The Blog @
Southern Virginia University

Posts with the tag: Photos

  1. Come to the Garden

    February 20, 2016

    This week marks the closing weekend of the university’s production of “The Secret Garden,” and the start of some very mixed emotions on my part. I’m thrilled to know that audiences will be exposed to the inspiring, magical story of this play and the many characters within it. I’m excited to see what it is that makes people laugh tonight and what it is that makes them cry tomorrow. And I’m filled with a bittersweet, indescribable sensation — a sort of premature nostalgia  at the thought that the wonderful experience of being involved in this show is coming to an end.

    When I came to Southern Virginia two and a half years ago, I didn’t know a soul. Not one. A week passed, and my social status (or essential lack thereof) didn’t seem to change. But then Professor Stoddard, who was at the time my theatre history professor, walked up to me and asked me to be his assistant as he directed “The Servant of Two Masters.” Within a month, I was assistant director for another show, “Hello Dolly,” and ready to declare theatre in addition to my English major.

    Since high school, directing was always the element of theatre that held the most appeal to me, and I dreamed of doing a directing senior project at the end of my tenure at Southern Virginia. I fought my way awkwardly, nervously, yet somewhat successfully through two acting classes in order to take directing last semester, and then Professor Stoddard made me an unimaginable invitation: he asked me to associate direct this spring’s musical, “The Secret Garden.”

    I was raised on this musical, and it was difficult for me to believe that many people had never heard the music, or perhaps even of the play, before Professor Stoddard added it to this year’s season. My mom and I used to belt “Lily’s Eyes” in the car. When he offered me the position, I don’t think Professor Stoddard realized that he wasn’t just providing me with fodder for a senior project — he was giving me the most perfect culminating experience, the best possible cherry on top, of my career as a theatre major at Southern Virginia.

    This entire production is such a testament to the wonders brought about by “the genius of small.” Theatre majors and non-theatre majors alike have come together to sing, learn, act, live, and laugh. Though only a student, I have been fortunate enough to work with Professor Stoddard as a collaborator, to learn from him while we worked together to block scenes, coach actors, and realize our vision for the show. At what other university could I possibly have had this opportunity?

    Ultimately, in five short weeks of rehearsal and many hours of work, the cast and crew of this production have put together what I think is the best show I’ve seen since I’ve been here. Sure, I may be a bit biased, but just as being so closely involved in this show has made me attached to it, it has (necessarily) made me especially critical of it, too. So, it is with both tenderness and the “eye” of a director that I say that this show is a gem.

    “The Secret Garden” tells a story of loss, fear, mistakes, faith, hope, family, love, and forgiveness. It captures, in my opinion, some of the most vibrant and integral emotions of the human experience  the messiness and the beauty of it alike. Furthermore, it tells this story through incredible music and characters that you’ll either love to love or love to hate. This particular production also adds some intricate physical elements through the set and costumes that together provide the audience with a performance that is rich musically, visually and emotionally all at once.

    So, as the lyric says, “come to [the] garden.” I can attest to the fact that the efforts of the many talented and diligent people I’ve been able to work with have produced a show that has the ability to both entertain and enrich. One audience member told me, following the opening night performance, that the show was a “sacred experience,” and I really can’t think of a better commendation.

    The final performances are tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $7 for children, senior citizens, and Southern Virginia students, faculty and staff. They are selling quickly and ought to be purchased in advance, if possible, through Student Financial Services or at 540-261-8464.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Eva Sorensen Smith ’17.)

  2. SVU Idol 2016

    February 18, 2016

    Given a campus teeming with musical talent and impromptu bands, it’s no surprise that SVU Idol has become a Southern Virginia tradition.

    About 20 students auditioned, 10 of whom competed at Friday night’s event. Each was introduced to the packed audience by a short video clip, hyping the audience with a few bars of their audition piece, superimposed over what motivated their audition (“My mom thinks I’m talented”), and whether they think they’ll win. For some, it was their debut performance. Patrick Hutchinson’s voice and blond ‘do made the crowd feel as if Justin Bieber himself had graced us with both his presence and his vocal chords, while Alexandra Watson’s petite frame had the audience totally unprepared for the deep, resonating notes of Etta James’ “At Last.” Alyssa Isom challenged The Jackson 5 and inspired audience participation with her own rendition of the classic “Want You Back,” and Sarah Boyer transfixed us with smooth crooning of Leon Bridge’s “The River.”

    Our judges, Professor Rachel Wilcox, Student Life Coordinator and Spirit Squad Head Coach April Harris, and Executive Director of Campus Operations Art Furler, had only good things to say about each contestant.

    A student band, Intimate Ricochet, entertained students with a combination of original and popular songs while the judges deliberated. Popular demand brought Joel Bergman to the stage, who gave an impromptu performance that added a good measure of otherwise absent country twang to the evening (and to think we, situated in the Southern states, almost went without!).

    Patrick Hutchinson, Alexandra Watson, Wyatt Karnes, Taegan Hutchinson, and Julia Jones advanced to the next round on Saturday night, where Watson, Hutchinson and Jones then made it through the next round of eliminations.

    Last year’s idols, the “Sparkly Girls” (alias Clairanne Moncur and Abby Akins) took the stage to perform while students sent in their votes. Taegan Hutchinson was announced the 2016 SVU Idol, with Alexandra Watson as runner-up.

    “Never in a million years did I ever expect [this],” Taegan said. “I exceeded my own expectations. … There is serious talent and amazing voices at this school. … More than winning, it was nice because I’d done something very uncomfortable for me — and I succeeded.”

    Performing at SVU Idol was only Taegan’s second public solo, the first occurring on her LDS mission, when her duet partner and mission companion moved to another city only days before their planned musical number. The students in attendance were definitely grateful that Taegan was willing to step out of her comfort zone. After all, the results were music to our ears!

    (Post by Lauren Hafen ’16. Photos by Sarah Bench ’17 and Sarah Foster ’19.)

  3. Open House: A Taste of Southern Virginia

    February 10, 2016

    Open houses are a fantastic way to get a taste of what Southern Virginia University has to offer. Students can start their day with a rad breakfast buffet (those blueberry scones. Seriously.) and proceed to get to know some professors in mini classes, explore campus on student-guided tours, eat lunch in our dining hall, and glimpse what it’s like to be a student here at Southern Virginia. Those who are interested can also schedule meetings with coaches, auditions with those heading arts programs, and other such opportunities.

    You’d really be hard-pressed to find a better way to acquaint yourself with this university, especially when you take into consideration the $200 travel voucher provided to prospective students. For more information about upcoming open houses and how you can find yourself at one, check out the open house page.

    You can also read more about previous open house experiences in other blog posts, like this one and this one.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Eva Sorensen Smith ’17.)

  4. The Fifth Annual Honor Ball

    February 7, 2016

    There’s some old saying about how a picture’s worth 1000 characters on Twitter, or something like that, so I’ll keep this short and refer you to the pictures.

    Last Saturday’s Honor Ball was a classy shindig: Lots of sharp suits, dresses, ties, dinner jackets and ornate hairdos; fancy dance cards; somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,000ish delicious cream puffs, which might be exaggerating; live music from Virginia Military Institute’s Commanders Jazz Band; an impromptu snowball fight near the end of the dance; snazzy black and white decorations; great company.

    If you missed the Honor Ball, you can do two good things. You can take a look at the photos. And you can make a point of coming next year.

    (Post by Stephen Taylor ‘15. Photos by Sarah Bench ‘19.)

  5. Photos: Powder War 2016

    February 5, 2016

    Honor Week includes many wonderful traditions and opportunities for Southern Virginia students to gather together to form friendships, strengthen bonds, and throw colored powder at each other (and we keep doing it and doing it).

    In all seriousness, the powder war is one of the most cheerful and beloved traditions on this campus. Such wars are also fantastic photo ops. Enjoy these snazzy shots from this year’s powder war! (Also, isn’t the white snow a great backdrop? Really makes those colors pop.)

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Eva Sorensen Smith ’17.)