Tag Archives: Culture

Wildcats dip their paws into community theater

Three Linfield theater arts majors are set to act in a play at McMinnville Gallery Theater.

Seniors Steven Stewart and Matt Sunderland and sophomore Chris Forrer were cast in “Arsenic and Old Lace” by playwright Joseph Kesselring, which opens on April 1.

The play also features Meridith Symons, administrative assistant for Academic Affairs, and is directed by Paula Terry, Acquisitions, Cataloging and Administrative Support Coordinator at Nicholson Library.

The play’s plot centers around two sisters, Abby and Martha Brewster, who appear to rent out their spare room to kindly older gentlemen when in reality they are plotting to kill the men.

Sunderland said he was cast in a production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” during his senior year of high school.

“Once I heard that she [Terry] was directing, I was very excited, and I wanted to audition because I love the play.”

Sunderland was cast as Mortimer Brewster in high school, but this time he will portray Dr. Herbert Einstein.

“He [Einstein] is a homicidal maniac and a touch insane,” he said.

Forrer will play the role of Mortimer, a theater critic working for a newspaper in Brooklyn, the play’s setting.

Rehearsal dates for the Linfield theater’s next production, “Execution of Justice,” directed by associate professor of theatre arts Janet Gupton, coincide with the community theater’s rehearsal dates. Forrer, Stewart and Sunderland are each cast in “Execution of Justice,” as well.

“The primary concern was ‘Execution of Justice.’ It’s a huge production with a predominantly male cast, and it needs all hands on deck,” Sunderland said. “Unfortunately, to have three guys go audition for a play elsewhere and possibly, as such, not be able to do “Execution of Justice” really kind of threw things into question.”

The Department of Theatre Arts and the students have been able to coalesce as far as scheduling goes, he said.

“They’ve been very willing to work with us and help our show succeed, and we’ve been willing to do late-night rehearsals with Janet to do what we can for her show for these weeks,” Sunderland said. “All three of us love to do it. It adds motivation and fuel to the fire to really concentrate on both roles.”

The dual-role situation doesn’t cause turbulence, but there is one aspect of their moonlighting that has required some extra effort, he said.

“Something that Steven and I both had to struggle with is learning accents. Dr. Einstein is from Germany, so I had to learn a German accent and Officer Brophy is from Brooklyn, so he had to master a Brooklyn accent,” Sunderland said. “That was a good challenge for both of us, I think. It’s been fun to have that extra thing to work on.”

“Arsenic and Old Lace” runs through April 16 at the Gallery Theater at 210 Ford Street in McMinnville. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Call the Gallery Theater for tickets. Ticket pricing is as follows: general admission, $14, student and senior citizen tickets, $12.

Students can bring their IDs to the Gallery Theater half an hour before the curtain. When the theater has unsold tickets, students can purchase tickets half-off.

The Gallery Theater box office is open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Call the Gallery Theater at 503-472-2227 or visit www.gallerytheater.org for additional information.

Septembre Russell/Copy chief
Septembre Russell can be reached at linfieldreviewcopy@gmail.com.

Renowned baritone evaluates Linfield’s male vocalists

Internationally known opera singer and affiliate professor David Wakeham critiqued male student vocalists on March 14 in the Delkin Recital Hall at the Vivian Bull Music Center, bringing with him experience and a sense of humor.

“[Wakeham] brings a new fun to music and makes everything relatable to life,” junior vocalist Logan Freitas said.

Professor of Music Gwen Leonard invited Wakeham to critique tenor and baritone performers in front of an audience during the event “Master Class for the Male Voice,” sponsored by the Lacroute Arts Fund and Linfield Department of Music.

The event featured male vocalists from Linfield, the McMinnville community and other locations throughout Oregon. Linfield participants included tenor Freitas, junior baritone Jeremy Moll and tenor Sam Dinsmore, class of ’09.

Wakeham’s class is a display of vocal pedagogy Freitas said.

The event was set up so that each vocalist performed a piece, selected previously by Leonard, along with accompaniment by pianist Susan McDaniel, and then received constructive criticism from Wakeham. Using analogies to explain vocal technique to his students, Wakeham provoked laughter from the vocalists and audience members.

“My favorite part about teaching is seeing the results and watching people grow. I love it,” Wakeham said.

While Wakeham offered his personal experience in singing opera and knowledge of the voice to the students, he acknowledged his limitations as an instructor.

“I approach male and female vocalists the same way. The only difference is talent and ability. I can’t control that,” he said.

Wakeham has been visiting Linfield sporadically for 32 years, since former music professor Larry Marsh initially invited the Australian singer to teach voice. According to the event’s program, Wakeham has established an international reputation, with critically acclaimed performances at La Scala Milano, the Komische Oper Berlin and Theatro Massimo, Palmero in Italy.

Wakeham closed with encouraging words for anyone interested in music. “Go out there and make music,” Wakeham said, “Just make love to my ears.”

Felicia Weller/Copy editor
Felicia Weller can be reached at linfieldreviewcopy@gmail.com.

Former professor, high priest present Ghanaian culture

Barry Bilderback (left) laughs after missing a beat while perfoming with guest Hunor Gatukpe Dogah on March 12. Megan Myer/Online editor

Barry Bilderback (left) laughs after missing a beat while perfoming with guest Hunor Gatukpe Dogah on March 12. Megan Myer/Online editor

Students, faculty, community members and alumni gathered in the Delkin Recital Hall on March 12 for a presentation on Ghanaian Ewe religious music and ceremonies by former Linfield professor Barry Bilderback and his Ghanaian friend, Hunor Gatukpe Dogah.

Dogah is the high priest, healer and master drummer of Kpeve Village in the Volta Region of Ghana. It is a position generally held by men two generations older than Dogah. The trip was his first one to the United States.

The presentation, “Ghanaian Ewe Music, Culture and Cosmology,”documented Bilderback’s various journeys to Ghana with his students, placing a heavy emphasis on the importance of using Westernization as a means of preserving musical and cultural tradition.

“It is important to collect, document, digitize and preserve vulnerable music traditions that face imminent extinction,” Bilderback said, quoting Komla Amoaku, founder and director of the Institute for Music and Development in Ghana.

Bilderback said that he became interested in Ghana partly because of his acquaintance with Amoaku and retired Linfield music professor Larry Marsh.

“Ghana is an Anglophone country, too, so there was no need to spend a lot of time learning another language,” he said.

Bilderback showed fieldwork footage of the Ewe Vodou ceremony, explaining its three stages, the significance of the dances and actions, the meanings of the colors worn by the dancers and the role of the many percussionists.

“I was first interested in Ghana because of its major influence in jazz, but I soon came to appreciate Ghanaian music for itself,” he said. “I appreciate the joy of the people. They’re living in such harsh conditions, but they have such a joyful spirit.”

Bilderback invited audience members to ask questions about anything the lecture had covered.

“We are, after all, working in bringing awareness to cultural exchange,” Bilderback said.

After questions from the audience, he and Dogah brought out their drums and began to play, demonstrating traditional Ghanaian rhythms. Bilderback invited audience members who had experience with percussive instruments to join them.

After the demonstration, audience members were invited to talk with Bilderback and take pictures with Dogah.
Bilderback is an assistant professor of music history and ethnomusicology at the University of Idaho. He graduated from the University of Idaho, Lionel Hampton School of Music before he served as an adjunct professor at Linfield from 2001 to 2008. In January 2007, Bilderback led a group of Linfield students to Ghana.

Sharon Gollery/For the Review
Sharon Gollery can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.

Play offers witty look at Victorian British society

Junior Kanon Havens (left)  and freshman Cole Curtright perform on March 15. Megan Myer/Online editor

The world of Oscar Wilde’s short story, “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime,” adapted by playwright Robert Urbinati, came alive under the direction of Elizabeth Rothan, class of ’85, in the premiere of “West Moon Street” on March 15.

Audiences were taken back to the Victorian era and upper-class British society where duty was a priority for gentlemen such as Lord Arthur Savile, played by freshman Cole Curtright, who has a “secret that he kept locked away in his heart.”

The performance kept audiences on their feet with a thick plot, witty lines and eloquently designed period costumes by instructional associate costume designer and shop manager Alethia Moore-del Monaco.

“West Moon Street” received positive comments from Linfield students.

“I love how visually gorgeous the costumes and sets are,” sophomore Caitlyn Olson said.

Freshman Sylvan Tovar said he thought the characters were performed well.

“I liked Lady Windermere [played by freshman Gabrielle Leif]. She was really driven and had unique interests,” he said. “My favorite part was that actors were given a voice, and it was well acted — really well done.”

Curtright said he could easily connect with the lead role of Arthur Savile.

“I think in some aspects I am like my character,” Curtright said. “I can relate to him. He likes to have fun.”

Junior Kanon Havens, who played Sybil Merton, said she felt the opposite about her role.

“I thought I was much more like her when reading the script,” Havens said. “I found out she was bubbly and energetic, but I wasn’t really connecting to the play. She’s not really like me.”

Rothan noted some challenges with the play, including developing the role of the maid, removing the piano player and changing one male role to a female role.

Senior Rachel Westrick, who played Mrs. Podges, said that although Urbinati had to rewrite the play to accommodate these changes, the physical appearances of the characters didn’t matter.

Freshman Jacob Priester, who played Charles the Butler, talked about the significance of plays in general.

“Plays are intimate and audiences can connect with the actors. It’s not edited, and it’s more of a natural experience live,” he said.
For Rothan, the power of plays is that they “reflect life. [They’re] pieces of themselves; [they] inform awareness — in this case, culture, and more compassion and ideas. [They]give an insight into other people’s worlds; [They] take ourselves out of time’ and we all need to laugh.”

Yoko Gardiner can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.

Pro Cat Cab to marry melody and story lines

Nelly’s Echo, a band that prides itself on telling stories with melodies, will perform a professional Cat Cab on March 17 in the Fred Meyer Lounge.

Frontman singer-songwriter Nelson Emokpae uses a blend of soulful styles to bind stories together melodically.

Emokpae said that music is a valuable medium for storytelling because of the emotional power it holds for listeners.

“The beautiful thing about melody is that it makes it easier to put the stress of life into words,” Emokpae said. “The message has a deeper connection because of the melody behind it.”

Emokpae said the name for his band was inspired by audience reactions to the musical stories he performed.

“Music is a two-way street,” he said. “Nelly’s Echo stands for Nelly, who is a performer, and his audience, who make an echo as a response to the performance.”

Emokpae said that his sound, a mix of blues, reggae, jazz, and soul, has evolved over time, but that the base of his identity as a musician has remained the same since his early years in Nigeria.

“In Nigeria, as a kid, I was always walking around humming tunes and playing beats on the table,” Emokpae said. “I still hear the same melodies and beats in my head today.”

Emokpae said that he grew up singing in choirs and church events but that he was a physical therapist until his musical career turned into a full-time pursuit last spring, when he toured 60 colleges in six months.

Emokpae said that he enjoys performing for college students because of their impressionability.

“The cool thing about college students is that they haven’t made up their minds about life yet,” he said. “They’re still open to new ideas, so if I can spread the positive messages of hope, love and peace, then I’ve done my job.”

Emokpae released his first E.P. in 2007, “Live, Love and Laugh,” which Emokpae said was a learning experience.

“It allowed me to learn where I stood in the music world, but I made a lot of mistakes that I rectified in the second album,” he said.

Emokpae said that his second album, “Secrets of a Happy Life,” stemmed mostly from his journal entries.

“I’ve always written in journals because I can refer back to them and follow the train of thought I had about an emotion or experience I was having,” he said.

Emokpae explained that strong feelings drive his music.

“After a powerful reaction to something, I think of a melody, and then try to tie words to that melody,” he said.

Emokpae said he plans to release a new album titled “Victoria’s Secret.” It will be centered on the struggles women face in today’s culture.

“Victoria’s Secret tells a woman that she has to dress a certain way, act a certain way and interact with people a certain way,” Emokpae said. “This album deals with these pressures from a woman’s perspective.”

He said that his former relationships and female friends contributed to the ideas and experiences that shaped the songs.

“Life is too short for the rubbish we dish out and take,” Emokpae said. “One way to help soften the blow is to make good music as a soundtrack to life. That’s what I hope to do.”

Joanna Peterson/Culture editor
Joanna Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.