THE INTER-MOUNTAIN - Musical, theatrical and artistic talents were on display Tuesday night at Davis & Elkins College, as students took part in a five-day celebration marking the inauguration of D&E President Chris Wood.
Tuesday’s event featured performing arts presentations in The Joni and Buck Smith Arts Forum as well as art displays, studio tours and demonstrations of artwork in the lower level of the Myles Center for the Arts.
“What a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the arts,” Wood said as he welcomed more than 100 students, faculty and community members to the program.
Wood thanked students and faculty for sharing their talents and helping put the celebration together, and he announced that the college’s Division of Fine & Performing Arts will be renamed the Division of Creative Arts. He said the art education program at the college is full of energy, and it offers a “life-changing opportunity” for students.
Student performances included Davis & Elkins College Concert Choir, the Theatre Department and Appalachian Ensemble band members and dancers. Michael Doig, chair of the Division of Creative Arts, said Tuesday’s event was unique because the students rarely have the opportunity to gather and perform together.
“It’s really special,” Doig said. “The arts and theater folks, they don’t really get together like this. I’m so fortunate to be able to work with all these talented people.”
He noted the department’s name change “embraces collaboration between all of us,” and it came about because college leaders wanted to “create an umbrella under which we can all create together.”
Tuesday’s event included the Concert Choir, under the direction of Liz Marshall-MacVean and accompanied by Donna Baroudi Huffman, which performed “Seize The Day” from “Newsies” by Feldman, Menken and Roger Emerson, and “Seasons of Love” from “RENT” by Jonathan Larson and Roger Emerson.
MacKinzie Smith of Renick performed a piano solo, “Etude for the Dreamer” by Jennifer Thomas.
In addition to Smith, members of the Concert Choir are Jacob Antoline of Elkins; Megan Augustine of Dallas, Georgia; Blake Boswell of Belpre, Ohio; Katrina Carpenter of Elkins; Patrick Christ of Hydes, Maryland; Bri Conley of Roanoke, Virginia; Jacob Currence of Beverly; Lauren Digman of Elkins; Tiffany Dodd of Petersburg; Denise Folley of Charlottesville, Virginia; Clay Friel of Hillsboro; Megan Huffnagel of Elkins; Madeline Lessner of Waldorf, Maryland; Lauren Lunemann of New Milton; Eric Matheny of Lebanon, Virginia; Sheena McAllister of Inglewood, California; Shannen McClure of Marlinton; Allen McGraw of Hinton; Jamey Perrine of Rock Cave; Will Roboski of Elkins; Hannah Shiflett of Beverly; Josh Thompson of Parsons; Brandon Ulrich of Roanoke, Virginia; and Matthew Weintraub of Lewisburg.
Theater students presented a radio play, “The Cyclops,” which is a scene from their spring production “The Odyssey.” The radio play was adapted by Simon Armitage for BBC Radio.
Directed by kb saine, assistant professor of theater, the production includes cast members Thompson as Antiphus; Ulrich as Polites; Friel as Eurybates; Kyle Hall of Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as Elpenos; Weintraub as Odysseus; Currence as Cyclops; McClure, Huffnagel and Thompson as sheep; and the cast as Foley Artists. Conley served as sound designer and Emmett Jaeger of Los Alamitos, California was the stage manager.
Tuesday’s event also included performances by Appalachian Ensemble, a string and dance band under the direction of Emily Miller and Emily Oleson.
Members of the string band are fiddler Branson Raines of Asheville, North Carolina; percussionist and dancer Matthew Olwell of Charlottesville, Virginia; bassist Devon Rose of Benwood; and fiddler and mandolin player Ben Zorn of Chicago, Illinois.
Dancers in the Ensemble are Nina Stump of Buckhannon; Jonathan Callahan of Harrisonburg, Virginia; Katharine Manor of Rockville, Maryland; Will Roboski of Elkins; Eli Lucchesi of Alma, Michigan; Alina Soltis of Saline, Michigan; Madalyn Humphrey of Elkins; Allison Riley of Huntington; Elizabeth Brown of Roanoke, Virginia; Katie Little of Beckley; Cierra Merril of Clarksburg; and Tiffanie Toler of Elkins.
Another event for inauguration week is scheduled at 7 p.m. today, with a public reading and book signing by West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman at the Myles Center for the Arts.
Inauguration Day, set for Thursday, will begin with a lecture at 11 a.m. by David Morrison, alumnus and trustee, in Robbins Memorial Chapel. The dedication of the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy is set for noon, and the inauguration ceremony is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium.
A native of Huntington, Wood was selected as D&E’s 15th president and began his service Aug. 1. He chose “The Journey” as the inaugural theme based on the signature phrase of his father, the late Rev. Dr. F. Emerson Wood. The theme will be reflected in the inauguration events and in Wood’s inaugural address.