An introductory experience to UIUC’s beloved performing arts center via the Ellnora Festival.
Extra Credit by Allison Spillane
I was very excited to be invited by my FAA 110 professors to this event. To get a lay of such a wonderful performance venue brimming with passion is always a fun experience. The turnout for the opening of the Guitar Fest truly shows how many people out there truly support the arts!
I was not disappointed by this event in the slightest. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. My favorite part would have to be the general energy of a Krannert Festival. I have always been partial to events like this, with tons of people all enjoying themselves, the scent of great food wafting through the air, and tons of talented musicians to stop and listen to for a while. This was by far an exception to that preference.
When it comes to artists that performed at the event, I would have to admit that I am rather fond of Toko Telo. I had never heard of the Madagascar-based group before that night, but I am unlikely to forget the name! There is something special about music in where, even if you don’t understand the language of the lyrics, you can still feel the soul of the song. The lead singer of the group introduced each song and the topic of its lyrics before each piece, and it was always astounding to me how I didn’t need that introduction to absorb the emotions of the song. Listening to their music in the fair weather of the amphitheater as the sun set was a treat I refuse to take for granted.
September 6th, 2019 – my 18th birthday- I went to the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to watch Pat Metheny Side-Eye featuring James Francies and Marcus Gilmore. I have never been very particularly fond of Jazz music. I do have a soft spot for the likes of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong though. On a slow Saturday morning, there is a good chance I am listening to them or Nina Simone whose music has been extremely impactful to my life. Their music has an important place in my heart and in my growth as a musician. On this particular evening, I did not feel any impact, I thought Metheny’s performance was okay. I went in expecting something interesting and new and I left with… well…. a side-eye. I just expected more and wanted more. I feel like all of the songs he played did not leave me satisfied as I feel music is suppose to. The performance was not really a performance and he did not really engage the audience. I was not expecting him to sing or to have rave-like flashing lights. I expected a professional performance and I feel it was more professional than performance.
When I went into the Tryon Festival Theatre I saw an interesting setup and I wanted an explanation for what I saw. The longer I sat looking at the stage the more anticipation I felt. When I looked around at the audience I saw a lot of older men in jeans and black turtlenecks and automatically thought, Steve Jobs must have been a fan. When the concert began Pat Metheny came out on stage and spoke and introduced the audience to James Francies and Marcus Gilmore who played the keyboard and the drums. I thought together their performances did not blend well but when they had their moments to shine in their solos, Metheny included, it allowed the audience to really see their full artistry. All three of them were kind of a weird mix that needed to be better developed.
About an hour and a half in, Methany began to perform solo and that was when I started to spark an interest in the show. The way he played reminded me of the feeling of playing an instrument in a childhood bedroom. That was the moment that felt the most passionate. Throughout the performance I felt the crowd was a little overzealous, clapping every 2 minutes at moments I wasn’t sure was the beginning or end of a song. However, when Methany performed by himself, that was the moment that was most redeemable and deserving of praise in terms of my expectations that may or may not be valid as a non-jazz fan. As he was demonstrating his skill and stature he brought out a 42 string guitar, that as a young guitarist, made me anxious. While writing this I read a little about the types of guitars he played and this was one that was made especially for him. It was very interesting to see an instrument that looked unplayable being played.
Overall, I probably won’t go to another Pat Methany performance again. I am not really sure what I heard throughout a great portion of the performance. For a moment, I felt like I was in an elevator and became mindless, just waiting to get off. If this music was Jazz, I am not sure where Billie Holiday would stand within the mix. The most surprising part was how attached he was to the chord progressions. As someone who wants to become a better guitarist, my greatest takeaway was that it was kind of educational. However as a music lover, I am not really sure this performance was geared toward listeners like me. If he would have engaged a little more with the audience I think I would have enjoyed myself somewhat. I kept waiting for more and never got it. 🤔
I think the rape of Lucretia was interesting. I think it was interesting to see how such a tragic story through music. All songs have a hidden meaning behind them in to see the meaning, and the story behind it adds value to the story. It adds something thing because it was visible to the audience when did not have to listen or see a few times to understand the basic concept of the piece. For me, the display screen was helpful and distracting. It was helpful because at times I did not understand the lyrics/message of the song. It was beneficial to look up to read the lines to get a better understanding of what the actors were trying to exhibit to the audience. It was distracting because I was trying to watch the performance and trying to understand the words above my head. Looking up took my eyes off the performance.
Although the story was written years ago, it is still prevlent in today’s society. People still get raped or sexually assault, and it degrades the victim’s happiness, and they have the feeling of committing suicide. Somethings are unbearable to live with because one can relive that moment over and over again in their heads. Due to the loss of innocence and happiness, one can slowly develop symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The one thing I like most about this play is the message. From my understanding, the messages were betrayal from a friend/ prince.
Coming into class I was very nervous. I felt like I didn’t have as much experience as everyone else and that I was going to fail. Thankfully, after the second class I started feeling more hopeful. I have really found a passion for broadcast that I wasn’t finding with print journalism. I consider myself a creative person and shooting video gives me a lot of satisfaction. I like that I have artistic say in what I shoot and edit which has given me a lot of confidence. Dr. Collins has really taken the time to talk through everything and I really appreciated it. I feel like I’m getting better every time I shoot and write and it’s a really awesome feeling.
For my video essay I decided to shoot a Mindfulness and Meditation Club meeting at the KU Union. I filmed almost the whole hour and felt pretty good about my shots, until Dr. Collins said in class the next day we weren’t allowed to use pans or zooms. That took out quite a few of the shots that I had, but luckily I had enough to make the run time. Feedback that I got was that I didn’t have any tight shots and that some of my shots were shakey. I had never used Premiere before, so that was overwhelming at first but I got the hang of it.
For my Vo and VoSotVo I felt a lot more prepared and confident. My plan A was to film the Tyler the Creator concert, however, that failed miserably. So I went with my plan B which was to film the International Jayhawk Festival. I got some great, vibrant shots that I was really happy with. I took the criticism about my tight shots and I made sure to incorporate those. I loved my nat sound and my sound bite, so I was really disappointed when it didn’t work on the projector in class. It worked on my laptop so I had no idea that would happen. I felt really good about my delivery and that my script was better than it was last week.
For one weekend, a diverse community came together in Champaign-Urbana to celebrate West African culture at the Midwest Mandeng. The festival of drum and dance involves three days of demonstrations, workshops, shopping and partying.
graphic courtesy of CU West African Drum & Dance Collective
Master artists are flown in to perform and teach classes. Most of them teach techniques from Mali and Guinea.