Vocomotion: A Beautiful Success


On Wednesday, October 21st Siena College’s Creative Arts Department showcased a number of different disciplines and talents within a single event known as Vocomotion. This annual performance beautifully combined the unbelievable singing talents of the Siena College Chamber Singers and Chorus with the creative artistic talents of Siena College Drawing 1 students. The turnout for this event was overwhelming as proud parents, students and friends rushed through the doors of Foy Hall to support these students in their passionate endeavors (as well as indulge in free apple cider and donuts). This combination of art and live performance, at first seemed to be rather curious but once the event began, that curiosity quickly dissipated and did wonders for the notion of human experience.

The live performance and music selection of this event worked in perfect conjunction with the artwork and notion of movement. This musical selection consisted of two separate, yet related, sets written by both George F. Handel (1685-1759) and Aaron Copland (1900-1990). George F. Handel is credited and honored in this case with his set entitled As Pants the Hart for Cooling Streams, while Aaron Copland’s performed set was named Old American Songs. This repertoire of songs is also the same set the Siena Chamber Students took with them to perform in Rochester for the NY State Fall Conference of the American Choir Directors Association at the Eastman School of Music. With Tim Reno up front as the Conductor, Sheri Bauer-Mayorga as the pianist and Petia Kassarova on the cello, this performance transcended the preconceived barriers between music and art.

However, this music would potentially convey a completely different atmospheric tone had the paintings not encompassed the performers. Suspended on the wall in every direction were beautiful renderings of the human image depicted by Scott Fosters Drawing 1 Students. This class worked intensively with the notion of spontaneous marks through critical observation and individual sensitivity of the subject and materials. This class also worked closely with Dr. Reno’s Chamber Singers, as they rehearsed in the studio so the drawing students could understand and conceptualize form on a more active and engaging level.

Individually, the song and art aspects of this interdisciplinary event were beyond impressive but when combined, they were a force to be reckoned with. The way in which the song selection complimented the art was moving to a point of complete transfixion. However, while this music had the audience enthralled and motionless with intrigue, it gave the surrounding art life and action. With the students singing and artwork dancing, it became extremely clear why these two disciplines teamed up.

Symposium for Living Philosophers: Adriana Cavarero


Photograph of Adriana Cavarero at Siena College (2015)

Philosophy has long been known as the study of the fundamental knowledge, reality and existence that reaches far beyond mere logic. It does not seem too far of a stretch in assuming that everyone, at some point in their lives and especially their collegiate careers, have been exposed to some type of philosophical literature or excerpt. However, while the majority of people have read something of philosophical background, there probably are not too many that have had the opportunity to hear one speak personally. Recently, Siena College was blessed with the opportunity to do just that. On September 24th, much of the Siena community gathered in the Maloney Great Room for the Symposium on Living Philosophers in order to listen to Adriana Cavarero speak out in her presentation entitled, “Horrorist Violence from the Holocaust to our Present”. As Adriana Cavaereo originates from Italy, this exciting and noble event marks the first in which the Symposium honored an international Philosopher.

While the title “Horrorist Violence from the Holocaust to our Present” is rather vague and ominous, the topic of conversation as Adriana started to speak became extremely clear. However, the way in which Adriana went about presenting her information and philosophical findings was anything but obvious. By tying in events from both the past and present simultaneously, Adriana was able to draw serious connections and prove to the listeners that history may not repeat itself, but it is certainly not learning much from its actions either. The main focal points that Adriana seem to touch upon included violence, the dehumanization of defenseless victims through drastic actions in the 20th and 21st century and the patterns of chaos and injustice repeated throughout history. From touching on events including the Holocaust to dissecting horrors such as viral hostage videos, Cavarero was able to make a few strong and valid points pertaining to the shame humans should share in the participation of such terrible events. The response to such horrors, in Cavarero’s opinion, manifests itself in a state of paralysis of each victim. Whether this paralysis restricts the victims’ emotions, speech, or body, it is the concept of this obstruction that constitutes this notion of “horrorism” as Cavarero puts it.

Cavarero, as those who attended this event know, was able to subtly provoke the audience into reflect on their own actions as well as the actions of the human race and, in a way, take on the shame that should have been present throughout history. She goes on to explain that this lack of shame is a direct result of technology and exposure, which ultimately end up normalizing the injustices currently occurring in society. Cavarero clearly draws a lot from the works of Hannah Arendt, William Shakespeare and Plato and has the incredible ability to implement all of these renowned philosophers into a single speech in a cohesive and organized way. Siena College was beyond honored to have someone as well versed as Adriana Cavarero come and speak to the student body and will be able to share in this great honor once more in the Spring Semester as she will be returning to give another lecture.

God of Carnage


From October 1st to the 4th, the Siena College Creative Arts Department put on an all student production of God of Carnage in Foy Hall in the Beaudion Theatre. This play, originally written by Yazmina Reza, was fortunate enough to have one of Siena College’s very own students direct it here on campus. Thanks to Shayne Peris, this play about manners without the manners truly came to life on stage. This production no doubt proved to be brilliantly hilarious and well rehearsed due to enormous comedic relief and acting skills of Samantha Burke, Petro Lilikas, Imani Miller, and Michael Sinkora. As a member of the audience, one could be tricked into thinking they were watching a movie as the lines and actions were executed flawlessly.

For a play with only four characters and one setting, the entertainment factor was through the roof. The play revolved around two very opposite sets of parents, Michael and Veronica Novak and Annette and Alan Raleigh. These parents decide to meet at the home of the Novak’s to discuss an issue that their children were having at school. It just so happens that the Raleigh’s child, in spite of not being accepted into a school gang, attacked the Novak’s child with a stick, knocking out a number of his teeth. The sole purpose of this gathering between parents was to find a way to resolve this matter in a civil and modest fashion. However, as the night progressed, this notion is quickly disregarded. Ironically, as the parents meet about the immature behaviors of their children, they simultaneously begin acting more and more childish with each word they divulge. Interestingly enough, it seems that throughout the entire night and pugnacious attitudes of all involved, the dynamics of the teams constantly changed. At first one parent would side with their spouse and next they would stand behind another and this went on until they had all virtually agreed with each character at some point in time.

Not only did this chaos bring the maturity of each character down a few pegs, each marriage was slowly unraveling at the seams as well. While the actors that portrayed these characters were each well below the average age of marriage, their performance transported the audience to a place that set them each at one end of a failed and hopeless relationship. A lot of this evocation of emotion was also in great part an unconditioned response to the savvy technical work behind the scenes and the extremely well built set. With each turn of events, it appeared that the dynamic or color scheme of the setting, lights and characters followed. This showing of the God of Carnage was truly delightful and the Siena College School of Creative Arts deserves deep recognition and praise for their efforts and execution.

11th Presidential Inauguration: Br. F. Edward Coughlin


Br. F. Edward Coughlin- 11th President of Siena College

On October 2nd, 2015 history was made on the Siena College campus. Since the inception of this institution in 1937, there have only been ten people who have earned the title of President of Siena College; last Friday, an eleventh was added to that prestigious list. Brother F. Edward Coughlin has now taken his rightful seat at the head of this college. While Brother F. Edward Coughlin has been sitting in as an Interim President for Siena, it was not until last week that he was officially inaugurated.

This ceremony was nothing short of breathtaking. As students gathered around campus for the precession into the gymnasium, where the inauguration was being held, there was a strong sense of togetherness and community that filled the cold air. With all the professors and advisors in their ceremonial robes, the gravity of this event only increased. As students followed their professors and schools, a large sense of pride wafted over them as they took that fist step forward into the ARC. With the appreciative music playing, a crowd of Siena peers, and a panel of significant speakers, it became clear how important this day was for the college. With each following group of people that entered this gymnasium, an inspirational explanation of their contribution to the school was announced to instill an even greater feel of community and family.

Once everyone had taken their seats and the crowd had simmered down, a prayer was conducted honoring and thanking God for the day given to everyone. At the conclusion of this prayer, the people in attendance were honored and applauded. A few of the most interesting and wonderful people in attendance were those who were a part of the first-ever graduating classes at Siena College. This attendee surely closed the gap between the first and most recent generations of students enrolled in Siena College. The inauguration then truly began with a number of prestigious and respected speakers from far and wide honoring Brother F. Edward Coughlin in this new journey of his already successful life. As each speaker continued to praise the man Siena College would, from that day forward, call their President, it became clearer and clearer as to why this person would make a truly brilliant head of the school.

These speeches along with the beautiful performances by Siena’s own “Psalm 150” for their rendition of “Standing on the Shoulders” as well as Tim Reno’s Chorus perfromance, made the build up to Brother F. Edward Coughlin’s Presidential Address all the more suspenseful. Over the standing ovation and roar of applause, Br. F. Edward Coughlin took the stand and after all the clamor and noise, the crowd fell silent at the anticipation of his first words. The positive and hopeful words that filled the gymnasium could only reassure Siena College that they had appointed the right person for the job. It was with great honor and composure that Br. Coughlin accepted this position and was presented with a number of medals, gifts and trophies to enhance his new title. Br. Coughlin truly took on the notion of “Embracing What is Ours to Do” and will continue to do so moving forward.

Vera Eccarius-Kelly: The Syrian Crisis


The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan holding more than 80,000 Syrian Refugees (Photo: Vera Eccarius-Kelly)

It is no secret, although many nations are treating it as such, that major catastrophic events continue to occur in the Middle East. As measures grow worse and worse with every passing moment, citizens of Syria attempt to flee the country in order to avoid being tortured, harmed and even killed. This happens to be one of the largest migrations that Europe has ever experienced and, with limited resources, finding a place to house these refugees gets harder every day. The ramifications have already started to surface in many locations in Europe and with the United States agreeing to take in 10,000 refugees, it will not be long until those ramifications are seen here. However, as U.S. citizens sitting in classrooms and making their way home everyday, it is often hard to relate to these tragedies or understand what these refugees are going through. Well, that notion has changed for one of Siena’s own, Vera Eccarius-Kelly, as well as eight other faculty members from different universities, as they journeyed to various locations around the world to get first hand accounts from refugees and citizens who are being significantly effected by this migration crisis.

Vera Eccarius-Kelly is a professor of comparative politics at Siena College and the recent author of “The Militant Kurds” about the guerrilla war of the Kurdish Workers Party against the Turkish Republic. Over the previous summer, Vera visited countries such as Jordan, Turkey, Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) and Germany to speak with refugees. Throughout her trip she studied the effect of this war and immigration on Jordan and Turkey (Turkey having around 1.8-2.5 million refugees in their country), talked to refugees that had made it all the way to Germany, and visited one of many refugee camps. Upon visiting these refugee camps, Vera identified a number of tragedies within their confided walls. Specifically, the camp she visited in Jordan, Za’ateri refugee camp, was experiencing a variety of these different issues. These concerns included the lack of vegetation, the absence of jobs, no schooling or electricity, and on top of that, the rations they were once receiving were being cut once again. Even more, these camps house around 120,000 people in tents and camps, which brings about it’s own issues within itself. The government is also weary to build permanent structures for these refugees due to the fact that solid structures make this tragedy seem more permanent. These people in camps are not even allowed to leave or even more freely without an exit pass. The “trauma is visible” says Vera Eccarius-Kelly, and continues to explain how it was “one difficult story after another.”

These conditions were terribly tough; however, this wasn’t even within the borders of Syria. While it may seem like the amount of immigration from Syria is immense at the time being, according to Vera, it will only get worse as there are 7-10 million internally displaced refugees that have not yet had the opportunity to leave. Internally displaced people (IDP’s) are those citizens of a certain country who have been driven out of their homes but have not fled the country yet. This notion and the one encouraging refugees to stay in whichever country they land first is putting tremendous amounts of pressure on bordering nations. Being about 2 miles away from the warring territory, Vera explains how she witness planes flying over to drop barrel bombs on citizens as they rush outward from the city. Even more frightening is the lack of border control that Vera observed. According to her, there was not much keeping the enemies from crossing into bordering countries.

It is widely recognized that the powers at hand on Syrian turf are dangerous and life threatening. Therefore, the European Union is starting to take initiative to house these refugees however they are able rather than putting up walls and trying to keep them out. Most of these refugees are made up of children and women and it is the European Union’s thoughts that if they were in the same position they would do anything to get their families into safe territories as well. Germany, fortunately, is the leading this initiative by recently agreeing to let around 800,000 of these refugees into their country. As the crisis grows larger, it is the hope of the refugees that more nations will open their walls to them.


For more information on this hot topic, read a blog Vera Eccarius-Kelly wrote in the midst of all her traveling.