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April 2011

PLU's MediaLab takes on 'compassion fatigue'

compassionCompassion fatigue is a condition people have never heard of, and MediaLab is striving to make people aware through its next documentary project.

Students in MediaLab traveled North America to find and interview experts for their new documentary addressing compassion fatigue."We thought it was an interesting topic that isn't talked about and everyone should know about it," said sophomore Katie Scaff, a MediaLab filmmaker.

Scaff said compassion fatigue is a fairly new condition that experts are still trying to define. It occurs when people are overexposed to instances of suffering, and anyone is susceptible to the condition.

compassionAid workers, personal and professional caregivers and even firefighters and police officers are known to have developed compassion fatigue, and Scaff said it is this common overexposure to suffering that led to the film title "Overexposed."

The film, which is a joint project in partnership with World Vision, is tentatively scheduled to premiere at the beginning of October, and the MediaLab team has already been underway traveling and interviewing experts around North America.

For more information about MediaLab and the projects the organization has produced, visit Click here to read about the making of the documentary.

KammerMusikk Orchestra and Choir of the West travel to Germany & France

The 2011 Music International Tour (May 30-June 12) begins with a preview concert on Tuesday May 17 at 8pm in PLU’s Lagerquist Concert Hall. Featured will be the two touring ensembles, Choir of the West conducted by Richard Nance and KammerMusikk, the University’s chamber orchestra conducted by Jeffrey Bell-Hanson.

The 40 members of the KammerMusikk, featuring soloist and Chair of String Studies, Svend Rønning, will tour the Bavaria region of Germany for the first week, visiting the historical cities of Augsburg and Munich. They will present concerts in the spa town of Bad Kohlgrub and in the Town Hall of Neustadt an der Donau. The repertoire will be drawn from: Rossini Soirées musicales (arr. by Benjamin Britten), Copland Variations on a Shaker Hymn, McTee Adagio for Strings ("Agnus Dei"), Haydn Violin Concerto in A Major, Puccini Intermezzo from Suor Angelica, Schubert Allegro maestoso from the "Unfinished" Symphony. Sightseeing highlights will include the concentration camp of Dachau, and Neuschwanstein Castle which is the model for Cinderella’s Castle in Disneyland.

Meanwhile, the 44-member Choir of the West will begin its concert tour in Bad Kreuznach, Germany (a 2000 year old spa town along the Nahe River), then travel to Limburg-Lindenholzhausen for the Harmonie Festival, a prestigious world choral event that takes place every six years. One hundred and ninety seven choral ensembles representing forty countries will participate, competing in various categories for a panel of highly respected jurists from Sweden, Germany, Bulgaria, Poland and Finland. Choir of the West will compete as a large mixed choir, and the women from the choir will compete as a female chamber choir, the men as a male chamber choir. PLU’s male “A Cappella” group, PLUtonic, will also compete in the “Vocal Ensemble” category. In addition, the Choir of the West has been invited to sing in the Gala Opening Concert, will participate in a Sacred Music Concert and will share an International Concert in a nearby city with choirs from the Philippines and Germany.

During the second week, Choir of the West will join the KammerMusikk in France. In Paris, the choir will sing sacred music at St. Severin church and the orchestra will give an outdoor concert in Luxembourg Gardens. The combined ensembles will present a joint concert at the famous La Madeleine Church. Plans also call for both groups to visit Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Chartres Cathedral-where the choir performs-as well as the D-Day beaches of Normandy and the seaside resort of Honfleur, where the groups will combine for a concert.

For more information on locations and times of concerts, contact Shirley Garrison, Manager of Performance and Outreach at PLU, phone: 253 535 7618, email:

Three Photography Students Nationally Recognized

Two Photography majors, Savannah Stevenson and Meghan Sunwold, and Psychology major Kayoko Furusawa, placed as finalists for their fine art photography in the 31st Annual College Photography Contest, sponsored by Photographer's Forum magazine and Nikon.

Photography students submitted their work to the Best of College Photography in early November and all finalists were notified in January. Furusawa, Stevenson and Sunwold were selected along with 1,500 students who applied nationally. Their work will be featured in the hardcover book the Best of College Photography 2011 this coming June.

This marks over twenty years of recognition for Professor Bea Geller's photography students in this publication.

The Full Monty

Pacific Lutheran University's Theatre Department is taking on a traditional musical that director Jeff Clapp said is something everyone can relate to. The Full Monty, PLU's final student production of the theatre season, opens May 12.

Clapp, associate professor of theatre, said the play is about a group of unemployed mill workers from New York City who decide to start a Chippendale-like club featuring "real men." The strip-tease side job forces the men into an exposed situation, where they struggle with their own identity in a society where an individual's job is everything. Click here to read about the show.