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MTSU offers fun, family-friendly ‘American Tall Tales’ Sept. 24-28

They’ve shared American folk stories with children around the world for the last decade, and now MTSU students are bringing their original production of “American Tall Tales” back home to Tucker Theatre Sept. 24-28.

“American Tall Tales” features student- and faculty-written tunes and tales about incredible characters like Pecos Bill, John Henry, Slue-Foot Sue, Annie Christmas and Johnny Appleseed. The show focuses on family fun with 7:30 p.m. performances set Sept. 24-27 at MTSU and a 2 p.m. matinee planned for Sept. 28.

Performances are being scheduled at area schools, too.

MTSU theatre students Erin Davidson, left, Dominic Gillette and Harley Walker pretend to see a bear — or maybe it’s just a grownup demanding they come down from the attic and take their baths — during rehearsals for “American Tall Tales,” an award-winning original production with performances set Sept. 24-28 in the university’s Tucker Theatre. Tickets are available online, and performances are being scheduled at area schools, too. (MTSU photo by Darby Campbell)

Tickets for the MTSU Arts performances, sponsored by Ascend Federal Credit Union, are available online here and at the Tucker Theatre box office an hour before curtain times.

“All these stories came from hardships. … They’re bigger than life,” explains Dr. Jette Halladay, MTSU theatre professor and the “Tall Tales” director.

“It’s kind of an American spirit that we take these hardships and turn them into stories of incredible courage and strength.”

Most Americans have heard or read the outlandish tales and impossible boasts of these “incredible” stories during childhood. Students in Halladay’s Theatre for Young Audiences course in 2003 turned to those tales when searching for a unique children’s play.

“They wanted to tour with it and not have to deal with royalties,” Halladay recalls, “so they wrote the script and the songs. It took us a full year to prepare it for Tucker (Theatre performances), and then we were invited to youth theater festivals in Finland, Russia and Latvia, winning two awards at the Baltic Theatre Festival.”

Those award-winning summer 2004 overseas performances, along with recent summer theatre trips to Honduras and Guatemala to present other original plays to young audiences, helped students set the stage to bring “American Tall Tales” back to MTSU.

“Theatre is a whole different experience with kids,” senior theatre major Harley Walker of Murfreesboro says with a laugh. “The energy is entirely different, which is so nice. Of course, it’s a family show as well. Parents can come and still enjoy it, and older kids too.”

The updated production, set in an attic where the players take turns telling their stories, features a simple and easily transported set and costumes designed by theatre professor Virginia Donnell with assistance from student designer Stephanie Bottum.

Dr. Jette Halladay

Dr. Jette Halladay

“We’re doing everything (in the play) with stuff we found in an attic,” adds senior theatre major Erin Davidson of Eagleville, Tennessee. “Any of the kids can go home and say ‘I can do that! I can pull stuff out of the attic and I can make a play, too, with my friends!’”

Davidson is portraying “Sage the Bear,” and Walker is “Slue-Foot Sue.” Parents and teachers who want to share the characters’ stories with their children and students can download the “American Tall Tales” educational packet, which Bottum also prepared, at www.mtsu.edu/theatre/TTEd.pdf.

Click on the poster above for ticket information for “American Tall Tales” at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre Sept. 24-28.

“This is our cast’s take on it, and that’s what makes it even more special to us,” explains Dominic Gillette, a junior theatre major from Chattanooga, Tennessee, who’s portraying “John Henry” onstage.

“We hear these songs being sung that we’ve created and it gives us that feel-good type of vibe. Creating together with a group is great.”

The cast also includes Joshua Jackson as Johnny Appleseed, Aaron Brooks as Billy, Chelsea Bell as Annie Christmas, Abbey Kairdolf as Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind, Steven Johnson as Pecos Bill and Jasmine Reid as Cici. MTSU alumnus Micah Snow is the production’s music director, and new assistant dance professor Margaret “Meg” Brooker is the choreographer. MTSU senior Jessica Gregory is stage manager for this production.

“American Tall Tales” will also be touring area schools on Fridays until the end of spring 2015 to share the fun more conveniently and inexpensively with local children.

“For a school to come to see a matinee at Tucker Theatre costs $3 per child,” Halladay says, “which is a good price, but then they also have the cost of the buses and then scheduling the times and getting the chaperones. If a school has 300 children, it would cost them $900 for tickets alone. We can bring the performance to the school for $700 a show and save them hundreds of dollars.”

Halladay, who’s won multiple awards and grants for her children’s theatre projects, teaches classes on children’s drama and speech, storytelling, theatre in education and playwriting. Her love for children’s theatre has spread to her students, too, as they’ve learned to write and perform for young audiences as well as more typical theater crowds.

During last spring’s colorful production of “A Year with Frog and Toad,” for example, “the whole cast was expecting squirming and yelling in the seats,” says Paul Gary, a sophomore theatre major from Knoxville who portrayed “Toad.”

“But they were just sitting there, with the rest of the audience, paying attention,” he adds as he prepares to play “Mike Fink.” “Jette is truly a blessing. I wouldn’t have anyone else do this show with us.”

Funds raised by local performances and school tours will help with expenses when the troupe takes “American Tall Tales” to Ireland and other portions of the United Kingdom next May, Halladay says.

“This show’s great because it’s a bunch of children who are playing in an attic, and they find this magic pot that turns them into these legends,” she adds. “But we also make it clear that every child has a legend in him. Every child is a hero.

“Also, these children are just using junk they find in an attic. You don’t need money to buy props and costumes and all. As long you have an imagination, you can turn it into whatever you want.”

General admission tickets are $10 each and $5 for K-12 students and senior citizens. MTSU students with valid IDs will be admitted free.

Tickets for “American Tall Tales” also can be ordered by phone by calling 888-71-TICKETS (888-718-4253) 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Fun, food, drones capture fancy of MTSU Farm open house crowd

Karley Estes, left, paints the face of Noah Carroll, 10, of Murfreesboro, during the Sept. 18 MTSU Farm Laboratories Open House in Lascassas, Tennessee. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

Karley Estes, left, paints the face of Noah Carroll, 10, of Murfreesboro during the Sept. 18 MTSU Farm Laboratories Open House in Lascassas, Tennessee. Clark Edge, center, waits his turn. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

LASCASSAS, Tenn. — Minutes before 5 p.m. Thursday, there was a buzz about the MTSU Farm, and we’re not talking about the beehives in the apiary.

A good-size crowd — a mix of young and old — gathered, with all peering toward the sky. Several hundred yards above them, an unmanned aerial vehicle — or drone — flew in a computer-generated pattern across the nearby fields.

Its on-ground commander, Greg Barton of Tri-Green Equipment, began bringing the UAV safely to the ground as the onlookers watched in amazement.

The drone demonstration was just one facet of the annual MTSU Farm Laboratories Open House, held on the 438 acres adjacent to Guy James Road in Lascassas, Tennessee.

At their leisure, the public and MTSU communities could tour the gardens, the apiary where honey was for sale, the MTSU Dairy atop the hill and more. But most people waited in anticipation of the hamburgers and hot dogs grilled by MTSU students.

Along with the food, face painting and petting of cows by children at the dairy, the UAV flight demonstration and table displays were featured attractions at the event.

“We’re working with our aerospace department to partner with them (in research areas),” said Matthew Wade, director of the farm laboratories, also known as the MTSU Experiential Learning and Research Center.

“We’re working with the FAA to get MTSU aerospace to fly drones over the farm, which will happen soon,” Wade added. “Their students will use classroom instruction, so practical knowledge will be gained.”

MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience assistant professor Song Cui, right, answers questions about unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, Murfreesboro resident Jim Tracy, second from right, and his children Carson, 9, Kenton, 7, and Ellison, 11. A drone aerial demonstration occurred during the MTSU Farm Laboratories Open House Sept. 18 at the MTSU Farm in Lascassas, Tennessee.

MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience assistant professor Song Cui, right, answers questions about unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, Murfreesboro resident Jim Tracy, second from right, and his children Carson, Kenton and Ellison. A drone aerial demonstration occurred during the MTSU Farm Laboratories Open House Sept. 18 at the MTSU Farm in Lascassas, Tennessee.

Aerospace operations manager and UAV expert Doug Campbell and School of Agribusiness and Agriscience assistant professor Song Cui shared their drone knowledge with adults and children in attendance.

Barton and MTSU alumnus Tyler Hobson brought several UAVs at the invitation of senior agribusiness major Jonathan Young of Lascassas.

Murfreesboro’s Jim Tracy and his children — Kenton, 7, Carson, 9, and Ellison, 11 — asked a number of questions about drones.

“The distance was very far,” Carson Tracy said of the flying drone.

Little brother Kenton Tracey said seeing cows and petting one made his day.

McKay Carroll, 8, enjoyed watching cows being milked and discovering that MTSU makes honey.

School of Agribusiness and Agriscience Director Warren Gill told the crowd the event “is all for our students and the community. We’re still on the way. There are always improvements to be made.”

About 200 of the estimated crowd of 400 people were children.

A number of students briefly explained about the agriculture organizations they’ve joined on campus.

The MTSU chocolate milk was, as always, a hit. Making a sensation was the new MTSU chocolate ice cream, manufactured by Lebanon, Tennessee-based Two Fat Men Ice Cream Company, owned by Ed Riley.

“They are taking the same ingredients — cream and chocolate powder — we use in our chocolate milk, and he (Riley) calls it ‘MTSU chocolate,’” Wade said.

The 2015 open house will be held next September. For more information, call 615-898-2523.

Honey in all shapes and sizes will be available for sale at the 2014 MTSU Farm Laboratories Open House from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at 3211 Guy James Road in Lascassas, Tennessee.

Honey in containers of all shapes and sizes was available at the 2014 MTSU Farm Laboratories Open House Thursday, Sept. 18, at 3211 Guy James Road in Lascassas, Tennessee.

Exhibit of McPhee’s photos from China opens Sept. 22 at Chamber

A special monthlong photo exhibit, “China: Through the Eyes of an American University President,” opens Monday, Sept. 22, at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, as part of a joint MTSU and community salute to China.

With more than 300 digital images and 30 large prints in 14 different categories, the exhibit, located at 3050 Medical Center Parkway, chronicles MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee’s travels to more than 100 Chinese municipalities and provinces during his tenure at the university.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee discusses the photographs on display in the Todd Art Gallery with attendees of a Sept. 11 reception and auction there. The photos, which McPhee took while on trips to China during his presidential tenure, will be on display at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Sept. 22-Oct. 22. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

And on Friday, Sept. 26, the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring and the Confucius Institute at MTSU will co-host a free evening of opportunities for children and families to explore Chinese culture and traditions.

Admission to “Confucius Institute Night,” set from 4 to 8 p.m., will be free to the public. Visitors will be able to enjoy mini-Chinese classes, dance performances and calligraphy demonstrations for “Confucius Institute Day” at the center, which is located at 502 S.E. Broad St. in Murfreesboro.

The community’s Chinese connections will be highlighted with a 55-inch video monitor that patrons can touch to access interactive programs about sites of interest in China, as well as food, music, kung fu, calligraphy, the Chinese zodiac and other topics.

McPhee said the Confucius Institute and the Discovery Center also will sign a partnership that evening to help create more joint programming and community activities.

During an exhibit and reception held earlier this month at MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery, an auction of framed copies of McPhee’s China photographs successfully raised $2,300 for a graphic design scholarship.

The Sept. 11 event at MTSU was also part of the university’s observance of the 10th anniversary of the worldwide Hanban Confucius Institute, a network of hubs for China-related cultural activities and a resource center for Chinese language, history and contemporary society.

McPhee said during the MTSU gallery event that his favorite photo in the exhibit is of a little girl with colorful barrettes.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee calls this photo of a child, taken in Suzhou, a city located just outside Shanghai in eastern China, as one of his favorites in an exhibit at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Sept. 22-Oct. 22.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee calls this photo of a child, taken in Suzhou, a city outside Shanghai in eastern China, as one of his favorites from an exhibit at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Sept. 22-Oct. 22.

He said he encountered the child while she was eating lunch near Shanghai, and she reminded him of his own daughter, Seneca, when she was young and her mother, Liz, decorated her hair with colorful ribbons and barrettes.

Rebecca White, a 21-year-old psychology major from Shelbyville, Tennessee, said that photo is also her favorite.

“It’s incredible that she was focused on him instead of the world around her,” White said of the photo subject. “She saw somebody that was willing to accept her culture.”

Noting that people have been his favorite photographic subjects in China, McPhee said, “You can learn so much without even asking them to say a word by the expressions on their faces.”

Ariel Tyndell, a 23-year-old graphic design major from Nashville who created the poster promoting the event, said she prefers a trio of photos titled “Detian Waterfalls in Guangxi.”

“I love the colors and the fog on the mountains,” Tyndell said. “It’s really gorgeous.”

The McPhee photo exhibit at the Chamber of Commerce headquarters will be open to the public from Sept. 22 through Wednesday, Oct. 22.

The photo exhibit expands upon McPhee’s 2012 internationally released book of photographic essays, “China: Through the Eyes of an American University President,” published by the Hanban-Confucius Institute. In 2013, China’s foreign ministry designated the book as a significant cultural presentation.

McPhee has visited the country multiple times since 1999 and has also worked closely with Chinese educational partners to strengthen MTSU’s international undergraduate and graduate student enrollment, expand its study-abroad and cultural opportunities and develop research collaboration. In 2007, China Agricultural University in Beijing named McPhee an honorary professor, its highest academic award.

MTSU has tripled its international enrollment under McPhee’s watch and this year welcomed its largest class of international scholars.

For more information about the Sept. 26 Chinese culture celebration or the Sept. 22-Oct. 22 photo exhibit, contact the Confucius Institute at 615-494-8696 or cimtsu@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue and Gina E. Fann (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee gestures to the audience while describing photographs he took on his trips to China at a Sept. 11 exhibit in MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery. The subsequent photo auction and sales of his book, “China: Through the Eyes of an American University President,” raised $2,300 for a scholarship fund for graphic design majors. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The “College Gate” outside the old city wall of Xi’an, China, shown in this photo by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, shows a mix of traditional architecture and modern business as it welcomes guests to the “Ancient Culture Street” to enjoy arts, crafts, culture and shopping. An exhibit of McPhee’s China photographs, including this one, is set at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Sept. 22-Oct. 22.

Tourists and citizens walk through the plaza surrounding China’s Beijing National Stadium, known as “the Bird’s Nest,” during the 2008 Olympics in this photo by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee.

MTSU students ‘singing the blues’ with Sherwin-Williams Sept. 18

MTSU’s interior design majors will be giving their full range of expression to all that “true blue” means in a fun, family-friendly event set for Thursday, Sept. 18.

Click on the poster above to see a full-size version.

Click on the poster above to see a full-size version.

The MTSU student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, also known as ASID, will present “Singing the Blues” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at Oaklands Historic House Museum, located at 900 N. Maney Ave. in Murfreesboro.

The event, which will explore the history, symbolism, psychology and uses of the color in design, is free and open to the public.

Amanda Farris-Gilliland, lead decorative product specialist for Sherwin-Williams, will discuss decorative uses of the color blue from Renaissance art to the cultivation and manufacture of dyes.

“We’ll see how our ancestors found ‘blue’ in nature and used it in art, architecture and clothing,” Farris-Gilliland said.

The lecture will be preceded by a reception from 5 to 6:15 p.m. in Oaklands’ Maney Hall. Attendees are encouraged to wear blue clothing, and door prizes will be awarded for the best blue attire.

Farris-Gilliland, who is her company’s industry partner representative for ASID, said it is important for future designers to have mentors to make sure they have everything they need to succeed.

“We must be able to cultivate the next generation of designers and emphasize the importance of networking to them,” Farris-Gilliland said.

For more information, contact Deborah Belcher, chair of the MTSU Department of Human Sciences, at 615-898-2302 or deborah.belcher@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Runners await Dairy Hill Stampede 5K, 10K Sept. 13 at MTSU Dairy

MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience chair Warren Gill poses with a Dairy Hill Stampede cowbell, which will be awarded to runners during the Sept. 13 5K and 10K events at the MTSU Dairy, located at 3211 Guy James Road in Lascassas, Tennessee. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

The second Dairy Hill Stampede promises to be a multifaceted fun-filled 5K and 10K run for participants Saturday, Sept. 13.

From master of ceremonies coach Rick Insell and four of his Lady Raiders basketball players to MTSU Dairy’s chocolate milk to perfect weather, the event will be a hit for runners and all involved.


Up to 200 runners will be competing in the stampede, which begins at 8 a.m. at the dairy, 3211 Guy James Road in Lascassas, Tennessee, part of the MTSU Experiential Learning and Research Center about 6 miles east of the main campus.

Late and walk-up entries are welcome. The event is a dual fundraiser for the Farm Animal Coalition of Tennessee and the Veteran’s Recovery Center Council. Register online at www.active.com.

“It is for such a good cause,” said Warren Gill, chair of the MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience. “What we’re doing for veterans is so important, and obviously the Farm Animal Coalition means a great deal to me.”

With 135 racers preregistered, Gill said he anticipates a good number of runners registering late.

Each participant will receive a special cowbell for the second year in a row. In addition to water, the dairy’s popular chocolate milk will be served.

Chip Walters, the football and men’s basketball broadcast voice of the Blue Raiders, will be taking photos of both the Dairy Hill Stampede and Raiderfest recruiting event later in the day. The images will be shown at halftime of the MTSU-Western Kentucky football game Saturday night.

Raiderfest is a School of Agribusiness and Agriscience-sponsored event expected to bring at least 200 area high school students to campus.

For more information about the race, call Lou Nave at 615-970-8065 or visit www.tnfacct.com/dairy-hill-stampede.html.

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

Duo Damiana plans unique Sept. 9 musical performance at MTSU

Duo Damiana, a flute/guitar group, will present a free public concert Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m. in Hinton Music Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building.

Guitarist Dieter Hennings and flutist Molly Barth will be performing works by Michael Fiday, Shafer Mahoney, Hebert Vazquez, Ricardo Zohn Muldoon, David Lang, Chen Yi and Toru Takemitsu.

Barth, a Grammy Award-winning flutist and assistant professor of flute at the University of Oregon, specializes in the music of today with a primary focus on contemporary chamber music.

Guitarist Dieter Hennings and flutist Molly Barth, the members of Duo Damiana, will perform in MTSU’s Wright Music Building Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m. There is no admission charge. (Photo by Alyson Levy)

She and Hennings, who teaches classical guitar at the University of Kentucky, met through a mutual friend, composer Muldoon, and created Duo Damiana to focus on broadening the cutting-edge body of repertoire for flute and guitar.

Barth has recently performed in Australia, Korea and Mexico and has played solo recitals and led clinics at sites including the Oberlin Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory and the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music.

She won the 2008 Grammy Award for “Best Chamber Music Performance” for “Strange Imaginary Animals,” an album by the new music sextet she founded, “eighth blackbird.” Barth also is the co-founder of the Beta Collide New Music Project.

Hennings has been a soloist with Canada’s New Music Concerts Ensemble, the University of Arizona Philharmonic, the Orquesta Filarmonica de Monterrey and the Tito Sccipa Orchestra of Lecce, Italy. He is a resident artist at the East Coast Composers Ensemble and the Eastman Broad Band Ensemble, with whom he maintains an active performing schedule.

Hennings has won numerous national and international competitions, and his recent engagements include concerts with pop singer Natalie Merchant and baroque violinist Monica Huggett as well as appearances at the Mexican Embassy in Rome, Festival SpazioMusica of Cagliari, Julliard’s Paul Hall and the New England Conservatory.

During this past summer, Duo Damiana mentored 97 young composers and numerous performers at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium and performed at the National Flute Association Convention in Chicago. Along with their Tennessee stops, their 2014-15 season includes performances in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

You can listen to a performance by Duo Damiana of “Vent,” composed by David Lang and arranged by Hennings, here on Barth’s website.

For more information on this and other concerts in the MTSU School of Music, call 615-898-2493 or visit the “Concert Calendar” link at www.mtsumusic.com. You also can find a campus parking map at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap14-15.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU group to meet Sept. 11 to boost women in higher ed

Women in higher education will get a boost from the American Association of University Women’s upcoming Murfreesboro branch meeting.

AAUW Mboro logo webThe gathering is slated for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, at the Forest Oaks Clubhouse, 1002 E. Northfield Blvd. It will include a potluck dinner and a silent auction to benefit AAUW’s educational opportunities and legal advocacy funds.

“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” is the theme for the auction. Items up for grabs include mirrors, makeup, jewelry, hats, scarves, soaps and other products that enhance one’s beauty.

AAUW also will be accepting donations of large and tall trash bags for the local domestic violence program.

AAUW works toward equity for women and girls in education and in the workplace. Membership is open to anyone with a college degree. New members may join at the meeting for $36, which is half the cost of usual dues.

Naomi Plant, AAUW’s MTSU chapter president, said more events are planned for the academic year, including collaborations with student groups such as Humans in Crisis and a get-out-the-vote promotion.

Plant, an MTSU student, was selected to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in Washington, D.C.

“What women need to do is raise each other up and trust each other and let the younger generation see us doing it so that they might have that example to go by,” Plant said.

For more information, contact Dr. B. Ayne Cantrell, MTSU professor emerita and president-elect of AAUW of Tennessee, at acantrell@comcast.net.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Sept. 5 ‘Funky Fizix in Film’ kicks off MTSU First Friday Star Parties

Microsoft PowerPoint - Fall 2014-First Friday Star Parties

Click on the graphic above for a larger, printable view.

MTSU Department of Physics and Astronomy professor Eric Klumpe kicks off the first First Friday Star Party of the year with “Funky Fizix in Film” starting at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 5 in Wiser-Patten Science Hall Room 102.

The star party is free and open to the public and campus community, and children are welcome. Free parking is available behind Wiser-Patten Science Hall after 4:30 p.m. this Friday.

To find Wiser-Patten and parking, a printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap14-15.

First Friday Star Parties are a way for the department to bring the MTSU, Murfreesboro and surrounding communities together. There will be a lecture with the film followed by telescope viewing, weather permitting.

Other First Friday Star Parties this fall will include:

  • Oct. 3 — “There and Back Again, an Astronomer’s Journey to the UK,” led by professor John Wallin.
  • Nov. 7 — “About Climate,” led by instructor Irina Perevalova.
  • Dec. 5 — “What’s the Matter?” led by instructor Robert Mahurin.

For more information, call 615-898-2130 or visit www.mtsu.edu/programs/astronomy to learn more about the astronomy program. The Department of Physics and Astronomy is part of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

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

Sign up now for fall rape defense classes at MTSU

The MTSU Police Department is offering a free five-week fall series of RAD, or Rape Aggression Defense, classes beginning Thursday, Sept. 11, for all female MTSU students, faculty and staff, along with the general public.

The Rape Aggression Defense Class is a program of realistic defense tactics and techniques. It is a comprehensive course for women that emphasizes awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance and progresses to the basics of hands-on defense training.

Certified RAD instructors teach the free course.

Classes will be held each Thursday from Sept. 11 to Oct. 9 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Attendance at all five classes is mandatory.

Class size is limited for this fall RAD course, so the MTSU Police Department is encouraging interested parties to enroll soon.

Participants should email their names and contact information to rad@mtsu.edu. Instructors will notify participants about their enrollment and the class location via email or phone.

For more information about MTSU’s RAD classes, send an email to rad@mtsu.edu.
— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Register now for Sept. 20 Creative Writers Conference at MTSU

Friday, Sept. 5, is the deadline for area writers to register to attend the Sept. 20 Creative Writers Conference of Middle Tennessee in MTSU’s James Union Building.

The daylong event will feature a keynote address by Tony Earley, author of “Jim the Boy,” “Somehow Form a Family” and “Mr. Tall.” Other award-winning authors scheduled to speak include poet Jeff Hardin, novelist Darnell Arnoult and essayist D.T. Lumpkin.

MTSU Write graphic webThis second annual conference is sponsored by MTSU Write, a non-degree writing program at Middle Tennessee State University — formerly The Writer’s Loft — and is open to the public. More details are available at www.mtsu.edu/write.

General admission to the 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. conference is $60. Writer’s Loft alumni, MTSU faculty and students can register for $40 each. Current MTSU Write participants can attend free. The registration fee covers all workshops and a buffet dinner.

“Beginning and experienced writers will gain insight and inspiration from this extraordinary line-up of speakers, while getting to chat and mingle with the community of writers we have in Middle Tennessee,” said MTSU Write director Karen Alea Ford, who also is an adjunct professor in MTSU’s Department of English.

“Our first conference was such a success that we wanted to keep it going.”

Tony Earley

Jeff Hardin

Earley, who is the Samuel Milton Fleming Chair in English at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, also is the author of “The Blue Star” and “Here We Are in Paradise.”

He was included in The New Yorker’s inaugural best “20 Under 40″ list of fiction writers and Granta’s “20 Best Young American Novelists.”

Hardin’s poetry collections include “Fall Sanctuary,” “Notes For a Praise Book” and the soon-to-be-published “Restoring the Narrative,” which already has won the Donald Justice Prize for Poetry.

D.T. Lumpkin

Darnell Arnoult

Arnoult’s works include “What Travels With Us” and “Sufficient Grace.” She is writer-in-residence and co-director of the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.

Her honors include the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature and the 2007 Tennessee Writer of the Year Award from the Tennessee Writers Alliance.

Lumpkin, a lecturer in MTSU’s English department, has been published in The Mid-American Review and the Oxford American and was the recipient of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Intro Journals Award.

He also is a facilitator of the creative writing workshop on the Death Row unit at Riverbend Maximum Security Penitentiary in Nashville.

The MTSU Write non-degree writing program is year-round and open to anyone interested in being mentored by a professional writer of fiction, nonfiction or poetry. Students work from home, spending three semesters honing their skills and preparing their work for publication.

For more information about the MTSU Write program, visit its website at www.mtsu.edu/write or email Ford at theloftmtsu@gmail.com.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)