Grinnell College to stream Metropolitan Opera’s ‘Semiramide’

 Grinnell College will stream Gioachino Rossini’s Semiramide, considered a masterpiece of dazzling vocal fireworks, at noon on Saturday, March 10, as part of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live In HD Program. The streaming will take place in the Harris Center Cinema, 1114 10th Ave., Grinnell.

Alex McHattie, principal double bassist with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, will give the opera talk at 11:30 a.m. in the Harris Center Cinema. McHattie performs regularly with other regional music organizations, such as The Prairie Ensemble, BACH, and Heartland Festival Orchestra.

This is the Met’s first performance of Semiramide in nearly 25 years. Based on Voltaire’s tragedy Semiramis, the opera follows the actions of Semiramide, the murderous queen of Babylon. Maurizio Benini conducts. Angela Meade stars as Semiramide, and Elizabeth DeShong plays Arsace.  

The New York Times called the opera “inspiring” and “a noble experiment” in performing shows the Met has previously ignored for not being renowned enough.

After Semiramide, three additional Met operas will be streamed in the Harris Center during the spring semester. Opera talks take place a half hour before each broadcast. The remaining operas are:

  • Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte on March 31, noon
  • Verdi's Luisa Miller on April 14, 11:30 a.m
  • Massenet's Cendrillon on April 28, noon

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before each opera and during intermission.

Tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children and Met Opera members.

The Office of the President has generously funded tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff and students, and tickets are available for free at all locations. Family members not employed by the college are required to purchase tickets.

Growth in Data Analysis Space Leads to Growth of Capabilities

Data — from a single digit to terabytes of information — increasingly shapes decisions on public policy to the way we individually go about our daily lives. To some this is exciting; to others, intimidating.

The Data Analysis and Social Inquiry Lab (DASIL) helps students and faculty members integrate data analysis into both classroom work and research by facilitating workshops, helping students collect and analyze data, and offering software training and data-set preparation.

“Since the fall of 2017, DASIL has been active in providing services to over 170 clients, including students and faculty,” says Xavier Escandell, associate professor of anthropology and faculty director for DASIL. “We have also successfully continued our support of the institution at large.”

A student uses a computer in the current Data Analysis and Social Inquiry LabThe current DASIL space, on the first floor of ARH, consists of six desktop computers, a table for collaboration, and blackboards covered with posters on color theory and notes from previous projects. It suits DASIL’s needs — for now. Upon completion of the new Humanities and Social Studies Center (HSSC), the lab will move there. When it does, those six workstations will become 16. The single table will be replaced by three rooms optimally configured for breakout collaborative work. And a quantitative computer lab that seats 28 will also serve as a space to demonstrate the capabilities of the suite of software at their disposal.

The most exciting new technology, according to Escandell, is the potential to invest in a digital table that will allow users to visually interact with their data and see in real time how changes to data will affect overall outcomes.

Under Escandell’s guidance, DASIL has continued expanding its interdisciplinary focus, collaborating with a variety of entities and other initiatives on campus, including:

“What I want people to realize is how much opportunity for individualized assistance we will have,” says Escandell. “Students will be able to congregate in the lab and use it for their own work. Or they can use the rooms for group projects. And if they need help, there will be someone to assist or mentor them.”

The lab is currently organized around a student mentor model geared toward addressing pedagogical needs. But as the program grows, Escandell is working toward a more research-oriented approach, where faculty members are paired with DASIL students to support their research needs.

"Our students are partners in research activities, but they are also often logistic support in the relationship between a faculty member and other students, for classroom-related activities, but also for research,” says Escandell.

In less than a year, DASIL will relocate to a new space specifically designed for data analysis and collaboration. For students, faculty, and staff — whatever their views on data — the move is very exciting.

The Grinnell Singers To Perform Concerts in 6 States During Spring Tour

The Grinnell Singers, Grinnell College's premier choir, will perform in six states during a spring concert tour of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. The concerts, which will take place from March 11-23, 2018, are free and open to the public.

The 50-voice choral ensemble is directed by John Rommereim, the Blanche Johnson Professor of Music at Grinnell College. The concert, titled "In Converse with the Stars," features distinguished choral music spanning five centuries, as well as newly composed works that speak powerfully to today's world.

Among the modern works on the program is "To the Hands" by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, a piece for choir and strings. This piece focuses on America's promise of welcome as inscribed at the Statue of Liberty, and the reality of the current refugee crisis and issues surrounding immigration. In addition, the ensemble will perform the inspiring and affirming song, "All of Us," from Craig Hella Johnson's recent Oratorio, "Considering Matthew Shepard." 

The Grinnell Singers will also perform a selection from "Words Adorned," their recent collaborative concert with the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble of Philadelphia, and choral treasures by William Byrd, Claudio Monteverdi, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Rachmaninov, Gyorgii Sviridov, Shawn Kirchner, and Einojuhani Rautavaara.

The tour schedule is as follows:

  • Sunday, March 11, Des Moines, Iowa, 4 p.m., Plymouth United Church of Christ, 4126 Ingersoll Ave.
  • Saturday, March 17, Lawrence, Kansas, 7:30 p.m., Plymouth Church, 925 Vermont St.
  • Sunday, March 18, Kansas City, Missouri, 2 p.m., Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St.
  • Monday, March 19, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 501 S. Cincinnati Ave.
  • Tuesday, March 20, Dallas, 7:30 p.m., St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 6303 Kenwood Ave.
  • Friday, March 23, New Orleans, 7 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 1329 Jackson Ave.

Known for their innovative and adventurous choral programming, the Grinnell Singers have premiered more than 20 choral works in the past 10 years under Rommereim's direction. He is active as a composer, singer and scholar whose work is centered in the areas of Russian choral music and early music performance.

Each year the choir presents concerts across the U.S., and the group has also traveled to Estonia, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey. The Singers have also been invited to perform at two regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association.

Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation: Kit Wall '77

Kit Wall '77 will be the featured speaker in the Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation speaker series on Friday, February 9. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 2 p.m. in Noyce 1023. The Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership is sponsoring the speaker series and associated course.

Promoting everything from policy reform issues, nonprofit organizations, and political campaigns to rock shows and media events, Kit Wall uses her repertoire of organizational/communication skills for policy consultation, writing, production, and management. Her promotion and publicity experience includes such wide-ranging fields as pro sports, entertainment, commercial real estate, and government affairs.  Since 1987, Ms. Wall has focused on government relations, especially local government and public policy, managing coalition and grassroots efforts in statewide legislative and ballot initiatives, as well as candidate campaigns. Hired by Eli Lilly and Company in 2001, she worked on advocacy issues assisting nonprofits in capacity-building efforts and local government relations promoting best practices, with a focus on jail diversion issues across the United States.  Ms. Wall’s clients and employers range from the California Medical Association and Foundation, to Consumer’s Union, UnitedHealth Group, the Solano Coalition for Better Health, California Forward, and members of the California wine industry, to various musical and artistic celebrities, including The Magic of David Copperfield, and the world's largest sole proprietor real estate developer, Gerald D. Hines Interest.  

Stay Healthy During This Year's Flu Epidemic

The United States is experiencing a flu epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Influenza H3n2 has been the most common strain this season and it is usually more severe.

What is Influenza (the flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

The CDC continues to recommend that unvaccinated people get vaccinated. While some of the viruses spreading this season are different from those in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.

Experts believe flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Infrequently, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose.

What are the symptoms?

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Body aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea and vomiting (more common among children than adults)

When should you seek treatment?

We encourage each of you to seek treatment if and when you become symptomatic. Don't delay in being seen by your local provider as antiviral medications may be prescribed if diagnosed early enough. Taking time for your own personal wellness is important and encouraged.

If you are experiencing symptoms

We ask you to stay home until your physician has cleared you to return to work. Should your illness last for three or more days, please provide a return to work authorization from your doctor to the Dean's office or HR.

Tips from the CDC for minimizing exposure

  •  Stay away from sick people and stay home if sick.
  •  Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  •  Don't share linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.
  •  Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, and school, especially if someone is ill.

The CDC has information about the flu and this year's flu season.

Please feel free to reach out to Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) for any additional questions or concerns.

Grinnell College to Screen Award-Winning Film about Former Grinnell Resident

The award-winning documentary Deej will be screened at Grinnell College on Thursday, Feb. 15. The screening will be followed by a question and answer session with DJ Savarese, a producer and star of the movie.

The event is free and open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. in Harris Cinema.

Deej explores the life on a nonspeaking young man who dreams of autistic civil rights. Abandoned by his birth parents and unable to speak for himself, DJ Savarese found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes-paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking people with autism, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean.

In a first-of-its kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking person with autism, Robert Rooy and Savarese share editorial control as they navigate the challenges of representing autism. The film won the Disability Film Festival in 2017.

DJ is the son of Emily and Ralph Savarese, professor of English and chair of the English department at Grinnell College. DJ grew up in Grinnell and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin College in 2017.

Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

Jonathan Larson Earns Professional Certification in Education Abroad

LarsonJonathan Larson, Associate Director of Off-Campus Study, has successfully completed the Certified Professional in Education Abroad program. He joins 32 education abroad colleagues around the world who have completed this rigorous program since its inception in 2014. His accomplishment will be announcement in an upcoming issue of the Forum News and his name has already been added to the Forum’s webpage recognizing Certified Professionals.

Graduation Announcements and Class Rings on Display

CB Announcements and Balfour Class Rings will be at a table in the Rosenfield Center lobby from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, February 13.

They will have samples of Grinnell College graduation announcements and class rings.

They will also be taking orders. 

New Electronic Resources

Available via our Databases A-Z webpage:

  • Black Drama, 2nd edition, contains approximately 1,462 plays by 233 playwrights, together with detailed, fielded information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. The database also includes selected playbills, production photographs and other ephemera related to the plays.
  • Kanopy Streaming Video showcases more than 30,000 of the world’s best films, including award-winning documentaries, rare and hard-to-find titles, film festival favorites, indie and classic films, and world cinema with collections from Kino Lorber, Music Box Films, Samuel Goldwyn, The Orchard, The Great Courses, PBS and thousands of independent filmmakers.
  • LGBTQ History & Culture since 1940 is the largest collection available in support of the study of gender and sexuality, enables scholars to make new connections in LGBTQ history and activism, cultural studies, psychology, health, political science, policy studies, and other related areas of research.
  • Sabin Americana, 1500-1926 reaches into all aspects of American history and culture. Through published pamphlets, tracts, memoirs, congressional legislation, correspondence, broadsides, biographies, histories, fiction and poetry, eulogies, sermons and innumerable other genres, Sabin opens a window onto the Americas through which few get to glimpse.
  • SAGE Premier and the Deep and Shallow SAGE journal backfiles contain leading international peer-reviewed journals in a wide range of subject areas, including business, humanities, social science, and science, technology and medicine.
  • State Papers Online, Parts I-IV gathers together 16th- and 17th- century British State Papers and links these rare historical manuscripts to their fully text-searchable Calendars.
  • Statista provides users with an innovative and intuitive tool for researching quantitative data, statistics and related information. The product is aimed at business clients and academics of any size.

For more information or help in accessing these database, please contact the Burling Library Research Desk at 641-269-3353, or a Consulting Librarian.


Diverse paths of Innovation and Leadership: Angie Arnold '92

Angie Arnold '92 will be the featured speaker in the Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation speaker series on Friday, April 27. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 2 p.m. in Noyce 1023. The Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership is sponsoring the speaker series and associated course.

After graduating from Grinnell with a degree in anthropology and concentration in gender & women’s studies, Ms. Arnold took a series of paths that looked nothing like her initial career plans. Rather than taking a year off and then heading to graduate school, she became executive director (and sole staff person) of a startup affordable housing organization in Nebraska. She then moved to Minneapolis where she worked for the Minnesota Housing Partnership, a technical assistance organization providing organizational development support to rural affordable housing organizations, then as an asset manager for Central Community Housing Trust (now Aeon), an affordable housing organization in Minneapolis. At each of these small organizations, Angie pitched in when grants needed to be written. After taking time off due to the birth of her son and subsequent postpartum depression, Ms. Arnold began working as a full-time grant writer for the employment and training division of RESOURCE, a multi-faceted social service agency in the Twin Cities. She was with the agency for ten years, ending as the director of grants for the entire agency, which had an annual budget of approximately $25 million, 95% of which was grants and contracts. 

In 2012, Ms. Arnold began working in grants at Normandale Community College. She has grown the college’s grant department from a .75 FTE shared with another institution to 2.0 FTE, ensuring the institution’s capacity to secure and adequately manage grants and while maintaining compliance with federal regulations. She is actively involved in the college’s accreditation work and regularly contributes to the campus through service on various committees, particularly those related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is actively involved in the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, serving as co-lead for the campus meet and confer team in addition to participating in local and statewide events.