “We look forward to her contribution to existing programming and relationship building with our community partners, as well as her unique new initiatives.”

    “I’m very pleased that Professor Vlossak is willing to take on the role of Interim Director of the MIWSFPA,” says Faculty of Humanities Dean Carol Merriam. “Professor Vlossak is an active, energetic, and imaginative teacher and scholar, and will bring those same qualities to the work of the School.”

    Vivian, Associate Professor with the Department of Dramatic Arts, has been Director of the MIWSFPA since 2016. Previously he was Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (3 years) and Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts (4 years). He teaches theatrical design, production and stagecraft and has designed sets and costumes for Department mainstage productions.

    “The directorship is an unusual job involving work with faculty, staff, students and external partners, and Professor Vivian has balanced all of these demands very effectively,” says Merriam. “I wish him well of his rightly-deserved sabbatical.”

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    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, News