Performing Arts Celebration
This landmark occasion in the College’s 151-year history kicks off on Friday at 6 p.m. with a welcoming reception in the lobby of the Lang Performing Arts Center. Then, following an introductory greeting at 7 p.m. from Maurice Eldridge '61, special assistant for College and community relations, the evening continues with a variety of music, dance, and theatrical performances featuring the Swarthmore College Chorus, the Small Chamber Ensemble, the Alumni Gospel Choir, Jazz Ensemble, and more, including readings from faculty and staff.
Alumni Gospel Choir
Although officially founded in 1986 during Black Alumni Weekend, the Choir's roots go back to the early 1970s. Its members live all over the country, yet travel to Swarthmore to rehearse and perform. Under the direction of Vaneese Thomas '74, they have produced two CDs, much of it original music, and have presented concerts throughout the U.S. and around the world. They will perform "To My Father's House" and "Lord Don't Move That Mountain," two songs that helped the choir get started.
Audrey Pernell '04 and Andrés Zará
Audrey Pernell ’04 is an actress, singer, and certified Roy Hart Theatre Voice teacher. Pernell, who completed a master’s degree in voice performance and pedagogy through Antioch University Midwest, has taught at various universities and private academies in Santiago, Chile. Alongside her husband, Chilean performer and voice teacher Andrés Zará, she co-directs Rumbos Laboratorio Artístico Vocal. Over the past five years, they have developed numerous projects and workshops investigating the human voice’s vast expressive and creative potential.
The College's Orchestra and Wind Ensemble is directed by conductor and pianist Andrew Hauze ’04, a member of Swarthmore's faculty since 2006. Current student members include Aaron Slepoi '17, clarinet; Christine Emery '16 and Thomas Ruan '16, trumpets; Helen Thum '16, percussion; Amelia Erskine '17, harp; Yeon-Jae Shin '16, violin; Noah Rosenberg '18, cello; and Muriel Carpenter '16, bass. They will perform "Troubled Water" by Margaret Bonds (1913-1972), based on the spiritual "Wade in the Water," in a new arrangement written for the occasion.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Gregory King holds an MFA from Southern Methodist University and is also certified in elementary labanotation by The Dance Notation Bureau. He has performed with The Washington Ballet, Donald Byrd/The Group, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, and The Lion King on Broadway and writes for several dance journals in the Philadelphia area. He will perform "The Color of My Skin Carries a Story."
Mohammed (Mo) Lotif currently serves as the assistant director of the Intercultural Center. A proud Detroiter, he is deeply influenced by the lives, philosophy, and activism of James & Grace Lee Boggs, and it permeates his work. Lotif came to Swarthmore in 2014 after serving as an assistant director of Kalamazoo College's Center for Civic Engagement. He has a B.A. from Williams College.
Julian Randall '16
Julian Randall '16 is Black and combating white supremacy through joy. He represented OASiS and was the 2015 Best Poet at the international College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.
Associate in Performance Rebecca Malcolm-Naib has danced professionally with ZeroMoving Dance Company, Karen Bamonte Dance Works, and Chamber Dance Company, among others, and with several independent choreographers. She was co-founder and co-director of Travesty Dance Group from 1997-2010 and her choreography has been performed throughout North America. Malcolm-Naib graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and received an M.F.A. from the University of Washington. With Autumn Dziegrenuk, she will perform her own work, A Wintry Waltz, with music by Max Richter.
Swarthmore College Chorus
The Swarthmore College Chorus, directed by Associate in Performance Joseph Gregorio, is an auditioned, mixed ensemble composed of approximately 70 singers. It comprises mostly students but is also open to faculty, staff, and community members.
Associate Professor of Dance Kim Arrow joined Swarthmore's faculty in 1991 and started Taiko drumming repertory classes in 2000. Today, Swarthmore Taiko is largely made up of a morphing ensemble of students and alumni. The ensemble, including Arrow, Mariko Ching, Tessa Rhinehart, Jon Seok Lee, and Richard Vu, will perform "Goshinji", loosely translated as "respect for the Shinto ritual." Originally created in the 16th century in Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture, its purpose was to propitiate the gods in order to end an infamous drought.
The Swarthmore College Jazz Ensemble
The Swarthmore College Jazz Ensemble, directed by Andrew Neu, performs a varied repertoire of traditional and contemporary music composed and arranged for big band. They will perform Neu’s "Juggernaut" and "Samba Dees Godda Do It" by Tom Kubis.
Professor of Sociology Sarah Willie-LeBreton studies higher education and work and teaches about race, racism, and social inequality. Since joining Swarthmore’s faculty in 1997, she has served as associate provost, chair of the sociology and anthropology department, and coordinator of the black studies program. Willie-LeBreton graduated from Haverford College in 1986 and received a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1995.
Award-winning jazz pianist and Cornell Visiting Professor Hans Lüdemann performs as part of a trio featuring piano, balaphon, and drums in a performance sponsored by the Provost's Office and the Consortium for Faculty Diversity. Lüdemann is joined by Aly Keita on the balafon and Christian Thomé on drums and percussion.