Monthly Archives: December 2011

Senior ends college, vocal career on good note

A soprano vocalist showcased her talents with a variety of languages and musical styles during her senior recital, receiving a standing ovation when she finished.

Senior Kayla Wilkens sang with what audience members described as grace and power Dec. 4. In an elegant, red dress, she stood on stage with confidence and kept the audience focused on her.

Wilkens sang various songs in French, German, English and Hebrew. The content ranged from music from the classical era to the twentieth century. Styles she performed included a tango-influenced piece and love poems.

“The Hebrew songs are quite lovely and very poignant, and I knew I wanted to share a moment like that at my senior recital—it’s a very special set of songs. I’d heard “Animal Passion” at a vocal conference two summers ago and it’s very memorable. It’s a little bit naughty, but really fun to sing and it seemed like a great piece to end with.”

Music majors are required to complete a senior project in order to graduate. One of the choices for the project is a senior recital that demonstrates competency and the accomplishments of the student’s time studying at Linfield.

“I think a senior recital is an extremely nerve wracking experience, and Kayla managed it with the grace and beauty that I would expect from her,” junior Jenaveve Linabary said.

The preparation process for the recital was an extensive one, Wilkens said.

“When I returned from France for Spring Term, my voice teacher and I sat down and mapped out what type of a recital I wanted to have, and we chose to pull one song from sophomore year and then we assigned a few songs from the program to work on for that semester,” she said. “Over the summer I met with her a few times to go over the rest of the songs that I was learning, and by the time I came back to school this fall, I was mostly working on memorization and details.”

Wilkens glided effortlessly through her recital, hitting every note with accuracy and precision.

“She is amazing. She hits those high notes and the audience is just captivated by it,” sophomore Anna LaBeaume said.

Wilkens was joined on stage by piano accompanist Debra Huddleston. Student musicians played alongside her as well, providing her with a fuller sound.

“It’s been great to see how far she has come since she was a freshman,” junior Jeremy Moll said.

Wilkens has performed many times with the Linfield Chamber Orchestra and with the Oregon Symphony in 2008. She has appeared as Adina in scenes from “The Eilxir of Love” and Violetta in “La Traviata” with the Linfield Opera Theatre. Wilkens performed with the LCO  in a performance of “The Marriage of Figaro.” She portrayed Belle in the Albany Civic Theater’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

She is looking into vocal performance graduate programs. She says she plans on pursuing a vocal career whether that be Broadway or opera.

Wilkens brought the audience to their feet with her passion and talent, as her family, friends and everyone else congratulated her on her progress and success with applause.

“I’d actually expected to feel a bit more nervous, but I was honestly just really excited to share the material that I’ve been working on,” Wilkens said. “I really loved every song in my program and so it was a fun way to share what I’m studying here.”

Kelsey Sutton/
Copy chief
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at

Artist weaves tradition and baskets together

Participants admire one of the baskets that guest Stephanie Wood showed during the cultural workshop Nov. 30 in Withnell Commons. Joel Ray/Photo editor

The room was full of upbeat conversation and the smell of cedar at the cultural workshop Nov. 30. Linfield students and staff gathered in Withnell Commons for guest Stephanie Wood’s presentation about Native American basket-weaving techniques with a hands-on activity.

Wood passed around examples of baskets that she had made, and she identified the materials that she used while talking about the traditions of basket weaving. She also showed examples of the grasses and sedges she used.

She showed the workshop participants how to crack a strip of cedar bark and peel the outer bark away from the inner bark. Next, she demonstrated how to fold and twist the strips into the shape of roses.

“My favorite part was when my rose turned out pretty,” German teaching assistant Manuela Faschang said. “I was proud when I saw I could do it.”

Wood also showed the participants how to twist thin strands of Alaskan yellow cedar into rope.

“The workshop was really new and interesting,” French teaching assistant Esse Dabla said. “I really did not know what this would be about, so I was curious. I want to take chances and use opportunities. The whole thing was authentic and simple.”

Wood said that she comes from a family of basket weavers, but today, only she and one of her cousins continue to weave.

“I enjoy passing on and continuing traditions,” she said.

Throughout the workshop, Wood seemed to enjoy showing the workshop participants how to make the folds that would twist the cedar strips into roses.

“You can tell it’s really important to her life,” Faschang said. “Sometimes when you see things like this, it’s because people want to make money. [Wood] tries to keep it alive. It’s not just to make money.”

Wood is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. She is an alumna of the University of Oregon, where she completed her degree in cultural anthropology with an emphasis on Northwest Native American Cultures.

She has worked with several museum collections of Native American baskets to help identify the baskets’ origins and their creators.

Sharon Gollery/
Culture editor
Sharon Gollery can be reached at

Looks don’t determine ability

We are the generation of body modifications. Piercings, tattoos and other forms of body modification are not modern innovations, but seem to have gained popularity in the last two decades. Society’s reaction to body mods is largely disapproving, especially in the workplace, and I think that needs to change.

Body modification is changing or altering your body from its natural or “normal” state to fit how you want it to look. Changes can range from simple things such as a nose piercing or a tattoo, to more noticeable things like dreadlocks. Some people do even more extreme things like get reconstructive surgery.

Changes like these are a personal decision.

Some view these modifications as a form of self-expression and a way to be different. While some may not think it is a good reason to permanently alter your body, it is still a personal decision—one that does not affect how one performs in the workplace or at school. It also does not change a person’s worth or make them a bad person.

Body mods are becoming so popular that many employers don’t have a problem with them anymore. But there are still some places that refuse workers based solely on a few tattoos or piercings. I know someone who was fired because she had dreadlocks and her employer viewed them as “dirty.”

Ignorance is a large reason for this problem. Dreadlocks aren’t dirty. There is a lot of maintenance that goes into the hairstyle. Piercings and stretched ears don’t make someone a bad person. The individual simply likes the way he or she looks.

People shouldn’t be denied a job that they are qualified for just because they look a little different. There is nothing wrong with standing out. The skills someone possesses might be indispensable, and to deny them based on something shallow is an unwise decision.

I myself enjoy piercings, stretched ears and tattoos. I got these modifications because I like them and I think they look good. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m going somewhere with my career and that I’ll make a great mother one day. It simply means I’ll look a little different. Yes, some are permanent, and I’m prepared to deal with those consequences. But I don’t think I’ll regret it. I don’t want to be afraid that my future is jeopardized because of something I find artistic.

While it is becoming increasingly more acceptable to have modifications, people who are pierced, tattooed and physically altered are still being discriminated against and denied equal opportunity.

A person’s ability to work and perform is not taken away by these changes and the judgment needs to stop.


Kelsey Sutton/Copy chief

Factory farms ruin environment and torture animals

Most people don’t think about how the hamburger on their plate got there. They simply eat it without considering what they are consuming.

Even when people do stop to think about what the food put on their plate once was, they most likely don’t have an accurate idea of what really happens to the animals most people regularly consume.

When I was a kid, I always thought that farm animals lived a happy life, roaming relatively free in big green fields until they died and became our food.

I could not have been more wrong. Most farm animals live a miserable existence in cramped quarters until they are slaughtered for our consumption.

Poultry are perhaps the most mistreated, being fed tons of fattening food, but with no room to move around. Many chickens become so overweight that their legs break from the pressure.

How can we justify this kind of cruelty? Animals can feel pain and certainly don’t deserve to live such miserable lives just so people can eat their Big Macs and chicken nuggets at McDonalds.

Most Americans would be outraged if dogs or cats were treated this way, but little consideration is given to pigs, animals that are more intelligent than dogs.

According to ABC News, IQ research at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, England  has proven that farm animals are smarter than most people give them credit for.

Something needs to be done to change the way farm animals are treated. Factory farming is not only bad for the animals, but it’s also bad for the environment.

Instead of harvesting grain to be consumed by people, the majority of grain is harvested to feed farm animals, which are slaughtered to be eaten by humans. Because farmers feed their animals so much grain, wildlife habitats are destroyed to accommodate farmers’ needs.

While getting rid of factory farms is a huge task, there are simple ways for everyone to take a stand against this torture. The most obvious way to protest is to simply stop eating meat altogether. For many people, this is too radical of a change. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways to help.

Reducing the amount of meat and eggs you eat can make a difference. Also, buying free-range meat and eggs can help. Free-range means that the animals are allowed more space to roam. This is a small step in the right direction for farming practices.

By not supporting the business of factory farms, you are helping to not support the torture of animals and the destruction of our environment. If everyone changes their eating habits, factory farms will be forced to realize that people no longer want what they have to offer.

Farming should be done the way it is portrayed in children’s books: cows and pigs roaming across green fields, free to graze the grass already provided by nature, instead of trapped in cramped quarters and being fed harvested grain.


Meghan O’Rourke/Opinion editor


Don’t let consumerism overtake the holidays

It’s been a long, hard semester, and now the end is so close I can almost taste it. Only this week and finals lie between us and the holidays, whatever holidays you may celebrate.

It’s definitely showing in the realm of advertising, too. I’ve lost count of how many Christmas sale commercials I’ve heard on my Pandora radio station. So many stores are urging us to buy their stuff that you can practically hear them tripping and shoving each other to be first in line. And it’s alarming how many people are the same way—frantic to get the best deals and the most things.

Between Black Friday and the holidays, this time of year isn’t so much the season to be jolly as the season to show American consumerism at its finest. I get the feeling that too many people focus on the giving and receiving aspect of Christmas, making it a holiday centered around the all-important stuff. As nice as it is to give and receive presents, this should not be the focus of our holidays.

Now, if you asked an average person what the holidays were all about, you would probably get an answer about joy and love and being with family. Nobody likes to admit to being materialistic. However, the fact remains that the way consumerist America shows its joy and love is to give and receive presents, making the presents the most important aspect of the holiday.

I would urge everyone not to let the consumerist aspect of the holiday season get in the way of the things that truly make this time of year special. For some people, that might be drinking eggnog, or watching old Christmas movies with their grandparents. For others it could be caroling with their friends or baking a special cake.

Spending money on whatever deals mega-stores throw at us is hardly the reason to celebrate.

I’m not saying that you should boycott big stores and buy nothing. The holidays would be pretty dreary without people exchanging gifts, and it’s true that a lot of stores offer deals on items that would otherwise be out of a lot of people’s price range.

There are also a lot of organizations that give donated toys or food to children who wouldn’t otherwise get anything, and that is a wonderful kind of charity.

Giving gifts is not the only focus of the holidays, nor is it the main one. I doubt that any of the religious celebrations that happen around this time of year place much of an emphasis on getting stuff as part of the festivities.

As we head off on our break, we should anticipate the things that actually make the holidays special, not the prospect of acquiring more things.


Sharon Gollery/Culture editor