Camp S.O.U.L. attracts talented high school students with its mix of music, empowerment

Arieion Ward, a student from Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis, groves to the music as she sings along with fellow Camp S.O.U.L. students on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. The camp invites talented high school students (vocalists, instrumentalists, spoken word artists, dancers) to take part in a six-day program studying African American art forms including blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, soul, funk and hip hop.

Arieion Ward of Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis sings during rehearsals at Camp S.O.U.L. Photo by James Brosher

IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino contributed to this story:

On the first morning at Camp S.O.U.L., students in the rhythm section dabbled with their instruments at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

None of the campers spoke much to the counselors or each other.

Just minutes before, acting director Ignoisco Miles rallied the entire group, telling them to wake up. “It’s time to go. It’s time to work!”

Camp director Ignoisco Miles sings a part back to a lead vocalist during a rehearsal at Camp S.O.U.L. on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. The camp invites talented high school students (vocalists, instrumentalists, spoken word artists, dancers) to take part in a six-day program studying African American art forms including blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, soul, funk and hip hop.

Ignoisco Miles coaches vocalists during a rehearsal at Camp S.O.U.L. Photo by James Brosher

Then the music began. Body language relaxed. Eyes widened and faces filled with light.

This was why they came.

“It feels like home,” Terry Golden said. The high school junior and bass guitarist from Winfield, Ind. was attending the Indiana University camp for a second time.

Playing music might be fun, he said, but playing at camp with these counselors was an amazing opportunity. His father told him he would meet people at Camp S.O.U.L. who shared his passion and could help him improve his skills. “I’m trying to get where I need to be,” he said.

The heart of S.O.U.L.

The high school students arrived at Camp S.O.U.L. with significant musical talent. They had auditioned for places in the camp, which is operated by the African American Arts Institute and supported by IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs.

Charles E. Sykes, executive director of the African American Arts Institute, described the institute’s three performance ensembles to the group: “This program is a gem. There is no other university in this country or any other country that has a program like this.”

Isabella Balle-Voyles

Isabella Balle-Voyles, a sophomore at Bloomington High School North, belts out a tune at Camp S.O.U.L. Photo by James Brosher

During the camp June 12 to 17, the young musicians stayed in a residence hall, toured the Bloomington campus and spoke with current IU students. Guest speakers taught them about African American dance traditions, college admissions and the aid available through IU’s Groups Scholars and Hudson and Holland Scholars programs.

Each day there was music — and practice, practice, practice.

The rhythm section, vocalists and horns rehearsed separately much of the week.

The vocalists learned by listening to each other, themselves and recordings of their songs. Miles challenged them to give everything to the music.

“I never worked so hard with my voice before,” said Arieion Ward, a junior from Indianapolis who was attending Camp S.O.U.L. for the first time.

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Campus tour reveals Indiana University’s story stone by stone during Limestone Month


As part of the celebration of Limestone Month in southern Indiana, Brian Keith led several recent tours of the IU Bloomington campus. Photo by Chaz Mottinger

“I’m not a historian. I’m not an architect. I’m a limestone geologist.”

With these words, Brian Keith began a walking tour of Indiana University Bloomington as part of Limestone Month, an annual celebration in Monroe and Lawrence counties featuring special events such as exhibitions, carving demonstrations and quarry visits.

Keith’s tours June 3 and 10 offered not only expert insights on limestone in its many forms but a wealth of other information about IU’s history and architecture.

limestone owl carvings

These are just a few of IU’s limestone owls.

The group first met at the Sample Gates, which have become so emblematic that it’s hard to believe they have only been standing since 1987.

Keith then spent two hours winding through a college campus that is routinely named one of the country’s most beautiful. His main focus was Old Crescent, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

At Indiana, limestone is a part of the appeal. It is the bedrock and building block, the business and the beauty. It is both the layer cake and the icing.

And Keith knows his limestone. He spent his career working for the Indiana Geological Survey at IU.

He explained that Indiana limestone is some of the finest in the world. The stone once deep below the surface now soars into the sky at The Empire State Building, Biltmore and the National Cathedral. And here, it built IU.

On his tour, Keith pointed out details that could escape even the most astute observers.

He showed the difference between the fine, uniform grain of Salem limestone, the coarser variety of Salem used in foundations and the Ramp Creek stone used in freestanding walls.

Keith discussed how stone was dressed and how it was laid. He contrasted Maxwell Hall’s “rough face” or “rock face” stone with the flat, even blocks of the Student Building. He distinguished between window and door details found in different styles of architecture, the round Romanesque arches and more pointed Gothic parts.

He located inscriptions, symbols and carvings.

But more than anything, he encouraged people to look — and to notice.

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New ‘Basically Baker’ recording project will celebrate jazz legend, fund scholarships

David Baker left an enormous legacy in jazz.

The performer, composer and distinguished professor who founded the jazz studies program at Indiana University died in March at the age of 84.

Now, a new recording of Baker’s big band music will add to his rich legacy, thanks to the efforts of fellow musicians, friends and his widow, Lida.

“Basically Baker Volume 2” will be recorded later this month by the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra as a celebration of Baker’s life and music.

David Baker

“Basically Baker Volume 2” is devoted to the big band compositions of jazz giant David Baker (1931-2016). Photo by Kendall Reeves Spectrum Studios

“This project represents the passion and loyalty of a musical family that David headed for decades,” said Brent Wallarab, the orchestra’s co-founder and an associate professor of jazz studies in IU’s Jacobs School of Music. “To those of us involved, his influence and mentorship cannot be overestimated and we are honored to play a part in honoring his legacy as a composer and educator.”

Wallarab said that he was first approached by David and Lida Baker more than 10 years ago.

Yesterday, during a radio appearance on WFIU with David Brent Johnson, Wallarab said: “With all of the great recordings that David has, most of them are his classical pieces… His big band music has never been recorded and released as a professional, actual, legitimate jazz release.”

The “Basically Baker Volume 2” collection is scheduled for release in September by Patois Records, which also has IU ties. Jacobs School professor of practice Wayne Wallace — a Grammy-nominated arranger, composer and performer — is head of the label.

All proceeds from the sale of “Basically Baker Volume 2” will go directly to the David N. Baker Scholarship Fund, which assists students entering the jazz studies program in the Jacobs School.

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Creative team returns to IU to present their premiere musical, ‘The King’s Critique’

Co-writer and musical director Nat Zegree, center, works with Robert Toms and Emily Rozman during a rehearsal for "The King's Critique" on Thursday, May 26, 2016, at the Wells-Metz Theatre.

Nat Zegree, center, works with Robert Toms and Emily Rozman at a rehearsal for “The King’s Critique.” Zegree is the musical director and co-writer. Rehearsal photos by James Brosher.

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Nat Zegree comes alive when he plays the piano. Already full of energy, the upbeat song he is banging out on the keys has a little bit of him in it, much like the rest of “The King’s Critique.” He is, after all, its co-writer and musical director.

The musical will premiere this month as part of the IU Summer Theatre season at Indiana University’s Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

IU Summer Theatre, formerly known as IU Festival Theatre, will feature four productions in 2016, starting with “The King’s Critique” June 8, 9, 10 and 11.

In “The King’s Critique,” performers must band together to bring art and laughter to audiences in spite of a king’s decision to name himself head theater critic in the empire. Unlikely comrades must band together to put a monarch in his place and prove a woman can do anything a man can do.

Musical teamwork

While Zegree was studying musical theater at IU, he met Eric Holmes during the 2012 workshop for the musical “Alamo.” Holmes, another IU alumnus, wrote the musical with Timothy Noble, distinguished professor of voice at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Eric Holmes

Eric Holmes studied playwriting at Indiana University and is now based in New York City.

Holmes and Zegree clicked. The two stayed in touch and began collaborating right away.

Zegree said once he moved to New York City, their writing process began to show results.

Holmes said their creative relationship is an unconventional one. The playwright could tell Zegree what a character was feeling or thinking and instantly Zegree would be playing what Holmes heard in his own head.

Holmes said he can’t really explain how their partnership came to fruition, but he was always dazzled by Zegree’s talent. “I was so overwhelmed and truly impressed with what he did,” he said.

Before he knew it, Holmes said they were writing the musical together in a near constant back-and-forth process. Where one of them left off, the other would pick up and continue writing music, dialogue or lyrics. “The King’s Critique” is a combination of what they both love about musical theater.

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Association for Recorded Sound Collections returns to roots with Bloomington conference

When the Association for Recorded Sound Collections held its first conference in Bloomington back in 1967, audiocassettes were new technology.

The association is now celebrating its 50th anniversary at a conference that began May 11 here at Indiana University.

While media formats have changed over the years, the nonprofit organization has the same mission: It is dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings, in all genres of music and speech, in all formats and from all periods.


Patrick Feaster is an expert in early sound media and media preservation specialist for IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative.

If these aims sound similar to Indiana University’s commitment to media preservation, it should be no surprise that more than 30 IU students, faculty members and staff are participating in the conference.

IU’s Patrick Feaster, media preservation specialist for the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, serves as president of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Brenda Nelson-Strauss, head of collections/technical services at the Archives of African American Music and Culture, is the conference manager and a past president.

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Graduating IU students honored for their work at national technical theater conference

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

The United States Institute of Theatre Technology recognized three IU students during their annual conference as part of the Young Designer’s Forum. The conference, held in March in Salt Lake City, Utah, gave these students an opportunity to showcase their technical work for professionals and fellow students alike.

The three students were Kelsey Nichols, a third-year M.F.A. student in costume design, Kristen Martino, a third-year M.F.A. student in scenic design and Aaron Bowersox, a third-year M.F.A. in lighting design.

“It’s fairly major for us to have all three disciplines recognized,” said Drew Bratton, managing director for the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

Bratton compared the event to a basketball national championship, an event where the best of the best come out and showcase their skills.

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Indiana University graduate student chosen as official poet of the Indianapolis 500

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

In a game of word association, the Indianapolis 500 and poetry and are not obvious counterparts.

And yet for the 100th running of the race May 29, an official poet has been selected: Indiana University student and instructor Adam Henze. The race-day program will feature his poem “For Those Who Love Fast, Loud Things.”

henze headshot

Adam Henze is a Ph.D. candidate at IU Bloomington and a touring poet. Photo courtesy of James E. Moriarty

The poem was selected by a panel of writers in a contest co-sponsored by Indiana Humanities as a way of reviving a 1920s tradition.

Henze is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Literacy, Culture and Language Education in the School of Education at IU Bloomington.

A practitioner of performance poetry, he hopes his poem succeeds on both the page and the stage.

“I knew that if I won, my poem would have to look good in the racing program and sound good when heard over the track loudspeaker,” Henze said. “Plus, when I read my work, I don’t really settle for recitation. My goal is to make an empathetic connection with the audience, and I hope my performance resonates with fans come May.”

For race fans, the poem reads like an ode to their passion. It begins with these stanzas:

This poem is for the track folk who just love the smell of Ethanol.

For the Carb Day cut sleeve sporters, the Snake Pit dancers, and Coke Lot campers with bald eagle bandanas.

This is an anthem for the hearts that’ve surged at the scope of the Pagoda. For the hands that know the feeling of slapping the North Vista tunnel ceiling. For the lips that whisper along with Florence Henderson when she sings, yes. This poem is for the 500 fans who love fast, loud things.

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Shakespeare expert Ellen MacKay to appear on ‘The Wonder of Will Live’ program on CSPAN-2

Ellen MacKay

Associate Professor Ellen MacKay will participate in ‘The Wonder of Will Live’ program, which will be telecast on CSPAN-2 Book TV April 23. Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University

Ellen MacKay, an associate professor in Indiana University’s Department of English, has spent much of her professional life celebrating William Shakespeare.

Now, MacKay will help the Folger Shakespeare Library bring that celebration to the public in a televised and live-streamed event Saturday, April 23 that marks 400 years since Shakespeare’s death. Scholars believe his birthday fell on the same date, based on a 1564 christening record found in the Stratford parish register.

Actors, writers, scholars and other dignitaries will come together at the library in Washington to share performances and personal stories about their connections to Shakespeare in “The Wonder of Will Live,” which begins at noon Saturday on on C-SPAN2 Book TV.

“‘The Wonder of Will’ is an opportunity to celebrate Shakespeare’s remarkable legacy via personal reflections that demonstrate the range and depth of his influence,” MacKay said.

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Newly formed Art and Design Association brings art, business students together

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Sophomore Rachel Taylor has a passion for business, but, she said, it’s not her only love.

While in high school, Taylor said she loved art as well. Since she came to IU, though, she had been missing that part of her life. While exploring the possibility of getting an art minor, she said she realized some art students are disconnected from the Bloomington arts scene.

To bring art and business together in a way that benefits both student artists and students studying business, last fall Taylor founded the Art and Design Association. The campus group is dedicated to helping IU art students find opportunities to show and sell their work in the Bloomington community.

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Spring concert series showcases ensembles of IU’s African American Arts Institute


The African American Dance Company, shown here performing in “Potpourri,” will present its spring concert Saturday. Photo courtesy of Iris Rosa.

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Throughout the month of April, the three ensembles of Indiana University’s African American Arts Institute will host their annual spring concerts.

The central mission of the institute is the preservation and celebration of African American culture. IU students across many areas of study participate in its performance groups as a way of connecting to that culture and sharing it with wider audiences.

The African American Dance Company will present the first concert Saturday, April 9. IU Soul Revue will perform April 16 and the African American Choral Ensemble will host a special 40th anniversary celebration April 30.

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