On Sunday, February 23, 2014 WCVE’s Virginia Currents Radio Program (National Public Radio • 88.9) aired an interview with Communication Arts Assistant Professor, Stephen Alcorn, celebrating the publication of ODETTA: THE QUEEN OF FOLK, Alcorn’s picture book tribute to the legendary folk singer and social activist, Odetta Holmes (1930-2008).
With a roster that has doubled in less than two years, it seems everyone wants to be a part of what CBS Sports calls “the best pep band in college sports.” Peppas, VCU’s resident Athletic and Pep Band, is known for its unapologetically intense musical antics during the games. Headed by director Ryan Kopasci, the Peppas are every bit a part of the action as the players on the court. Jon Murphy, newly appointed Assistant Director of the band, says “We like to think of ourselves as ‘The Sixth Man. We cheer loud. All of the time.”
Their presence has not gone unnoticed. A recent video of the band’s performance of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” during a home game against George Mason University has quickly gone viral. According to reports, the free-throw distraction attempt proved successful, as GMU only shot at 56 percent accuracy.
It isn’t all fun and games, however. The band boasts an eighty-plus songbook of repertoire that is always expanding. Rehearsals are fast and concise, relying on the independent work of the players so that style and interpretation can take precedence.
“Everyone in the band has a great deal of musical talent, dedication, and most importantly school spirit,” Murphy stated.
Photo: Courtesy The Commonwealth Times (Chris Conway)
Assistant Professor in The Department of Communication Arts, Stephen Alcorn, recently illustrated a Japanese edition of a novel by Paul LaFarge, titled, “The Artist of The Missing.” The volume features 12 large-format relief-block prints and boasts a full-color wraparound cover.
From the Tokyo-based publisher, CHUOKORON-SHINSHA, INC:
“A haunting novel that recalls the early work of Paul Auster and Steven Millhauser, The Artist of the Missing is a stunning debut, both a richly imagined evocation of another world and a piercing examination of the mystery of love, and beautifully illustrated by the acclaimed artist Stephen Alcorn. A visionary novel about love, loss, imagination, and despair.”
Congratulations to VCUarts’ Department of Painting and Printmaking Professor Reni Gower for being named the 2014 recipient of the College Art Association’s Distinguished Teacher of Art Award.
The Distinguished Teaching of Art Award, established in 1972, is presented to an individual who has been actively engaged in teaching art for most of his or her career and who has developed a philosophy or technique of instruction based on his or her experience as an artist among other criteria.
Gower will be presented with the award during the annual conference’s Convocation at the Hilton Chicago on February 12, 2014.
Congratulations to Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance, Courtney Harris, who has been chosen as a recipient of The Virginia Commission for the Arts 2013-2014 Artists Fellowships. Fellowships are awarded annually to artists residing in Virginia in recognition of creative excellence and to support their pursuit of artistic excellence. Harris was chosen among four Virginia artists to be honored in the field of choreography with fellowships of $5,000. Harris’ recent work includes her satirical film “Pas”—co-created with her collaborator Charli Brissey—which has screened nationally and internationally at dance and LGBTQ film festivals.
2013-2014 Fellowships in Choreography were awarded to:
Diane Coburn Bruning (Alexandria)
Courtney Harris (Richmond)
Vanessa Owen (Richmond)
William Smith (Manassas Park)