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Republican Journal Reports on UMaine Valedictorian

The Village Soup’s Republican Journal reported former Belfast Area High School valedictorian Sierra Ventura was named the top of her class again, this time as valedictorian of the University of Maine’s Class of 2014. Ventura will receive a bachelor’s degree in music education and plans to pursue a graduate degree at UMaine. Since 2009, she has had her own business, S.J. Ventura Music Instruction, teaching 35 students in piano, voice, flute, clarinet and saxophone.

Lidral Duo’s Last Jazz Afternoon Concert April 28

The Lidral Duo will perform the final show in their “Chamber Jazz Afternoon Concert Series” on Monday, April 28. The farewell performance will be held from 4:15 to 5 p.m. outside of Union Central in the Memorial Union. The jazz duo includes retiring University of Maine associate professor of music Karel Lidral on soprano saxophone and Terry Lidral on piano. This is the group’s 19th — and last — continuous semester-long concert series presented in the Union. The duo is moving to the western United States after Karel Lidral retires this year. The concert is free and open to the public.

Free Press Reports on UMaine Valedictorian

The Free Press published a report about Belfast native Sierra Ventura being named the valedictorian of the University of Maine’s Class of 2014. Ventura will receive a bachelor’s degree in music education and plans to pursue a graduate degree at UMaine. “UMaine has provided me the opportunity to connect with many veteran teachers and other professionals in my field throughout my undergraduate career, as well as give me tools to become a better private music teacher for my students,” Ventura said. Jennifer Chalmers of Foxborough, Mass. was named the salutatorian.

WABI Reports on New Scholarship Started by Maine Steiners

WABI (Channel 5) reported on a new scholarship fund started by the Maine Steiners, the University of Maine’s oldest a cappella group. With the establishment of the Maine Steiners Vocal Music Scholarship Fund, the group became the first performing arts student organization to establish an endowed scholarship fund with the University of Maine Foundation. “We decided we just wanted to give back to the school’s performing arts and the university which has given us so much,” said Morgan Cates, the group’s business manager, who also spoke about the group’s diverse members and vocal influences. WABI also interviewed Robert Laraway, the Steiners’ music director, who spoke about the high standards the group holds when taking on new members and their drive to always be better musicians.

UMaine Names 2014 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

University of Maine President Paul Ferguson has announced the 2014 valedictorian, Sierra Ventura of Belfast, Maine, and salutatorian Jennifer Chalmers of Foxborough, Mass.

Both will receive their degrees at UMaine’s 212th Commencement ceremonies in Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 10.

“Sierra and Jenn personify the best of the University of Maine undergraduate experience in their academic excellence, community engagement, and dedication to research and scholarship,” says President Ferguson. “We are proud of their achievements and their leadership in the UMaine community.”

Ventura will receive a bachelor’s degree in music education. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has been active in UMaine’s chapter of the National Association of Music Education, including two years as treasurer, and she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her leadership roles on campus include serving as assistant conductor of the University of Maine Singers and of Euphony, the Orono-based chamber choir, both in 2013–14. The previous year, Ventura was the assistant accompanist of Collegiate Chorale.

Ventura also was a member of other musical ensembles in the UMaine School of Performing Arts, including Opera Workshop, Concert Band and Athena Consort, and she worked on the technical and events crews. Since 2009, she has had her own business, S.J. Ventura Music Instruction, teaching 35 students in piano, voice, flute, clarinet and saxophone. Ventura plans to pursue a graduate degree in music education at the University of Maine.

“UMaine has helped me shape my pursuits in the music education field,” Ventura says. “UMaine has also provided me the opportunity to connect with many veteran teachers and other professionals in my field throughout my undergraduate career, as well as give me tools to become a better private music teacher for my students. During my undergraduate career, I was also blessed to have met my fiancé during my time in University Singers.”

Chalmers will receive two bachelor’s degrees in English and in history. She has majored in English and history, with minors in education and Spanish, and received highest honors for her honors thesis, a historical and literary research project, entitled “Teaching Literature in America: Demonstrating Relevance in the Early Cold War (1945–1963).”

Chalmers is a member of multiple honor societies, including All Maine Women, Sophomore Eagles and Phi Beta Kappa. The UMaine Presidential Scholar Award recipient received Roger B. Hill Scholarships in both history and English, and the Ellis Prize in English. She also received a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

While at UMaine, Chalmers had two internships that advanced her professional writing skills. She was a human resources intern with the Massachusetts State Police in Framingham, Mass., and an English editorial intern with Pearson Higher Education in Boston, Mass. She was a journalist for the Maine Journal and a tutor for UMaine’s Writing Center. In addition, Chalmers was a student supervisor for Black Bear Dining concessions and a clarinetist in the UMaine Symphonic and Pep bands. Her community service activities included volunteering, serving as a note taker for UMaine Disability Support Services, and being involved in Autism at UMaine and the History Club.

“Since the moment I first visited UMaine, I have always felt at home,” Chalmers says. “I’m particularly appreciative of the way my professors have been so willing to help me achieve my goals and have always been on the lookout for opportunities that might be beneficial for me. I also really appreciate the wealth of opportunities that UMaine has provided outside the classroom. I have had so many opportunities to join organizations that I genuinely care about, gain leadership experience and make lasting friendships. My coursework, jobs and activities at UMaine have provided me with the experience that I have needed to get scholarships, internships and jobs, both inside and outside UMaine. The people, the organizations, and the generally encouraging atmosphere at UMaine have been invaluable to my personal, professional and intellectual growth during college, and I know that taking advantage of the opportunities that UMaine has to offer has allowed and prepared me to achieve my goals.”

Chalmers has accepted a position with Teach for America. For the next two years, she will teach secondary special education English in southern New Jersey and then will pursue graduate school.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Image Description: Ventura

Image Description: Chalmers

David Wells Featured Soloist for Jazz Ensemble Concert

The University of Maine Jazz Ensemble will perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at Minsky Recital Hall.

Associate professor of trumpet Jack Burt directs the 20-piece big band, which performs music from all periods of jazz, including swing band music, bebop, fusion and funk.

David Wells will be the featured soloist on saxophone. The Maine-based jazz saxophonist teaches at Bates College and the University of Maine at Augusta. He has recorded or performed with Rosemary Clooney, funk pioneer Zigaboo Modeliste and comedian Don Rickles, as well as many Maine jazz musicians and ensembles.

Tickets are $9 or free with a student MaineCard. For tickets, call 207.581.4721. For disability accommodations, call 207.581.1755.

‘Worst One Ever’ to be Performed at Opera Workshop

The University of Maine School of Performing Arts’ Opera Workshop will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 19, in Minsky Recital Hall.

A feature of the evening will be the modern one-act opera “The Worst One Ever,” written by Gary Belshaw and directed by Christian Giddings. It takes place in a college dorm where three female students express their frustrations.

Nancy Ogle directs the remainder of the workshop, which includes excerpts from “The Mikado” and “Yeoman of the Guard” by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Also included will be “The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Albert Herring” by Benjamin Britten and “Der Freischutz” by Carl Maria von Weber.

“The Opera Workshop involves students in all aspects of musical theater production. Admission is $9, or free with a student MaineCard. For tickets or disability accommodations, call the Collins Center for the Arts, 207.581.1755.

Hallman, Cox Featured in BDN Article

The Bangor Daily News reported two music professors at the University of Maine — Ludlow Hallman and Dennis Cox — will retire at the end of the semester, and the upcoming Bangor Symphony Orchestra concert will be their last time working with the UMaine vocal groups they’ve led for decades. Hallman has conducted the Oratorio Society since he began teaching at UMaine in 1970, and Cox has led the University Singers for more than 30 years. Hallman said the two have been through a lot together and have become “very good friends.” Both men spoke highly of UMaine’s music program, facilities and students. “We have great students right now, and I mean that sincerely,” said Cox. “It’s always about the students. It’s always the most rewarding part of any day,” added Hallman.

Symphonic, Concert Bands to Perform at CCA

The University of Maine Symphonic and Concert bands will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17, at the Collins Center for the Arts.

The 45-member Symphonic Band, directed by Christopher White, recently wrapped up a four-day, nine-performance spring coastal tour. Nine times on the tour, music performance major Blake Peachey of Augusta, Maine, performed “Concerto for Bb Cornet or Trumpet” by Franz J. Haydn. Peachey, winner of the 2014 UMaine Student Concerto Competition, will again play the trumpet solo at this concert. The program will also include two Percy Grainger folk songs as well as “Fantasia in G Major” by J.S. Bach and “Parkour” by Samuel R. Hazo.

The 54-member Concert Band, directed by Dana Ross, will play five selections, including “An Irish Rhapsody” by Clare Grundman, “Amazing Grace for Concert Band” by Frank Ticheli and “Prairie Songs” by Pierre LaPlante.

Tickets are $12 or free with a student MaineCard. For tickets, call 207.581.4721. For disability accommodations, call 207.581.1755.

UMaine Officials, Faculty Interviewed for BDN Article on Professor Pay

The Bangor Daily News spoke with several University of Maine officials and faculty members for the the article “UMaine relying more on lower-paid professors as budget shrinks.” Jason Canniff, a part-time faculty member who teaches English and Honors College courses, spoke about his typical work week. Pat Burnes, coordinator of UMaine’s First Year Writing Program, and Ludlow Hallman, chairman of the Music Department, spoke about hiring more adjuncts to replace retiring professors. Jeff Hecker, UMaine’s executive vice president of academic affairs and provost, said the university’s plan to pass a balanced budget for FY 2015 was an attempt to “meet our needs and commitments, while we develop a more thoughtful, longer-range plan.”


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UMaine News
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System