They've Got Rhythm!
Gallery Takes Oberlin Art Global
They've Got Rhythm!
Two Students Start an ExCo and End Up with a STOMP Ensemble
by Anne C. Paine
Oberlin STOMP performers pose with some of their instruments:
(front row, left to right) Mariana Carlson '03, Laura Kepner-Adney
'04, Erin Shiba '02, and Maitreya Levanchild '05; (back row)
Adam Brooks '02, Barbie Paterson '05, and Jordan Balagot '03.
Three members were unavailable for this photo.
of Broadway's come to Oberlin, and students are stomping about it.
as in STOMP, the theater-movement-percussion sensation that began
in the early 1990s as street theater in England and has since swept
to worldwide acclaim.
bring the phenomenon to Oberlin, juniors Jordan Balagot and Marlana
Carlson, both avid STOMP fans, organized and taught a new Experimental
College course this semester.
Response to their Oberlin STOMP course was tremendous: from
among the 50 people who applied for entry to the class, the instructors
chose eight and, over the course of the semester, molded them into
a collaborative, cohesive ensemble. Members bring a wide range of
backgrounds to the group, including tap, taiko drumming, jazz, ballet,
theater, and modern dance.
premise behind STOMP, said Carlson, is "the simple concept
of making music and rhythm with everyday objects. It speaks to everyone
in any language because there's no language involved."
had seen STOMP and found it really fascinating. It was very powerful
because it made you want to get up and do it," she continued.
"It's been a dream of mine, since I came here, to start a group."
A theater major, Carlson boasts an impressive background in music
and dance, including playing clarinet and studying contact improv
a composition major, first saw STOMP when he was in eighth grade,
and though he said he'd like to audition for the professional group
after he graduates, he wanted Oberlin STOMP to go further than the
Broadway show does.
has only one choreographer and one composer," he said. "They
don't change what they do. We wanted to come from a place where
all the students were writing, creating, improvising, and incorporating
in the Broadway show, the members of Oberlin's STOMP ensemble use
a variety of nontraditional percussion instruments: trash cans,
buckets, glass jars, boxes of macaroni, steel bowls, empty cans,
keeping with the collaborative nature of the class, however, the
instructors aren't always the teachers. In a recent session, ensemble
member Adam Brooks '02 taught a routine using balloons. After everyone
had inflated colorful "Happy Birthday" balloons, he demonstrated
various ways to make pleasing sounds with these "instruments."
Once everyone had mastered the techniques, he taught three different
Brooks split the class into three smaller groups and assigned each
group one of the rhythms. He started the first group, added the
second, and then the third, and as all three rhythms were played
simultaneously, the room exploded with sound and exuberance, energy
and life. Though the class session was devoted to learning music,
bodies began swaying instinctively. Communication flashed, unspoken,
from the eyes of one performer to the next as all concentrated on
the work of being an ensemble.
Oberlin STOMP ensemble performed publicly twice during the semester,
and Balagot plans to offer the class again next year.
been a lot of fun," he said. "I definitely want to focus
more on percussion in my own composing work now."
been rewarding to see people be happy and know that we did a good
job," Carlson added. "It would also be rewarding to see
the group continue after we graduate."
STOMP on! ATS
see video clips of the Oberlin STOMP ensemble in action, go to www.oberlin.edu/wwwcomm/ats/
and click on the Video Gallery.
Takes Oberlin Art Global
sampling of the artworks on view at the Oberlin Online Gallery.
campus art gallery opened this semester in an event that would have
been unimaginable just 20 years ago.
precisely 5 p.m. on a Friday in mid-February, the doors of the Allen
Art Building's Fisher Hall opened for an exhibition of faculty and
student works. At the same moment, the new Oberlin College Online
Gallery (OCOG) - also featuring faculty and student works - "went
draw attention to the OCOG, the innovative exhibition in Fisher
featured both physical and virtual works. Some 200 guests strolled
among installations, paintings, and photographs shown alongside
projected images of works from the online gallery. A screening of
The Settler, a short film by assistant professor of art Rian
Brown-Orso, and live performances of student-composed music were
juxtaposed with viewing stations where guests could see and hear
video and audio works from the online gallery.
brainchild of John Appley '85, director of new media in the college
relations office, OCOG showcases a wide-ranging sampling of art
currently being produced at Oberlin, including photography, sculpture,
installation art, video, music, and performance work. The web site
also includes profiles of participating artists.
of the best things about OCOG is that unlike the exhibition in Fisher
Hall, which has long since been dismantled, the online gallery is
a permanent feature of Oberlin Online, the College's web site. This
extends its reach far beyond the Oberlin campus.
web-based galleries have global visibility," said John Donalds,
media engineer for the art department and a collaborator on the
project. "With this site, the College has made it easier for
our community to display its artwork with the medium of the Internet."
Lauren Harkrader '02, a studio art major whose work is featured
on OCOG, agreed. "We hope this will help people realize that
compelling, thought-provoking works are being created at Oberlin,"
she said. ATS
visit the Oberlin College Online Gallery, log on to www.oberlin.edu/gallery/.