Saturday, December 29, 2007

Chirstmas 2007 in Ripon, WI, and Chicago, IL

Christmas in Ripon, Wisconsin, and a MLA visit to Chicago

Chicago Shines at Night

I hope that everyone enjoyed a noteworthy Christmas.

For the past fifteen years of my teaching career at Peru State College, I have in the "off season" (and whenever circumstances allow) lived with my wife (Linda) and children Cary and Leah) in Ripon, Wisconsin--birthplace of the Republican Party and home of Rippin' Good Cookies--and so share some pictures from the snow-filled Holiday Season at my "other" home.

Clemente House in Snow

Here in Ripon, WI, nature provided a very white holiday, which attracted the following visitor to my bird feeders, a Sharp-shinned Hawk (I wish the picture were better focused) that dropped in to dine on the hungry birds gathered in the yard at Bill's Avian Restaurant.

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Inside the warm house, while we all engaged in frantic present opening, Indy slept in Santa's lap.

I posted a few pictures from Christmas and posted them.
As the pictures indicate, I took a special interest in the pants my daughter bought me in India--and my son and I gifted each other with near-identical GFY shirts featured on Townie News, the home of Paul "Fitzy" Fitzgerald whose, ah, colorful Boston Red Sox commentary (and, now, football antics for ESPN) we both love.

Indy Enjoys Christmas

The day after Christmas, my wife, Linda, and I headed to Chicago and the Modern Language Association's annual meeting. And while Linda interviewed candidates, I visited for the first time the Field Museum of Natural History and the Shedd Aquarium.

I found fascinating the special exhibitions on Maps and on Charles Darwin; and, of course, Sue--the world's most complete and largest t-rex--dominates the scene.


As I discovered, Sue's head is too large to balance on the skeleton pictured here; to see the massive skull, one must go upstairs, which is fine, because Sue's head sits near the entrance to the exhibition on Evolution that features impressive dinosaurs.

I posted some pictures from the museum.

The images include a picture of the extinct Passenger Pigeon and the popular Lions of Tsavo that inspired the film The Ghost and the Darkness.

Lions of Tsavo

See you all back at Peru State College for the beginning of 2008.

Linda and Bill (Caribbean Shirt and Indian Pants)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ice Storm December 10-11

Peru State College closed on 10 December, interrupting final examinations, because of the very nasty weather that threatened. As the following picture from my front yard indicates, a beautifully dangerous ice storm struck the area.

Kansas Street at 8:30 a.m.

The limbs in the street provide evidence of the general destruction the storm caused. A branch hit the side of my house at around five in the morning when I also discovered that the weather had caused a power outage in my area, which lasted over twelve hours. The City of Peru did an excellent job of clearing the streets. And the power company got electricity restored quickly.

Cleaning the Roads in Peru

Paul Pate, who heads the physical plant and facilities at the college, gave me a ride out to the campus. I appreciated the lift, for the falling branches in the area sounded like shotgun blasts and made walking the tree-lined streets a precarious enterprise.

I found the lights on at the college and enjoyed a pleasant cup of hot tea in my office.

Sign by Student Center

I walked around campus and took a number of photographs, including the following shot of a decorated light near the library:

Light in Front of the Library

The storm did considerable damage to the trees on campus. Walking around the campus, I ran into one of my students, Chelsea Merritt, who told me to check out the area around T. J. Majors, which houses Professional Studies and Education. As Chelsea indicated, fallen branches dotted the area.

Front of T. J. Majors

To appreciate the beauty of the storm and some of the damage caused, take a look at the images posted here on Flickr .

At home, fresh seed and water attracted considerable numbers of birds to my yard, including Goldfinch, Junco and Bluebirds.

Bluebird at Bird Bath

Goldfinch and Junco Negotiate the Icicles

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Madrigal Dinner and Madrigal Singers

Michael Parde as the Royal Jester

Madrigal Singers and Madrigal Dinner, 7 and 8 December
Peru State College and the Eagle Lodge

The Peru State College Madrigal Singers in a Light Moment

This year, the Madrigal Singers performed at two dinners. On Friday, the show and feast took place in the student cafeteria on campus; and on Saturday, the dinner, graciously sponsored by Tier One Bank, moved to the Eagle Lodge in Nebraska City for another evening of good fun and delicious food--not to mention excellent music.
I attended Friday night and took pictures; I had hoped to add more images and some video, but the icy weather Saturday night changed my mind. (I become a weather wimp!) This year's entertainment featured a new opera written by Dr. Tom Ediger and Emily Davidson, "A Fairy Tale Fiasco."

Dr. Tom Ediger, Director of the Madrigal Singers

"A Fairy Tale Fiasco" includes familiar tales with ironic and comedic twists, from "Cinderella" to "The Frog Prince." The following images come from the opera's wonderfully absurd version of "Little Red Riding Hood." This retelling of the familiar Fairy Tale features a dyspeptic Wolf whose problems with gas affect everyone in the fairy world and a Little Red Wigger from the Hood.

Megan Katz as Lil' R.R.H.

David Norris as B.B. Wolf

I took a greater number of pictures than usual and decided to create a separate slide show that includes still shots taken after the show for future publicity of the Madrigal Singers. In addition, this year's event also includes new costumes; unfortunately a fire last spring in Auburn destroyed the group's medieval ware.

this link to see images from the performance; and click here to see the posed shots that feature group pictures and the rich variety of costumes the singers showcased this year.

Enjoy the shows.

Tristam Bassinger and Jeremy Silver as Blendorella and Splendorella

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Peru State College Holiday Concert

The Department of Music of Peru State College Presents A Holiday Concert, Sunday, December 2, 2007

Concert Choir and Concert Band

This Sunday, December 2, in the Peru State College Theater the Choral and Band Holiday Concert took place, entertaining a large crowd with some excellent and colorful Christmas cheer that included the lighting of the Christmas Tuba.

Peru State College Concert Choir

The first part of the entertainment featured the Concert Choir and the Misty Blues Show Choir under the direction of Dr. Thomas Ediger, and Reva Benefiel played Piano for both groups.

Misty Blues Show Choir

After the choral groups, Dr. Patrick Fortney directed the Jazz Ensemble and the Concert Band.

Jazz Ensemble

For the final section of the holiday event, the Concert Choir joined the Concert Band for a couple numbers (See the first photograph)--and even Santa got into the act:

Tim Allen?

To see a slide show of the concert, just click and enjoy; and if you see a picture you like, the series is set up to allow you do download any pictures that appeal to you.