Peaks and Valleys : Creativity from Colorado College
Peaks and Valleys
Peaks and Valleys captures the creative topography of our Colorado College community--the highs, the lows, and the space between. It is a chance to share. To share collectively as we respond individually. To share a connection when we are far apart. To share an idea that might inspire another.
It is also a chance to check in. Briefly. Once a day. Not only to see and to support our CC community as it navigates the present moment, but also to check in with yourself. To consider the peaks and valleys of your own day and take a moment to reflect. And maybe to create.
Maybe it is music. Maybe it is movement. Maybe it is visual. Maybe it is literary. Maybe it is all or none of these things. Just as we’re finding in these days of social distancing, each day is as different as it is the same.
From the base of Pikes Peak (Tava), we invite you to create, capture, and share your experience.
For seven weeks in the spring of 2020 Performing Arts at Colorado College shared brief, daily videos capturing the creativity of CC students, staff, faculty, and alumni.
Peaks and Valleys is on hiatus during the summer of 2020, but please continue to send us your creative work for sharing once we resume this fall: Videos should be shot in landscape/horizontal profile using whatever technology you might have available. Please keep submissions to under 3 minutes in duration. No need to provide an introduction, just launch right into your creativity. For more information, please contact PerformingArts@ColoradoCollege.edu
Peaks and Valleys Participants
Week 1: April 13-17, 2020
- “What I’ve Found” by Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Jessica Kisunzu. She shares a song that she wrote to “encapsulate the feeling of getting to know and spend time with new friends over the years… it reminds me of all the great moments I’ve been able to have, that were never expected.
- Largo-Moderato Cantabile from Frederic Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu by Erin Bauer, CC Class of 2005. “My baby loves nothing more than napping to the music,” she says. Bauer is an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and is a scholar of Latin American folk music.
- “Quarantune #1: The Slow Down” by Shane Lory, CC Class of 2016. He tells us that as someone that manages his “woes and anxieties by staying as busy as possible… the dawn of COVID-19 has challenged my status quo coping mechanisms in a big way… Ready or not, here comes The Slow Down.” Lory is co-founder and former Director of Operations of Colorado Springs Food Rescue
- Pandemic Prologue by Associate Professor and Chair of English, Steven Hayward. This excerpt from a previously abandoned novel, which Hayward says he “finds myself returning to it these strange days… I’m not sure if it’s the sort of thing that people will want to read or absolutely not want to read when this is over."
- “New England Bedroom” by Grace Hale, CC Class of 2020. “For a time like this,” Hale tells us, “I want to share a meditative moment of reflection.” This piece is the third movement of her senior thesis project titled, “Worlds in Miniature: A Study of Small-Scale Compositional Approaches.” These works explore the Thorne Miniature Rooms on display at the Art Institute of Chicago—itself a meditation on the spaces we inhabit…
Week 2: April 20-24, 2020
- "Not Dark Yet" originally performed by Bob Dylan, by CC Provost Alan Townsend and Sue Bell. Of their performance "Not Dark Yet," Townsend says "I’m a complete hack on this guitar. But if ever there was a time to push ourselves into doing something new and a little out of our comfort zone, maybe this is it."
- "No Diggity" by Aaron Alcouloumre, CC Class of 2019. It is a cover of a cover of a cover: Aaron tells us, "Nick Murphy’s (Chet Faker) tune “No Diggity,” which is a rendition of Blackstreet's song “No Diggity,” which samples the late Bill Withers tune “Grandmas Hands” for their instrumental. My love for Bill Wither's music originated through Hip Hop beats that had sampled his music, so I thought it would be fitting to have my tribute as a part of that lineage."
- "Short Story" by Elyse Weakley, CC Class of 2001 and half of the the duo Steel&Hammer. "I hope everyone is staying safe and occupied in these strange times. I recommend grabbing a musical instrument! I've been working on a song called 'Short Story.' It's not quite done..."
- "Song for Health" by Jeremy Van Hoy, CC Concert Band Director. "This 'Song for Health' was composed by the Dutchman Steven Verhelst as a tribute to health care workers around the world during the Covid19 crisis. He renounced any copyright and has asked musicians to record many different versions. I arranged this cello part so my daughter could join my mother and I!"
- "La Reina es el Rey" transcribed by L.G. Sobrino and performed by Cristina Brasuel, CC Class of 1996 and Leo Brasuel, CC Class of 2020. Cristina says, "My son and I have put together a recording of one of my favorite mariachi songs, performed by numerous Mariachi Tigre de Colorado College groups in the past. CC's mariachi group was scheduled to have a performance this spring, but of course was cancelled do to the COVID-19 pandemic. 'La Reina es el Rey' was written as a response to a famous mariachi song called 'El Rey.'"
Week 3: April 27- May1, 2020
"Quietly, with Feeling" by Susan Grace, Artist-in-Residence, Senior Lecturer in Music, Director CC Summer Music Festival. "This is 'Quietly, with feeling' by Carlton Gamer (emeritus professor of music)." Grace shared, "One of my very favorite pieces! The CC Summer Music Festival was to present its 36th Anniversary of programming this June, but was cancelled due to COVID-19. Affiliated Students and faculty will engage from a distance and share their work online. Please visit the SMF website for more: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/other...
- "Chicken, Biscuits, Wild Blue Sky." by Kathy Giuffre, Professor of Sociology, and Author. "Here is a clip of me reading the first bit of the book I am working on. It is my second novel and is called (for the moment) "Chicken, Biscuits, Wild Blue Sky." It is a retelling of the Robin Hood legends set in the time right after the 2008 mortgage/foreclosure crisis. It seemed to me to resonate with the world we are living in right now. But in my world, like in the Robin Hood legend, the little people triumph.
- "Do Not Open" by Pema Baldwin, Colorado College Sophomore and Film and Media Studies Major. "I've been trying to learn how to animate recently. My siblings like doing the voices, so it works out." Pema creates and uploads even more fantastic shorts his YouTube channel.
- "River Flows in You" by Leo Brasuel, Colorado College Senior and Biochemistry Major. “I took piano lessons with Professor Dan Brink throughout this last year and thought I might share a couple songs he helped me learn here. I hadn't played much for a while, but Dan really helped me rediscover my passion for the instrument which I will carry forward with me as I graduate from CC.'"
- "Kleier" by Yiqiao Bao, CC Class of 2014. "I took harp lessons during my time at CC with Ann Marie Liss - she has been a huge inspiration for me both personally and musically, and she actually helped me pick the harp I played in the video back in 2015 during her trip to the east coast!! This harp, whom I named Whiskey, has been with me during all of my own 'peaks' and 'valleys' since. My time at CC changed my life forever. Seeing the name "Peaks and Valleys Series" inspired me to make this video immediately.
Week 4: May 4-8, 2020
- "Dancing Shape Etude No. 1." by Lewis Keller, CC Class of 1996. "Recently I have been learning about OpenGL animation in the Max/MSP/Jitter programming language. After experimenting with some reactive techniques where images respond to incoming audio I wanted to create something which could be more tightly integrated with the music. I wrote a patch to control a dancing shape and choreographed the movement as I composed the music." In addition to being an alum, Lewis worked in the Music Department recently as the studio technician, and is now living in Norway.
- "乌兰巴托之夜(The Night Of Ulanbaatar" by Minqi Liu, CC Class of 2015. This song is a Mongolian folk song Liu singing that in Mandarin Chinese and Mongolian. "Special thanks to Diana Anderson and Dan & Ann Brink for guiding me into the wonderful world of piano, voice, and music theory during my time at CC so that I could use music to bring comfort and joy to myself and others during this challenging time."
- "Surviving A Stroke is Like Surviving a Pandemic" by Maggie Whittum. Maggie, CC class of 2004, and a stroke survivor at age 33, draws uncanny comparisons between surviving a global pandemic and surviving a life-altering stroke. Maggie is creating a documentary film on stroke, disability, chronic pain and resilience called @TheGreatNowWhat. Learn more at www.thegreatnowwhat.com
- "Hard Times Come Again No More" by Keith Reed, Director of Bluegrass at CC. This time of year, Keith is usually surrounded by students preparing for the final ensemble performances of the year. With CC students spread away far and wide, he performs a solo banjo version of "Hard Times Come Again No More" by Stephen Foster. His instrument is a rare 1935 Gibson style 3 in D tuning: D A F# D A.
- "I Think It Is Going To Rain Today" by Stephanie Brink, CC Class of 2007 and CC Voice Instructor. Stephanie says: "I am pursuing a career in Opera Performance, and right before the world closed down for Coronavirus, I was lucky enough to complete a performance in Santa Fe, NM of Puccini's Suor Angelica. Because of that gig, I was connected to the incredible collaborative pianist, Maki Kimura. Maki reached out to me shortly after stay-at-home orders were placed on Colorado and New Mexico, and wanted to do this project. I am so grateful that my chosen profession works so hard to bring people together, especially during these rather difficult times!"
Week 5: May 11-15, 2020
- "Let it Go" by Albus Cao, CC Class of 2022. Shot in an empty CC residence hall, this "is to express my feeling toward this covid-19 situation using my movement and the music 'Let It Go.' " - Albus Cao. This submission comes to us from Artist-In-Residence Patrizia Herminjard's Block 8 course "Video Dance" which is "based on the premise that video can be more than simply a recording of a dance performance, this course highlights ways that choreographers can use video technology as a creative tool."
- "Blue Balloon" by Max Sarkowsky, CC Class of 2020. "I created this music video with my wonderful Clown & Mime Ensemble for Virtual Dance Workshop this Spring. Quarantine and isolation provided a fun challenge for us working in an art-form that craves human connection and physical interaction. That being said, clowns use mime to create fantasy for the very real world they live in, so I devised this project to allow each performer to take a prompt with a clear beginning and end point and improvise within it, thinking about how their characters, though far apart, might still be playing together.
- "Snakes in Your Hair" by Wes Braver and Sylvie Scowcroft. Wes and Sylvie (CC Class of 2014) have been making musicals since their time at CC. Their show "Medusa" has been workshopping with Broadway talent in New York, but with all theaters closed for the foreseeable future, they're trying to build the show's following digitally. Last weekend, with a team of dancers (several CC Tigers themselves), they created this music video to their song "Snakes in Your Hair."
- "Improvisation in the Park" by Trevon Newmann and Kebrina Josefina de Jesus. With the beautiful Colorado sky as their backdrop, dancers Trevon and Kebrina give us a "peak" into their creative process with this short improvisation! Trevon graduated received his B.A. from CC in 2018 with a major in dance and a minor in music. Kebrina is the founder/artistic director of the Brazilian dance school and company, Samba Colorado. She also teaches the samba dance adjunct at CC.
- "Before" by Jane Hilberry, Professor of Creativity and Innovation. "I wrote the poem in the context of my Block 8 class, “The Moving Line,” which I’m co-teaching with Barbara Bash. It’s a course that focuses on creative process, so on Monday of Week 2 I told students that I would take a piece of freewriting that I had just done, record myself reading it so they could hear how messy and directionless it was (that was a mortifying experience!), and by Friday I would turn it into a poem and read it to them in class. I didn’t know whether or how it would turn out, but I wanted students to see what the writing process is actually like, for me at least—how uncertain it is. This poem was the result."
Week 6: May 18-22, 2020 (Senior Spotlights)
- "Wildflowers" by Seniors from Ellement. Founded in 1995, Ellement is Colorado College's close-knit and welcoming femme and non-binary inclusive acapella group! This time of year they are typically preparing for their final concert, but in lieu of having an in person concert, the three seniors (Rachel Delley, Hailey Corkery, and Belle Durkin) shared this video to the group's Instagram page.
- "Bottom's Monologue" from A Midsummer's Night Dream, performed by Scot Gladstone. "As a senior I am grateful for the community that CC has given me over the past four years. I miss it tremendously and will continue to miss as I graduate and advance to a new act in my life. This was a monologue that I first fell in love with when I got a chance to study Shakespeare in Block A last summer, in London with Professor Steve Hayward. I hope it brings you a smile!”
- "Place" by Aymeric Foyer, CC Class of 2020. "I hope people enjoy it. It was probably the best way to end my college career here at Colorado College since I had a lot of fun making this." This submission also comes to us from Artist-In-Residence Patrizia Herminjard's Block 8 course "Video Dance" which is "based on the premise that video can be more than simply a recording of a dance performance, this course highlights ways that choreographers can use video technology as a creative tool."
- "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" by Emma Carlson, CC Class of 2020. "This song is one of the musical theatre pieces that made me fall in love with vocal performance. I promised myself that one day I would sing that song despite the little time I had as a ‘science-focused’ student. During the quarantine, being able to perform the piece as a way to connect back to performance on campus really highlights how music has been important to me in the past and how it continues to be important now.”
- "Dynamic Shot" by Daniel Walsh, CC Class of 2020. This is another submission from Artist-In-Residence Patrizia Herminjard's Block 8 course "Video Dance." Here the prompt was to make a piece with the camera in constant motion. "I wanted to evoke themes of homeliness and comfort--which is why I chose to look out at Pikes Peak from my balcony the entire time. The audio heard is my microwave, which I edited heavily to make it sound somewhat alien-like. It's a sound I hear all the time at home, and it reminds me of how much I love to cook in my kitchen!"
Week 7: May 25-29, 2020
- "Blackbird/I Will" by the Colorado College Chamber Choir. "We had been preparing this wonderful 8-part a cappella arrangement by Jonathan Rathbone for our Spring concert. While there is no substitute for the in-person, human connections making music together provides to us as choral singers, this project gave us an opportunity to engage with one another while navigating these challenging times. We were very fortunate to have some of our friends in the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble join us."
- "Minute Walk" by Andy Post, CC Class of 2016. "I'd say it's about the perspectives of scale that a good walk can bring. The very end of the composition is inspired by Misha Mullov-Abbado's 'Real Eyes Realise Real Lies'."
- The Colorado College Bluegrass Ensemble shares their renditions of traditional pieces "Daley's Reel" and "Forked Deer". The Ensemble would like to congratulate graduating seniors Ellen Buford, Tommy Lutz, and Camille Newsom.
- "Corona Don't Like No Sunshine" by Sue Lauther. Sue created this video as part of Patrizia Herminjard's Video Dance course. "Here’s a study that we did on continuity. We choreographed a dance to be performed in 2 different locations from various angles. Our job was to put the choreography together seamlessly." Sue is also the Contact Improvisation instructor for the Theatre and Dance department at CC.
- The "CC Alma Mater" performed by the Colorado College Concert Band. Since the CC Concert Band didn't get to play this live at graduation this year, they prepared a virtual version for our beloved Class of 2020. This project was arranged, recorded, and prepared by Concert Band Director, Jeremy Van Hoy.