Published: July 2013 in College News

Students Thrive in Europe Semester, Fringe Festival and Choir Tour

Europe Semester Goes High-Tech

Sending students to Europe with their books and assignments all on the Apple iPad mini (see story here) represents another breakthrough in technology at Westmont. Reed Sheard, chief information officer and vice president for college advancement, says few schools integrate technology into face-to-face international courses. “I’m pleased we reduced the weight of academic course material by 90 percent and lowered the cost of books by $100,’ he says. “But I’m most excited about the way the tablets complement and deepen studies and experiences in different cultures. It’s great that faculty are using technology to strengthen and enhance student learning.”

A Fringe Full of Student Work

More than 75 Westmont students presented 18 different pieces during six performances of “Fringe 2013: On the Verge” in April. “We hope the grueling schedule added vitality and velocity for performers and viewers,” says co-producer Paige Tautz ’14. “We wanted to represent our incredible student artists and provide an entertaining and enjoyable festival that showcases their creativity,” says co-producer Mak Manson ’14.

The festival featured eight world-premiere plays written by Master of Fine Arts students at UT Austin and UC San Diego. “This collaboration between advanced directing students and M.F.A. playwrights was not only exhilarating during the 48-hour writing process initiated by Professor John Blondell, but it was a great experience for directors and playwrights to continue collaborating at rehearsals,” Tautz says. In addition to the new, 10-minute plays and dance pieces, seniors Sam Martin and Molly Sexton directed full-length productions to conclude each night.

Choirs Tour the Southwest

In May, 54 members of the Westmont College Choir and Chamber Singers boarded a bus and traveled to Southern California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, performing a diverse repertoire from the past five centuries, from classical sacred and secular music to vocal jazz. Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship, says the students experienced “a wonderfully successful tour. They presented seven concerts (all to standing ovations), offered three clinics for high school choirs, and sang for a worship service at the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel. Along the way, they enjoyed a snowball fight atop Vail Pass, scrambled the red rocks at the Garden of the Gods, and hiked the rim of the Grand Canyon. Arizona National Public Radio recorded their final concert in Scottsdale for a future broadcast.”

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