December 3, 2009
Dear Friend of Idaho State University,
At Idaho State University, we're known for our groundbreaking research and our outstanding health care programs. But there's more to us than laboratories and clinics.
A simple look at the hills overlooking campus and our beautiful state-of-the-art L.E. and Thelma Stephens Performing Arts Center testifies that we value the arts in Southeast Idaho and at Idaho State University.
In the Stephens Performing Arts Center the Idaho State Civic Symphony, led by conductor Chung Park, puts on world-class performances. Our student bands and choral groups offer professional performances for the community to enjoy.
These students are trained by exceptional professors, who themselves were trained at some of the country's premier music institutions, such as Yale School of Music and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Department chair Dr. Randy Earles has composed many pieces that have been published and recorded commercially. Several of them receive national recognition, and Earles has received an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers every year since 1997.
Our students benefit from their expertise, and the community benefits as well. Each year, the music department welcomes hundreds of high school musicians and singers to campus to learn, perform and participate in competitions. It's a wonderful way to introduce talented young musicians to the spectacular venues and training we offer.
Dr. Park doesn't limit his teaching to students formally enrolled in class, either. At Idaho State Civic Symphony concerts, Dr. Park visits with the audience before and after the performance, answering questions and sharing more about the pieces performed. It's one of the ways he makes the performances more engaging and participatory for the general public.
At ISU, we also invite the surrounding community to showcase their talents. The Idaho State Civic Symphony has community artists as well as those in the university community. The ISU Children's Choir gives young singers the chance to perform and grow in their art. I-MOVE, ISU's contemporary dance group, is a collaborative effort among students, faculty, community members and visiting artists.
Our aim is to provide an excellent education for those pursuing a future in the arts, but there is a benefit to the community as well. Nearly every day, there is an event or exhibit the public can enjoy.
This holiday season, you'll find concerts to get you in a festive mood. On Tuesday, Dec. 8, Rockapella, a nationally-renowned a capella group will perform as part of the "Season of Note" series. Danson, ISU's student dance company, will perform Dec. 9-11 in the Rogers Black Box Theatre at the Stephens Performing Arts Center. The Idaho State Civic Symphony is playing a holiday pops concert on Dec. 11.
Composer Kurt Bestor will bring an evening of Christmas music to the Jensen Grand Concert Hall Dec. 16, and on Dec. 17, the ISU Children's Choir is offering a free holiday concert.
For those who have an appetite for the visual arts, ISU is home to three art galleries that showcase the work of students, visiting artists and local talent. Exhibits change often, so there is always something new to see.
Theatre/Dance ISU is celebrating 80 years of productions for the university and community. On Monday, Dec. 7, actors will perform "Cootie Shots," a family reader's theatre production especially for children of all ages.
Come and see what we have to offer.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University