Monday, April 27, 2009

Nebraska Writers Guild

Abigail Linnerson, Kristopher Miller, and Carol Carpenter

On Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25, the Nebraska Writers Guild held its Spring Conference for 2009. If you have an interest in just about any kind of writing endeavors, check out the guild's web page previously linked.

The Peru State College Creative Writing Series made possible the trip I made to the conference with three English majors--Carol Carpenter, Abigal Linnerson, and Kristopher Miller--who also worked to publish the Sifting Sands, the creative writing journal the English Club published this spring.

This year's event took place at beautiful Mahoney State Park on a pretty darn dismal day.

As the short slide show indicates, the meeting drew a pretty good crowd to listen to the three featured speakers and to take part in afternoon workshops.

Each of the three speakers looked at publication from a different perspective.

Tom Swanson had served as Bison Books manager for the University of Nebraska Press since September of 2005. Among other things, he oversees the publication of approximately sixty paperback titles each year.

His workshop focused on "The Importance of a Good Pitch."

He shared with the audience insights about the publication process.

Eric Butteman, a journalist, discussed his publication strategies.

He has authored articles in over fifty journals, from health magazines to The Sporting News.

His workshop concentrated on "Self-assessments, Goal Setting, and Business Schedules."

I enjoyed in particular Alan Boyle's presentation, author of numerous books, including A Guide to the Ghosts of Lincoln.

Boye teaches at Lyndon College in Vermont, which accounts for my focus on his work, for he has whiten about Vermont and areas there with which I am familiar.

So I purchased his collection of short essays, Just Walking the Hills of Vermont, which feature nonfiction he previously published in Vermont, Yankee, Exposure, and read on Vermont Public Radio.

I look forward to reading about familiar places.

For his workshop, Alan Boye discussed "A Creativity Toolbox for Generating Ideas and Avoiding Writer's Block.

We four enjoyed our time at the conference and in the beautiful hotel at Mahoney State Park.

Thursday on the Plaza With the PSC Jazz Ensemble

Jazz Band Performs in front of the Fine Arts Building

Many events took place the final couple weeks of the semester, and I fell behind with my blog entries. But I am pretty sure that the outdoor concert took place on Thursday, April 23, on a beautiful day after the torrid performance the previous night.

Well, the PSC Jazz Ensemble, led by Dr. Pat Fortney, put on an excellent show for the Concert on the Plaza, just as the band did last spring.

As the slide show of the Fun on the Plaza emphasizes, the audience enjoyed great music, beautiful weather, and delicious ice cream, including Banana Splits while the band played on.

I recorded the Jazz Ensemble's exciting rendition of the Aritha Franklin standard, "Respect," which features the band's vocal soloist, Jane Henry:

Jazz Ensemble and Show Choir Spring 2009 Concert

On Wednesday evening, 22 April, the Misty Blues Show Choir and the PSC Jazz Ensemble braved oppressive heat and gave both inspired, perspiration-soaked, and courageous performances in the College Theater.

The students and their directors will not soon forget the evening. Now will the large audience who created air currents by fanning their programs and offering frequent applause.

As the photographs indicate, the groups worked very hard in the heat.

For the Misty Blues, I recorded their rendering of a Henry Mancini tune, "It Had Better Be Tonight," one of the groups favorite numbers.

The conclusion of the video also includes a brief slide show from the group's show.

For the Jazz Ensemble, who played after Show Choir quite literally "warmed" up the state, I recorded the groups opening selection, "
Car Wash," which had become this year the Jazz Ensemble's signature tune.

The video also contains at the end of the selection, a brief slide show from the evening's performance.

The Misty Blues
The PSC Jazz Ensemble

Bob Bohlken Visits

The Creative Writing Series and the Peru State College Foundation joined to sponsor Peru graduate Bob Bohlken's visit to campus.

As reading the information at the top of the page (just click on the document) indicates, Bob graduated from Peru State fifty years ago. He also taught here for a few years before spending the majority of his teaching career at Northwest Missouri State University.

As usual, I posted a few photographs from Bob's stay on campus.

He visited my Children's Literature class and spoke passionately about teaching and discussed with the students books for children he has published.

In particular, Bob introduced the class to the Mukie pictured on the right, a creature he features in his book, Listen to the Mukies and Their Character Building Adventures.

He shared with the class his insights into everything from correct word choice with writing for children to the trials and joys of getting your work published.

After lunch with Kent Propst, the Director of the Foundation, Dr. Dan Holtz, and Dr. Spencer Davis, Bob's wife Mary, and me, Bob spoke with Dr. Beverly Urbach's Methods class.

We all appreciated Bob Bohlken's energy, humor, and insights and thank him for taking the time to visit us at the college from which he graduated five decades ago.

Drs. Beverly Urbach, Bob Bohlken, and Bill Clemente

Spring Fling Talent Show

The Talent

On Monday, 27 April, as part of PSC's annual Spring Fling, I got to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the Talent Contest.

What fun!

A lot of talented folks gathered for the evening, offering everything from Stand-Up Comedy to Slam Poetry. Oh, and Pirates!

I posted some photographs of the fun for your entertainment and for your downloading pleasure.

The unenviable task of judging fell to a familiar trio of PSC supporters: Greg Galardi, Kristi Nies, and Ted Harshbarger.

After considerable deliberation that indicated just how difficult a task confronted the judges, they announced the decision:

First Place: Jason Mayer for his original song:

Jason Meyer Wins First Place

Second Place: Xavier Gibson for his version of "My Girl"

Xavier Gibson sings "My Girl"

Third Place: Three acts won

Tyson Wessels, Reed Hoffmaster, Logan Merz and Michael Parde joined in a band to sing what I call "The Pirate Song"

Tyson Wessels Knows of Buried Treasure

Amanda Pearson-Vanderbroek offered two wonderful and original poems:

Amanda Performs Her Poetry

And Devin Gobber dished out insights in his comedy routine about cafeteria offerings and other fun:

David Gobber Kept the Audience Laughing

Alpha Chi Induction 2009

Peru State Alpha Chi Inducts Forty Two New Members

On Sunday, April 19, the 2008-2009 Alpha Chi Induction ceremony took place at 2:00 in Benford.

As sponsor of the Peru State College chapter of Alpha Chi, I am thrilled to note that this year's total of 41 inductees actually marks a record number of new members.

Thirteen of the forty one individuals took part in the small and elegant ceremony in Benford Hall.

Members come from areas throughout Nebraska and as far away as California and the U. S. Virgin Islands.

Dr. John Hnida of Biology and Dr. Spencer Davis of History joined me in this year's celebration of academic achievement at Peru State College: Alpha Chi inducts only the top 10% of students from each of the three schools at Peru State College, Arts and Sciences, Professional Studies, and Education.

Parents and new members of Alpha Chi can download photographs from the collection I posted.

Inductees elected to serve as chapter officers include the following students: President Denise Blazek, a senior from Beatrice and Syracuse; Vice-President Kate Staples, a senior from Grand Island; Secretary Kristopher Miller, a senior from Hiawatha, Kan.; Treasurer Christie Haynes, a senior from Lincoln; and Student Delegate to the Alpha Chi National Convention Carol Carpenter, a senior from Peru.

Dr. Spencer Davis, Denise Blazek, Kate Staples, Christie Haynes, Kristopher Miller, Carol Carpenter, Dr. John Hnida

Here is an alphabetical list of the inductees by hometown.

Erica Benson, Senior
Blazek, Senior
Robby Powers, Senior

Beaver City
Hackbarth Senior

Maria Clark, Senior
Olpin, Senior
Fred Payne, Senior

Wenzl, Senior

Tammy Jenson, Senior
Trevor Shalon, Senior

Kubalik, Senior

Samantha Meyer, Senior

Grand Island
Eggerling, Senior
Kate Staples, Senior
Rhonda Zawodniak

Nitzsche, Senior

Connot, Senior

Kaylene Nienhueser, Senior

Christie Haynes, Senior
Erik Kohl, Senior
Bryan Miller, Senior
Rettele, Senior
Stanhope, Senior

Cortney Meyer, Senior

Nebraska City
Teri Chaney, Senior
Melody White, Senior
Wurtele, Senior

North Platte
Erin Kindred, Senior

Axton Kahler, Senior
Kantor, Senior
Angela Hickman-
Podany, Senior

Wellens, Senior

Carol Carpenter, Senior

Joseph Taylor, Senior

Johanna Hill, Senior

Blazek, Senior
Panko, Senior

Castro Valley
Threedy, Senior

San Jose
McConkie, Senior
Council Bluffs
LeRette-Flores, Senior

Kathi D.
Grossenbacher, Senior

Kristopher Miller, Senior

U.S. Virgin Islands
Corum, Senior

This year, Alpha Chi offered membership to graduate students; thus far, two students became members. I hope to see this number rise sharply:

Regan Anson
Connie Walter

Student Senate Banquet

On Sunday, April 19, at the Firehouse Grill in Murray, NE, Student Senate held its annual Awards Banquet to cap an eventful year for this important organization for which I am pleased to serve, along with Ted Harshbarger, as co-advisor.

We all enjoyed an excellent meal--and little of the delicious desert pictured on the left remained at the conclusion of the event; I hope to return soon for the Friday Fish Fry.

As the photographs from the evening suggest, everyone enjoyed a good time and received recognition for his and her contribution to Student Senate this past year.

Each year, members of the college community nominate people for
two awards Student Senate gives, The Barb Lewellen Award (for service to PSC students) and the Scroll And Service award to an outstanding student.

This year, Dr. Judy Grotrian, pictured on the top right, and Kristi Nies, pictured on the left, earned nominations, as did I.

Grotrain, who has won the Teacher of the Year at the college, teaches in Professional Studies. Kristi Nies serves as faculty advisor for the Peru State Times and teaches English courses.

That the students elected me is both flattering and a special honor.

The Scroll and Service award honors a student who couples high
academic achievement with noteworthy service to the college.

This year two exceptional students earned nominations, Taylor Dunekacke and Jennifer Epting (pictured on the left), two deserving candidates.

And this year's Scroll and Service Award went to Taylor Dunecacke, pictured on the right.

I am very happy to have had the opportunity over the past two years to work with both these fine individuals.

And as the
photographs of various events in which Student Senate took an active role this pat year indicate, from Trash Pickup along Highway 67 to delivering St. Valentine's Day gifts, this group of engaging students contributes pretty much daily to campus life here at Peru State College.

I look forward to working with all of them again next year and hope here to compile a partial list of the group's accomplishments this year.

Dr. Sherwood's Night

Peru State College celebrates Dr. Leland Sherwood
On Saturday evening, 18 April, Peru State College celebrated one of its legendary Professors of Art, Dr. Leland Sherwood.

The Peru Foundation sponsored this special event to honor Doc Sherwood and to auction a series of Shorty's excellent watercolors donated by Sherwood admirers and Peru State College supporters.

Thrilled winners left the campus with beautiful works of art; their generosity also made possible a permanent scholarship in Dr. Sherwood 's name, The Leland H. and G. Karlene Sherwood Scholarship in Art.

I posted a series of photographs from the evening, which included heartfelt praise from a number of people who have known Shorty Sherwood for years, from Paul Fell and Ken Anderson to his daughters, Joni Schmidt and Jeanne Helms.

I also recorded and posted Dr. Sherwood's speech available on You Tube for everyone to enjoy: