By Luke Garza
Fist impressions matter. Going into FAA 110, I had no idea what to expect as a college freshman. Hearing that I would have to attend mandatory events was pretty shocking but after the first one, the events felt much less mandatory and I found myself looking forward to going to the KCPA every week.
We started off very strong with a performance from Buddy Guy. Buddy Guy’s performance was very personal and interactive, he took moments to joke and chat with the audience, he even walked through the seating area. Out of all the performances we saw, I’m glad this was the first. Buddy Guy gave us a taste of how unique all the performances we had in store for us truly were.
Chris Botti was a very interesting performance, he was loud and energetic his whole performance. You could really see how passionate he was about playing the trumpet. His concert incorporated a lot of motion on his part, while he played you could see him move his body in reaction to the notes he was hitting. For example, whenever he got louder he would lean back into it almost as if he was projecting himself more. On top of this, the other musicians really complemented his own playing.
Our first narrative style event was a play called Home. It was about a group of people all living in the same home, but they don’t know the others are living there. They each lead their own lives without ever noticing the others. The end of the play was where things really got wacky though. They started selecting audience members to join the stage cast, and I was one of those randomly selected. I didn’t expect to slow dance with a guy in a chicken suit of all things that night.
Jennifer Monson’s Dance Workshop was our first event not at the KCPA and also our first fully interactive event. We waled all around the Krannert Art Museum moving our bodies and analyzing artwork to better understand art and dance. Interpretation is much harder when you have to used your body to convey a message. It was a great chance of pace and it felt good to move around and interact with my peers outside of class time.
Gem of the Ocean was a narrative play about one man’s quest to have his soul cleansed for his sins. It was very story driven, the characters had meaningful interactions and backstories, some were elaborated on or revealed later in to the play through meaningful parts. Their motives were very clear and their actors assumed the roles as if they were actually them. They played their characters so well it felt as if the audience also developed a relationship with them, me personally I came to dislike the sadistic character the most, for his actions against the main characters and the side characters.
The Illinois Wind Symphony was an event that I went to see on my own, I went with a friend because she had an extra ticket and I definitely enjoyed the experience. I think what most popped out was how the entire band was in costume for the first half for the Halloween spirit. Not only did they look incredible, but they sounded equally as amazing, and when they brought out the saxophone quartet, everything got exponentially better. I’d say this had to be one of my favorite events, it was all around a great experience and I would definitely want to go see them play again.
Jazz at the Lincoln Center was a good follow up to the Wind Symphony, while there were no costumes, there was still great music. All the artists complemented each other very well, everyone felt as if the had a role to fill and they filled it so well. The highlights were definitely the solos performed by the individual musicians. They would stand up, shifting to being the center of attention while playing louder. Overall I think they had incredible synergy and excellent standalone parts.
The Nature of Forgetting was our final event, a play about a man with dementia reliving his life memories of his deceased wife. It really captures the erratic nature of memory as he jumps from memory to memory, seeming lost in his own mid. He darts from the classroom, to the street on his bike, to his wedding day, and eventually back to the present. You can see his distress in his character’s actions, the emphasis on memory through the mist and the light focusing on certain spots, they really do an excellent job setting the mood the entire time.
Overall, this semester was full of many incredible events, many of which I’d see again given the chance. I can’t recommend this class enough, from the events to the Professors, everthing was amazing.