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ORONO University of Maine graduate students and faculty will make more than 60 presentations about emerging climate change research on topics from lobsters to deer ticks at the 24th annual Harold W. Borns Jr. Symposium onApril 14 and 15; the event will take place in Stodder Hall.

Published in Press Releases

ORONO The University of Maine's 2015 Senior Art Exhibition, 'The Ghosts of Carnegie Hall,' runs until Jan. 22, displaying paintings, sculpture, photography, digital and other artwork created by 14 UMaine senior studio art majors. Student preparations for the show included supplemental presentations, artists' statements, essays and hands-on involvement in installing and marketing the show.

The exhibit is designed to inform studio art majors, as budding career artists, how to get their work in front of the public.

Published in Press Releases
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 18:29

UMaine Singers hit the road

ORONO - The University of Maine Singers have a spring in their step and a number of songs in their hearts that they are sharing with audiences throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts this week. The 70-member choir is spending their spring break on tour performing for area schools during the day and at public concerts at night. It's an annual tradition that's been going on for years under the direction of Dr. Dennis Cox, the UMaine director of choral activities.

"This group right now is as good as any I've had," said Cox. "I've been with the Singers for almost 36 years and it's been amazing."

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 23:10

UMaine dedicates IMRC Center

ORONO There are few things more important to the vibrancy and viability of an academic institution than the fostering of creativity, collaboration and innovation.

The University of Maine is continuing to bring those tenets to life on its Orono campus. The University marked yet another step toward realizing those ideas with the official opening of the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center (IMRC) on Jan. 9.

Published in Buzz

ORONO - Things tend to get a little hairy during finals week at colleges and universities around the state, but the University of Maine in Orono helped ease the stress its students may have been feeling by bringing therapy dogs on campus.

"Studies have proven that petting a dog can lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety," said Rebecca Henderson of Renaissance Dogs in Holden. "What other time are students more stressed than during finals week?"

Published in Style
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:24

Small state, big dreams

Maine is a small state. For most of us, most of the time, that's a good thing. We've chosen to live a bit off the beaten path because we prefer the somewhat slower pace, the open spaces and (bath salts addicts notwithstanding) the fact that things are relatively safe around here. Small is good when it means few traffic jams, a lack of smog, and the front page of the paper is devoted to hermits and not serial killers. One downside is the occasional lack of perspective and the need to have a taste of the big time life, which leads me to the subject of University of Maine hockey.

 

Published in The Sports Edge
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 13:44

Growing pains Spring Awakening'

UMaine production combines old story, new music

ORONO We live in a world that has become oversensualized in a lot of ways. When it comes to teenagers especially, it can sometimes seem like adolescence has become a race to the finish line of sexuality. At the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy they grow up so fast these days.

Of course, while it can be argued that kids today learn too much too soon, it can also be very easy to forget that not so long ago, young people were kept in the dark about basic emotional interactions and their very natural (and very human) sexuality. Too much knowledge might merit our concern, but so too does too little.

The musical 'Spring Awakening,' based on a century-old German play of the same name, offers an exploration of a time when the physical and emotional sensations of the youth were misunderstood unknowns. The University of Maine School of Performing Arts is presenting their own production of the musical, which features book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik. The show runs through Feb. 24 at Hauck Auditorium on the UMaine campus.

The action takes place in Germany in the late 1800s. Wendla (Hope Milne) is a young girl who is just starting to realize that there is so much about the world that she simply doesn't know. Her parents, rather than deal with her as an adult, instead insist on treating her like the child she no longer is.

Meanwhile, Melchior (Austin Erickson) is a young man whose intelligence and inquisitiveness make him a bit of a handful in the strict authoritarian schools. His classmate Moritz (Garrett Rollins) doesn't have Melchior's natural gifts, and so finds himself struggling both with the high academic expectations and the stern and harsh strictures of the system.

We watch as these teenagers along with their friends slowly begin to discover the realities of who they are. This self-exploration wends its way through a number of basic truths of growing up. However, these kids have not been equipped to deal with the realities of the world. Things like puberty and sexuality (hetero and homo alike), pregnancy and abuse (physical and sexual) are thrust into their lives, and they haven't the slightest idea of how to deal with them.

'Spring Awakening' ostensibly centers on Melchior and Wendla; Erickson and Milne ease us through a developing relationship that dances from sweet to unsettling to sad. Their interactions are the foundation on which the rest of the show is constructed. Strong voices blend with childlike innocence to create a jarring juxtaposition. Theirs is an engaging love, despite being doomed from the start.

Rollins offers a nicely awkward counterpoint to the more self-assured Melchior. His journey might be the most well-defined of them all; we are forced into empathy as he bears us along on his sad descent. The barefoot Bohemian Ilse, played with brash fearlessness by Blaise Collette, stands out as well. And Nellie Kelly as Martha, alongside Collette and the rest of the cast, belts out perhaps the most aggressively moving song of the entire show, the chillingly powerful 'The Dark I Know Well.'

Of course, at its core, this show is about the ensemble. The world of this play is an off-kilter one a 19th century story wedded to 21st century songs. Real investment from every player on the stage is needed for there to be any hope of verisimilitude. The young girls, the schoolboys, even the adults ranging from cruel to clueless all add their own unique facets to the tale being told.

Director Tom Mikotowicz deserves credit for assembling a quality cast and tasking them with such a challenging piece of work. The world of adolescent sexuality is a minefield from which many of these players aren't so far removed Mikotowicz strikes a balance between the subtle and the overt. Music director Craig Ouellette has assembled a first-rate octet of an orchestra, providing not only the tunes behind the songs, but the backbeat of the production itself.

Scenic designer Dan Bilodeau has created a set that manages to be minimal while still feeling epic a feat no doubt aided by Shon Causer's high-octane lighting design. The two designs elevate each other, combining into something much greater than either individual aspect.

'Spring Awakening' is the best kind of academic theater both challenging and entertaining; credit to the School of Performing Arts for mounting a show that can offer lessons to performers and audience members alike.

('Spring Awakening' is playing at UMaine's Hauck Auditorium through Feb. 24. For tickets or more information, visit the School of Performing Arts website at umaine.edu/spa.)

Published in Happenings
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:11

Senior Exhibition

University students to showcase diverse art at Lord Hall

ORONO Fifteen art students will be showcasing their work at an upcoming gallery opening at Lord Hall at the University of Maine in Orono. This is part of their Capstone project as seniors. The Think Make Senior Art Exhibition's opening reception will be Dec. 7 at 5:30 p.m. at Lord Hall on campus. The exhibition will continue until Jan. 25, 2013.

Published in Happenings

ORONO - It is unusual to see an electric guitar included in a wind band, so it takes a little extra effort if you play electric guitar and want to audition for the University of Maine's Symphonic Band. This past summer, UMaine School of Performing Arts senior music education major and electric guitar player Blake Ford went to Symphonic Band Director Chris White and asked if there was any music written for an electric guitar solo in wind band. White was sure they could find something, so he and Ford did some research online and found a piece, 'Chaos Theory 3.0 Concerto for Electric Guitar and Wind Orchestra' by composer, sound designer and guitarist Jim Bonney. The 'Chaos' piece was originally commissioned by the UNLV Wind Orchestra and premiered May 30, 2000. Bonney described his concept: 'In this piece, I wanted to fuse progressive hard rock intensity with classical sophistication. Because of its variety of tonal color and wide dynamic range, I believe the electric guitar has a role in contemporary concert music.'

Published in Music
UMaine production offers powerful, disturbing drama

The power of live theater is undeniable; the stage allows for a visceral urgency that simply cannot be duplicated in any other medium. While disturbing and taboo subjects can be tackled by all forms of artistic expression, nothing captures them with the same level of immediacy that the theater does.

Published in Happenings
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