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“The Guys” of Grant County honored

Thirteen years ago, journalist Anne Nelson, now teaching at Columbia University, sat down with a New York City fire captain to help him write the eulogies of eight firefighters who died in 9/11, according to an article on the Columbia News webpage.

After hearing their stories, Nelson was extremely moved. Just a few weeks later, on a chance meeting with Jim Simpson, artistic director of the Flea Theatre, Nelson proposed the idea of a play based on her experience with the fire captain.

Eight days later, she’d written her first play, and two days after that, Simpson had scheduled it to be performed. Simpson’s wife, actress Sigourney Weaver, expressed interest in performing it and asked her friend actor Bill Murray (yes, the Bill Murray) to play the other role. Within a week, meetings for rehearsal had begun, according to the Flea Theatre website.

On Sept. 25, the Indiana Wesleyan University Theatre Guild will put on a free performance of Nelson’s play, “The Guys,” for the firemen of Grant County to honor and thank them for their work, some of whom actually went out to New York to help during 9/11.  

The following day, Sept. 26, the play will be open to the public.

Joan, played by Ashley Nossett (sr), interviews fire captain Nick, played by Seth Lawrence (sr), about the men he lost on 9/11. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Joan, played by Ashley Nossett (sr), interviews fire captain Nick, played by Seth Lawrence (sr), about the men he lost on 9/11. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Director Sharla Ball (sr) chose the play for her senior project as “a chance to share a story that I knew most of the audience had been a part of, … and I knew everybody would remember it.” She described it as less of a historical play and more of “a memory play.”

With an uncle who was a career firefighter and a grandpa who was a volunteer firefighter, Ball is most excited for the performances for the fire station. They will also be touring the play, getting another chance on Oct. 10 to perform for Hendricks County fire departments.

The show was cast in May, with Ashley Nossett (sr) portraying Joan, based off Nelson herself, and Seth Lawrence (sr), portraying Nick, the fire captain. They also met with Fire Chief Paul David and Captain Paul Thompson in May in order to start communicating about the performance for the fire station.

To begin their research for the play, Ball and Nossett got the chance to go to New York City during May term and tour a fire department that was just a block away from Ground Zero, right across the street from the towers, and hear one of the fireman’s stories. They saw the plaques on the wall of the station for the men that died in 9/11. They also saw the 9/11 Memorial. They also got to see a show at the Flea Theatre, where “The Guys” was originally performed.

To prepare for the role as fire captain, Lawrence shadowed the firemen of Grant County for a day. Getting up at six in the morning to be at the fire station for roll call, he got to hang out with the firemen, hear their stories, see how the fire truck worked and understand what their daily routine was like. 

“After time, things become diluted,” Ball said. She hopes that the play will be a good way “to remember what it was like back when it happened.” 

“Most of our generation has been living in a society where we’ve been in war since then,” Ball said. “People don’t realize that we’re still living in this era where we’re not at peace.”

Ball said the play is a chance to see what the world was like before 2001, before 9/11 changed everything.

Doing the Tango. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Nick teaches Joan how to dance. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Thirteen years after 9/11, “The Guys” has touched people in multiple ways.

Nelson referred to a Cambodian student who once spoke to her of the performance. The student said, “I just lost my best friend to cancer. This play is about me.”

“Some take it very literally,” Nelson said, “as a piece of history; some take it as a piece about mourning; some about finding friendship. I think where a person is at in life affects how they hear it.”

At the beginning of the play, Joan delivers a monologue about how different people have different degrees of distance from an event, like the ripples of being affected. 

“Everyone’s trying to find their own relationship to the event,” Nelson said.

The play will run Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 3-4 at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays will also have a 2 p.m. matinee. Tickets are $7 for students, $10 for IWU employees and $12 for adults, according to the IWU Theatre Guild website.

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Lilly grant funds 20 paid internships

The Center for Life Calling and Leadership has matched 20 students with paid internships at local business startups — and the startups don’t have to pay.

The internships are instead funded by a $3 million Lilly Endowment grant awarded to Indiana Wesleyan University this summer. It’s one of several projects the “Accelerate Indiana” grant will be funding, according to Carol Brown, director of career development.

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Angela Herrington (center), founder of ReEngage Consultants, meets with her two IWU interns at Abbey Coffee Co. // Photo by Hannah Whelchel

The internship program aims to “help the economy of Indiana,” Brown said, pairing students with businesses up to five years old in Indiana. It’s offered to sophomores, juniors and seniors, regardless of major.

“The students get exposure to … the whole process of starting a new business,” Brown said. “We want to encourage that entrepreneurial thinking. … It’s fast-paced. It requires creativity.”

At the same time, the entrepreneurial business is “casual in nature,” which appeals to students, she said.

Students apply for the internship program, Brown said, answering questions about their skills and why they want to be considered. At the same time, businesses apply, detailing what type of students they’re looking for (e.g. business students, marketing students).

Students work approximately 15 hours per week at $9.50 per hour. The grant also reimburses students for gas mileage if they are required to travel to and from their internship’s office.

One of the interns, Rachel Ozios (sr), is working for Cast a Bigger Net, a marketing firm in Indianapolis. This internship marks the first time Ozios, a marketing major, has worked in an area directly related to her field of study.

“It’s an area where I’m passionate,” Ozios said. “I’m very excited to have a little bit more experience under my belt.”

Students like Ozios aren’t the only ones to benefit from the internship program. Because of “Accelerate Indiana,” startups get free help to forward their business.

Marion resident Angela Herrington, who founded the women’s ministry Broken Beautiful BOLD with her husband in 2013, established a new organization, ReEngage Consultants, to help ministries use social media sites as a ministry tool.

Having the help of two IWU interns will progress Herrington’s business “two to three times faster” than without them, she said.

“I’m just blown away by the caliber of the interns,” Herrington said. “I think they’re going to bring a ton of things to the table.”

Brown addressed possible concerns in collaborating with startups, since there is no guarantee whether or not the business will survive.

Internship Coordinator Tiffany Snyder said the Career Development Office “processes” employer applications, looking for “meaningful projects for interns and high potential for full-time hire following the internship period.”

This evaluation process also ensures the legitimacy of the startup. Career Development also coaches interns on how they should and should not be treated as an employee.

Overall, Brown said this grant allows the Center to reach students “more than we might have in the past.” They’re learning earlier the importance of building a resume, networking and personal branding.

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Photo by Hannah Whelchel

By the end of the internship, Herrington hopes her students walk away with something more than new business skills.

“I really want them to know that they don’t have to chuck their faith out the door after they walk out of their commencement ceremony,” she said. “Everything is a ministry. … I hope that our students walk away and see that.”

The next internship application process begins Oct. 1 for students.

Other projects the “Accelerate Indiana” grant funds include:

-Three new staff members in the Center for Life Calling — graduate Tiffany Snyder, internship coordinator; Jordan Delks, employer relations coordinator; and an unfilled co-curricular coordinator.

-“Experience Indiana,” a four-day event in March celebrating different Indiana experiences. A job fair for students will be held on the final day, March 19.

-Classes for entrepreneurs

-$30,000 per year in field trip money, for which faculty members can apply. Nine faculty members have received it already.

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IWU’s musicians bring back Marion tradition

IMG_2691As finals week approaches, most students are studying and thinking about summer break, but not music students. Since back from spring break, Indiana Wesleyan University’s Chorale, university signers, band, orchestra and members of the women’s chorus are joining the Marion community and performing in an Easter Pageant to celebrate the holiday.

The Marion Easter Pageant has been a Grant County tradition put on by local musicians since 1937 at the Marion Coliseum. According to Dr. Todd Guy, director of IWU’s chorale, its prime was in the 1940’s and 1950’s but the tradition stopped in 2003 when the Coliseum was remodeled into what is now the YMCA.

Along with the music, there will be actors interpreting what the choirs are singing.

“It is about Christ’s time during the Passion week,” Guy said. “There are people acting it out while the choirs are depicting what is happening.”

Guy said there are 25 pieces the choirs, band and actors are performing and are introducing 12 new pieces this year.

“The music has always changed, but it has not changed much in the 15 years,” Guy said. “We are trying to contextualize in the modern day culture so this generation will recognize some of the songs.”

Chorale member Jenna Truty (sr) participated in the pageant when it came back two years ago after the nine-year break. She said she thinks this will get viewers to look at the death and resurrection of Christ in a whole new light.

“It is nothing that I have ever seen before. It is one thing to know the story of Jesus through church, but it is another thing to witness His whole life right in front of you,” Truty said. “You can feel the pain of his death and you get to join in the gladness of his Resurrection.”

Students may feel they do not have time to go and see this performance at the YMCA April 15, but chorale member Mari Wilkinson (jr) said it’s worth putting aside time to see.

“We are in the season of Lent right now, and we can keep our focus on Christ through this,” Wilkinson says. “If they can come out and see this that is good to support the community and you are going to need a study break.”

Tickets are free but need to be picked up at the box office in the Phillippe Performing Arts Center as there is limited space in Marion’s YMCA gymnasium.

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Made in Marion art walk now in spring

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By Kelly Reed

Displays of artwork sitting in the windows of many downtown businesses have provided the city of Marion a reason to go outside and discover the collaboration of artists and local companies.

 Main Street Marion, a Grant County nonprofit organization, has partnered with the Indiana Wesleyan University student-run public relations agency, “PR Vitae” to host Made in Marion.

“We want [Made in Marion] to benefit the community and enhance both the economic aspect of downtown, as well as the culture and foster a strong sense of community,” said Jake Doll (sr), the agency’s executive director

Ten different downtown Marion businesses are displaying the artwork of eleven artists until March 28. The artwork includes photography, paintings, pottery and poetry.

The Made in Marion art walk begins at the cultured and unique architecture of Community School of the Arts.

With the smell of leather creating a homemade atmosphere, Barry Lobdell’s store, Jerry’s Leather and Shoe Repair, has pottery and paintings in the front window.

_MG_9081 copyLobdell was a part of Made in Marion last year as well, when it was held in December.

The reason for changing the season, according to Doll, was because of convenience. Starting it in the spring allowed the agency to connect this project with current school work.

“So far, I have seen more people coming into the store to look at the artwork than last year,” Lobdell said.

Autumn Joy Davis (jr) is an IWU artist who entered a bowl and mug set. She thought that the timing of Made in Marion was a good idea.

“Some of my friends went walking around downtown Marion the other day just because the weather was nice. They got to see a lot of the art and got really excited that our school is doing this,” Davis said.

Doll expressed his gratitude toward Main Street Marion. Loretta Walker, his client with Main Street Marion, found that some businesses were so interested in the program that they found their own artists and showcased their work.

“Main Street Marion been a wonderful client,” Doll said. “They have a great reputation with the businesses my team partnered with and having a professional backing for Made in Marion in 2014 has boosted the support and excitement.”

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