Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What I Did Last Summer: Roger Held

Our VPA Faculty are always up to something great!  Find out what they did with their summer vacations in our What I Did Last Summer series.

 Roger Held, Department Chair and Professor of Theatre presented four hours of workshops for the Directors Lab Chicago. The Lab accepts applications from directors across the country and abroad. Those selected for attendance meet for a week during August.  Roger conducted workshops in self appraisal as it impacts script interpretation and working relationships. 

The twenty-seven members of the Lab worked their way through a selection of testing instruments designed to increase awareness of predispositions and learned values and attitudes which influence textual analysis. They were then asked to interpret a text and respond to a series of questions which allowed a discussion of the influences on their thinking.  The point of the exercise is to help stage directors become biased to how they see the play script and then develop a less biased perspective from which to develop a production concept.  

Roger also created a virtual office, reducing all the paper to half a file drawer and converted his old office into a seminar room.  He now works wirelessly from home, the conference room, and the theatre lobby.  In addition, Roger worked with Sue Hill on developing a Professional Website which should be open to the public by the end of September. 

He also got in some backpacking adventures. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I Did Last Summer: Mike Christianson

Our VPA Faculty are always up to something great!  Find out what they did with their summer vacations in our What I Did Last Summer series.

We are excited to welcome Michael Christianson as Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of Bands to the VPA this year.  Judging from his summer activities, he will be a fabulous asset to our department.

This summer, Mike
  • Created and led (playing sousaphone) a New-Orleans style jazz marching band for the May Day March in New York City.
  • Walked in the Rutgers University commencement with his oldest son!  (Mike received his DMA,  his son received his BM.)
  • Conducted the Brass Ensemble for the 15th consecutive year for the Commencement Ceremony at the Cooper Union School in NYC.
  • Got the Director of Bands job at MTU!!!!
  • Moved to the UP.
  • Performed in Denver with the Pittsburgh Collective, a jazz band led by composer David Sanford.
  • Played on and conducted for a new recording for singer Ray Hoffman in NYC.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What I Did Last Summer: Patricia Helsel

Our VPA Faculty are always up to something great!  Find out what they did with their summer vacations in our What I Did Last Summer series.

Photo by Joe Kirkish
Patricia Helsel, Assistant Professor of Theatre, attended the Voice and Speech Trainers Association national conference at George Washington University, in Washington, DC.  She will be applying many of the techniques and pedagogical approaches she learned to all of her classes. 

She submitted an article for publication to Teaching Theatre, a national journal for theatre educators.  Everyone knows that if they take part in a show she is directing, or in the Acting I class, they will engage in ball playing. Over the last few years she has developed exercises and games that integrate ball-play as a device to: strengthen concentration; build group cohesion; create awareness of physical space and movement; promote physical strength and flexibility; serve as a visual representation of energy.  All this with a 9" latex ball!
Trish and her students play ball!
Photo by Mark Riutta, 
This summer also saw the launching of Trish's voiceover recording business,  She is working with The Marketing Department to promote the business locally and nationally.  Her most recent client is the Philips-MedSage company.  She voices healthcare surveys for patients who use medical equipment in their homes.  She also completed a voiceover for the Michigan Public Health Institute recording a 50 minute learning module on Newborn Screening for healthcare professionals.

She was in the Pine Mountain Opera Chorus, singing among the Keweenaw's finest! 

She also began compiling media for future implementation of an online course in American Musical Theatre.