All posts by Signal Contributor

Senior music recital proves to be victorious

By Tiffani Tang

Although a drab and rainy Sunday afternoon, there was something brilliant and magical going on in Mayo Concert Hall on March 30.

Kathleen Little, a senior music major, performed her section of this semester’s Senior Music Recitals. She enchanted listeners with the flute, accompanied on the piano by Sally Livingston.

Little commands the stage in Senior Recital. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Little commands the stage in Senior Recital. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Little chose to open with “Sonata in G Major HWV 363b” by George Frideric Handel, a lovely piece split into five movements.

It started with “Adagio,” which sounded like it should be played at a royal coronation. “Adagio” ended with a trill that led straight into “Allegro,” a call and response between flute and piano, which ended smoothly with a ritardando.

The “Allegro” melted into the second “Adagio.” Livingston’s notes were chorded, allowing more focus on the drawn out and dramatic forte notes of Little’s part.

“Bourrée angloise,” the fourth movement, was the shortest and felt light.

The final section was “Minuetto,” which was reminiscent of the final dance at a grand ball. There were several beautiful legatos and sharp staccatos.

The second piece played was “Rondo in D Major K. 184” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The music was a story, some parts acted as a conversation with the audience, quick little snippets followed by rests to give the audience time to “answer.” There was also a nice juxtaposition between Livingston’s slow playing and Little’s intense trills.

Audience members began to see Little’s confidence increase and the width of her smile did.

When “Concert for Flute and Orchestra” by Carl Nielsen was played, there was a dreamy tone throughout the piece.

There was a nice piano introduction with the sustain pedal and Little’s flute skills shone in the middle when the piano took to the same repetitive low notes. The piece ended with a “cliffhanger” ending.

After intermission, Little was reintroduced with a solo: “Syrinx for Solo Flute” by Claude Debussy. She nailed repeating sections loaded with subtle differences.

In her second flute solo, “Air for Solo Flute,” by Toru Takemitsu, Little didn’t miss a note and her passion for music showed as her body language reflected pitch and dynamics.

“She was good,” whispered one of the youngest audience members.

In her final piece, Little was rejoined by Livingston to perform “Fantasie” by Philippe Gaubert. The introduction was intriguing and there was a ritardando followed by an accelerando into the second section.

The piece started off with a thoughtful tone, but ended in allegro. Even the legatos were something exciting and enticing to listen to.

There were many trills and the fastest part was a flute solo. During the last few bars, Little ignored the sheet music and looked up at the audience, already knowing she had done a fantastic job.

Applause lasted for minutes. People were clapping even as the stage was empty and some even gave Little a standing ovation.

The audience even got excited as they misunderstood some backstage victory playing as an encore.

“The best thing is the experience of being able to put all the hard work in action,” Little said. “It’s being able to enjoy the music.”

Little plans on continuing her education at the New York University’s graduate program for music performance.

Princeton symphony returns to the College

By Liz Wimberg
Staff Writer

The prestigious Princeton Symphony Orchestra performed at the College on Saturday, March 29, in the Mayo Concert Hall.

The show, entitled “Nights and Dreams,” included “Dances in the Dark,” a piece by Julian Grant inspired by his 1998 “Opera Heroes Don’t Dance,” Benjamin Britten’s 1943 “Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31” featuring two soloists and a poetic libretto, and finally the 1830 “Symphonie Fantastique” from Hector Berlioz.

The ensemble was under the direction of the accomplished Rossan Milanov.

Just as these pieces are arranged and ordered in movements, so is the pre-performance ritual of a classical symphony. The audience trickled in from the rain outside to a sound almost as mesmerizing as the music itself: each artist is in his respective place on stage, but in a space entirely his own.

He worked through his most challenging sections of the program. Another tested her agility with scales. Her neighbor recited a favorite piece to prepare himself mentally. The cacophony is hypnotic. But soon the lights dimmed and rose again, signaling the beginning, and the principal violinist took the stage. With a glance, she motioned to the principal oboist for a tuning note. His b-flat held steady. Next entered the woodwinds and brass. All fell out again, save the sonorous tuner. Enter: strings, first the high octaves from the violins and violas, then deeper cellos and deepest bassists. Tiny adjustments, tightened strings, elongated valves and a heavy silence — Milanov approached from stage left, sober and resolute. Baton up, breathe in, downbeat.

Dances in the Dark is a wild ride: now dream, now nightmare, but motion so constant that even the near-silences kept us spinning. In fact, no true silence occured at all: the four sections, each set to explicit dance rhythms, run without pause.

“The whole piece is a compendium of anything you might get up to after dark — a mix of the sensual, the scary, scented, drunken, wild, sated, nightmarish, overdosed,” said composer Julian Grant, who was present for the concert.

If the idea was to introduce the dynamism of Night and Dreams, Grant’s piece was a perfect opener, though certainly a tough act to follow. Nevertheless, the performance proceeded at a constant level of excellence.

Following many applause, brass and percussion exited for Britten’s Serenade, featuring soloists Eric Ruske on French horn and Dominic Armstrong singing tenor. The concert concluded with Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, a love story like no other.

James M. Day, professor of guitar performance, history, literature and pedagogy at the College, encouraged all his students to take advantage of the opportunity to encounter “an ensemble of this caliber in our space.”

Reflecting on the first half of the show, Day noted how cleanly the musicians played in a setting much more intimate than their usual venues. Meticulous attention to detail and a distinct interaction with each piece enabled the PSO to “bring out the color” of the program, and to create a truly remarkable experience on our campus.

The PSO has one more performance this season at their home venue, the Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University on Sunday, May 4. Additionally, take advantage of the many events hosted by the Center for the Arts at the College during the remainder of the semester.

St. Vincent captures a range of moods in album

By Tristan Laferriere

If you happened to catch any recent episodes of Stephen Colbert’s late-night political show, “The Colbert Report,” you may have caught an interview and short performance by singer and songwriter St. Vincent. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of her. Yes, St. Vincent is a she, and from what I’ve found after listening to her latest album, “St. Vincent,” she is without a doubt one of the music industry’s best-kept secrets.

St. Vincent creates unique sounds. (AP Photo)

St. Vincent creates unique sounds. (AP Photo)

St. Vincent has been an active musician since 2003. However, her genres of indie and baroque pop, while mainstream, haven’t received a huge amount of attention. Having said this, the singer and songwriter has a very nice treat for those of you who enjoy artists similar in sound to Arcade Fire or Death Cab for Cutie.

From the album’s first song, “Rattlesnake,” I was immediately drawn to how her voice is quite similar to Lady Gaga’s, only at a softer pitch and a very different type of musical style to go along with it.

This alternative sound is quite different from other female artists of St. Vincent’s genre.

If you enjoy listening to music for the sole purpose of being taken to a different type of universe within the mind, this is the stuff to listen to.

Taking a drive late at night with the windows down and simply wanting to get out of this world would be a good backdrop for tracks such as “Prince Johnny” and “Every Tear Disappears.”

Something that really struck me with St. Vincent’s newest album is that each song sounds different from the others.

I’ve noticed with many current singers and bands that every other track has a similar vibe to it and the overall feeling is literally interchangeable.  This is not the case with “St. Vincent.”

From the first track to the final song, I felt I was listening to a different song writer each time. This singer has a way of setting the mood for the album (in this case, a real mind trip) within the first song and casually gives you a change in feeling as each new song approaches.

Need a good background song for a party? Simply start playing “Bring Me Your Loves.” This track in particular felt like an ’80s dance party, but tweaked with a modernistic approach. Need a nice song to relax to?  Turn up the volume for “Digital Witness.” It’s catchy and fast-paced, but not overwhelming. That’s the best way to explain this album. It simply has a song for every mood.

St. Vincent may not be on the fame line up there with Lady Gaga and Madonna, but if you take elements from both of these singers, throw in some Arcade Fire and Death Cab For Cutie, you’ve got St. Vincent, and I must say she is a real prize for those of you who are looking for something contemporary yet different from everything else that’s out there. Pick “St. Vincent” up. You won’t be disappointed.

Jazz music brings everything but the blues

By Madie Xing

Seniors Ronald Pruitt and Kevin Whitman showcased their eloquent talent on Thursday, March 27, at Mayo Concert Hall as part of the spring semester’s Senior Music Recitals.

The night opened with the blues arrangement, “Blues for Alice” by Charlie Parker, with Pruitt on baritone saxophone, which was included in the five-part “Supersax” arrangement featuring two altos and two tenors. Pruitt led the piece on the baritone with the other saxophones harmonizing effortlessly. The drums and bass provided an easy-going bass line during Pruitt’s dense solo, whilst the piano gave subtle highlights.

A five-part ‘Supersax’ saxophone arrangement, led by Ronald Pruitt, harmonizes beautifully. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

A five-part ‘Supersax’ saxophone arrangement, led by Ronald Pruitt, harmonizes beautifully. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Whitman performed a timpani solo piece “Raga No.1” by William Cahn, which had a slow build up with sudden crescendos and an enchanting overlap of rhythms. The manipulation of the pitch and phrases were consistent to the Hindustani form that inspired the piece.

Pruitt returned to the stage to perform “Lilith,” which consisted of five movements, all with discordant undertones. The piece was highly expressive with abstract and airy notes. The piano provided dark, sharp accents to the edgy but subdued saxophone phrases. Pruitt was accompanied by Kathleen Shanklin on piano.

Whitman’s performance of Andy Akiho’s “Stop Speaking” had the audience intrigued. Whitman interacted the snare drum by adapting and mimicking beats with the a recording of a woman’s voice, which was characterized by uneven frequencies. Whitman displayed extreme skill and control to create a very entertaining performance.

The quartet cymbal arrangement “Double Espresso,” composed by Whitman himself, comprised of muted beats that expanded into rapid taps. A range of tools were used to create depth of sound — drumsticks, triangle beaters, fingertips and even a bass bow all created contrasting tempos and raw layers with precise dynamics.

Diverse movements mesmerize the audience at recital. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Diverse movements mesmerize the audience at recital. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Pruitt took on Takashi Yoshimatsu’s “Fuzzy Bird Sonata,” which featured three diverse movements of energetic and transient saxophone, layered with demure piano gestures. The piece alluded to many bird-like sounds, which fashioned a harmonious and lyrical atmosphere.

Under a spotlight, Whitman impressed the audience with “Reflections on the Nature of Water” by Jacob Druckman. Great technical skill was matched with a fusion of tension and pulsating beats, which corresponded to water and its differing nature. The audience was left mesmerised by the incredible mood that Whitman was able to create on the marimba.

“A great program,” junior music education major Manny Martinez said. “They both have worked so hard and put their hearts into it tonight.”

The final piece of the night saw Pruitt and Whitman collaborate with Michael Taylor’s “Gone” — the saxophone was a contrast of raspy notes with smooth, gentle and warm tones. The marimba pierced through the dominant alto saxophone at times with dreamy textures, whilst also providing that saxophone with a constant bass line to answer to.

“The performance was absolutely fantastic, versatile and a whole new level,” senior music education major Chelsea Cortese said. “They were total professionals — just amazing.”

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Graffiti beautifies struggling communities

By Jillian Santacroce

When asking younger kids what they want to be when they grow up, odds are that they say a schoolteacher, a scientist, the president or a veterinarian. Then there are some children who deviate from that norm, one being the then-preadolescent Will “Kasso” Condry.

Condry, at 11 years old, realized while watching a televised battle between HEX and SLICK, two Los Angeles graffiti writers, that that’s what he wanted to strive to be.

Condry reflects art history. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Condry reflects art history. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

A past student from the College and a Trenton native, Condry gave a presentation at the School of Arts and Communication’s weekly Brown Bag Series on Friday, March 28, at the Mayo Concert Hall. He addressed what efforts he and his crew, the S.A.G.E Coalition, are doing to embellish and connect urban cities through graffiti artwork.

Every project the artists of the S.A.G.E Coalition work on conveys a special message to its observers and illustrates history.

“Art has to have a message in order for it to transcend,” Condry said.

In June 2012, for example, The Gandhi Garden, contrived from members of the S.A.G.E Coalition, assembled a public park with a garden, a mural of Gandhi and an art gallery at a then-vacant lot in a struggling neighborhood.

The message to be elicited through the project, which was also presented beside the mural, was, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Mural featured at The Gandhi Garden in Trenton. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Mural featured at The Gandhi Garden in Trenton. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Their efforts are to essentially inspire individuals who reside in urban areas to connect adjoining communities that make up a city and to bring positive light to hustling areas.

Though the nonprofit group and work originated in Trenton, N.J., their artwork and mission has transcended to New York, Philadelphia, London and areas in Texas and Camden.

Condry and his crew are currently configuring future plans to take their operation on a trip to the west coast to further their efforts.

“It really relates to what I’m doing … It’s really interesting and really exciting,” art education major Hope Stillwell said.

When reflecting about his time at the College and what his education did to establish his foundation and help with his current work, Condry said, “The one thing that I learned that I apply today (is) … the history of art … and that’s more or less what I try to distill in everything we do.”

Visit for more information on the S.A.G.E Coalition and Will “Kasso” Condry.

‘Secret Annex’

By Adam Braun

The virtual musuem of Anne Frank’s “Secret Online Annex” was explored by Alison Landsberg, associate professor of history and art history at George Mason University, in the Business Lounge on Thursday, March 27.

“Virtual museums create the conditions for historical thinking,” said Erika Schultes, a senior English major who assisted Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle of the English Department in bringing Landsberg to campus.

Landsberg opened her presentation with some comments about the nature of history and physical museums. She suggested that “any representation of the past that hopes to promote historical thinking must continually assert its own constructedness.”

Physical museums and heritage sites, she said, can lure the viewer into believing he or she has a complete understanding of the historical situation they represent, which cannot be attained.

In any historical representations, “even with ample sources, what’s left is partial,” Landsberg said.

Hence, Landsberg put forward that virtual museums are an excellent way for historical learning to take place. Use of virtual museums “produces its own distinct kind of knowledge,” she said.

Virtual museums undercut the pervasive sense of the viewer’s presence in the past, and that is a positive, according to Landsberg. They also bring their own unique positives to historical learning.

“The problem with (physical museum objects) is they are dumb,” Landsberg said. “They don’t speak.”

Such problems are avoided in virtual museums.

To prove this point, Landsberg provided examples from Anne Frank’s Secret Annex Online, found at

As soon as the webpage opens, the viewer is greeted by a video explaining how the Frank family ended up in hiding in the secret annex in the Netherlands. This immediate rush of informative content could not be found in a physical museum, Landsberg said.

The site’s main attraction is a 3-dimensional re-creation of the secret annex that the Frank family hid in alongside the van Pels. The content and style of this feature represent the positives of the virtual museum, according to Landsberg.

When the viewer enters a room in the virtual annex, they first see it empty, as the rooms remain in the present, at the wishes of Otto Frank. Then furnishings are added into the picture, giving a representation of how they looked while the Frank family was in hiding there.

Landsberg says this is a perfect way to remind viewers that they are detached from what they are seeing, while still providing excellent historical information.

She complimented the resource, saying it is “more like an encounter than a simple pointing and clicking on objects.”

Landsberg concluded her remarks on the Secret Annex Online and virtual museums as a whole by saying that they are not totally immersive, “but that is a good thing.”

A letter to men: It’s okay to step out of the mold

By Maria Mostyka

Guys, where are you? You — the vulnerable, the insecure and the emotional? I know you are out there, struggling alone with your insecurities and problems. Why is it so difficult for you to open up, admit you have not figured it all out, admit you don’t have the answers you should have by now? Having asked these questions, I realize my answers are biased, and I might be wrong because they are from a woman’s perspective. But still, I will try to find the missing pieces of this “communication-gender-feelings” puzzle.

Society often forces men to conform to a set mold of masculinity. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Society often forces men to conform to a set mold of masculinity. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Why guys do not reach out and tell their stories? Well, they’re not expected to. Research by James Mahalik, a professor of psychology at Boston University, showed that in order for men to conform to the male norms in America, they must always show emotional control, put their work first, pursue status and engage in violence. The men’s greatest fear is the fear of being perceived weak. OK, the obvious reason for the lack of communication of emotions is social expectations. Society has become a go-to scapegoat of any kind of problem, yet blaming it does not solve these problems. Even though gender norms are shaped by our society, society is not an abstract entity that is somehow distinct from us and which we can easily designate as a culprit all the while forgetting that it is we — both men and women — who make up this society.

Research by Brene Brown, a renowned expert on shame and vulnerability, provides a striking insight on the unwillingness of men to open up. One of the men she interviewed said it is not the guys who are hard on him. It is the women in his life — his wife and daughters — who are harder on him than anyone else. They would rather see him die on top of a white horse than see him falling. The interviewee succinctly concluded, “When we reach out and are vulnerable, we get the shit beat out of us.”

Yes, women too contribute to this problem as much as society. Women set up intimidating goals and don’t help men to reach them. First, women want a man who is vulnerable and strong — who can admit he is scared, but who can hold it together in difficult times and who can show insecurities and dashingly overcome them. It’s not impossible to simultaneously embody these qualities, but unfortunately, both men and women believe that to open up is to be weak. Secondly, men’s idea of sharing can veer to the extreme. To open up does not mean to engage in “emotional vomiting” — it’s not about pouring out everything pent up since you where in fifth grade. And here’s the third problem: when the emotional gates do open, women are not prepared for what comes out. We are not. Our unpreparedness to deal with it shuts men down, resulting in miscommunication, frustration and distance.

In calling for guys, I am also calling for women to be ready to meet insecure, vulnerable and fearful men. The missing pieces of the puzzle fall into places when both men and women treat openness not as a sign of weakness, but as a sign of courage. The word “courage” itself is derived from the old French corage — “heart, innermost feelings.” Sharing struggles and overcoming insecurities is a process that takes patience, time and the two of you. Men, tell your girlfriends what really worries you. Women, be comfortable with not knowing what to say. Successful communication is not only about listening, but also about tactful silence. In the end, it is up to us to redefine social norms, so what we can expect from each other is what we really want to do.

The Lime Correspondent: Lime Culture

By Patrick Gallagher

After the resounding response to my last article, “The Origin of Limes,” I would first like to thank my readers and supporters out there. As The College of New Jersey’s sole Lime Correspondent, I have to fight the good fight for this little green citrus. Now, with that out of the way, there are more pressing matters to discuss.

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

The price of limes in Mexico is rising, due to heavy rain in heavy lime-producing states, and in one state, a bacterium infecting lime trees. But how does this affect you, the average American? The person who only cares about limes in their guacamole at Chipotle and in their margaritas? The answer is simple — the United States imports most of its limes from Mexico. This rise in prices has caused the average lime in American grocery stores to rise to a price of 53 cents. For comparison, at this time last year, the average lime cost 21 cents.

Interestingly enough, Mexican gangs have started stealing from trucks exporting limes from Mexico to America. That’s right, actual gang activity over this fruit. At its current price, some are even beginning to call this citrus “green gold.” Fortunately, there is hope for lime prices in North America. As the spring comes, the harvests are sure to be more bountiful and the prices of limes will go down.

Now, while these limes are grown mostly in Mexico today, limes have origins in the Middle East and Asia. In fact, one of the most common lime varieties, the Persian lime, was first widely cultivated in modern day Iran and Iraq. While this is considered the “default” lime to consumers today, it is actually hypothesized that the Persian lime is a hybrid of the Key lime and either the lemon or citron.

There is a greater point to make here. The threat of losing affordable limes force people into thievery and brute force. The British Armada had lives on the line if they could not get limes. This fruit is one our culture takes for granted.

The Elephant in the Room: A look at Hillary Clinton

By Meghan Chroback

Hillary Clinton is one name that has a lot of power and meaning in the United States.

Many people, including Pharrell, predicts that Clinton will win the Presidential office in 2016. But despite the rumors, Hillary has denied running for office.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the woman Barbara Walters deemed one of “The most fascinating people of 2013.”


Hillary finished her term as United States Secretary of State. (AP Photo)

If you’re really slacking on your current events, you might know Hillary Clinton as the wife of former President Clinton, the president who had an “inappropriate relationship” with Monica Lewinsky and the same guy who went to trial for impeachment but was eventually acquitted by the United States Senate. This guy cheated on his wife and he had to pay a $90,000 fine.

The twist to the story? They are still married and Hillary further pursued a career in politics. If that is not a story of a strong woman then I don’t know what is.

Hillary Clinton had a life before Bill. Born and raised in Chicago, she spent her younger years as a Republican, working on a campaign for presidential nominee Barry Goldwater. After hearing a speech by Rev. Martin Luther King, Hillary became a Democrat. As she attended Wellesley College and later attended Yale Law School, she continued to work on various committees in Washington D.C. In between all the rest of her accomplishments, she married Bill Clinton.  Bill became Attorney General of Arkansas and Hillary became the first lady of the governor of Arkansas. She was on dozens of committees and spent time advocating for charities across the state.

Hillary became the first lady of the White House in 1993. Amongst the scandals, she still kept her head high and continued to look for new projects. After two terms in the White House, Clinton became a U.S. Senator for New York. In 2008, she ran for a presidential nomination, but lost the nomination to Barack Obama.

Obama appointed Hillary to the position of secretary of state. In my humble opinion, this is where Hillary shined as a politician.

She traveled to countless countries promoting women’s rights and human rights. Hillary suffered a tragic blow by the deadly attack of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya. Clinton took full responsibility for the tragic Benghazi attack. As the end of her first term of secretary of state commenced, Hillary stepped down on Feb. 1, 2013.

It might be nice to have a woman in charge for a change, since men including her own husband, cannot seem to tell the truth. At least Hillary admits when she is wrong, what other politician could say that?


Rushkoff emphasizes humanity in digital age

By Kelsey Wojdyla

In a world consumed with digital media, Douglas Rushkoff is on team human. Rushkoff argued for human intervention in his talk, “Program or Be Programmed: Play, Participation and Power in a Digital Age,” in the Mayo Concert Hall on Wednesday, March 19.

Rushkoff emphasizes creativity. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Rushkoff emphasizes creativity. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Instead of living in a “read-only” society, Rushkoff encouraged students to use their “read/write capability” by being an active participant in all aspects of life.

“The only reason you’re not allowed to do something is because you can do it,” Rushkoff said.

He argued that knowing how to use computers but not how to program them is a “tragic mistake,” because once computers are capable of surpassing humanity, as seen in the movie “Her,” people will only be needed to use them and will thus fade into the background.

“His ideas on technology’s significance to society were entertaining and insightful,” junior elementary education and psychology dual major Kristen Pizzolo said. “He really related to the college student.”

In his most recent PBS Frontline documentary, “Generation Like,” Rushkoff explored the irony of living in a world where likes are common currency. While having a personal space to express ourselves is meant to be empowering, it actually leads us to change our values and behavior to get more likes.

Thus, Rushkoff inspired students to be the drivers of their lives, not computerized passengers in a digital age.

“I do not trust Zuckerberg or Gates to take me to the nearest supermarket,” Rushkoff said.

Rather than relying on the “great minds that came up with crap like Facebook,” Rushkoff told students to employ themselves instead. Rushkoff joked that there are not many great employment opportunities out there, and urged students to use their time in college to figure out how to create rather than conform.

“It wasn’t what I was expecting,” junior elementary education and psychology dual major Paige Ennis said. “He made me want to reevaluate what I’m doing with my life, and inspired me to do what I love.”

According to Rushkoff, we live in a time- and efficiency-based culture, but digital is not time — it is creativity.

“Your real career is one app away, one idea away,” Rushkoff said.

Rushkoff is the author of several bestselling books on digital media and popular culture, including “Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age,” “Digital Nation” and the novel “Ecstasy Club.” In addition, Rushkoff is a graphic novelist, columnist, teacher and creator of multiple award-winning PBS Frontline documentaries.

His work focuses on the importance of remaining team human and not getting caught up in a mindless digital age.

Hipper motions to harness social media

By Kristen Lauletti

As part of the Brown Bag Series, guest speaker Tom Hipper visited the College in the Mayo Concert Hall on Friday, March 21, for “Communication During Disasters: How Social Media and Crisis Mapping Are Changing the Field.”

Twitter has proven to be viable. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Twitter has proven to be viable. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Tom Hipper, an alumnus of the College — as well as Penn State University and Johns Hopkins University — gave insight into just how powerful communication with the public can be in times of distress, danger or threat.Hipper, currently the Public Health Planner at the Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication at Drexel University, explained that the field of Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) can offer valuable tools and knowledge on how to successfully deliver and share information.

“Stress can reduce the ability to process information by 80 percent,” Hipper said.

Because of this, communicating during a crisis requires a set of guidelines. Hipper outlined the six principles of CERC that are essential in relaying important messages to the public.

Not only is it important to be first, but you must also be right. This includes being honest about when you know something, but also when you don’t know something.

“I thought it was really interesting that when you’re honest, even about things that you don’t know, it rarely creates panic. I thought it would have the opposite effect,” senior psychology major Francesca Zett said.

Hipper also discussed how it’s necessary to be credible. Examples such as the Anthrax attacks in 2001 demonstrated an effort to avoid overreactions and panic. This, however, led to public distrust once non-credible information was given to it.

Expressing empathy is also important when communicating to people in a time of crisis to show there’s understanding of what they’re going through. Similarly, showing respect demonstrates an understanding that not all disasters are the same and therefore shouldn’t be treated as such.

A last core CERC principle is to promote action among the people who are being communicated to.

Public action has proven to be effective in recent disasters, especially with the use of Twitter. With people receiving tweets about the D.C. Quake 30 seconds before they felt it, it truly showed how this social tool is a powerful means of communication.

With the use of crisis mapping, Hipper explains how social media can be harnessed specifically for an overall public good when the stakes are high. With the use of crowdsourcing, citizens take the active role as participants and contribute pieces of information that can build overall awareness and understanding amongst the public about a particular crisis.

“I love the idea that people can play a more proactive role during a disaster through crisis mapping,” junior communication studies major Ashley McKenna said. “It makes them feel a part of risk decision-making and aiding the process.”

Creating a history to identify

Faderman looks at lesbian history outside modern conceptions. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Faderman looks at lesbian history outside modern conceptions. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Lauren Cronk

Gay marriage is no recent phenomenon, according to Lillian Faderman. As a Women’s History Month guest speaker and a scholar of lesbian history and literature, Faderman spoke on Wednesday, March 19, on the significance of lesbian marriages that existed in the 19th and early 20th centuries — before the legalization of gay marriage as society understands it today.

An internationally-known scholar, Faderman is the author of eight books, two of which, “Surpassing the Love of Men” and “Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers,” have been considered “Notable Books of the Year” by the New York Times.

As women came out to the public as lesbians in what she described as a “dangerous time,” Faderman argued that “the only way for (gays and lesbians) to survive was to hide.”

Faderman described four sources of this fear before the onset of gay civil rights: ideas imposed on homosexuals as criminals by the police force, as psychologically ill by psychologists, as sinners by the church and as unlawful by the government.

Without any written record, Faderman explained, homosexuals had no history to identify themselves with.

“One way to oppress people is to deny their history,” said Ann Marie Nicolosi, chair of women’s and gender studies at the College.

In order to give lesbians a history to tie themselves to, Faderman began researching lesbian marriages of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Faderman began her research as a college professor in 1967, an era considered to be “still dangerous.”

“I went off of hints,” Faderman said regarding her research.

Using archives and often censored published writing, she uncovered a series of lesbian relationships between women, such as Emily and Martha Dickinson, Evangelene Simpson and Rose Cleveland and pioneers in same-sex marriage, Anna Howard-Shaw and Lucy Anthony.

During the 1890s, many educated women decided not to marry, as they wished to pioneer careers instead. They did not wish to bear and care for children or maintain the household, but instead, found love and companionship in same-sex partnerships, Faderman said.

At a time when women were fighting for equality in education and professionalism, unions like “Boston Marriages” — a relationship between two professional women — and “Wellesley marriages” — unrecognized same-sex marriages — were prevalent.

The word lesbian, in the 1890s, was a term often associated with lower-class women, even sodomites, Faderman said. She explained that she does not label these women as lesbians, because it is not how they would have identified themselves.

Faderman simply uses the term as society understands it now. Many of the women involved in same-sex partnerships during past centuries did not use the term lesbian — they simply “loved whom they loved.”

Recital showcases passionate flute playing

By Dongyoung Kim

People say hidden gems are found in the most unexpected places. It turned out to be true on Tuesday, March 18, at the College.

The flute choir impresses. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

The flute choir impresses. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

When people walked into Mayo Concert Hall on Tuesday for a flute choir, a spectacular performance was not something on their minds. But with the swift hand motion of the director signaling the start of the performance, every expectation was torn down.

“I didn’t know what to expect (initially),” said Ellen Plattman, a junior music major at the College who plays violin. “And (then) it started off really good.”

Many people in the audience seemed to have shared this thought as the volume of the clapping was room-filling despite the small attendance.

“They are doing a really good job,” said Nicole Cinman, a flute choir alumna who graduated from the College in 2013. “I wish more people came to it.”

Due to the recent snowstorms, the original date for the performance had to be rescheduled, explaining the lack of the attendance. Yet the small attendance did not deter the members of the choir and they gave a fantastic performance that brought smiles to the audience.

The flute choir, led by the director David DiGiacobbe, flute professor at the College, opened the night with “Overture to Nabucco,” composed by Giuseppe Verdi.

“It’s a challenge with concentration and length,” DiGiacobbe said. “But I think it works really well because the sound of flute choir is very reminiscent of organ in church.”

Using a whole family of flutes that include four different types of flutes, the flute choir created a deep and sincere sound that blended all the instruments together so well that it almost sounded like  one instrument.

“There are lots of other choirs out there,” DiGiacobble said when asked about how the choir manages to produce such a sound. “But we work hard together to make sure that we breathe together and the blend is just right.”

The other reason for the choir’s excellent performance may be attributed to the experience of its musicians. With six seniors leading the group, the flute choir is able to count on their leadership and experience that ultimately helped the group to show their true potential.

“Absolutely fantastic. They are all wonderful people,” said Chelsea Cortese, a senior music major at the College who is a member of the flute choir. “And we all are supportive of each other.”

The night continued with “Variation on a Theme by Haydn,” composed by Johannes Brahms. This music, considered to be the toughest piece among all of the night’s performance, is originally an orchestral piece.

“I think it almost works better for the flute choir,” DiGiacobble said. “You can create all these colors and emotions.”

When the night ended with the “Finale” movement of “Suite from El Amor Brujo,” composed by Manuel de Falla, smiles appeared on the audience’s faces as if they had found the hidden gem that they had been looking for.

“I think this was one of the best flute choir concerts we gave,” DiGiacobble said.

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Malaysian PM reports plane crashing into the ocean

By Sean Harshman

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Monday, March 24, that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 sank, according to BBC News.

Razak stated in a press conference, “It is with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

A relative of family aboard Malaysian Flight 370 mourns over news of the plane crashing. AP Photo.

A relative of family aboard Malaysian Flight 370 mourns over news of the plane crashing.
AP Photo.

This new data came from Inmarsat, a British company that was hired to investigate the disappearance.  Using various methods, the company has deduced that there was no way the aircraft could have made it to land and without a doubt, it had crashed into the Indian Ocean, according to BBC News. 

Inmarsat was able to localize the area where the flight could have gone using electronic signals emitted from the plane’s black box, commonly known as “pings.” The company revealed Monday that they had received pings up to five hours after the plane went missing.

The Washington Post reported that the Malaysian government sent out notification to the families of the 227 passengers of Flight MH370 before the announcement at the press conference.

“Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived,” the text message read. “As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.”

BBC News reported that even though Inmarsat and the Malaysian government have deduced the fate of the plane, the search for wreckage continues. As of midnight on Monday, March 24, four new aircrafts have joined the search for the wreckage.  After Chinese satellite spotted a large object in the Southern Corridor, China and Japan added two planes each to the search effort, which previously composed of six aircraft.

Including crewmembers, there were 239 people aboard the flight, which was on its way from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur.