Division of Visual and Performing Arts News

The Graceland University Theatre Department will put on upcoming performances of “Lend Me a Tenor” written by Ken Ludwig during the homecoming weekend. The play is directed by Gary Heisserer, PhD and has a cast of eight characters.

A positive force of energy joined the Graceland faculty two years ago when Karen Gergely, MFA, was hired to teach art.

Phillip Rogers `01 graduated from Graceland University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and went on to become the Creative Arts Pastor for Gateway Community Church in Austin, Texas and is active in commercial, television, film and live production.

Chad Elliott `96 comes from a long line of Graceland alumni: he is the fourth generation to graduate from the university. While attending Graceland, three of his grandparents worked on campus, which made being away at college really feel more like home. The fifth generation of family, Elliott’s son and niece, currently attend Graceland.

When Joe Nicholson ’97 graduated from college, the market was tight. He chose to attend Graceland because of the Commercial Design major offered, proximity to home, small class sizes and soccer program.

Amanda Deering Jones ’01 believes she made one of the best decisions of her life when she decided to become a theatre major at Graceland University. With an already developed interest in film, the Sarasota, Florida, native grew up in the Community of Christ and aware of Graceland. When it came time to choose a college, she knew she wanted to go somewhere with smaller classes and better access to faculty. A visit to Graceland offered a feeling of comfort and familiarity.

Showcased in galleries and private collections around the U.S., Patty Kochaver ’84 credits Graceland for her artistic beginnings. She has perfected her calling and has a studio at the Midwest Clay Guild, north of Chicago. Her unique ceramic work has evolved to an exquisite, recognizable style. Currently, she exhibits in an international juried show called Materials, Hard and Soft, in Denton, Texas. Represented by Blue Gallery in Kansas City, her website is pattykochaver.com.

Peoria, Illinois-born Tommy Ratkiewicz-Stierwalt ‘12 knew at a very young age he wanted to be involved in the arts in some capacity and began performing in the third grade. He was first involved with local theatre in 2007 when cast in the ensemble of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dream Coat at Quad City Music Guild in Moline, Illinois where he grew up.

There is a reason why people choose to be on one side of the camera and not the other. Peering through her Nikon D810, Tara Shupe ‘11 shies away from being in a photograph and struggles to reveal her accomplishments, but she is finding success capturing the world from the other side of the lens. Freelance photography careers are not very linear, and success comes in surprises. Tara is open to gathering creative energy at every turn and thankful for the broad artistic base she received during her Graceland years.

Graceland University awarded three prestigious Pro Musica Performance Scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year to local students. A limited number of these awards are given each year to outstanding students enrolled in the university and pursuing a degree in music. Students were required to complete applications and auditions, submit a letter of recommendation and confirm their enrollment at Graceland by May 1.

The Graceland choirs, orchestra and a community children’s choir will join forces to celebrate the season with “Christmas at the Shaw: Full of Grace and Truth.” The free performance is on Friday night, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Shaw Family Auditorium.

Graceland University alumna Marlee Quirarte ‘15 has been making her goals and aspirations come to life in the city of dreams. Originally from Independence, Missouri, Quirarte is now living in L.A., and as a student at Graceland, she spent a lot of time performing under the stage lights as a film and theatre major. It was through these experiences, she says, that she gained necessary confidence and continues to grow as a performer and artist.

The Graceland vocal department will feature the world premiere of a commissioned song, “You Guided Me,” by composer Michael John Trotta. The work sets to music the words of poet Rabindranath Tagore. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22, in the Shaw Family Auditorium in Shaw Center on the Graceland University Lamoni campus.

The Graceland juried exhibition consists of artwork submitted by students in designated categories. It is judged by an individual or panel, according to certain measures. Graceland students entered nearly 150 works in one of three categories: two dimensional art, sculpture and graphic design.

Graceland University’s director of choral music, Sara Blessing, will present a free recital at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 3, in Carol Hall in Shaw Center on the Lamoni campus. The demanding Sunday repertoire will include pieces in six languages: English, French, Italian, German, Czechoslovakian and Hebrew.

The Graceland University artist in residence program, sponsored by JR Shaw, for whom Shaw Center is named, is proud to announce that Victor Cicansky will be on campus from March 28 through April 2. Cicansky is a Canadian ceramic artist whose work “Ode to Pickling” was given to the Graceland Fine Art Collection by JR Shaw in 2012.

Jack Ergo leads the Graceland Orchestra in a solid program of classic works — with some twists. The free performance begins at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, in Carol Hall in Shaw Center on the Graceland Lamoni campus.

Graceland Vocal Day draws two very talented singers to campus, baritone Keith Harris and Lamoni native Leah McIntire-Barnett. Harris will present a vocal recital in Shaw Center at 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon, Feb. 22. The recital is free and open to the public.

The Graceland Symphonic Band will perform a concert entitled “Allied Forces” Monday evening, Feb. 22, at 7:30 in Shaw Center on the Graceland Lamoni campus. The Symphony Band includes 31 students this semester from across the continental United States and Puerto Rico. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Graceland Music Department will host Brass Day for area band students on Friday, Feb. 12. Funded by the AmeriCorps Youth Launch program, the opportunity will bring high school brass players to the Shaw Center on the Graceland campus to hear and work with professional musicians and interact with Graceland students and faculty. The day also includes a recital in Shaw Center’s Carol Hall by the visiting brass artists at 1 p.m. The recital is free and open to the public.

An art exhibit now showing in the Constance Gallery in The Helene Center for the Visual Arts combines two elements that rarely go together: electronic circuitry and maps.

The Graceland University Division of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) is developing a new design for its concerts, recitals, plays and exhibits schedule, according to Division Chair Adam Groh. “The spectacular new additions to Shaw Center have made us rethink our performance schedule,” Groh reports. To take advantage of the new opportunities the facility expansion provides, the VPA division will be promoting all of its public events in a new “At the Shaw” calendar.

“Frankly, I am pumped beyond words to do this,” Heisserer shared with us. “I love the play, I love the incredibly talented cast we’ve assembled, and I love the opportunity to share this production with the Unicorn audience.”

Drums, cymbals, tin cans, xylophones and other things that go bump in the night are coming to Graceland. So Percussion will perform in the Shaw Family Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, Nov. 4. There are no advance ticket sales or reserved seats. The box office opens at 6:45 p.m.

“My hopes are that we afford students the potential for making new friends, learning how to collaborate on projects, and employ a lot of creativeness, all with a hands-on approach,” says Lee Maples, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Scene Designer at Graceland University.