SHU L.O.V.E. Celebrates Women

The Sacred Heart University Choral Program hosted “A Celebration of Women” on April 22, 2017, performed by SHU LOVE, the ladies-only vocal ensemble. Photo by Christopher Zajac/Sacred Heart University.

By Julius Brown

Staff Reporter

On Saturday, April 22 Sacred Heart University’s Ladies-Only Vocal Ensemble, or SHU L.O.V.E., presented “A Celebration of Women” for their Pops Concert. The Edgerton Theatre was the stage for creative expression and celebration of women.

“This whole performance is to let women know that they are not alone, and actually surrounded by support,” said Anna DeVeau-Jaibert, director of SHU L.O.V.E..

SHU L.O.V.E. performed a wide variety of powerful female centric songs. From the soft gentle cadences of “Songbird,” to the strong and determined chorus of “I Will Survive/Survivor.” The celebration of women and women’s rights resonated on stage at every point of the performance.

“Shout out to the SHU choir for acknowledging the power of women,” said junior Winnie Victor.

Along with celebrating women, the concert also served to celebrate the ensembles Director, DeVeai-Jialbert. Members of SHU L.O.V.E. appreciate the amount of awareness that DeValue-Jailbert has brought to women’s rights through the ensemble.

“Anna has just done so much to support and help with empowering women on this campus through this ensemble,” said graduate student April Jauregui. “She also made it more than just a SHU thing, she has made women’s rights a point in the community, by inviting the actual community.”

Also, a part of the SHU L.O.V.E. celebration was a foundation from the surrounding community. A dance performance by the Anacaona Enrichment Program’s all women dance team was included into the celebration of women. The event provided a positive environment for girls and women from all walks of life to feel acknowledged.

“The entire performance was just filled with great energy. The energy along with the great message felt very inspiring and empowering,” said sophomore and SHU L.O.V.E. soprano Stephanie Doheny.

Accompanying the tones of the ensemble were stern and direct lyrics of equality and women’s suffrage. Powerful classics like Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” and Sigourney Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman” symbolize the fight that women continue to fight every day.

“Women have gone through a lot in 2016, and 2017 looks to be interesting, but we continue on,” said DeVeau-Jailbert.

Unity and equality were reoccurring concepts throughout the night. Male audience members, whether loved ones or just students, were also in attendance to support the female centric event.

“I am glad to see that the importance of women’s rights is so heavily acknowledged here at SHU, it shows that actual difference can be made,” said senior Christiano Lopes.

SHU L.O.V.E. continued their performance with multiple soloist sections that allowed for select singers to flex their vocals.

“It just felt great to step out in front of that audience to send that message of empowerment, all through my voice,” said sophomore soloist Maria Ogundolani.

Other sections of the performance included a duet from SHU L.O.V.E. members Wendy Estavien and Meredith Conroy who performed Beyoncé’s “If I Were A Boy.”

The sequence of songs culminated in a soulful performance of “I’m Every Woman.” Audience members cheered and clapped at the huge show of support and acknowledgment for women.

“This whole night just felt right, this is how we should celebrate each other as women. Girl Power,” said Ogundolani.

Welcoming David Ibarra From ESPN

By Julius Brown

Staff Reporter

Sacred Heart University’s Art & Design Department welcomed ESPN Graphic Designer David Ibarra and Art Director Bob Bates for their 25th Art & Design Expo in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, April 6.

The pair of designers informed Sacred Heart students about the professional world of graphic design and how art and media come together in harmony. Being a Sacred Heart alum, Ibarra was eager to share his knowledge.

“This whole experience is very gratifying, I never really had this type of resource attending SHU. It’s nice to come back to my alma mater and communicate what I do,” said Ibarra.

Students listened about what goes into creating graphics for a big name corporation such as ESPN.

Both Ibarra and Bates spoke about their good and challenging experiences in making graphics for programs such as the Little League World Series, the 2016 Rio Olympics, and Mike & Mike in the Morning.

“We are not graphic designers, we are problem solvers,” said Ibarra.

The two guests went into detail about the importance of graphics and set decoration when it comes to show branding and creating a visual identity that people can recognize.

“The speakers really showed us all the different ways that art, media and business can cross paths,” said sophomore Stephanie Doheny. “It really revealed how much work goes into creating a memorable visual for the viewer.”

Ibarra and Bates emphasized how collaborative being a graphic designer is. They pointed at the many different departments that work together such as promotional design, sound and music, and production design.

“We are worried about: how do all of these aspects come together? How are we memorable?” said Bates.

Students also learned that many of these memorable graphics were created through softwares such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, Cinema 4D and After Effects. Ibarra and Bates spoke of ESPN’s complex Vizrt graphics software, which updates statistics and graphics in real time.

“It was encouraging hearing that some of the graphics were made through softwares we use here, but the degree that they were using them is a little more advanced,” said sophomore Danny Elia.

The speakers showed how different realms of art make their way into the professional world of media. Students observed how a hand-drawn storyboard for a Special Olympics promotional video acted as the guideline for the final product.

Interior design was emphasized by both of the speakers as each studio is decorated to give off a certain tone.

Ibarra and Bates also gave students insight on the timeline and quick turnarounds for certain projects assigned to them.

“Usually for small scale graphics, we get around four to five days to finish the whole thing,” said Bates. “It isn’t always a guarantee because clients can sometimes change their mind about something the last second.”

Ibarra and Bates give artistic, “media savvy” students a glimpse into the demands of a professional artistic environment.

“Do not be afraid to network and always think outside the box when you are designing,” said Ibarra.

Drake Releases Long-Awaited Playlist: “More Life”

By Julius Brown

Staff Reporter

Hip hop and R&B superstar Drake, released his latest musical installment, “More Life,” on Saturday, March 18.

Amplifying the release, the six month delayed album premiered as a playlist on the OVO Sound Radio Show. Based in Toronto, Ontario, OVO Sound is a record label founded by Drake, Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib. The playlist was then released to all streaming services immediately after its debut on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio.

Fans were not disappointed as he mixes a diverse spectrum of sounds on the 22 song compilation.

“I thought it was a nice change up from past albums like ‘Views’ and ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,’ where the vibe was kind of darker. I honestly felt like the songs were more upbeat,” said Sacred Heart graduate student Franco Micheo.

The Canadian born artist takes fans on a journey of his many musical influencesincluding hip hop, Caribbean dance hall, R&B and grime.

Drake displays his pop star and Caribbean dancehall influences on songs like “Passionfruit” and “Madiba Riddim.” Despite the smooth, pop star rhythms, Drake doesn’t forget his lyrical prowess in the realm of hip hop. Addressing many of his personal struggles and accomplishments, he flexes his hip hop bravado on songs like “Free Smoke” and “Lose You.”

“It’s hard to tell what type of ‘Drake’ one will be listening to,” said senior and WHRT’s host of “Banter with the Brothers” Carl Kenner. “On a track, you could hear yard man Drake from Jamaica, road man Drake from London, Zone 6 Drake from Atlanta, Toronto 6 Drake; the list just goes on and on.”

On this journey, Drake introduces a new sound to both long-running and brand new fans. The musical genre, grime, takes center stage on “More Life.”

According to MTV, grime originated in East London in 2000 and pulls from U.K. electronic music styles like U.K. garage and jungle, Caribbean dancehall, and hip hop. Drake not only incorporates grime into the album, but features prominent U.K. grime artists, such as Giggs and Skepta, on songs like “No Long Talk” and “Skepta Interlude.”

“I actually thought that the grime was interesting. I preferred ‘Skepta’s Interlude’ the most, but it was the first time I’ve ever heard that style” said sophomore John Kaywood.

Pulling from his many influences, Drake taps voices from all corners of hip hop and R&B by employing a diverse, star-studded cast of guest appearances. Sampha, Quavo, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Kanye West and PartyNextDoor are all featured on the album.

Devoted listeners of Drake praise the newest installment, but casual listeners will form their own opinion about their thoughts on “More Life.”

“I thought ‘More Life’ was a safe decision on Drake’s part,” said Kaywood. “Hardcore fans are going to love it, but the average person is going to take what they want from it.”

The album has already garnered notable success from streaming services alone. According to The Verge, “More Life” broke Apple’s record for streams in a single day with 89.9 million streams in the first 24 hours of its release and broke Spotify’s single streams record with 61.3 million streams in a day.

Drake is currently finishing the last leg of his “Boy Meets World Tour,” set to finish on March 28 in Amsterdam. With no announcements of any future tours or festival appearances, Drake leaves his fans eager for what he will do next.

“I believe some of Drake’s best work is still to come,” said Kenner. “With that in mind, I believe one should take the time out of their busy schedule and give ‘More Life’ a quick listen.”

The Choral Masterworks Concert: Review of Latest Performance “Fauré Requiem”

By Julius Brown

Staff Reporter

On Saturday, March 18 in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Sacred Heart University’s Choral Program presented their Masterworks Concert.

They performed “Cantique de Jean Racine,” the famous “Requiem” by Gabriel Fauré. According to BBC Music, the work celebrates the life of his late father, who died three years before he began working on the piece in 1885.

The chapel was full the evening of the concert by the Sacred Heart community, friends and family.

The concert combined various instruments behind the vocal performances.

“It definitely felt good to have strings behind me, it’s awesome,” said freshman choir soloist Bobby Gestrich.

The entire choir and orchestra put in a lot of hard work to learn and perform the pieces.

“I thought it was amazing to pull off,” said junior choir member Cory Robinson. “Just taking on all these different pieces like this and to push ourselves, it just shows a lot about our program.”

According to Classic FM, despite being a work centered around the nature of death, Fauré’s “Requiem” has a peaceful, somber melody.

“The message is so powerful. The celebration of life resonates through the music,” said sophomore Sarah Riccio. “We worked a long time on this and I am happy to share this with my peers.”

The “Requiem” includes many different sections that the choral program put a lot of time into preparing.

“I am so proud of everyone who was involved, I thought we did an amazing job from preparation to rehearsal and then to finally perform in front of an audience, it felt really good,” said sophomore choir member Stephanie Doheny.

The solo portions of Faure’s “Requiem” demanded a lot of synchronization with the composer as well as the orchestra. Gestrich welcomed the challenge to be one of the soloists for the concert.

“I actually worked really hard to be able to perform the solo,” said Gestrich. “It really means a lot to me to earn this opportunity.”

Many audience members enjoyed the performance.

“They sounded so soft and delicate to the ear. I honestly was afraid to move in my seat because I thought I would disrupt the calm vibe,” said senior Justin Calitro.

This was the attitude of most of the audience members listening to the Choral Masterworks.

At the conclusion of the concert, the audience gave everyone involved a standing ovation.

“Standing in front of that crowd gave me chills,” said Doheny. “It’s kind of intimidating at first but once all your emotions settle in, focus and preparation is key.”

“American Horror Story” Takes on the 2016 Presidential Election

By Julius Brown

Staff Reporter

On Feb. 15, “American Horror Story” producer Ryan Murphy announced that the seventh season of the show will focus on the 2016 presidential election.

Murphy made the announcement during a live interview on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.”

The recent election has provided a lot of inspiration for Murphy’s upcoming season. However, the production is still in the beginning stages and the new season will not begin shooting until June. Variety Magazine reported that Murphy has not developed a title for the upcoming installment yet.

As soon as the announcement of the election theme was made, the question of whether or not there would be characters who resemble Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton arised.

All Murphy had to say in the interview with Cohen was “maybe.”

Season six centered around the Roanoke Colony, otherwise known as the “Lost Colony.” Since then, fans have expressed differing views about the direction that “American Horror Story” has been going.

“Honestly, I felt last season was all over the place in terms of tone and vibe,” said senior Tyler Marques. “It turned me off a little.”

Past “American Horror Story” themes have revolved around topics such as ghosts, murderers, insane asylums, witches and vampires.

“[I’m] surprised. I think it’s weird that they aren’t basing it on a setting that is genuinely scary,” said senior Lauren Grass.

However, some fans like the approach Murphy is taking.

“The change in tone was weird at times in season six, but the growth of the series shines when ‘American Horror Story’ steps away from the horror genre,” said senior Diogo Antunes.

The divide between fans around season six carried over into the announcement of the new season. Some fans of “American Horror Story” do not like how political the next season sounds and think that it will affect the show’s ratings and fan base.

“They are going to lose a lot of viewers, it’s going to make it too political,” said senior Cara Fullsillo. “The announcement of the new theme seems like ‘AHS’ is trying to be something that it isn’t, the producers should stay with what has made the show successful in the first place.”

While some fans of the show don’t approve of the election theme, others find the election a place for “American Horror Story” to experiment with new things, as season six did.

“I mean you never know. ‘American Horror Story’ could give an interesting take on the election,” said Antunes.

According to Variety, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters will be returning to the show. The roles that they will be playing and which other cast members will return for season seven has not been revealed yet.

As the June production month approaches, fans are left to dispute how effective the political theme will be.

“People usually want to relax and get away from the real world,” said senior Alexander DeChino. “Bringing politics into this show would only remind people of the things they are trying to escape.”

New Art Exhibit Celebrates the Life of Stefan Novotny

One of the many art pieces featured at the Stefan Novotny art exhibit. Photo courtesy of Maurice Fabiani.

One of the many art pieces featured at the Stefan Novotny art exhibit. Photo courtesy of Maurice Fabiani.

By Julius Brown

Staff Reporter

On Thursday, Feb. 16 Sacred Heart University’s Art & Design Gallery held an opening reception for an exhibit celebrating the life of Stefan Novotny.

The exhibit showcased the immense passion and potential that Novotny expressed through his artwork before he passed away from an accidental drug overdose in 2015.

“The sense of misplacement in many of the pieces makes you feel sorry for what Novotny went through in his life,” said sophomore Caroline Barry.

Art & Design Chair and Assistant Professor Mary Treschitta is responsible for the creation of the exhibit. Treschitta knew Novotny from a young age and was able to see how his artistic abilities and potential grew over time.

“A waste, just a waste of great talent and a great personality that will be greatly missed,” said Treschitta.

Novotny depicted exactly how he felt through his work. Favoring the abstract expressionist art style, he explored deep emotions of happiness, depression, sadness and addiction.

Treschitta said how drugs were not what made Novotny a talented artist, he was already a skilled artist beforehand.

The exhibit presented abstract images of Novotny’s inner emotions through violent strokes and chaotic lines that zig zag together to show expression.

“Stefan’s art style comes from the inner caverns of his mind, no question,” said Treschitta.

According to the Connecticut Post, Novotny graduated from Paier College of Art in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art. Art also runs in Novotny’s family; his great-grandfather, Hugo Henchl, was a famous artist from Austria.

Director of the Art & Design Gallery and Associate Professor Jonathan Walker was also involved in the exhibit’s creation and saw similarities between Novotny’s work and the artists he idolized. Many of his pieces resemble works from various expressionist artists around the world.

This exhibit also served to promote awareness of opioid and drug abuse.

Large elaborate pieces with abstract lines and shapes substituted for long lectures about the dangers of drugs. Treschitta said that despite Novotny expressing all the emotions of pain and addiction through his work, he was not the best at vocalizing his struggles to others.

Students observed the pain that Novotny felt through his pieces.

“The presence of pain is definitely apparent. [It’s] overpowering at times, but the beauty of art is at the core,” said sophomore Marisa Tache.

Other students felt the same about how Novotny’s pieces were raw in expression and came to their own conclusions about the abstract works of art.

“Looking at his pieces, it doesn’t feel like he is trying to make art like other artists. He is just being honest,” said freshman Cassidy Walsh. “A tortured artist, it breaks my heart.”

This exhibit hoped to teach students about the dangers of drug abuse; but at the center was how greatly Stefan Novotny and his sense of expression will be missed by the community.

“He loved to laugh, loved to be around people,” said Treschitta. “We just miss him.”

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