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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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Sustainable living for IWU students

The IWU Sustainability LLC house.

The IWU Sustainability LLC house.

Tucked between the male townhouses and the bustling intersection of East 38th and South Nebraska Streets is a small white cottage that “bursts” the metaphorical IWU bubble.

Autumn Joy Davis (jr), Sydni Hadden (sr) and Megan Ruvolo (sr) are residents of the house, along with house mentor Kayla Johnson (alumna ‘12). Together, they form the 2013-2014 IWU Sustainability Living and Learning Community (LLC).

In many ways, Davis, Hadden, and Ruvolo are typical IWU students, rushing to and from classes, chapel, jobs and study sessions. Yet other activities, like composting their kitchen scraps in a repurposed ice-cream container under the sink, are in stark contrast to other students’ “typical” habits of throwing away waste. Composting is just one way they intentionally practice sustainability and creation care as part of the LLC.

The housemates explained they also aim to reduce their consumption by eating fresh foods, bringing their own mugs to McConn and hanging their laundry up to dry on a maze of clotheslines in the home’s basement. During the growing season, they even help maintain the IWU Alliance Gardens.

But don’t think the LLC members are legalistic or judgmental about their eco-friendly practices.

“Really, we suck at this, but we’re trying,” Ruvolo joked. “Sometimes I forget to bring the reusable bags to the grocery. But there’s always next time.”

The housemates describe themselves as a support group for learning what it means to live sustainably. They agree that the LLC experience has helped them become more mindful about their responsibility to care for God’s creation.

“It’s about taking small steps to live sustainably,” said Johnson, explaining how that morning she used a sock instead of paper towels to clean her mirror. There is also an academic side of the LLC, primarily facilitated by biology professor Dr. Grace Miller.

Kayla Johnson, Sydni Hadden, Autumn Joy Davis and Megan Ruvolo.

Kayla Johnson, Sydni Hadden, Autumn Joy Davis and Megan Ruvolo.

Once a month, Miller joins the group for a “house dinner” to lead discussion on sustainability theories and international research, such as February’s topic of sustainable apparel. She also provides guidance for the Alliance Garden program and oversees the summer garden internships.

Hadden interned at Alliance Garden this past summer and lived at the house while working. She had the option to continue living in the LLC this past fall, but initially declined so she and her roommates could fulfill their goal of being Carmin Hall “lifers.”

Passionate about Carmin and creation care, Hadden spent the fall semester and the previous three years living sustainably from her dorm room. Recycling, turning out the lights, and unplugging chargers were all fairly easy for her to do in a small space, but composting and preparing all of her own organic meals without using genetically modified ingredients was harder.

Her midyear switch to the LLC has allowed Hadden to continue her sustainable practices and maintain her dietary convictions without the financial requirement of purchasing an unused meal-plan. While LLC participants have the option of purchasing full, partial, or no meal-plans, the current three students have chosen to prepare all of their own food.

“I finally feel grown up,” Davis said, laughing. For her, the LLC house is “more realistic” than a dorm. Here, she and her housemates experience a sort of transitional living, an “off-campus feel with on-campus status.” The participants take responsibility for general home upkeep and maintenance, although they have the reassurance of what Johnson describes as essentially “paying for IWU to be a great landlord.”

With a location right in between the IWU campus and its Marion neighbors, the LLC sustainability house is all about support and community. As residential students, the participants still engage with on-campus friends and activities, but they also are intentionally getting in touch with their non-student community, the environment and the world.

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Hoosier Shakes sets Marion as its stage

finallogo“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts,” says Jaques in Act 2 of William Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It.”

In 2015, Marion will become a stage to a new theatre company named Hoosier Shakes.

About 12 years ago, Dr. Greg Fiebig, professor of communication and theatre, discovered the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia when his son worked there as an assistant director and stage manager. Since that time, Indiana Wesleyan University has sent two students to intern for the company. Between the two connections, Fiebig saw an opportunity for Marion and the surrounding communities.

 Spearheaded by Fiebig, the up-and-coming company will begin auditioning for the summer series that will take place in Marion as soon as the spring of 2015.

“One-third of the company would be IWU students, one-third would be IWU theatre alumni and the other third would be professional actors,” Fiebig said of actors who could be included in the auditions.

According to Fiebig, the professional actors’ auditions would most likely take place in late January at professional auditions in major cities like Chicago. IWU theatre alumni would be asked to return for the company and current IWU students would most likely audition sometime before spring break. After the auditions, the actors would put on performances during the summer in Marion.

The company is looking to tentatively begin in the summer of 2015.

“We would like for the first year to invite the traveling troupe, a special troupe from American Shakespeare Center, to come and spend a week with us,” Fiebig said. “We can do training workshops during the day and performances during the night.”

IWU Theatre Alumna Kendra Emmett performs at the American Shakespeare Center.

IWU Theatre Alumna Kendra Emmett performs at the American Shakespeare Center.

The traveling troupe would spend the week with Hoosier Shakes and put on performances in Grant County. This would give people in the town an idea of what Hoosier Shakes would do in the future, according to Fiebig. After the traveling troupe leaves, Hoosier Shakes would go on tour themselves.

After the first summer, Fiebig said the second year would most likely be Hoosier Shakes’ “maiden voyage” as a company.

Hoosier Shakes is looking at plays including “King Lear” and “The Twelfth Night” for summer 2016.

Assistant professor and artistic director of the theatre guild Dr. Katie Wampler said in addition to working on Shakespeare, the company would also look at producing several devised works, which is a piece created by the team of actors in a company.

Though Hoosier Shakes is not currently affiliated with IWU, it is looking to submit a proposal for support from the university for rehearsal space and housing.

Fiebig mentioned a partnership with Tree of Life Bookstore is in the works. After speaking about partnership options, an offer is on the table to contract out the stage space next to The Abbey Coffee Co., according to Fiebig.

“Our thought is, why are we stuck on campus?” Fiebig said. “If we do this off campus, there are people who won’t drive to IWU, but we think they would come to the old Hobby Lobby store.”

Wampler added that she believes this company could be an opportunity to serve the community and bring new businesses into it.

“There’s a lot of research out there that art actually brings a lot of difference in the community,” Wampler said. “If you have people come then they are staying at hotels and eating at restaurants. We are hoping to be able to build this to a point … so we can interact with people on a different level.”

Hoosier Shakes is still in the planning stages and while many details are still not finalized, the company will continue to work on proposals and other planning details in the months to come.

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