An invitation to “Find Yourself in the Arts” headlines the inside of the University of Maine School of Performing Arts fall 2015 brochure.
The SPA is providing numerous opportunities for people to do just that. It’s staging 29 distinct theater, music and dance shows totaling 40 performances in three campus venues from September through December.
The curtain will rise on the season at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 for the Faculty Jazz Recital and go down after the 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 Fall Dance Showcase.
Several events are highlighted below:
Pianist Ginger Yang Hwalek will be featured in two faculty recitals. One, with flutist Liz Downing at 2 p.m. Oct. 18, was originally scheduled for last winter but was postponed due to weather. The other, with Laura Artesani at 7:30 p.m. Nov 13, will be a four-hands piano recital.
At the Society of Composers Conference Showcase Oct. 22–24, UMaine faculty and students will perform pieces selected from submissions by musicians from around the country.
The Mainely Baroque Music Concert at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 will feature Italian music of the 17th century. Three Mainely Baroque artists — Rose Barrett on baroque violin, from France; Luca A. Rizzello on baroque violin, from the Netherlands; and Gilberto Scordari on organ and harpsichord, from Italy — will join UMaine faculty members Anatole Wieck on violin, Dan Barrett on trombone and others from the SPA and area communities.
Several musicians who perform in the concert are slated to join the University Orchestra in concert at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.
For theater enthusiasts, “The Cherry Orchard” directed by Marcia Joy Douglas, will be performed seven times — Nov. 6, 7 and 8 and Nov. 12, 13, 14 and 15. “The Cherry Orchard” is the last play penned by Russian writer Anton Chekhov before his death in 1904. The play, which mixes comedy and tragedy, portrays an aristocratic Russian family that loses its estate because it can’t pay the mortgage.
“Chekhov had an amazing understanding of human psychology and human flaws,” says Douglas. “These characters are drawn like tips of icebergs. You see a bit of them and know there is a mountain of hopes and fears behind/underneath everything they do and say.”
The Yuletide Holiday Concert, a traditional fan favorite, will ring in the festive season at 2 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Collins Center for the Arts.
And, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, UMaine professor Beth Wiemann, a composer and clarinet player, will be a guest soloist in the Symphonic Band Concert at the CCA. UMaine band director Chris White will conduct the concert and Nicholas Williams from the University of North Texas will be guest conductor.
For a complete list of performances, dates, times, sites and ticket prices, visit umaine.edu/spa/events.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in an Associated Press article about Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul’s recent campaign stop in Freeport. The rally and fundraiser were held at a restaurant where Paul’s father, Ron Paul, drew a large crowd in January 2012 before his strong showing in Maine’s presidential caucuses, according to the article. Brewer said it made sense for Paul to come to Maine to generate some enthusiasm needed to avoid “sliding into irrelevance.” “He’s making a visit to the state where his father did very, very well. He’s going to try to recreate some of that magic on his own,” he said. Sun Journal, Concord Monitor and The Sacramento Bee carried the AP report.
David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and professor in the School of Food and Agriculture, was quoted in the Portland Press Herald article, “Hard-to-find lingonberries find a place on one Down East farm.” According to the article, Lamb Cove Farm in Robbinston, which farms wild blueberries on five organic acres, is growing the berries by accident. The berries, which have Scandinavian roots and are closely related to cranberries, grow low to the ground under the blueberries, the article states. Yarborough said lingonberries and blueberries are in the same genus, Vaccinium. “Essentially they have pretty much the same growth requirements as blueberries; acidic, well-drained soil,” he said. “It’s really quite a nice fruit,” Yarborough added. “It’s tart. It’s flavorful. It’s got the taste of a cranberry and the texture of a blueberry.”
Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Carol Kim has named Alan Cobo-Lewis, associate professor of psychology, as the director of the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) at the University of Maine.
CCIDS is one of 68 federally funded University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) established under the federal Developmental Disabilities and Bill of Rights Act.
Cobo-Lewis received his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1988 from the University of Miami and his Ph.D. in psychology in 1992 from the University of Wisconsin, where he was a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow. He joined the UMaine faculty in 1998.
Cobo-Lewis has a 28-year history of involvement with UCEDDs, beginning with his participation in a research project as an undergraduate at the Mailman Center for Child Development in Miami, Florida. He continued his involvement as a graduate student at the Waisman Center for Human Development in Madison, Wisconsin. At UMaine, he has led community-engaged research projects involving members of the CCIDS.
An active member of the disability community in Maine, Cobo-Lewis has served as a longtime member and leader of the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council. He has earned the respect of legislators and advocates for his work in Maine disability policy and has received awards for his advocacy, including the University of Maine Presidential Public Service Award.
The University of Maine Department of Art is accepting applications for the fall 2015 session of after-school art classes for area children in grades K–8.
The ArtWorks! program provides children an opportunity to explore the world of art through hands-on experiences with a variety of visual media, as well as the history and viewing of art.
Classes will be held in Lord Hall on the UMaine campus from 3:30–5 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 16 through Nov. 13. A $25 fee covers the cost of materials, and a limited number of scholarships are available.
The program consists of four teaching sessions and one student exhibition. The lessons are taught by art education students under the supervision of art professor Constant Albertson. Class sections are organized by age or grade level, and spaces are limited. Acceptance is determined on a first come, first served basis.
Parents or guardians are responsible for transportation to and from the program.
For more information or to request an application, call Albertson at 581.3251 or email email@example.com. The deadline to register is Oct. 2.
Centuries of discoveries that document the diversity of life on Earth will be more accessible than ever with the help of National Science Foundation grants awarded to institutions across the country, including the University of Maine.
The initiative will allow scientists and the public to view online collections of plant and fungal specimens that once could only be seen by visiting a herbarium, a facility where dried collections reside.
“By providing this treasure trove of historical and current data on the diversity of organisms to scientists, they can study factors, such as past changes in climate, land use, and others on biodiversity and allows us to plan for future disturbances and what their effects may be,” says Seanna Annis, professor of mycology at UMaine and principal investigator for one of the awards.
Maine received a total of $106,000 for two of the seven projects funded in the fifth round of NSF’s Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program. To date, ADBC has made a total of more than $5.8 million in awards to scientists from nearly 50 U.S. institutions.
The ADBC program supports more efficient, innovative ways to access research collections from institutions across the country. The program funds two types of projects — Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs) and Partners to Existing Networks (PENs). UMaine received two PEN awards, which are intended to allow universities that were not fully ready to participate in the initial TCNs to add their collections.
Christopher Campbell, professor of plant systematics at UMaine and principal investigator for one award, believes that understanding biodiversity is critical. “We depend on diversity for food, water, clothing, shelter, many medicines and other beneficial attributes,” he says.
The first award of $68,000 supports the addition of approximately 33,000 of the 55,000 plant specimens from the UMaine Herbarium to the existing New England Vascular Plant Network. The network is focused on understanding climate and land use change in New England.
The UMaine Herbaria — which aims to document the diverse flora of Maine — is comprised of comprehensive, organized collections of plants, fungi, lichens and mosses collected over the past 170 years. The space provides a repository of specimens for educational purposes and is a valuable resource for climate change research.
“Plants track seasonal changes in temperature, and their phenology therefore shifts as climate changes,” says Campbell.
“Over 160 years ago, Henry David Thoreau recorded flowering times of plants around Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Today, flowering times of the same species are up to three weeks earlier in response to the earlier arrival of spring.”
The second award of $38,000 will support the addition of digital records of approximately 8,000 macrofungi specimens from UMaine’s Richard Homola Mycological Collection to the Macrofungi Collection Consortium. The consortium works to understand the diversity of macrofungi, which like their smaller cousins microfungi, are integral members of many ecosystems.
Macrofungi play important roles in decomposition and nutrient recycling, biological control and providing mutually beneficial interactions with plants that affect both organisms’ distribution, interactions with other species and evolution, says Annis.
The National Science Foundation’s full press release is online.
Contact: Amanda Clark, 207.581.3721
Emma Wilson’s path to becoming president of a Maine startup company began in her undergraduate years at the University of Maine. As a fellow in UMaine’s Innovate for Maine Program (Blackstone Accelerates Growth), she interned with Zeomatrix, a university spin-off company specializing in a patented odor-absorbing technology. Under the direction of Wilson, Zeomatrix launched Odigo, an environmentally friendly kitchen composting kit, engineered to reduce odor. In this video, Wilson talks about her journey from undergraduate intern to Zeomatrix president, and the opportunities offered by the Top Gun Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program.
The Top Gun entrepreneurship accelerator is a five-month program that engages entrepreneurs in growing their businesses. Top Gun combines education, mentoring, pitch-coaching and networking opportunities. The program is a partnership of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Maine Technology Institute, Blackstone Accelerates Growth and the University of Maine. UMaine organizes and hosts a Bangor region class and has also developed curriculum to support the statewide program. More information about Top Gun is online.
For more information about these and other innovation and economic development initiatives at UMaine, visit umaine.edu/econdev.
For the past century, the black bear has been the UMaine mascot. The new suit will mark the mascot’s sixth makeover. A complete history of Bananas is on UMaine’s 150th website.
C&EN (Chemical & Engineering News) reported on marine slug research led by Douglas Rasher, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center, and researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology. The researchers found the marine slug Elysia tuca sniffs out the seaweed Halimeda incrassate so it can steal the algae’s chloroplasts and chemical weapons, according to the article. The slug then uses the chloroplasts to make its own energy from sunlight. “It’s a solar-powered slug,” Rasher says, adding it gets 60 percent of its fixed carbon from the stolen photosynthetic organelles. The slug also steals the seaweed’s toxic arsenal of halimedatetraacetate — one of the compounds used by the slug to track the seaweed — for use as its own defense, the article states.
John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in reports by the Portland Press Herald and WVII (Channel 7) on the University of Maine System announcing its pledge to offer 20 percent local food by 2020. “Maine agriculture is passing the test,” Rebar told the Press Herald of being able to supply enough food for the state’s university students. “We have the most diverse agriculture in New England. By some measures we are second only in the nation to Vermont in terms of interest in local foods.” The Bangor Daily News also reported on the pledge, stating that while UMaine in Orono, which operates on a separate contract, already draws about 18 percent of its food from local sources, and plans to hit the 20 percent mark by 2020. “For 150 years, the University of Maine has really served agriculture with education and applied research. Now we’re going to be a customer of the very folks we’ve worked with so it’s really very exciting,” Rebar told WVII.