We are so excited to be welcoming another talented class of students into the College of Fine Arts for the 2018-19 academic year. Who are these 252 students? Where are they from? Check out the infographic below to find out:
Colleen Rockey graduated from Western Michigan University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in painting. That year the city of Kalamazoo selected her to paint a mural downtown. The mural had faded and was peeling after years in the sun and elements. Colleen, now retired, took it upon herself to restore it. The restoration project has been a nostalgic and sentimental trip for Colleen as she remembers where she was in her life and as a painter 44 years ago.
When I was no more than three, I would ask my parents if we could watch the “Guy Sleeping” movie again - otherwise known as my favorite part of Fantasia 2000, Rhapsody in Blue. George Gershwin’s concerto was an essential part of my early love for music. I’ve played piano for most of my life, but never expected that I would end up here and be able to do this for a living. I am now a piano performance major in my junior year at WMU; this past December, I got to live out my childhood dream performing as the soloist in Rhapsody in Blue!
Many graduates from the WMU Music Theatre Performance (MTP) program have graced the stages of Broadway, Chicago, National Tours and major regional theatres. It is always exciting to graduate and to have your theatre dreams come true. In addition to these opportunities, many music theatre students have taken their talents to the high seas. Performing as a cast member on one of the numerous cruise line has become a very lucrative and exciting way for young music theatre graduates to see the world and jumpstart their careers. While life on a cruise ship may not be for everyone, it is certainly an experience worth exploring.
The halls are once again filled with energy, campus is reawakened with bustling students, and spring semester has officially begun. But as we open up new textbooks and enter another exciting season of events and activities, let's not forget that it is still a time for the arts.
Why? We asked a few of our students to share their take. Here's what they had to say:
This past July, with nerves, excitement, and a U-Haul filled with her life’s possessions from four years spent in Kalamazoo, Cecily Shives moved across the country to begin her career as a professional ballerina. Unfortunately, however, this new life chapter did not start off on the right foot.
Just three weeks before her contract was set to commence with Ballet San Antonio, Cecily slipped and fell in rehearsal, breaking the fifth metatarsal in her foot. With an injury infamously known as the “dancer’s break,” Cecily was forced off the dance floor and into a boot before her professional career even started. The pain and frustration of being unable to dance, combined with the inevitable anxiety of coming into a new environment, left Cecily devastated.
My fascination with music’s effects on the brain began during childhood. I remember sitting in my bedroom as an 8-year-old listening to Avril Lavigne’s 2002 album Let Go on my portable CD player. I sat for hours playing my favorite songs on repeat until I memorized every vocal nuance. Listening to music created otherworldly adventures. The sounds of my favorite songs gave me chills and vivid visual experiences. Music’s power to manipulate emotions mystified me even at a young age.
Battling mental illness as an adolescent, I turned to music, singing in particular, for spiritual grounding. I ambled through middle school in a cloud of depression that made it difficult to connect with the people around me. However, singing gave me the power to express what I could not express through words. Listening to music allowed me to experience the positive and powerful feelings I could not feel otherwise. While singing, the world around me slowed down, and I saw my environment with more clarity. Making music felt like breathing in oxygen after being underwater for too long. It helped me make sense of my life and the world I lived in.
I always wondered...how? What’s going on in my brain when I’m singing and listening to music?
Those first few weeks after move-in almost seemed like summer camp. It felt like any day I would return to my own bed, home-cooked meals, and of course, my dog. The weeks eventually turned to months without returning to the place I grew up, and I was really missing home. I isolated myself to my dorm room and constantly reminisced about my friends, family, and being able to shower without flip flops on.