Prof. Ray Hutchison of Sociology has been tagged to serve on the Scientific Committee for the next mid-term conference of the RN-37 research network of the European Sociological Association. “Moving cities: Contested views on urban life” will be held June 29-July 1, 2016 at the Jagiellonian University, in Krakow. (That’s the old city of Krakow, Poland, not the more recently settled Krakow, Wis., which is north of Pulaski on Highway 32.) Jagiellonian University is the oldest institution of higher education in Eastern Europe, founded by Casimir the Great in 1364. Hutchison notes that sociology conferences in Europe are much different from those in the United States, drawing scholars from many different countries with vastly different research traditions, much more informed by social theory, and much more interdisciplinary than what one would find here.
Lovers of opera and classically trained vocal performance will have the opportunity to hear top young talent from across the nation and beyond when the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay hosts a prestigious international music competition Friday through Sunday, Oct. 9-11.
The International Czech and Slovak Voice Competition takes place in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, located on the campus at 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay. Admission is free, and the public is welcome to attend at any point during the competition’s three rounds — opening, semifinal and final.
The 2015 edition of the every-other-year competition is the 13th since its inception in Montreal, Canada, in 1991. This is the first year Green Bay will host the finals, a change based in part on a history of success as a preliminary venue. UW-Green Bay has hosted opening rounds six straight times since 2003.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the finals to Green Bay. This competition has a great history, and our audiences have really enjoyed being able to hear amazing singers from around the world,” says UW-Green Bay Music Prof. Sarah Meredith Livingston, director, who with community patron Sharon Resch, producer, is organizing the weekend’s events.
The competition schedule (subject to change) is as follows:
• Friday, Oct. 9 — Preliminary Round 10 a.m. – noon
• Saturday, Oct. 10 — Semifinal sessions beginning at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Oct. 11 — Finals, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (closing reception, 3 p.m.)
“This is a competition that showcases the beauty of the Czech-Slovak repertoire,” Meredith Livingston says. “It also provides a chance for promising young singers to further their careers, and it demonstrates to our local voice students what can be possible when talent, training and dedication come together.”
A total of 19 male and female vocalists have entered to take part in the Green Bay preliminary rounds. (Preliminaries will also take place in Montreal, earlier the same week, with contenders vying to advance to Green Bay for the semifinals.)
The list of entrants here includes vocalists from New Jersey, California, Ohio and Massachusetts as well as several each from Michigan and Illinois, and one from Kronberg, Germany. Competitors from Wisconsin are Sarah Butler, soprano, Milwaukee; Talia Nepper, lyric soprano, Franksville; Elena Stabile, soprano, Appleton; and Ian Toohill, tenor, Shorewood.
The winner of the International Czech and Slovak Voice Competition will receive $5,000 Canadian and be featured in recital at a later date at the U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic. The event offers a total of seven cash awards including $2,500C for second place and $2,000C for third.
The first-place finisher in the 2013 competition, Ukrainian-born soprano and University of Michigan graduate Antonina Chekhosvkya, now tours professionally as an opera, symphony and solo recitalist. Within months of her 2007 title, Simone Osborne, now with the Vancouver and Canadian Opera companies, became one of the youngest winners (at age 21) of the famous New York Metropolitan Opera auditions. The 2003 top prize winner, Jan Martiník, is today a featured performer with the Berlin State Opera.
The distinguished panel of international jurors for the 2015 competition includes Alois Jezek, artistic director of the Dvorak International Voice Competition, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic; Ales Kanka, Prague Conservatory; Prof. Victor Yampolsky of Northwestern University; Maestro Gildo Dinunzio, assistant conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, New York; and Alain Nonat, artistic director of Théâtre Lyrichorégra 20,, Montreal, and the competition’s founder. Also serving as jurors will be UW-Green Bay’s Meredith, herself an accomplished vocalist and Fulbright honoree for her performance and academic work primarily in the Czech-Slovak repertoire, and Seong-Kyung Graham, music director and conductor for the Civic Symphony of Green Bay.
Singers will be accompanied, for the seventh consecutive time at the Green Bay site, by pianist Tim Cheek, a professor, Czech diction specialist and vocal coach at the University of Michigan.
Nonat and others created the Montreal competition in 1991 to commemorate the 150th celebration of renowned composer Antonin Dvorak’s birth. Today, the event continues to promote the Czech and Slovak vocal repertoire for young singers, while fostering exchanges of young musicians and specialists between North America and the Czech Republic, as well as Slovakia.
It is expected that Bořek Lizec, counsel general of the Czech Republic in Chicago, will be on hand for the presentation of awards at the reception following the Oct. 11 finals.
The final round begins at 10 a.m. in the Weidner’s Fort Howard Hall, only a few hours ahead of that day’s noon kickoff across town at Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers will host NFL rival the St. Louis Rams.
“People everywhere know about Green Bay and world championship performances in football,” Meredith says. “It’s nice to be able to add to that, in our own way, by bringing an international competition in music to this community, and showcasing these talented vocal performers.”
On Friday (Sept. 18) at 11:40 a.m., Matthew Larsen, director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution, will lead a seminar informing the UW-Green Bay community and the general public on the history and scope of STRI research. Titled “A Century of Smithsonian Science in Panamá,” the program will take place in Room 103 of the University Union. Since 2006, UW-Green Bay has developed close ties with STRI, including an annual student trip to Panama and establishment of a long-term forest research plot in northern Wisconsin. All are welcome to attend Larsen’s presentation.
Next Wednesday will be the last chance to reserve your ticket for the Friday, Sept. 25, Mexican Luncheon at the University Union, but you might want to do so earlier. Tickets are in high demand to hear the presentation by Profs. Lucy Arendt and Steven Kimball and to taste some fun Mexican food that they recommended we try. The Union will reserve a table for your group, and door prizes will be handed out. Check out the menu.
Our colleagues in the University Union inform us that the first cultural cuisine meal this year will showcase food from Mexico at noon Friday, Sept. 25, in the Union’s Phoenix Room. Tickets are on sale now at the University Ticketing and Information Center. Profs. Lucy Arendt (Cofrin School of Business) and Steven Kimball (Education) will be presenting with a slide show of their experiences in Mexico. Cost of the meal for faculty and staff is only $13. Check out the menu. “Hope to see you there.”
Sarah Meredith Livingston presented a lecture-recital with Professor Yuka Prado, U. of Sao Paulo-Ribeirao Preto and five student singers on Thursday, May 28, at the SENAC University, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil on American Music Theater. She also taught a half-day seminar on Friday, May 29 at SENAC to a group of Brazilian English teachers. Her topic was International Phonetic Alphabet: Vowels in American English. This is part of her 14-day visit on a Fulbright Grant to USP-RP, Brazil.
Prof. Meir Russ of the Cofrin School of Business recently (May 19-20) presented faculty, Ph.D. and graduate-student seminars at the Department of Accounting at the Universita degli Studi Rome Tre, titled “Human Accounting and Intangibles.” Additionally, he presented the seminar “An Introduction to Human Capital 2.0” at the Link Campus University on May 22. He also advised graduate students and young faculty at the universities in regard to writing and submitting papers to international academic publications, and discussed potential collaboration in research studies.
UW-Green Bay Music Prof. Sarah Meredith Livingston will be heading to the University of Sao Paulo-Ribeirao Preto Brasil, for her third Fulbright invitation to perform and teach on their campus May 22 through June 5. She will be presenting a lecture-recital on American music theater on Tuesday, May 27, at SENAC, a language school for 150 Brazilian students learning English, and also at the USP-RP campus on June 1. Her teaching responsibilities will include Italian, French, and German diction for singers with an emphasis on English Diction for Singers and vocal health. Meredith’s trip is being supported by the William J. Fulbright Commission, Washington, D.C.
Prof. Meir Russ of the Cofrin School of Business last week presented to faculty, doctoral and master’s seminars at The School of Management of the University of Silesia, Chorzów, Poland and at the Department of Education and Psychology, University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland. His presentation was titled “An Introduction to Human Capital 2.0,” and he also advised graduate students and young faculty in regard to writing and submitting papers to international academic publications, and addressed potential collaboration in research studies.
Saja Al-Quzweeni beamed with pride on the day she received her master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
She joined more than 700 fellow students in taking part in the ceremony May 16 at the Kress Events Center, but not another newly minted graduate in the record graduating class had quite the same itinerary.
Saja (at right above) was UW-Green Bay’s first Iraqi student and graduate. She plans to return to her home city of Baghdad, Iraq, in a few weeks equipped with optimism and newfound expertise in environmental issues.
“Iraq has many problems today — social, political, economic — but we have the power to address those problems and make them better,” she says.
Before she heads overseas, however, she has a little of the United States to see.
Saja came to UW-Green Bay through the Fulbright Foreign Student program, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of America and the people of other countries.
Recently, she was one of six ‘Fulbrighters’ selected to participate in the third Millenial Trains Project.
It’s a journey across the United States — leaving from Los Angeles, California on May 21 and ending in Washington, DC on May 31— as an enrichment component of the Fulbright Foreign Student program. The six exchange students will join 20 American riders on the MTP journey to gain an in-depth understanding of life in the United States and to strengthen their skills in leadership, social entrepreneurship, and communication.
During her time at UW-Green Bay, Saja pursued an interest in urban farming and also the conditions that encourage or inhibit citizen involvement in, say, environmental issues.
She worked on her master’s thesis under the supervision of political scientist David Helpap and former professor Dallas Blaney. She chose the title: “Conceptualizing Political Empowerment: Reflections from Non-Governmental Organizations Through the Lens of Civil Society Theories.”
The focus of her Fulbright work will be an extension of research she completed last year at Growing Power, a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee that works in urban agriculture as an approach to increase food security in lower-income and food desert communities. Small plots of land are used for intensive growing to offer healthy and affordable food to inner cities, while merging agriculture and wise environmental practices to revitalize urban areas.
Saja earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Baghdad in 2002, and struggled to find a job amid the chaos of the American invasion of Iraq the next year. She was patient when sectarian tension forced her family out of its home for 18 months in 2007-08, and patient in pursuing her dream to attend graduate school in the United States.
She said she loved the beauty, serenity and friendliness of UW-Green Bay, although the record cold she experienced was a little bit of a challenge.
Saja formerly held a job with the Iraqi government, where she worked as a senior researcher. Whether she will be able to return to government employment is unknown to her at this time. Regardless, she says, she is eager to return to Iraq and work for the betterment of her people.