WCSU News

WCSU to host panel discussion about ‘Afrofuturism, the Black Panther and the Black Panthers: Fantasy and Liberation’

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will host a panel discussion about “Afrofuturism, the Black Panther and the Black Panthers: Fantasy and Liberation” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury.

Participants will include Dr. Donald Gagnon, professor of English at WCSU; William Foster, professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College; Steven Fullwood, public archivist; Lynne Johnson, professor at SUNY-Empire State College; and Dr. Demetrius Eudell, professor of history at Wesleyan University. The event will be free and the public is invited.

The panel will explore how Afrofuturism questions new ways of being while retaining ancestral memory, with a focus on comics featuring black super-heroes. Topics will include the character of Black Panther, the narrative and origins of Western superiority, and the Black Panther movement. Sponsors include the WCSU departments of English and History and Non-Western Cultures, and the Office of Diversity and Equity.

While several definitions of “Afrofuturism” are available online, Gagnon defined it in the context of this forum as “a discussion about the future of black liberation through the voices of a cultural past. Basically, Afrofuturists create their speculative worlds to be inclusive of a cultured and significant black presence, unlike most mainstream science fiction.”

The panelists are a group of diverse scholars ranging from a comic book researcher to a public archivist and professors. “We have distinguished faculty and experts from the area,” Gagnon said. “Steven Fullwood, the public archivist who served as curator at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, reached out to me when he heard that the panel was taking place, asking if he could be involved, because of how strongly the subject matter resonated.

“Another panelist is a professor of history at Wesleyan University, along with Afrofuturism specialist Lynne Johnson from SUNY,” Gagnon added. “We also have perhaps the pre-eminent scholar and researcher on black comic books, Bill Foster. I am thrilled to be entering into conversation with these brilliant spirits, all representing the kind of empowered, intellectual educators of color that Afrofuturism itself envisions.”  

This panel discussion is one of several Black Heritage Month events at the university in February. For a complete schedule, go to http://wcsu.edu/news/2018/02/01/spring-2018-cultural-diversity-calendar/.

For more information, send an email to Gagnon at gagnond@wcsu.edu.

 

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

WCSU Observatory to offer spring planetarium shows & sky viewings

Program features biweekly Saturday shows from March 10 through May 5 & viewing May 21

Image of the WCSU Planetarium and Observatory

The WCSU Planetarium and Observatory

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will host biweekly Saturday evening shows and viewings of planetary and stellar objects during public nights from March 10 through May 5, 2018, at the WCSU Planetarium and Observatory on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

The five Saturday presentations will include a one-hour planetarium show followed by telescope viewing of prominent features in the night sky including the moon, Jupiter and star systems, clusters and nebulae visible during the spring months. A closing event in the series also is scheduled for Monday, May 21, featuring sky observation only. The WCSU Observatory, located atop a hill near Pinney Hall, offers viewings through a 20-inch, computer-controlled Ritchey-Chretien reflector telescope.

Admission is free and the public is invited. Limited parking is provided adjacent to the observatory, with additional parking available on University Boulevard.

Planetarium shows are appropriate for adults and older children, and will be canceled only in the event of hazardous road conditions or severe weather that would pose a safety risk. The viewing period will not be offered during public nights when cloud cover prevents sky observations. For updates to confirm plans for a scheduled public night, call (203) 837-8672 on the day of the event.

Following is the schedule of WCSU Planetarium and Observatory public nights, with the most prominent visible objects listed in the order of their celestial appearance during the viewing period for the evening:

  • Saturday, March 10: The planetarium show will start at 6 p.m., with sky observation following from 7 to 9 p.m. Visible objects will include the Orion Nebula and star clusters in the Auriga constellation.
  • Saturday, March 24: The planetarium show will start at 7 p.m., with sky observation following from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include the first quarter moon, the Gamma Leonis binary star system and the Beehive star cluster.
  • Saturday, April 7: The planetarium show will start at 7:30 p.m., with sky observation following from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Visible objects will include Gamma Leonis, the stars Mizar and Alcor, and galaxies in the Leo and Virgo constellations.
  • Saturday, April 21: The planetarium show will start at 7:30 p.m., with sky observation following from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Visible objects will include the moon near first quarter, Mizar and Alcor.
  • Saturday, May 5: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include Mizar and Alcor, the M15 globular star cluster and Jupiter.
  • Monday, May 21: Sky observation will be offered from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include the first quarter moon and Jupiter.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

WCSU to present Bruce Norris drama ‘Clybourne Park’

Trapani to direct ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ spinoff

Image of a scene from "Clybourne Park"

(l-r): Kezia Waters, Sasha Brown, Kristen Muller, John J. Mudgett and Joseph Calabrese in a scene from “Clybourne Park”

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will present the award-winning drama, “Clybourne Park,” in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

The Department of Theatre Arts production, directed by Professor of Theatre Arts Sal Trapani, will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23; Saturday, Feb. 24, Friday, March 2; and Saturday, March 3; with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, Feb. 24; Sunday, Feb. 25; Saturday, March 3, and Sunday, March 4, 2018.

“Clybourne Park,” written by Bruce Norris, is a spin-off from Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.” It portrays fictional events set before and after the Hansberry play, and is loosely based on historical events that took place in Chicago. It premiered in February 2010 at Playwrights Horizons in New York and opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre in April 2012. In 2011, it won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 2012, it won the Theatre World Award and a Tony Award for Best Play.

The first act opens in 1959 filled with tension as grieving parents Bev and Russ are planning to sell their house in the white middle-class neighborhood of Clybourne Park to a black family, the Youngers, who are protagonists of “A Raisin in the Sun.” In act two, with the same actors playing different roles, it is 2009 and Clybourne Park has become predominantly black, but a white couple wants to help gentrify the community. True colors are shown again as the characters fight, turn on themselves and each other.

Trapani, a composer, director and writer whose work has been seen at many New York, regional and international venues, will direct the play to highlight issues from 1959 — and before — that are still present today.

“I am honored to be directing this important play with so many talented and committed student actors,” Trapani said. “The play uses the groundbreaking ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ as its inspiration. It is a searing and wicked comedy/drama that has a powerful and intense message about the racism and prejudice in each of us. It is an important play for our campus community. I hope we can inspire students to come out and participate in this exciting event.”

The cast features Sasha Brown, of Middletown, in the roles of Francine/Lena; Jillian Caillouette, of Meriden, as Bev/Kathy; Joey Calbrese, of Harwinton, as Russ/Dan; John Mudgett, of Danbury, as Karl/Steve; Kristen Muller, of Norwalk, as Betsey/Lindsey; Thomas Ovitt, of New Milford, as Jim/Tom; Brandon Richardi, of Hanson, Massachusetts, as Kenneth; Sydney Varick, of Waterbury, as Francine/Lena and Kezia Waters, of Waterbury, as Albert/Kevin.

Understudies for the cast are Saige Bryan, of Norwalk, as Francine/Lena; Sam Everett, of Kent, as Russ/Dan; Kenneth Galm, of West Hartford, as Kenneth; Henry Gough, of Ridgefield, as Karl/Steve; Stefan Izydorczak, of Unionville, as Jim/Tom; Jamie Leo, of Southbury, as Betsey/Lindsey; Kelsey Lepesko, of Stratford, as Bev/Kathy and Ramsay Patrick, of Sandy Hook, as Albert/Kevin.

The crew includes Trapani, Pam McDaniel as producer, Noah Todd as assistant director, Frank Herbert as production manager, Hayley Moretti as stage manager, Tom Swetz as technical director, Philip Baldwin as set designer, Sharon Sobel as costume designer, Scott Cally as lighting designer and Cali Holt as sound designer.

Tickets are available online or in person with cash only at the Visual and Performing Arts Center box office from Wednesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

WCSU to celebrate Marian Anderson, civil rights and musical icon

Image of Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson

DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University will host a community birthday celebration for Marian Anderson, a musical and civil rights icon who lived in Danbury.

Anderson was the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera and later in life she was recognized with several awards, including the Medal of Freedom. She sang at the inaugurations of presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.

“Marian Anderson represents the best that America had to offer the world, and we can claim her as a Danbury treasure,” said Dr. John Clark, WCSU president. “We are going to celebrate her in order to reflect the rich cultural and historical diversity of Danbury.”

Clark and Brian Vernon, dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, will lead the celebration in the Veronica Hagman Concert Hall in the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018,  the 121st anniversary of Anderson’s birth.

John Holiday, a countertenor and the winner of the Kennedy Center 2017 Marian Anderson Vocal Award, will perform. The award celebrates excellence in performance by recognizing a young American singer who has achieved initial professional success, and who exhibits promise for a significant career. In order to honor Anderson’s personal and humanitarian achievements, the award encourages service and education.

June Goodman of Danbury, who was a friend of Anderson’s, helped establish the award, which is also supported by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

Anderson made Danbury her home for nearly 50 years, at a house on Joe’s Hill Road that she shared with her husband, Orpheus H. Fisher, an architect. Anderson’s music studio is now part of the Danbury Museum on Main Street.

For more information about the celebration and to register, go to www.wcsu.edu/svpa/mariananderson or call (203) 837-3222.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

WCSU to present Bruce Norris drama ‘Clybourne Park’ Feb. 23 through March 4

WCSU professor Sal Trapani to direct ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ spinoff

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will present the award-winning drama Clybourne Park” in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

The WCSU Department of Theatre Arts production, directed by Professor of Theatre Arts Sal Trapani, will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23; Saturday, Feb. 24, Friday, March 2; Saturday, March 3; with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, Feb. 24; Sunday, Feb. 25; Saturday, March 3, and Sunday, March 4, 2018.

“Clybourne Park” written by Bruce Norris, is a spin-off to Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.” It portrays fictional events set before and after the Hansberry play, and is loosely based on historical events that took place in Chicago, Illinois. It premiered in February 2010 at Playwrights Horizons in New York and opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre on April 19, 2012. In 2011, it won the Laurence Oliver Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 2012, it won the Theatre World Award and a Tony Award for Best Play.

The first act opens in 1959 filled with tension as grieving parents Bev and Russ are planning to sell their house in the white middle-class neighborhood of Clybourne Park to a black family, the Youngers, who are protagonists of “A Raisin in the Sun.” In act two, with the same actors playing different roles, it is 2009 and Clybourne Park has become predominantly black, but a white couple wants to help gentrify the house. True colors are shown again as the characters fight, turn on themselves and each other.

Trapani, a composer, director and writer whose work has been seen at many New York, regional and international venues will direct the relevant play bringing issues from 1959, and before, that are still present today. “I am honored to be directing this important play with so many talented and committed student actors,” Trapani said. “The play uses the groundbreaking ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ as its inspiration. It is a searing and wicked comedy/drama that has a powerful and intense message about the racism and prejudice in each of us. It is an important play for our campus community. I hope we can inspire students to come out and participate in this exciting event.”

The cast features Sasha Brown, of Middletown, in the roles of Francine/Lena; Jillian Caillouette, of Meriden, as Bev/Kathy; Joey Calbrese, of Harwinton, as Russ/Dan; John Mudgett, of Danbury, as Karl/Steve; Kristen Muller, of Norwalk, as Betsey/Lindsey; Thomas Ovitt, of New Milford, as Jim/Tom; Brandon Richardi, of Hanson, Massachusetts, as Kenneth; Sydney Varick, of Waterbury, as Francine/Lena and Kezia Waters, of Waterbury, as Albert/Kevin.

Understudies for the cast are Saige Bryan, of Norwalk, as Francine/Lena; Sam Everett, of Kent, as Russ/Dan; Kenneth Galm, of West Hartford, as Kenneth; Henry Gough, of Ridgefield, as Karl/Steve; Stefan Izydorczak, of Unionville, as Jim/Tom; Jamie Leo, of Southbury, as Betsey/Lindsey; Kelsey Lepesko, of Stratford, as Bev/Kathy and Ramsay Patrick, of Sandy Hook, as Albert/Kevin.

The crew includes Trapani, Pam McDaniel as producer, Noah Todd as assistant director, Frank Herbert as production manager, Hayley Moretti as stage manager, Tom Swetz as technical director, Philip Baldwin as set designer, Sharon Sobel as costume designer, Scott Cally as lighting designer and Cali Holt as sound designer.

Tickets are available online or in person with cash only at the Visual and Performing Arts Center box office from Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

‘Best Darn Jazz Club in Danbury’ at WCSU

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will host the “Best Darn Jazz Club in Danbury” at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in the Colonial Corner in the Student Center on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The acts featured will be the Samantha Feliciano Quartet and the Josh Walker trio. Admission will be free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted at the door.

The Samantha Feliciano Quartet features four musicians: Samantha Feliciano on vocals, Niles Spaulding on bass, Bentley Lewis on guitar and Ethan Benton on drums. This group includes WCSU Music students from audio production, jazz studies and education who come together to present a night of jazz with their preferred style of vocal jazz paying tribute to artists such as Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and others, with a modern spin.

The Josh Walker Trio is a new group that plays jazz standards, contemporary and original music. Walker is a saxophonist and composer who is a recent graduate of the WCSU Jazz Studies program. He has performed throughout the tri-state area with a variety of artists and groups, including the Recess Bureau, Andrew Beals and WCSU alumnus Nick DiMaria. He will be joined by Leonardo Catricala on bass and Eric Hallenbeck on drums, two recent graduates of the Hartt School and current New York City residents.

There will be free food and drinks available in addition to a cash bar for attendees 21 and older with a valid ID.

Future “Best Darn Jazz Club” dates are Friday, March 23, and Friday, April 13.

For more information, call the office of Student Affairs at (203) 837-9700.

 

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

 

 

WCSU Institute for Holistic Health Studies announces Wellness Wednesday workshops

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Institute for Holistic Health Studies (IHHS), within the Department of Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences (HPX), has renewed its focus on promoting the health and wellbeing of the community with the start of the spring semester by hosting a series of new “Wellness Wednesday Workshops” to take place on the Midtown campus beginning Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. 

The workshops, free of charge and open to the public, will be at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in Room 127 of White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury.

The series will include:

Feb. 14: “Health Myths – Busted!” with Dr. Kenneth Hoffman, medical director of Sophia Natural Health Center.

This talk will focus on “busting” the health myths that people have followed throughout the years as well as answering  questions, such as: “What are the best anti-inflammatory foods,” “How can I beat diabetes naturally” and “What is the best overall healthy diet to lose weight?” Learn the truth behind the health and wellness of your body, how food affects you and what you can do to live healthier.

 

March 7: “An Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture” with Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Dr. Sarah Poulin.

Acupuncture is contained within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), an ancient system of medicine.  Learn about the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, how it is used, what TCM can be used to treat, and what to expect in a typical acupuncture treatment.

 

April 4: “The Medicinal Benefits of Tea” with Naturopathic Physicians Dr. Andrew Cummins and Dr. Mara Davidson.

Teas have many medicinal properties which support the human body by way in many ways. They can enhance the immune system, detoxify the body, stimulate the digestive process, and more. This presentation will also discuss the science behind teas and how functional lab testing has assessed the viable benefits of teas.

 

For more information, visit www.wcsu.edu/ihhs/ or send an email to autuoric@wcsu.edu.

 

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

Spring 2018 Cultural Diversity Calendar

Image of spring 2018 Cultural Diversity Calendar

WCSU music students to play ‘Three Spirits’ in Yale Opera’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)

Image of WCSU students Christine Manalo, Natalie Andrews and Serena Valentin as the Three Spirits in "The Magic Flute"

(l-r): WCSU students Christine Manalo, Natalie Andrews and Serena Valentin as the Three Spirits in “The Magic Flute”

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University Music students Natalie Andrews, Christine Manalo and Serena Valentin will perform the roles of the Three Spirits in Yale Opera presents Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” (The Magic Flute) from Feb. 16-18, 2018, at the Shubert Theater, 247 College St. in New Haven.

Andrews, of Salem; Manalo, of Watertown; and Valentin, of Niantic; are music education majors. They learned of the opportunity to audition from WCSU Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup after they appeared as the Three Spirits in a scene of “The Magic Flute” in December at WestConn.

Astrup is pleased that her students were able to seize this opportunity.

“Appearing in supporting roles with Yale Opera is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” she said. “They will be performing with students from the prestigious Graduate Opera Program at Yale, many of whom have already appeared professionally with major opera companies. It is a wonderful collaborative experience for our students. They also will be working with a stage director and conductor of national renown. They are thrilled with this opportunity, as I am for them, and they will have many supporters and fans from WCSU in the audience!”

Valentin expressed excitement when speaking of landing the role. “First of all, I still cannot fully believe that we have the opportunity to perform with such amazing professional singers. It was a fortunate coincidence that Natalie, Christine and I had just performed a scene from ‘The Magic Flute’ for our opera class, so we already knew the audition music. When our teacher told us about the audition, we figured we would give it a shot! Now we are fortunate enough to be a part of a high-level production of a classic opera. Not only do we get to perform in an incredible theater, but we get to learn from a talented and experienced cast of singers. I am so grateful and excited.”

Andrews agreed. “The cast has been so kind and welcoming, and we’ve enjoyed working with and learning from such talented trained musicians. I could not be more excited and grateful for this experience.”

Yale’s new production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” is directed by Yale School of Drama alumnus Dustin Wills. Israel Gursky will conduct the Yale Philharmonia in this timeless tale of a hero’s journey to enlightenment. The performance is sung in German with projected English supertitles.

“The Magic Flute” will be presented at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16 and 17, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18. Andrews, Manalo and Valentin will appear in all three performances.

Tickets are available online, by calling the Shubert Box Office at (203) 562-5666 or visiting in person on weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and prior to all performances.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

WCSU CHOICES Office to offer NARCAN Nasal Spray training

DANBURY, CONN. — The CHOICES Office at Western Connecticut State University will host two workshops this month to train attendees how to administer NARCAN Nasal Spray, which is used as a treatment in an opioid emergency. The first session will be at noon on Monday, Feb. 12, and the second is at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Both workshops are in Room 202 of the Student Center on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury.

Each one-hour workshop will enable attendees to learn how to administer NARCAN Nasal Spray, an overdose reversal medication that could save the life of someone who has accidentally overdosed on opioids. Participants will be given a NARCAN kit upon completion. The training is free and the public is invited.

Sharon Guck, coordinator of Substance Abuse Programs for the university’s CHOICES Office, explained the importance of this workshop.

“We need to do everything that we can to prevent one more accidental overdose in Connecticut. Educating people about the opioid epidemic and providing them with skills and a resource to help in an emergency are both common-sense prevention measures that could help save a life.”

For more information, contact Guck at gucks@wcsu.edu.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.