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Jazz Summit

This Friday and Saturday the campus was filled with aspiring young jazz musicians.  Why were they here?  Well Coe's Music Department hosts a Jazz Summit every year (the Summit began in 1992).  Middle and High school jazz bands travel to Coe's campus to play their music and receives critique from judges.  Because I'm part of the Concert Band I had to help out with the event which runs on the volunteer efforts of all the Coe Music students and Sinfonia (the music fraternity).  I had two shifts on Friday, one at 6:30 AM and one at 2:00 PM.  Both went well and it was fun meeting and helping out the bands.  On Saturday, there was even more jazz and the big finale was a concert featuring the Coe College Jazz Band and two guest artists.  I was unable to go to the concert but I'm sure it was fantastic.  Overall Jazz Summit was full of musical energy and it gave a lot of young musicians the opportunity to hear and perform jazz!


Austin Kyle: Coffeeshop Series

Every Wednesday SAC sponsors an artist in the PUB.  I haven't had time any time to check out the artists because I usually have band on Wednesday nights for two hours so I don't have time to go.  This week though, band concert was cancelled in midsts of preparation for Jazz Summit (see next post).  So I ended up with an extra two hours after my second Student Senate meeting and got my homework done so I could see the artist in the PUB.

This week it was Austin Kyle - he's a singer/songwriter/guitar player who's from Nashville, TN.  He was confident on stage and that was good because he was playing to a packed PUB.  He started off with some songs of his own and then moved onto a Disney set which included A Whole New World, Beauty and the Beast, and Kiss the Girl.

Overall, I enjoyed Austin; he was entertaining and had some good music.  The one thing that did bug me a little was he liked to only do bits and pieces of songs.  I wish he would have played some of the cover songs he started all the way through (like Slide by the Goo Goo Dolls).  But other than that, it was a nice end to a productive night!


Contemporary Issues Forum : Ken Burns

Well tonight was the big night, legendary documentary filmmaker Ken Burns was on campus today.  He was speaking in The Coe College Contemporary Issues Forum which according to Coe's website is this:

"Established by the late K. Raymond Clark '30, the Contemporary Issues Forum presents the views of distinguished leaders whose work has shaped and altered the course of world events.  The forum has featured former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, former Poland President Lech Walesa, deep-sea oceanographer Robert Ballard, civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau and ecology expert Jared Diamond."

Another tidbit of information about Mr. Clark that was found in my program:

"Though declining the suggestion that the CIF (Contemporary Issues Forum) bear his name, Mr. Clark did accept the college's proposal to hold the annual Forum in February, the month of his birth."  

The speech was given in Sinclair Auditorium to a packed house.  I was able to snag a seat on the floor the auditorium, right side about three-fourths of the way back.  It was an excellent seat, despite the large distance between me and Ken Burns.  

A clip of Mr. Burn's World War II documentary was shown to start the night.  After the clip concluded, Mr. Burns came to the podium.  He is a brilliant speaker, extremely eloquent with a rich array of vocabulary.  He also had a large love for Abraham Lincoln and he constantly quoted the tall man with the black hat who fought to keep the US together in one of our darkest hours.  The hour he talked past by in a blur; I sat, riveted in my seat, frantically writing down what he said in my Moleskin notebook.  What he said rang so true to me that even today, almost twenty-four hours after he spoke, rereading the things I wrote down, I can still hear this voice, booming through the auditorium sharing his stories and insight.  I've included some of my favorite quotes, the ones the really rang true to me.  

"Who are we?" 
" We thought we were invincible." 
"Wars aren't going to disappear just because we wish they would." 
"We're in the business of words....our insight is diminished by volume."
"The mystic chords of memory"
"I will never run out of stories." 
Why does Mr. Burns make films?  Because he's trying to wake the dead.  

I still can't get over what a powerful and moving speaker Mr. Burns was.  He stood at the podium with an absolute confidence and grace.  His words and stories flowed out of him, the sign of being well rehearsed and comfortable with a full house.  Once he was done speaking, we all rose to our feet to give him a standing ovation.  

Coe: Thank you for bringing Mr. Burns to campus.  I was inspired.       

Blindspot Footage!

On Friday night we had Blindspot and we made sure to put on a good show for all the prospies (our nickname for prospective students).  I taped some footage but my camera ran out of battery before the final act which was EPIC.  Take Rashad and add Lord of the Rings music which equals fantastic reenactment to the nth degree.  I'm so mad I didn't get any footage but Rashad as promised me more so eventually I will capture this epicness on film.  Promise.

Here's a little montage I put together!  Enjoy!

Okay just a forewarning, it is a bit long and I've divided into two movies.  These are my favorite acts and most of them are in their entirety.  Here's a line up if you want to skip around:

Part I:
- Cellotic Chaos: Tango edition
- A guy singing and playing the piano

Part II:
- Dear Blank messages
- Violin, banjo, and singing about the blizzard
- Screenplay reading

Part I of Blindspot:

Part II:


Go Coe Athletics!

Okay so I've been feeling bad I haven't made time to support my fellow peers in their sports.  At my high school I was a faithful boys' soccer and basketball fan.  I've been missing that sporting atmosphere after checking a few basketball games at my high school over Winter Break.  I'd gotten an email that there was a basketball game on Saturday as well as a tennis match so I decided to check them out.  I even watched part of a swim meet on Friday night because Haley's RA was competing and she wanted a buddy.  Surprisingly, I had never been in the natatorium before so it was a nice first.  The pool is very nice with adequate seating for all the fans.

I had the most fun at the basketball game.  Coming from a high school where a fantastic pep band is all part of the basketball atmosphere, I diligently attended almost every home game in high school.  To tell the truth, I was missing basketball and felt bad I hadn't checked out a game until now.  Coe is part of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) composed of Buena Vista, Central, Coe (duh), Cornell, Dubuque, Loras, Luther, Simpson, and Wartburg.  The basketball team took on Dubuque and it was a tight game.  Unfortunately, rebounding and making baskets in general were a little weak and the boys lost 66-71.  The gym was pretty full and I sat next to some Coe parents and older students who were friendly and excellent at small talk.  Overall, a lovely experience.  I know the boys play again on Thursday so I'm hoping I can make it.

I also went to the tennis match against Central.  Tennis match atmosphere is MUCH different than the basketball atmosphere I had just come from.  The gym for basketball is buzzing with chatter, music, squeaks of gym shoes, cheering, coaching, whistles, clapping, and more.  At tennis it is absolutely silent.  No fans talk to each other, their eyes solely focusing on the match in front of them.  There's no official scoreboard to know who's winning so turning your head for one second makes it hard to know how the Coe player is doing.  There is cheering in between points but it's short and to the point.  But, no matter how silent the match was, I was glad I could go to support my peers.


Scholarship Weekend: Welcome Prospective Students

Ah, today is such a beautiful day!  The sun is out, the snow is all melted, and it is just beautiful.  Such perfect weather for Scholarship Weekend.  There are a lot of prospective students and their parents strolling around campus today and I love it.  Helped out with Admissions this morning and escorted the prospective students to classes they wanted to sit in on.  Everyone I talked to was FANTASTIC and I hope they come to Coe!  There's Blindspot and bowling tonight so the day will just keep getting better!

More to come! :)


First Senate Meeting!

So as promised, here's a little recap over my first Student Senate meeting last night.  There's about 30 senators and we are all seated in a square in the ever so popular Lynch Room (behind the caf and below Upper Gage and it's used a lot by Coe students).  Anyways, this was exactly what I was looking for.  There was that same Student Council feel I was missing last semester.  I think there's a great group of people on Senate and we have the ability to do a lot of great things.  The meeting ran in a Robert's Rules style with motions, voting, and a motion to adjourn the meeting.  The President, Vice President, Treasurer, and other various committees gave reports and I can't wait to be a part of one in the near future.  We discussed a variety of things such as TVs to be installed in the PUB, faster internet, and the homework we were assigned for next week's meeting.

Overall, a HUGE success and can't wait until next Wednesday!


At Large Senate Seat Election


Today we voted for the two open Senate seats and guess what...I got elected!  You're now reading the blog of a Student Senate member.  Beautiful.  My first meeting is tomorrow I believe so I'll fill you in after the meeting!

So psyched I can't explain it.


Classes This Semester : A Quick Update

I don't think I've talked about my classes this semester yet.  Which is sort of silly of me because I'm really enjoying my classes.  I'm taking 4.9 credits and here's how they pan out.

1. Introduction to French Literature : Bonjour, en cours je lirai les livres importantes pour l'historie de France.  J'aime l'historie et volia, le cours est parfait!  English - Hello, in this class I will read the important books in France's history.  I love history so this class is perfect!

2. Topics in Creative Writing : Fantasy : This is my first creative writing class at Coe and I"m glad that I decided to do something out of my normal writing sphere.  So far I've learned a lot and can't wait to really get down and start revising the things I've been writing this semester.

3. British Renaissance Literature : Poetry : We are studying 16th and 17th century poetry, especially love poetry.  This class is an upper level English class and I'm enjoying the challenge.  We just finished 16th century and this week we are moving onto 17th century poets and Shakespeare's sonnets.

4. Honors Composition : The first Honors class (you have to take five Honor classes to get recognition at graduation) and Honors Composition is the required first one.  Our textbooks are Best American Essays of 2005 and The Best American Non Required Reading and from those essays and stories we are doing our own creative non fiction writing.  Couldn't love this class any more.

5. Topics in Composition : Staff development required for Writing Center consultants.  Partial credit class.

6. Concert Band : Our music is much more challenging and experimental this semester.  Interested to know where it will take us.

7. Clarinet lessons : After having a good first semester and improving a great deal, I'm excited to see where my lessons will take me this semester.

I'm hoping to write more about my classes as the semester goes on!


A Beautiful Saturday Off Campus

There are just some days when you've got to get off campus.  You need to explore someplace new.  And that's what I did today with my good old friend Alison.  After working at the library and eating lunch in the caf, we walked a few blocks northeast to catch a city bus.  For only a dollar we ended up at Lindale Mall where we did some shopping.  It was nice to just walk around and enjoy the nice and pleasantly warm weather.  From Lindale we walked to Best Buy, Half Price Books, and then treated ourselves to Chai Tea Lattes at Starbucks.  We drank our lattes while waiting for the bus to take us back to Coe.

What I love about today was the adventure aspect.  We got around the city thanks to public transportation and our good old legs.  It wasn't expensive, only $2 dollars and today that will probably not even buy you one gallon of gas.  It was fun to do something exciting and different on a Saturday.  And it was good hanging out with Alison, she's a fantastic friend (who is also from the state of Wisconsin) and we get along so well.  We're both writers and lovers of history and literature.  Ideas are always bouncing back and forth between the two of us and we both have started to carry a little Moleskine book around with us to write our ideas and quotes in.  And we frequently go back and reread and laugh about our various quotes and the stories that go along with them.

This is what is fantastic about Coe and college in general.  Second semester is when you really start to cement the friendships you began first semester.  I think I have spent every weekend in 2011 hanging out in small groups with my various friends.  We are bonding and becoming closer each weekend.  And we do the simplest things like going to Lindale, taking advantage of public transportation, studying and writing in the PUB or Writing Center, watching a TV show or a movie, or just talking for hours on end (that one is my favorite).  We constantly cut each other off, eager to share our stories, opinions, and ideas with the people we trust the most.  And when we talk, we don't just gossip or discuss the latest fashion trends or the boys we think are attractive, we talk about so much more (and much more important topics) : our classes, what we're learning about, what we want our futures to hold, national and world issues, problems we are dealing with, things we dream about, plans we want to make.  Just like I saw in Common Hour, the conversation is intellectually stimulating.  College is a whole new level, and I completely understand why so many people told me that as much as I loved high school, college was going to be even better.

Well there's warm tea to be drank for my sore throat, French Renaissance to be read, and Firefly episodes to watch so I best be off. More to come as always.


Adventure to Iowa City

As I've mentioned in an earlier blog post, I joined Alpha Nu, a literacy society that meets once a week.  Today, Alpha Nu went to a poetry reading celebrating the birthday of Elizabeth Bishop in Iowa City.  

I've been to Iowa City a few other times and I've always love the city.  It reminds me of a smaller version of Madison.  I feel that the University of Iowa is very similar to UW Madison, although on a smaller scale, as the city kind of becomes the campus.  That's a really neat feeling but not quite the right fit for me.  So I like going to cities like that and enjoying what it has to offer.  I still want to get down to Iowa City on a nicer day, it was freezing cold today, and just stroll downtown checking out all the unique shops.  

There were a total of four of us who went: me, Alison, Sally, and Emily.  Our first stop was Oasis, an awesome restaurant serving falafel.  What is falafel you might ask?  Well it's basically chickpeas that are soaked overnight and then ground with garlic, onion, and other spices.  Put that on pita bread and you've got something fantastic.  After filling ourselves up we walked a few blocks to Prairie Lights, the bookstore where the reading was being held.  Prairie Lights is a quaint little bookstore where I know I could spend a lot of time and potentially money.  There was a full house as other area authors read poetry and a smidgen of prose by Elizabeth Bishop.  After the reading, the four of us wandered around the store until it closed, showing each other funny books or writing down titles of books we wanted to read in the future.  Then it was back to Coe.  All in all a very successful trip.  

I've added the poem that really stood out to me at the reading.  It's about losing things and I for one have an extremely difficult time dealing with losing things.  If I lose something, I tend to freak out and frantically search for the item, sometimes in vain.  Maybe it's that reason or maybe something else entirely that drew me to this poem.         

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant 
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


Roughriders Hockey Game

Gretchen, Alison and Heidi
On Saturday night I headed to the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena to see a hockey game.  It was a similar setup to the Kernels Game (check out the post if you've forgotten:  For only $4 I got a ticket and a t-shirt which is a SWEET deal.

We got there early to see warm ups.  I had a strong urge to go ice skating when watching them, I love the contrast between the gracefulness of their skating and the violence of hockey.  After warm ups, the stadium really got rowdy.  It's called the "Stable" complete with lots of cowbells.  Their mascot is a horse and we tried to get a picture with him but failed.  We did get other pictures though which was a plus.
The Ha(il)leys

Alison, Pam (from the caf), Heidi and Hailley

The Roughriders won, 6-3, and it was entertaining.  Every time a goal is scored, everyone gets up and starts dancing.  The place is so rowdy and intense, even when we were ahead.  The people that are there are really dedicated to the sport and that was a treat.

So another Saturday night win.  Hope to go back and see another game.  And also get a picture with that darn horse.



Snow Day! :)

So on Tuesday night at 8 PM the email was sent out that all classes were cancelled for Wednesday.  I was in the PUB when I received the email and you could tell everyone was thrilled.  Even one student came running into the PUB saying, "No school, no school, no school!"

I tried to use Wednesday as a good catch up day.  I got up early, did some homework, and just relaxed.  Before dinner I took a study break and watched an episode of Firefly (  By dinnertime, the campus had all their paths cleared and night classes were on.  I ended my night with band and then went to bed.

In general, the campus was pretty quiet yesterday.  The most common thing people did was sleep because I think we all needed it.

Now it's back to classes and catching up on the day we missed!  I've got a big weekend coming up: midnight movie, hockey game and the Superbowl!  Can't wait! :)


Forecast for Cedar Rapids : Snow, Lots o'Snow

So currently, Linn county, the county Cedar Rapids is a part of, is under a Blizzard warning until Wednesday morning.  Snow fall amounts could be anywhere from 6-18 inches of snow.  Right now, I'm warm in cozy in the Writing Center but outside, it is not so warm.  It's incredibly windy outside, the snow is blowing everywhere and for girls like myself who didn't put their hair up, it's almost impossible to see where you're going with your hair flying everywhere.  Many students are crossing their fingers for cancelled classes since some professors don't live in Cedar Rapids.  My French teacher already cancelled class for tomorrow and we'll see how the other two classes pan out.

In this sort of weather, a good college student is wearing the essentials.  Here's what I make sure I have before making the trek outside of Murray.

1. A good, warm winter coat.  My brown one does the trick.  Leave the fleece and vests in your rooms and button that coat up.
2. Scarf.  A coat is warm but a scarf adds another layer of warmth.
3. Hat.  Hello Harry Potter hat hand made by my Grandma.  Please keep my head warm.
4. Gloves.  I have these beautiful brown leather ones.  They can tough it out.
5. Boots.  Heavy duty boots.  I left my "fashion" boots in my room and brought out my Kamik boots.  They are sturdy and have excellent traction.  They'll keep me on my feet and get me through the snow.
6. A good pair of jeans.  Pull out your comfiest pair of jeans.  When it's so cold and windy outside, you can worry about other things than if you're jeans are staying up.  Fashion is out the window when the weather gets nasty.
7. Long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts.  Warmth is essential.  Fashion is not needed.

Stay warm, drink some hot chocolate, and sit by the fire and read a book (that's what I want to do!).

Coe Review and Alpha Nu : Two New Adventures!

A resolution I had for this semester was to become more involved.  So far, I'm right on track!  First, I joined the Coe Review.  Coe Review publishes two issues a year: poetry in the fall and fiction in the spring.  Anyone can submit to Coe Review and after we're read all the stories, we pick out the best ones and make a book.  Coe Review was actually one of the reasons I came to Coe.  Since I'm an English and Creative Writing major, this is right up my alley.  The advisor for Coe Review is Gordon Mennenga who is also my Honors Composition teacher.  Coe Review meets on Monday nights in Hickok.  I'll keep you updated as the release dates draws nearer.

The other club I joined was Alpha Nu.  It's not a sorority but instead a literature society.  We meet on Tuesday nights and talk about literature, movies, and other stuff.  Next week, we are traveling to Prarire Lights, a bookshop in Iowa City, to hear poems by Elizabeth Bishop.  Although Bishop has passed away, next Tuesday would be her 100th birthday so they are having a reading/birthday celebration.  Many of the Alpha Nu members are Writing Center consultants as well so it's nice to get to know them better.

So, those are two new things I'm up to.  Still waiting to hear about open Senate seats.  As usual, I will keep you up to date! :)