Students contribute to theater behind the scenes

Students contribute to theater behind the scenes

By Sean Kelly
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They’re not the ones in the spotlight, but the ones that picked the color for it.

Seniors Noah Anderson and Jessica Davis are technical supervisors for Fine Arts Programming (FAP). They have a range of responsibilities which include running a shop crew, helping to run the theater department and FAP performances, as well as designing their own shows. (more…)

Monthly sustainability film showings get the “green” light

JILLIAN SCHULZ • [email protected] • Pearce Jensen, St. John’s Sustainability Fellow, hopes for student involvement in sustainability.

By John Nguyen
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Bennies and Johnnies now have an opportunity to see sustainability in a new way.

The Sustainability Film Series is a monthly showing of films and documentaries covering a wide variety of topics in the field of sustainability sponsored by the CSB/SJU Offices of Sustainability. Once a month from 7-9 p.m., students can watch films and take part in an ongoing discussion about sustainability.

The film series is new to the CSB/SJU campuses. The St. John’s Sustainability
Fellow, Pearce Jensen, hopes that there can be more from the event series.

“I hope to educate students in different mediums other than tabling,” Jensen said. “We are testing it this semester and hopeful to do it next semester.”

After each film showing, a discussion follows which generates conversation and answers questions of those who attend.

“You can connect more with people that way, rather than to point them in the
direction [of a website],” Jensen said.

The Sustainability Film Series debuted at SJU in Pellegrene Auditorium on Sept. 12 with the documentary “This Changes Everything.” The 2015 film incorporates a mixture of eight different stories that give brief summaries of several environmental activists around the world.

Many students who attended the event appreciated what the Offices of
Sustainability are doing.

“This film series is a great way of educating students,” CSB junior Victoria Dironca said. “I hope this awareness will lead to more sustainable actions on the campus level and eventually on a larger scale.”

For the rest of the 2017 fall semester, three more films will be shown. On Oct. 12 “Awake, a Dream from Standing Rock” will be shown in Upper Gorecki to cover the story of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota and the U.S. government’s plan to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline.

On Nov. 6 in the Art Center at SJU, the most recent documentary from Extending the Link, “Luen Hai: Coding the Connection,” will be presented as a part of the Offices’ Sustainability Week. “Luen Hai” tackles the topic of electronic waste.
Finally, the last film will be “The True Cost,” which will be shown in Upper Gorecki at CSB regarding the fashion industry. The documentary focuses on many aspects of the industry from the production of clothes to its effects on the environment such as pollution and contamination.

History Column: A look back in time at Alcuin’s beginnings

COURTESY OF ALCUIN ARCHIVES • Alcuin’s supporting beams being built. Construction required exact effort by workers.

COURTESY OF ALCUIN ARCHIVES • Librarians pictured helped students at Alcuin’s reference desk. Today, librarians continue to assist students with new technology.

By Stephanie Haeg
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With Alcuin Library reopened, and with the exciting new redecoration and expansion, I thought it might be time to examine the history of this important building on campus. It’s home to a great many things: great concrete pillars, the St. John’s Bible Gallery (which will be opening next Thursday), various new classrooms, the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, the new coffee shop and of course the SJU Archives, where the history of the university can be uncovered.

Alcuin Library, named after St. Alcuin of York and dedicated in 1966, was part of a design that the SJU alumni magazine in 1964 described as “a comprehensive 100-year building plan.” This plan also led to the building of the Abbey Church and its famous bell banner, Tommy Hall, the Liturgical Press and the Prep School. The Alcuin Library was part of the second phase.

Marcel Breuer was the architect behind the Alcuin Library, and it can show if you’re looking; the Trees of Knowledge, as they are colloquially called, are reminiscent of the concrete grandeur that’s characteristic of the Abbey Church. Breuer designed Alcuin to be flexible and open with very few set rooms. This was meant to be an acknowledgement of the already changing technology, and the intention with Alcuin, like the rest of Breuer’s buildings, was to last for centuries to come.

The library was not free of controversy, however. Students picketed the dedication ceremony because of United States Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s attendance (they were protesting the war in Vietnam), and some students wrote letters to the editor in The Record declaring “Marcel Breuer must be starving to death. Everything he touches turns to concrete,” and dubbed him a “Twentieth Century Midas.”

But others were delighted by Alcuin’s various amenities, which the previous library at SJU lacked. These features might seem like common sense now, but they were points of awe for the students of 1966. They included things like air-conditioning, full carpet and state of the art equipment in the “listening room.”

It’s strange to think about SJU without the Alcuin Library these days, but it was a
huge change for the students during the 1960s. But I, for one, am just glad we’ve got air-conditioning in the building now.

Folk music legend revisits campus

Folk music legend revisits campus

By George Dornbach
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The first fiddle John McCutcheon learned to play was salvaged from a trashcan on campus in 1970. He’s since rebuilt it, been a yearly headliner at the university’s former Swayed Pines Folk Festival, recorded 36 albums and has six
Grammy nominations. He’ll have the chance to share the fiddle’s sound and his
other musical talents when he returns to campus for a performance at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30 in the Escher Auditorium at CSB.

Born and raised in Wausau, Wisconsin, McCutcheon came to St. John’s by luck. It was the only school he applied to and after receiving a scholarship, McCutcheon thought he’d give it a shot.

While on campus, he took his wide-ranging idea of his liberal arts education to the next level. He wanted to create his own individualized major focused on folk music, but since there was no formal coursework on campus to help him hone his craft, he approached Fr. Hillary Thimmesh, who then headed the individualized major program. McCutcheon proposed the idea of learning through lived experience.

“It’s amazing what people will let you do if you just ask,” McCutcheon said.

In the fall of his junior year, he headed into the Appalachian Mountains where he spent the rest of his time as a Johnnie immersing himself into a community of musicians, storytellers and keepers of American folk-music history.

McCutcheon will showcase his studies, stories and talents when he comes back to play a show this Saturday. In addition, he tries to come back yearly to visit good friend and artist in residence Richard Bresnahan.

“Coming back to campus is always exciting for me,” McCutcheon said. “St. John’s taught me how to begin learning and introduced me to the rest of my life; my life as an eternal student.”

For six songs on his set list, he’ll be accompanied by students in the CSB/SJU
Orchestra, Chamber Choir and his former director, Axel Theimer. Theimer, a professor of music at CSB/SJU began teaching in 1969 and directed McCutcheon when he joined the Chamber Choir in 1970. He remembers John as “very much an individualist” and a “phenomenal musician” while he was in school.

When Theimer was approached by orchestra director Dr. David Arnott three weeks ago about the possibility of working with McCutcheon, he couldn’t pass up theopportunity.

“Having the chance to collaborate with John is a wonderful way to create a
different sense of community,” Themier said, who used to perform Peter, Paul and Mary tunes with John McCutcheon in the middle of choir concerts back in the day. “By making music together and learning from someone like John, the choir gets the chance to perform music that traditionally isn’t apart of our repertoire.”

McCutcheon is also looking forward to further defining and creating community by collaborating with students.

“One of the great things about music is that you’re not segregated by generation,” McCutchen said. “You always have the elders who are there who have paved the way, and you have the young people who bring the enthusiasm and energy that’s so vital to making guys like me be a life long learner.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN MCCUTCHEN • John McCutcheon, an SJU alumnus, will be playing at Escher Auditorium this Saturday, Sept. 30. After elevating himself in music, he still makes time to visit home at CSB/SJU.