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May 2013

Cosmosis: combining the art of music with the inquiry of science

In Cosmosis, the final 2013 SOAC FOCUS Series Event, musicians and scientists explore how failure can empower us to pursue knowledge and success.

The three-part event will take place in Lagerquist Concert Hall in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 8 pm. The first part will feature works by Jonathan Newman, Beethoven and John Mackey. The second part presents Cosmosis by Susan Botti, and will use projected images on the walls next to the glorious Gottfried and Mary Fuchs organ in Lagerquist Concert Hall. To conclude the event, the audience is invited outside to enjoy a musically inspired science lab with PLU science professors Brett Underwood and Justin Lytle. 

Cosmosis composer Susan Botti will make a special appearance as vocal soloist, performing with PLU’s University Wind Ensemble and University Singers, directed by Edwin Powell and Brian Galante.

Cosmosis was inspired by the work of American poet, May Swenson. Her poem The Cross Spider is a response to the news of a Skylab experiment, a project seeing whether a spider, named Arabella, could spin a web in space. Her shape poem, Overboard (a play of gravity) serves as a prelude, which plays with musical equivalents of gravitational force following the shapes laid out in the poem. The spider succeeds in spinning a web on The First Night. A musical interlude follows, reflecting on the vastness of space as well as this heroic undertaking. In The Second Night, the spider succeeds again, but is sacrificed in the process. 

Tickets are $8 general admission, $5 senior citizens (55+), $3 alumni, free 18 and under. Tickets available through the PLU Box Office at 253-535-7411. 

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opens May 10

Join six adolescent outsiders who are vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is coming to Pierce County this week. The award-winning musical comedy, performed by Pacific Lutheran University’s Theatre Program will be sure to knock your s-o-c-k-s off. The show runs May 9 (Student Preview), 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 7:30 pm and May 19 at 2 pm in the Studio Theater of the Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Want to show off your spelling talents? Four audience volunteers are recruited before each performance to participate on-stage as guest spellers, making each performance as unique as the one before it. The willing contestants are chosen through a careful vetting process, utilizing pre-show lobby interviews and audience questionnaires.

Tickets can be purchased at the Campus Concierge at 253-535-7411 or at the door. They are $8 General Admission and $5 for PLU Community. 

Lutes win a national Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award and seven regional awards


It is a great time to be a student journalist at PLU. On May 1, 2013, PLU’s student newspaper the Mooring Mast was notified of a national, first place, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Mark of Excellence award for in-depth reporting for small universities. This followed the Region 10 Mark of Excellence Awards, where students took home seven awards in total, three for first place.  

The awards honor the best of collegiate journalism. The 2012 competition received more than 4,600 entries.

After receiving first at the Region 10 level, The Mooring Mast went on to nationals receiving first place yet again for its coverage of the PLU student conduct system. [1] [2] [3]

National Mark of Excellence Award winners are chosen from the first-place category winners in each of SPJ’s 12 regions. PLU is part of Region 10, which comprises Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Heather Perry ’13, was among the winners. She received two individual first place awards for her photography a photo she took while working for the News Tribune during the 2012 election night (bottom right) and a photo she took for the Peninsula Gateway in Gig Harbor, where she served an internship last summer under the fellowship program.  

election night

Two sports reporters, Justin Buchanan '12 and Nathan Shoup '13, received a third place award for a newspaper package they produced for the Mooring Mast on Max Beatty—the PLU baseball player who survived cancer. Jessica Trondsen ’14, was recognized for the obituary she wrote honoring PLU Professor Kathlyn Breazeale. 

SPJ will recognize the Mooring Mast and all first-place national winners at the Student Union event at Excellence in Journalism 2013 (EIJ13) in Southern California, August 24 to 26. 

The Choir of the West and Choral Union perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony three times this May, with three different orchestras

PLU choirs and local orchestras will combine this spring to perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony three times this May, with the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra, PLU’s University Symphony Orchestra and the Tacoma Youth Symphony Orchestra. 

Tacoma Youth Symphony and Everett Philharmonic Orchestra conductor, Dr. Paul Elliott Cobbs, contacted PLU’s Choir of the West Conductor Richard Nance in Spring 2012 about doing a collaborative performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  

COW and USO“Paul had heard about the quality of our choral program, and approached me about putting together the choir. I have long been interested in our choirs performing a work with the youth symphony--sort of a ‘music as a life-long vocation’ project,” Nance said.

After the dates were set with the Tacoma Youth Symphony and Everett Philharmonic Orchestra the ball just kept rolling. PLU’s University Symphony Orchestra Conductor Jeffrey Bell-Hanson approached Nance about doing the Ninth Symphony with the University Symphony Orchestra, so a third Beethoven performance was added. 

In addition to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony choirs will also perform Beethoven's in C-Major Mass, Opus 86, for the first two performances. The 47-minute work is for a four-voice choir and full orchestra. 

Saturday, May 11 | 7pm | Everett Civic Auditorium 
The Choir of the West and the Choral Union perform with the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra. The Ninth Symphony will feature the Choral Union’s Jennifer Gorham and alumni Karlene Miles and John Carlsen along with professional Benjamin Harris. C-Major Mass will feature Erin White, Annie Herzog, John Marzano, and Julian Reisenthel. Tickets available through

Tuesday, May 14 | 8 pm | Lagerquist Concert Hall
The Choir of the West and the Choral Union perform with the University Symphony Orchestra. Featuring Marlette Buchanan, LeeAnne Campos, Stephen Rumph, Barry Johnson on the Ninth Symphony. C-Major Mass will feature Erin White, Annie Herzog, John Marzano, and Julian Reisenthel. Tickets available by calling the PLU Concierge Desk at 253-535-7411.

Sunday, May 19 | 3 pm | Pantages Theater  
The Choir of the West and the Choral Union perform with the Tacoma Youth Symphony Orchestra for the Orchestra's 50th anniversary celebration. The Ninth Symphony will feature the Choral Union’s Jennifer Gorham and alumni Karlene Miles and John Carlsen along with professional Benjamin Harris. Tickets available through 

Pacific Lutheran University’s Jazz and Wind Ensembles go “Down Under” this summer

The University Jazz Ensemble and University Wind Ensemble will travel to Australia May 28 –June 11, 2013, to discover the “Down Under” and share their music with an international audience.

Traveling to Melbourne, Bairnsdale, Canberra and Sydney, 49 students will discover both the rural and urban aspects of Australia, and perform and participate in musical exchanges with local students. 

The jazz ensemble, a student jazz big band, will perform a program of jazz standards and contemporary, original works. Performances will feature compositions and arrangements of such notable jazz composers as Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, and repertoire from historic big bands such those of Buddy Rich, Count Basie, and the Village Vanguard Orchestra. Styles will range from 1930s swing to funk, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian. Under the direction of Dr. David Deacon-Joyner, the ensemble performs five times a year, including the annual world-wide broadcast of the KPLU Christmas Jam program.

The wind ensemble will perform American and Australian music featuring Percy Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy and other new music from American composers that will be tuneful and fun for both the ensemble and the audience. Under the direction of Dr. Edwin Powell, the ensemble performs four concerts on campus per season as well as appearing frequently at local schools, national conferences, festivals and special events.

The ensembles tour regularly both domestically and internationally, with their last international tour to China in 2009. 

In addition to performing, the PLU students will visit an animal sanctuary in Melbourne featuring Australia’s unique native animals, view the famous Penguin Parade, be hosted by members of the Bairnsdale Sunrise Rotary club for three nights where they have entrance to an Indigenous Cultural Centre, see the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, 

and go on a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. The opportunity to explore all facets of Australia, geographically, musically, and culturally is sure to be an unforgettable experience. 

Friends, family and fans can follow along with their Australian adventures on their blog at

Senior Exhibition, Unfiltered, goes online

On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, the University Gallery opened a new exhibit featuring the graduating artists in the Department of Art and Design. The exhibition titled Unfiltered features 23 artists with works from graphic design and 3-D imaging to painting and ceramics. View an online gallery below and see the works in person; the University Gallery is open Monday-Friday 8 am-4 pm, or by appointment until May 25, 3013. 

View photos of the opening on the PLU University Gallery Facebook! 

SOAC recognizes graduates May 25

The school year is coming to a close and with that begins the award and graduation ceremonies. All SOAC graduates, majors and minors, will be celebrated Saturday, May 25, during a special School of Arts and Communication celebration. 

At 10:30 am, graduates, friends and family are invited to a reception in Ingram Lobby to enjoy a light brunch in th company of friends and family. The University Gallery will be open so parents and friends can view the senior exhibition Unfiltered

At 11:30 am the recognition ceremony will commence in Lagerquist Concert Hall with an address from Dean Cameron Bennett followed by remarks from SOAC department chairs. All students will be recognized by department, corded, and pinned. This is an opportunity for faculty, staff and graduates to come together and celebrate the success of our students in an intimate setting. 

graduationMore celebrating can be had that evening from 8-10:30 pm in Lagerquist Concert Hall. Enjoy the final concert of the year with Choir of the West (Richard Nance, Conductor), University Chorale (Brian Galante, Conductor), University Symphony Orchestra (Jeffrey Bell-Hanson, Conductor), University Wind Ensemble (Edwin Powell, Conductor) and University Jazz Ensemble (David Deacon-Joyner, Director) performing musical excerpts from the past year. The concert is free with tickets; call 253-535-7602 to reserve.

Chance to win $100 fast approaching

May 15Don't forget submissions for the SOAC image competition are due May 15.

We want to see what you think represents the breadth of SOAC, so we’re holding the “SOAC Image Competition”. Whether it be a graphic representation, a photo, a print, or an abstract painting, we are looking for an artful representation of SOAC and the many disciplines it encompasses. 

The winning design will grace the cover of our annual brochure and will be awarded a $100 honorarium. For more information and entry specifications, visit here