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Artists’ MTSU lectures celebrate creativity with disabilities (+VIDEOS)

Three renowned artists are bringing their talents to the MTSU campus in February as part of a 40th Anniversary Lecture Series celebrating the accomplishments of creative people with disabilities.

  • Guy Gilchrist, co-creator of “Muppet Babies” and cartoonist for the classic comic strip “Nancy” since 1995, will discuss using the arts to address social issues in his Friday, Feb. 13, visit to MTSU’s Keathley University Center Theater.
  • Actor/author/teacher Estelle Condra will perform a play and discuss creating live performances as an artist with a disability during her Friday, Feb. 20, KUC Theater visit.
  • Drummer Bob Stagner will share techniques for helping young people with disabilities or terminal illnesses via percussion during his Friday, Feb. 27, visit to the KUC Theater.
Bob Stagner

Bob Stagner

Estelle Condra

Estelle Condra

Guy Gilchrist

Guy Gilchrist

Each of the free public lectures is set for 12:40 to 1:40 p.m. A searchable campus map of MTSU, complete with parking details, is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

The trio’s visits are presented by VSA Tennessee, the state organization on arts and disability that was established in 2001 on the MTSU campus.

VSA, an international organization on arts and disabilities, is observing its 40th anniversary in 2014-15. Founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith and formerly known as Very Special Arts, VSA merged with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2011 to expand its services.

VSA Tennessee logo webGilchrist, a resident of Gallatin, Tennessee, took over the “Nancy” strip after the death of creator Ernie Bushmiller and immediately put his own stamp on it by incorporating the names of musical performers, athletic teams, universities and special events into background items, T-shirts and the like. He even included “MTSU Blue Raiders” on a T- shirt worn by the character “Aunt Fritzi” in October 2013.

During his Feb. 13 MTSU visit, Gilchrist, whose work is part of a permanent collection at the Smithsonian Institution, will lecture on cartooning and will teach each audience member to create a cartoon. His credits also include drawing the “Jim Henson’s Muppets” comic strip as well as cartoons for “Looney Tunes,” “Bugs Bunny,” “Tom & Jerry,” “The Pink Panther” and “Fraggle Rock.”

You can watch a video of Gilchrist’s “Using Your Gifts” inspirational talk below.

http://youtu.be/0G-pWoBBzkw

Condra was among the first artists VSA Tennessee brought to visit MTSU and has returned to campus several times to share her work and lecture on the importance of the arts. A native of South Africa who now lives in Tennessee, she worked internationally in theater for many years until retinitis pigmentosa began taking her sight.

She then moved to solo performances as an artist-in-residence for organizations throughout the country, including the Nashville Institute for the Arts in conjunction with the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts. During her Feb. 20 MTSU visit, Condra will present a 15-minute play, “The Luncheon,” and discuss her live performance techniques.

You can watch an excerpt of Condra’s performance in “Vibrations of Laughter” below.

http://youtu.be/6m0-O3FZL3c

Stagner, a Chattanooga native, has worked with artists ranging from Blueground Undergrass to Derek Bailey to the Rev. Howard Finster. He and Dennis Palmer co-founded the free improvisation duo the Shaking Ray Levis and the Shaking Ray Levi Society, an arts education organization that supports emerging artists in performance, art and film.

Stagner, who also works with The Rhythmic Arts Project, founded by drummer Eddie Tuduri, to present music workshops for people with physical and mental disabilities, will use his Feb. 27 MTSU visit to discuss how percussion can help young people.

You can watch a video of the Shaking Ray Levis performing with MTSU alumnus and fellow artist Wayne White below.

http://youtu.be/QNx3LGZi3BY

For more information about VSA Tennessee, visit its website at http://vsatn.org.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Music pioneer Peer is lecture topic at Center for Popular Music

Music journalist Barry Mazor will focus on Ralph Peer’s pioneering role in bringing the recording, marketing and publishing of blues, jazz, country, gospel and Latin music to the world in a special Monday, Jan. 26, lecture at MTSU’s Center for Popular Music.

Click on the poster to see a larger, printable version.

Click on the poster to see a larger, printable version.

The free public discussion is set for 4:30 p.m. in Room 160 of the College of Education Building on the MTSU campus. A searchable campus map of MTSU, complete with parking details, is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Mazor’s newest book, “Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music,” is the first biography of the adventurous A&R man for Victor Records who discovered Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family at the famed “Bristol sessions” in East Tennessee in 1927.

Peer, who later founded the world’s largest independent music publishing firm known today as PeerMusic, also played a role in recording Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues,” which first popularized the blues in 1920.

new Center for Popular Music logo webHe helped bring Latin American music to the forefront during World War II and revolutionized popular music in the postwar era by pushing regional music to the nation and publishing million-sellers recorded by artists ranging from Bing Crosby to Buddy Holly.

Mazor, who also is the author of “Meeting Jimmie Rodgers: How America’s Original Roots Music Hero Changed the Pop Sounds of a Century,” is a longtime music, media and business journalist.

He has written for the Wall Street Journal and No Depression magazine, and his writing also has appeared in the Oxford American, The Washington Post, the Village Voice, Nashville Scene, American Songwriter and the Journal of Country Music.

American roots music is a specialty of MTSU’s Center for Popular Music, which was established in 1985 by the Tennessee Board of Regents as one of 16 Centers of Excellence across the TBR system. It’s devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America, and its staff maintains a unique archive of research materials that spans shaped-note songbooks to hip-hop mash-ups in a collection stretching from the early 18th century to the present.

The Center for Popular Music also develops and sponsors programs in American vernacular music and regularly presents special concerts, lectures and events for the campus community.

For more information on the Jan. 26 lecture at MTSU, email the Center for Popular Music at popular.music@mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

WGNS showcases MTSU arts, business contest, student recruiting

MTSU students, faculty and staff took to the airwaves recently to discuss efforts to share student art with the public, jumpstart entrepreneurship in the area and help prospective students with financial aid as well as lure them to the MTSU campus.

Listeners of WGNS radio heard details on these efforts during the Dec. 15 “Action Line” program with veteran host Bart Walker.

MTSU guests on the Dec. 15 "Action Line" program on WGNS radio: At top, left to right, are Student Gallery Committee members Melody Tang, Erin Potter and Mika Mollenkopf; bottom left, Coby Sherlock, left, an assistant enrollment counselor at MT One Stop, and Nathan Haynes, assistant director of recruitment; and bottom right, Dr. Bill McDowell, professor and chair holder of the Wright Travel Chair in Entrepreneurship in the Jones College of Business. (MTSU photo)

MTSU guests on the Dec. 15 “Action Line” program on WGNS radio: At top, left to right, are Student Gallery Committee members Melody Tang, Erin Potter and Mika Mollenkopf; bottom left, Coby Sherlock, left, an assistant enrollment counselor at MT One Stop, and Nathan Haynes, assistant director of recruitment; and bottom right, Dr. Bill McDowell, professor and chair holder of the Wright Travel Chair in Entrepreneurship in the Jones College of Business. (MTSU photo)

The live program was broadcast on FM 100.5, 101.9 and AM 1450 from the WGNS studio in downtown Murfreesboro. If you missed it, you can listen to a podcast of the show here.

Guests included:

  • Student Gallery Committee members Mika Mollenkopf, Erin Potter and Melody Tang, who discussed their work on a new “Fall/Winter Exhibition” open weekdays through Friday, Jan. 2, at the Murfree Art Gallery, located in the Rutherford County Office Building just off the Murfreesboro Public Square. Members of MTSU’s Student Gallery Committee earned more professional experience in gallery curation, installation and display for this public exhibit. Read more about the exhibit here.
  • Dr. Bill McDowell, professor and chair holder of the Wright Travel Chair in Entrepreneurship in the Jones College of Business, who discussed the Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition, open to all current MTSU students and alumni. The competition is designed to help students and alumni in launching new business ventures, including for-profit businesses, not-for-profit businesses, corporate entrepreneurship, and social enterprise. Learn more here.
  • Coby Sherlock, an assistant enrollment counselor at MT One Stop, and Nathan Haynes, assistant director of recruitment, who discussed upcoming financial aid and student recruiting events. Sherlock focused on College Goal Tennessee at MTSU, a January event to help prospective students fill out their required FAFSA forms to be eligible for financial aid. Haynes discussed upcoming recruitment-related events such as True Blue Experience Days, Honors College Open House and Preview Day. For more information about special tour events, visit here.

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in guesting on WGNS to promote their MTSU-related activities should contact Jimmy Hart, director of news and media relations, at 615-898-5131 or via email at jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu.

MTSU group explores possibility of ‘5th dimension’

Is the “fifth dimension” more than just a singing quintet?

The MTSU Science and Spirituality Group will explore that question in a presentation titled “Conscious, the Paranormal and Higher Dimensions” at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, at Unity of Murfreesboro, 130 S. Cannon Ave. in Murfreesboro.

Dr. Horace "Hap" Crater

Dr. Horace “Hap” Crater

Dr. Horace W. “Hap” Crater, a physics professor at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma, Tennessee, will be the guest speaker.

Crater will examine the possibility that the space-time continuum is not limited to the four dimensions accepted by physicists and cosmologists — length, width, height and time.

Crater proposes that a possible “fifth dimension” in the universe “might provide a physical way of allowing our personal consciousness to extend beyond the normal four dimensions,” said Dr. Gary Wulfsberg, MTSU chemistry professor emeritus.

“The existence of consciousness outside the normal four-dimensional physical universe cannot now be rejected out of hand as absolutely unverifiable by science,” Wulfsberg added.

Crater, who teaches several physics courses at UTSI, also conducts research on theoretical physics. He earned his bachelor’s degree from The College of William and Mary and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University.

The Science and Spirituality Group grew out of conversations between MTSU professors about humanity’s place in the cosmos.

Since 2008, the group has brought accomplished speakers to campus to allow students, faculty and the public an opportunity to see both science and spirituality “as a valuable lens through which to explore perennial questions of human interest,” according to the group’s website at http://library.mtsu.edu/spirituality/aboutus.php.

For more information, contact Wulfsberg at gary.wulfsberg@mtsu.edu or Unity of Murfreesboro at 615-907-6033.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU welcomes music historian for ‘Hillbilly to Rockabilly’ lecture

Music producer, historian and educator Jerry Zolten will link artists like Uncle Dave Macon and Bill Monroe to musicians like Elvis Presley and his contemporaries in a special lecture, “From Hillbilly to Rockabilly: The Country Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Friday, Nov. 21, at MTSU’s Center for Popular Music.

Zolten poster webThe free public lecture is set from 11 a.m. to noon in the center’s reading room, located in Room 140 of MTSU’s Bragg Mass Communication Building.

A searchable campus map with parking notes is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Zolten, producer of the Grammy-winning Fairfield Four and author of “Great God A’Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music,” is an associate professor of communication arts and sciences and American studies at the Pennsylvania State University at Altoona.

Jerry Zolten

Jerry Zolten

Among his specialties is American roots music, which also is a specialty of MTSU’s Center for Popular Music.

The center, established in 1985 by the Tennessee Board of Regents as one of 16 Centers of Excellence across the TBR system, is devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America.

Its staff maintains a unique archive of research materials that spans shaped-note songbooks to hip-hop mash-ups in a collection stretching from the early 18th century to the present.

The Center for Popular Music also develops and sponsors programs in American vernacular music and regularly presents special concerts, lectures and events for the campus community.

Zolten’s Nov. 21 MTSU talk will include historic performance clips of artists such as Jimmie Rodgers, Macon and Monroe and show how they pointed the way to supercharged rockers such as Presley, Carl Perkins and the like.

Zolten also is set to present the lecture at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Nashville. That talk will be included in the $24.95 museum admission price.

For more information on the Nov. 21 lecture at MTSU, email the Center for Popular Music at popular.music@mtsu.edu.

Retired Army officer will discuss leadership in Nov. 20 MTSU talk

As part of the MTSU College of Liberal Arts Military Lecture Series, retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith M. Huber will speak at MTSU this week.

Keith M. Huber

Keith M. Huber

Huber, who lives in Franklin, Tennessee, will share “Thoughts on Leadership: Lessons Learned Over a 40-year Career in the Military” at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the Simmons Amphitheater (Room 106) of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

The event is free and open to the public. A printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Huber served 38 years in the U.S. Army as an infantry and special forces officer.

His many and varied experiences during his service in both combat and peace provide him a unique perspective on the art of leadership and leading people and organizations, said Hilary Miller, manager of recruitment and resources in the College of Liberal Arts and a member of the MTSU Veterans Committee.

Huber spoke during the MTSU ROTC spring awards event April 29 in Keathley University Center Theater.

A reception will follow Huber’s presentation, which is co-sponsored by BRAVO or Blue Raider American Veterans Organization, the University Honors College and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Huber presentation

MTSU guest brings religion, science together Nov. 20

Members of the MTSU community aim to dispel the notion that religion and science are mutually exclusive at a special presentation set Thursday, Nov. 20.

T

The Rev. Michael Dowd

The MTSU Science and Spirituality Group will present a discussion, “The Future is Calling Us to Greatness: Coming Home to Reality,” with the Rev. Michael Dowd at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Unity of Murfreesboro, located at 130 S. Cannon Ave.

“This presentation will focus on six points of agreement held in common by tens of millions of religious and nonreligious people across the globe and how to stay inspired in the face of changing climate and other large-scale challenges,” said Dr. Gary Wulfsberg, MTSU emeritus professor of chemistry.

 Dowd, who refers to himself as an “evolutionary theologian,” earned his bachelor’s degree in biblical studies and philosophy from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, and his master’s degree in divinity from Palmer Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

His book, “Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World,” has been endorsed by six Nobel Prize winners in the fields of physics, economics and physiology/medicine.

The Science and Spirituality Group grew out of conversations between MTSU professors about humanity’s place in the cosmos.

Since 2008, the group has brought accomplished speakers to campus to allow students, faculty and the public an opportunity to see both science and spirituality “as a valuable lens through which to explore perennial questions of human interest,” according to the group’s website at http://library.mtsu.edu/spirituality/aboutus.php.

For more information, contact Wulfsberg at gary.wulfsberg@mtsu.edu or Unity of Murfreesboro at 615-907-6033.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Guest offers preview of WWI centennial lecture on ‘MTSU On the Record’

The conversation focused on the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and the conflict’s continuing impact on 21st century geopolitics in a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Michael S. Neiberg

Neiberg book cover webHost Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Michael S. Neiberg first aired Nov. 3 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Neiberg will present this year’s Strickland Lecture in history, “Demolishing the Myths and Half-Truths of 1914: Why We Must Do Better in 2014,” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.

The event is free and open to the public.

The author of “Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I,” Neiberg is a professor of history in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

“Some of the problems they were dealing with in 1914 are the same problems we’re dealing with in 2014 – increased globalization, increased international trade, non-state actors, terrorist groups,” Neiberg said.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com/ontherecord/.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

Scholar brings Poe expertise to Nov. 3 MTSU Honors lecture

An Edgar Allan Poe scholar will share his wealth of knowledge about the famous 19th-century author and poet during a Nov. 3 public lecture.

Dr. Scott Peeples

Dr. Scott Peeples

Scott Peeples, College of Charleston English department chair, will discuss “Poe Places” as part of the fall MTSU Honors Lecture Series on “The Power of Place.”

The 55-minute lecture, set for 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, is free and open to the public. A printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

As a professor at the Charleston, South Carolina, university, Peeples teaches courses in 18th- and 19th-century American literature, as well as freshman writing. He has published two books on Poe and many essays on 19th-century American literature and is a past president of the Poe Studies Association.

Peeples is in the very early stage of writing “Poe Places,” the subject of his MTSU lecture and a book project on which he is collaborating with photographer Michelle VanParys.

Peeples’ second book on Poe, “The Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe,” received the Patrick F. Quinn Award from the Poe Studies Association in 2004. “Edgar Allan Poe Revisited” was published in 1998. He is a past editor of the journal “Poe Studies.”

A Poe-themed reception will follow the lecture.

For more information about the lecture or fall Honors Lecture Series, call Honors College events coordinator Susan Lyons at 615-898-5645 or email Susan.Lyons@mtsu.edu.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Political science expert speaks Oct. 30 at MTSU Honors College

Dr. Peter Augustine Lawler

Dr. Peter Augustine Lawler

A noted political science author, editor and Dana Professor of Government at Berry College in Berry, Georgia, will be an upcoming guest lecturer at the MTSU Honors College.

Peter Augustine Lawler will provide a free public lecture titled “The Future of Our Liberty is Confusing” at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building’s Simmons Amphitheatre (Room 106). To find parking and the building location, a printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

In addition to his role at Berry College that includes teaching courses in political philosophy and American politics, Lawler serves as executive editor of “Perspectives on Political Science,” he is past chair of the politics and literature section of the American Political Science Association and was a member of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics.

Lawler’s most recent book, “Allergic to Crazy,” is a compilation of some of his essays.

His other books include “Modern and American Dignity,” “Postmodernism Rightly Understood” and “Aliens in America.” He has become a popular and influential blogger and spoken at more than 100 colleges and universities.

A reception will follow his scheduled one-hour talk.

To listen to a recent MTSU “On the Record” interview with Lawler, go to http://www.mtsunews.com/ontherecord/.

For more information, call 615-898-2152.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Click on this lecture poster to see a larger version.

Click on this lecture poster to see a larger version.