Sonic Illinois: Jupiter String Quartet

Photo by: Leah Siegel
Photo by: Leah Siegel

Jupiter String Quartet and special guest put on an amazing performance for Sonic Illinois – a month long celebration of new music.

Written by: Leah Siegel

All month, Krannert Center and the University of Illinois School of Music are celebrating new music and honoring “innovative creators which challenge convention, forge pathways, and expand the creative process”.

From left to right: Daniel McDonough (Meg’s husband), Meg Freivogel (Liz’s sister), Liz Freivogel, and Nelson Lee

The second event of Sonic Illinois was performed by the Jupiter String Quartet with Tai Ji Master, Chungliang Al Huang and other dancers. A string quartet consists of 2 violins, 1 viola, and 1 cello. The Jupiter String Quartet have been together for 16 years, playing all around the world.

The Jupiter String Quartet performed 6 pieces, some with and some without dancers. Going into the show, I was not very excited. I am not a big fan of classical music. I was very surprised that I enjoyed the performance. The pieces were very lively, told a story and didn’t put me to sleep. It felt like they belonged in a silent film starring Charlie Chaplin.

Overall, I thought the show was good, but I think I would have enjoyed it without the dancers.I felt that Tai Ji Master Chunglian Al Huang and the dancers, although they put on an amazing performance, distracted from watching and really connecting with the quartet. The musicians were engrossed in the music they were playing and it was so cool to watch, but at times it was hard to watch because of the dancers. Additionally, I felt there was a lack of cohesiveness. I didn’t believe the moves they were doing worked with the music that was being played. I would have preferred either the Tai Ji or the quartet. Maybe the Tai Ji with some background music, but no live performers.

However, the last piece the quartet perform called Two Tangos, by Astor Piazzolla, was accompanied by 2 male dancers performing the tango and I thought that time the dance and the music matched and complemented each other. The dancing didn’t feel like a distraction, it brought the story being played by the quartet into action. It was quite beautiful to watch and was my favorite piece of the night.

All in all, it was a good first performance of the semester (the first one I went to this semester) and I am looking forward to seeing The Rape of Lucretia next!

Peace and Happiness

Leah Siegel×1600-hd-871110

Close your eyes, what do you see?

I see myself and my furry friend driving an SUV, windows down and music blaring, no care in the world.

Close your eyes, what do you see?

I see it is 11 in the morning, the sun is shining.

Close your eyes, what do you see?

I see a bedroom filled with natural light and Ramona the cat is at the foot of the bed curled up sleeping while I am watching Grey’s.

Close your eyes, what do you see?

I see a sunny day, clear skies and birds flying high.

Close your eyes, what do you see?

I see it is the early 2000s, when life was easy for little ol me.

Close your eyes, what do you see?

I see soft, stretchy leggings waiting to be worn.

Close your eyes, what do you see?

I see the ocean waves crashing and dolphins playing.

Close your eyes, what do you see?

I see peace and happiness.

The Beauty of Success and Failure: That’s a Wrap – SCHMITT

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Wow, we did it. What a semester. I am so proud to have reached this moment as a student, and more importantly, as a journalist. From the beginning, I felt like I was already embarking on an uphill battle. Taking Multimedia Reporting and Audio Journalism together in a semester was demanding to say the very least. My counselors and professors warned me, but I was prepared and ready to tackle the challenge head-on. There were many long nights, days spent running from interview to interview, and moments when I questioned if this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But, I quickly learned over this semester that journalism is absolutely my passion. I met amazing people, covered inspiring stories, and pushed myself beyond what I thought was my limit. I’m so thankful that I was able to find the beauty in both success and failure. Each assignment had a purpose, and each assignment had a lesson. Follow along as I look back at my journey over the past few months.

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Let’s see how far we’ve come: Polcyn semester review

Coming into this semester, I thought I had it all figured out. I had a lot of experience writing between my time with classes, my work with the Daily Illini, and running everything on campus for Barstool Sports. But, after taking this class — I now realize I was clueless. With the skills I have learned in this class, I have been able to do much better work not only for the lass, but also in my other areas of work, and to me personally the difference has been astounding. Throughout every project, good or bad, I learned skills that I never had before, and for that I have to really thank Professor Collins for caring so much about all of us students and making sure that we continue to improve together. But, I’ll get back to all that later, take a look at how this semester has gone for me below!  Continue reading “Let’s see how far we’ve come: Polcyn semester review”

Williamson Group Reflection

I think it’s appropriate for me to take a moment before I go into detail about our group’s projects to talk about how awesome it is how far we’ve all come together since the beginning of this semester. I personally know that I’ve made friends here that I’ll never forget, and have strengthened some friendships I’d already made! I’m really excited to see all the epic things we are 150% destined to do in the future, and the impact we will make as a whole.

Be The Power

First off: I really loved the entirety of this piece. From the mission, to the execution, you guys have it all done really well! I really like the website layout, color scheme, and how it starts off straight away hitting you with facts that both are interesting, and allow you to learn more about your project. I really think you guys killed it in all of your packages, and also really enjoy how your menu transitions from up to down from learning about and hearing the issue that you present, into what you can actually do about sexual assault, and how you can make an impact even just in your individual life. A little help for someone else can go a long way in the scheme of  things, I think you guys captured this really well!


The Accessible Experience

The first taste I ever got of wheelchair basketball was from a tv show called “Friday Night Lights.” A future-NFL quarterback gets sidelined and paralyzed from the waist down, and joins a wheelchair rugby team (Though it’s not actually wheelchair basketball, it showcases a lot of the same skills that prove that people in wheelchairs can continue to be top of the line athletes despite their “handicap”. I Think you guys did a fantastic job of putting this piece together. I really enjoyed that you guys branched out from the wheelchair basketball team and made the piece more about the struggle of accessibility on campus as a whole for people in wheelchairs. My friend Nae was actually in your video, she’s a caretaker! She’s a really interesting person, and her job is something she really cherishes, which is great! I really learned a lot about the issues with accessibility on campus, and what people are trying to do to fix them.


A-typical Is The New Typical

Really enjoyed this project. I think far too often people are left out of the main picture of what it is like to be a college student. I really enjoyed that you guys showcased the different quirks, differences, and cool things about students that people may otherwise have not known about! I really like the thought that even the most typical, or a-typical, student can be important to the university, and that everyone has their own pros, cons, faults, and advantages. I really like that you guys were able to successfully capture the wild world of the college student in the time restraints we were given. This was far and away some of the best work I’ve seen from the class, and I enjoyed it a lot.


It’s been a pleasure to get to work with everyone in this class, and once again I’m so excited to see what the futures hold for us!


Polcyn Group reflection

Before addressing each project I just want to thank all of you and especially professor Collins for such a great semester. I think that we all have learned so much, and have made some amazing strides as a class that we never would have made without each other.

Be The Power

I was very impressed by this project and thought that you guys did an amazing job of setting the tone for the class and gave an amazing presentation to start us all off. You did an amazing job of not just educating us, but also entertaining us and using effective ways to get your points across. I was extremely impressed by this group, and think that you guys did an amazing job of working together to use all of your individual strengths as a team. Great job as a whole, and best of luck going forward.

The Diverse Voices of UIUC

This project was probably the most unique in my opinion, and I really enjoyed it because of this. You guys took a very important topic, and used a very different approach to getting it across in your own way and still telling an important story. Especially when it comes to your site as a whole, I thought you did an amazing job and think you guys should all be very proud.

A-Typical is the New Typical

Finally, I really enjoyed this project and thought that it was especially unique because it was so relatable. Many times people only see the exterior you put out, and you guys did a great job focusing on the fact that we are all unique and have our individual struggles that we face in our lives. Many times that isn’t easy to see, and you did an amazing job of highlighting it.

All in all, I think everyone did an amazing job. You should all be very proud and I am really looking forward to seeing more of your work in the future. Thanks for an amazing semester, and for making such great projects


Looking Back: End of Semester Reflection

Woohoo- we made it! I remember first getting our class syllabus and being really intimidated, but honestly, I did not find any of the challenges to be insurmountable. With the help of Professor Collins and some ingenuity, I found that I was able to push my limits as a creator and a journalist and create work at a caliber that both surprised and impressed myself.

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Group Project Reflection-Barakat

First off, I would like to congratulate everyone on some awesome projects and the hard work we put into these projects. They are all really important subjects and were done really well! Thank you everybody putting in the work to share these stories and thank you Professor Collins for pushing us!

Continue reading “Group Project Reflection-Barakat”

Group Reflection – Schmitt

After watching each group present, I was so proud to see everyone’s work come together. The collaboration and teamwork was truly inspiring, and I’m very thankful to be a small part of this amazing class. What a semester! What improvement! Thank you, Professor Collins for guiding the way. The blood, sweat and tears paid off.

Continue reading “Group Reflection – Schmitt”