Santiago Garcia-Castanon, professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages, will be presenting the paper “Foreign Language Borrowings in a Multilingual Society: The Case of the United States” at the International Conference on Sustainable Multilingualism organized by Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, in late May.
Sharon Metcalfe, associate professor of nursing and director of the Nursing Network-Careers and Technology Mentoring Program, presented on the program’s diversity and mentoring initiatives for the faculty of the Edinburgh Napier University School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Social Care on March 12.
He discussed the four most popular planning tools identified by project managers as the most promising toward project success.
Several hundred Western North Carolina school children recently experienced their first taste of opera through a familiar childhood tale, thanks to an outreach program involving faculty and students in the voice program in the School of Music at Western Carolina University.
Student performers presented the opera “Little Red Riding Hood” by Seymour Barab to children from schools in Jackson, Macon and Swain counties, with seven performances in March and April.
The show, about 50 minutes in length and geared toward children in grades one through five, featured a cast of student singers from WCU’s “Opera Workshop” class. The project began last fall semester as students, who were required to commit to the project for an entire academic year, auditioned for roles, learned the score and rehearsed. They went back to work in January to polish the performance and acquire costumes and modest sets and props.
The students altered the original score to suit the production, re-wrote the opening monologue and updated the opera with the use of cell phones and other modern items, said Mary Kay Bauer, WCU associate professor of voice and director of the show.
Students also encouraged improvisation throughout the shows and utilized a concept of performing where there was no “fourth wall,” with characters entering the stage from the audience and asking the children to get involved, Bauer said.
“This has been a great learning experience for our students,” she said. “Usually in the School of Music, we work and work to prepare a performance that is done only once. But here our students worked and worked and were able to perform seven times for different audiences and in completely different locations.”
The opera performances also have proven to be good experiences for the children who saw the shows.
About 160 Highlands School children in grades kindergarten through five, approximately 80 children aged 2 to 5 from area child care centers and nearly 60 adults were “delighted” by shows at the First Presbyterian Church in Highlands, said Angie Jenkins, organist and music coordinator at the church.
“I am a firm believer that it is very important for their development to expose children to different types of music and musical instruments throughout their childhood because this greatly aids their development in many ways,” Jenkins said. “It is our hope that in the future the WCU School of Music will put on another children’s opera and will again bring it to the children of Highlands.”
A few days after the shows in Highlands, nearly 330 children and 32 teachers enjoyed performances of “Little Red Riding Hood” in Swain County, leaving the show with comments such as “awesome,” “wow,” “I loved it” and “that was the best,” said Jenny L. Johnson, director of the Swain County Center for the Arts.
“It was especially clever how important life skills, such as not speaking to a stranger and not inviting a stranger into your home, were made a natural part of the story line,” Johnson said. “The piano sound effects made the show come to life in a creative and lively way. All the actors were superb in their roles and the costuming was delightfully realistic. I personally enjoyed the modern twist to an old story with the cell phones.”
The WCU troupe also performed “Little Red Riding Hood” at Cullowhee Valley and Fairview Elementary schools in Jackson County, with a another performance on campus for WCU students, faculty and staff.
By Bill Studenc
Entrepreneurs and owners of existing small businesses from Asheville, Sylva and Hickory shared $7,000 in prize money to help launch or grow their companies during the inaugural LEAD:Innovation conference Wednesday, April 22, at Western Carolina University.
Billed as kinder, gentler versions of the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” competitions included the “Bright Ideas Rocket Pitches” event, a series of fast-paced proposals from entrepreneurs and inventors aimed at potential investors, and the “Promising Business Acceleration” contest, in which owners of promising existing businesses make proposals for additional capital to accelerate growth.
Paul Hedgecock of Asheville won first prize of $2,500 in the “Bright Ideas Rocket Pitch” competition for his pitch for Ugo Tour, a travel and tourism smartphone app for Western North Carolina points of interest.
Second place and $1,000 went to Emily Edmonds of Sylva for her concept for WNC Brewhub, a proposal to establish a shared beer production and distribution facility for breweries across the region.
In the “Promising Business Acceleration” competition, Ted and Flori Pate of Asheville claimed first prize and $2,500 to build their business Local Flavor, which provides a free app for smartphones that promotes only local, non-franchise businesses.
Stewart and Tammy Cook of Hickory took second prize and $1,000 for Cook Consulting App Garden University, a virtual training tool that provides training for substitute teachers customized for individual school districts.
The LEAD:Innovation conference included nine “Bright Ideas Rocket Pitches” and six “Promising Business Acceleration” presentations, said Ed Wright, WCU associate professor of global management and strategy and among the event organizers.
“The subjects of the pitches were quite varied, ranging from an online physicians’ tele-health start-up to new products for stroke rehabilitation,” Wright said. “Overall, the quality of the pitches was excellent, and we look forward to doing this event on a larger scale next year.”
About 100 entrepreneurs, prospective entrepreneurs, investors and others interested in the economic development of Western North Carolina attended the entrepreneurship and small business summit.
The conference was part of a series of scheduled “spin-off events” from November’s LEAD:WNC, a one-day summit convened by WCU to discuss solutions leading to sustainable economic and community development.
By Bill Studenc
Western Carolina University has made significant progress toward achieving the goals outlined in its 2020 Vision Strategic Plan, the roadmap intended to guide the institution’s direction and development over the next decade, with the majority of the plan’s strategic initiatives more than 50 percent completed in less than three years.
Western Carolina University celebrated employee excellence and achievements for the 2014-15 academic year at the annual spring Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards ceremony Friday, April 24.
Channa De Silva studies the tiny “nano” particles that play a role in big problems as he carries out his teaching and research.
Western Carolina University will hold three commencement ceremonies over a two-day period – Friday and Saturday, May 8-9 – to recognize the academic achievements of what is expected to be the university’s fourth-straight record spring graduating class.
Marissa Taylor, a junior at Western Carolina University, has received one of 34 fellowships conferred by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to undergraduate students studying environmental science and related fields at universities and colleges across the nation.