Redhawk Native American Arts Council Visits

images.jpgLocated in 337 of the Marist College Library, The Center for Multicultural Affairs acts as more than an office. Each day you will see a host of students entering and exiting the office as they speak with the administrative assistant, Pam, and counselors, Iris, Mary, Angel, Karen, and Terrance. But there’s more than that, there is coffee, snacks, and bonding that take places for the students which gives this place a home away from home feeling.

 

Marist CMA is more than an office but rather it is a resource. In addition to their direct support academic programs, they also provide programs and activities on campus that are open to anyone.

These events promote cultural awareness, leadership development, sustainability and even career exploration. Throughout every semester they host and co-host a series of events like the Hispanic Heritage Event, Vietnam Night, Indian Culture Awareness Night, The Global Fashion Show, and many others.

For 10 years, Marist CMA has been working to create an inclusive and welcoming community of which all students are welcome to join.

On Wednesday night, in collaboration with the Office for Accommodations and Accessibility, Student Affairs, Upward Bound, and the Diversity Council, and Human Resources, Marist CMA hosted the Red Hawk Native American Arts Council performance. The Red Hawk Native American Arts Council is a Grass-roots Not-For-Profit organization that was founded and is still maintained by natives from New York and New Jersey in 1994. Their purpose is to educate the general population about Native American heritage.

Iris Ruiz-Grech, the Director of Marist CMA said that she was excited that the event could have been rescheduled after it had to be postponed on November 15th because of the snow storm.

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Member of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council dances as Marist students and faculty watch.

Her greatest hope for this event was that students would learn about the Native American culture. The event was filled with dancing and singing as well as a wealth of information about the indigenous people.

 

 

 

“The hope is definitely awareness about the beauty and contributions of our Native Americans here in the United States,” said Ruiz-Grech. “I think it is amazing to be able to bring awareness to all of us about their importance since they were the first people in what is now called the United States.”

The council taught the attendees about the difference of tribes and also urged the audience to help their efforts by taking action.

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Cliff Matias (far right) and other members of The Redhawk Native American Arts Council

Cliff Matias is an artist, educator, photographer, hoop dancer, and actor for the Council. Matias is Kichwa and Taino. Throughout the performance, he sang, danced, and spoke to the audience.

 

When speaking about the importance of taking a stand he said that the use of Native Americans as mascots is highly offensive. He notes that universities have begun removing these mascots and so have some elementary schools although many remain resistant.

“In NYC, St. John’s University has changed their logo. So it is happening very slowly. It is only through conscious efforts and compassion and understanding of our young people, who are now moving into positions of change, we are seeing that these things are starting to take place,” said Mathias.

When pinpointing another specific change that he would like to see, he said that he believes that Columbus Day should be changed to Indigenous People’s Day.

Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and countless cities have changed. I would love to see more people of color joining in this struggle for indigenous people. In America, there were so many other atrocities that [Christopher Columbus] he committed,” said Mathias. “What about the fact that he introduced the Transatlantic Slave Trade, so how come not more of our African-American brothers and sisters aren’t joining us in that struggle. So we would love to see more. Also, American young people in general coming to stand with us.”

Students who attended this event were glad that they did. Caroline Kirsten, a Marist freshmen, said that she has gone to programs in the past where Native Americans spoke about their tribes. Despite this, she said that she never heard about their current situation.

“The greatest thing I took away was an understanding of the lack of resources and the lack of awareness. I feel like that is something that should be brought up much more,” said Kirsten. Now with this new knowledge, I want to help bring awareness. If there was any action to do so, I would love to be apart of it.”

On it’s special 10 year anniversary, Marist CMA continues to host a wealth of performances and events that expose Marist students to new ideas and cultures. Be sure to check out more of their events in the near future.

 

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Marist singers help bring Christmas spirit

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Each and every pew is filled at Redeemed Christian Fellowship on Saturday afternoon. Individuals patiently wait in a dimly lit room for the Ecumenical Service of Lessons and Carols. People are dressed in their winter coats, flipping through the pages of the program, minutes before the start time. Soon, an echoing chant fills the room. The service is about to begin.

The Ecumenical Service of Lesson and Carols features Marist singers, Chamber String Ensemble, Handbell Choir, and Campus Ministry. It is a 25-yearlong tradition that started out small then blossomed into a large event. It began as a tiny ceremony in the college’s chapel with just a few of the singers. Then, the event grew sizable enough that it had to be moved to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church located on Mill Street.

But eventually, the service needed an even bigger space to accommodate the large turnout every year. Moving the event to Redeemed Christian fellowship on Cannon Street was the answer. The space can hold a crowd up to 800 people. Inside there are several rows of brown, wooden pews, golden arches above the altar, and stained glass windows throughout the church.

The service commenced with a prelude, “The Oxen,” sung by the freshman women’s choir. The attention was on the choir who stood in the front of the room dressed in long, black gowns. The handbell choir then started to chime in. The bells were rung in a way that instantly set the tone to the Christmas spirit.

“It kicks off the Christmas season and it’s an opportunity to celebrate the beginning of Advent which is presented in the early readings,” said Campus Ministry Director Brother Frank Kelly. “As the service goes through– it progresses to the birth of Jesus. So the event is just a really nice bridge from Advent to Christmas.”

During the ceremony, the crowd listened intently to carols such as “O Come, O Come, Emanuel,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “Silent Night.” Sarah Williams, the director of choral activities conducted the choir, wearing an adorned, grey evening gown. She moved her hands rapidly while mouthing the lyrics, as the singers astutely followed her gestures.

“I’m beyond proud. Students that harness their love of music and give it as a gift –are the next generation of greatness,” said Williams.

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Choral Director, Sarah Williams looks onto the crowd just minutes before the service starts

Later in the service, the crowd participated in an “illumination.” Everyone held a candle that was distributed at the door. Usher men lit the candle of the person sitting on each end of the pew. Then, that person turned over to light the candle of the individual sitting next to them. It was a domino effect.

The lights were turned down low. Soon, the whole church transformed into a sea of lights with candles shining in the air. The orchestra played an instrumental, peaceful tune to set the mood.

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The “Illumination”

Brother Frank Kelly concluded the service with a closing prayer. The ending hymn was “Hallelujah.” The audience was invited to come up to the altar to join in on the singing. About 20 members of the crowd took the opportunity.

“It’s a really good event for everyone who comes to church and they get to experience all the songs we sing and get to sing along if they know the songs too,” said Marist singer, Brittany O’Reilly.  “We always do the traditional lessons and carols–it’s a packet of all these different songs that everybody knows. So it’s really exciting.”

Members of the crowd left, smiling. They chatted about the service that helped them get into the spirit of the holiday season.

“The service was beautiful and I enjoyed hearing the talented singers and musicians in this room. It really put in perspective for me, the true meaning of Christmas,” said parishioner Thomas Gordon.

 

“Frankenstein” Revived Through Storytelling and Visual Art

Despite the otherwise light atmosphere of the Marist College Art Gallery, its graphic contents can only be described as bleak, eerie, and haunting. Directly opposite the display’s unique mixture or grays and blacks are 10 chairs on which visitors can sit and contemplate the work; no matter which chair is sat in, however, the painting’s phantom acrylic eyes always seem to follow.

These paintings make up only one part of Professor Tommy Zurhellen’s “Frankenstein: Könfidential” exhibition, a project that combines traditional storytelling and visual art to recreate Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

“My first impression walking into the gallery was that of feeling tremendously cold,” Professor Zurhellen’s student Kevin Hudson, a senior, said. “The room was spacious, and the cool/monochrome color scheme of each of the paintings created this feeling. I believe Professor Zurhellen was creating a strong introduction through intense feelings of discomfort.”

Professor Zurhellen’s decision to pursue a recreation of the original Frankenstein was prompted by the 200th anniversary of its publication this year. Despite its age, the professor believes its central themes of creation and ethics are as timely as ever.

“[Frankenstein] is 200 years old yet the writing is still fresh and new,” he said. “It’s creepy and spooky and dark and weird, and it could have been written yesterday.”

Professor Zurhellen’s narrative is told in serial form and split into 24 episodes, mirroring the number of chapters found in the original work. Each week one installment is released, accompanied by a visual art graphic that pertains to the story’s timeline. The artwork was created by Hyeseung Marriage-Song, a New York-based artist the professor collaborated with for the project.

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The painting that accompanies Chapter 1: In the Cemetery

“Once people understand that it’s a celebration and recreation of the original story in a collaborative way, they get it,” Professor Zurhellen explained. “It takes a little bit of imagination to get the whole project, but once [people] do, they love it.”

Like the original work, Professor Zurhellen’s project centers around Victor Frankenstein and his vicious creation, but the similarities stop there. In “Frankenstein: Könfidential,” the doctor is a Jew living in Nazi-Germany during the final months of WWII.

The new narrative opens much like the original version, with American Capt. Robert Walton’s cryptic letter to his younger sister Margaret, which is provided as part of the exhibition, complete with rips, creases, coffee cup stains, and a US Army Examiner Stamp.

“The inclusion of this letter in the exhibit was really cool to see as it brought Zurhellen’s story to life among the accompanying artwork,” senior Sarah Howard said. “It looked like a real artifact that you would see in a historical exhibit in a museum.”

Many of the characters within “Frankenstein: Konfidential” are taken from Shelley’s original work, like Dr. Frankenstein’s childhood friend Henry Clerval, but are infused with Professor Zurhellen’s personal twists. Others, however, are entirely based on actual historical figures. One painting depicts the character “Lilo,” who was involved in the resistance movement against the Nazis during the war, and the story’s antagonist is based on real-life Gestapo agent Robert Mohr.

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From left to right: “Lilo,” “Ode to CDF,” (Below) Capt. Walton’s letters to his sister, “Henry Clerval”

“Adding that kind of historical flare [to the characters] helps make the story feel more authentic,” Professor Zurhellen explained.

“I think that Zurhellen is trying to reinvent the Frankenstein story in a new light and give it a newer and more current life,” Howard explained. “I got the sense from the exhibit that he wanted onlookers to question everything they previously knew about the original Frankenstein story, as well as dispel their concept of reality to really transport themselves into the world he has created.”

Since its grand opening on Sept. 27, the exhibit has garnered positive reviews from The ChronogramHudson Valley Magazine, and The Poughkeepsie Journal, among others. Much of the project’s success, Professor Zurhellen said, is owed to his collaboration with Marriage-Song.

“Trust in the power of collaboration [because] you’ll get something that normally by yourself you’d never get,” the professor said. “You get more than just your own work. It’s almost easy, because someone else is working just as hard [as you] and you create something no one else would ever think of. [This project] wouldn’t have happened unless these two powers came together and did something unique.”

In November the exhibit will appear at the Gowanus Industrial Arts Complex in Brooklyn, in front of a much larger audience. Once all 24 installments of “Frankenstein: Könfidential” are released, Professor Zurhellen plans on grouping the chapters together into a printable version.

 

 

 

 

Poughkeepsie Gets Greek Culture

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Pictured: Member of the Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church preparing loukoumades

 

Located in the heart of Poughkeepsie, the Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church hosted it’s bi-annual Poughkeepsie Greek Festival.

This four day event held at the Hellenic Community Center attracted over 10,000 people. This festival is a celebration of the food, music, and the culture of the Hellenic people. The proceeds of the event went to the church’s programs.

 

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Pictured: Andrea Miller, long time member of Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church

 

Andrea Miller has been a member of the Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church for over 45 years and has been a part of the festival since its inception. “The fact that the Greek community comes together and we work for weeks ahead of time baking and cooking, it’s apart of our heritage,” stated Miller. “The fact that this event has been going on for over 40 years proves that it serves its purpose.

People attending this event feel like they are being immersed into another culture when they attend this festival. Many locals attend every year because to this, it is not an event that can be missed.

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Pictured: Millbrook students dancing to traditional Greek music

Although there was no live music and dancing featured at this event attendees danced together to the music the DJ played. This showed the camaraderie as members of the community learned how to dance to Greek music.

“I come every year, twice a year, and I have been for over 15 years. This is not an event that I can miss,” said Yolanda Harris, a Poughkeepsie native. “I like some of the music, I just like being out and seeing different people, different cultures, different races, and I also like to go into the shops that they have here to see what is different from my heritage,” said Harris.

To add to the overall authenticity of the event, the festival this weekend focused on the food.

John Giogakis, is the president of the Parish Council at Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church, and has been working at this event for four years. “People come for our Greek food, everything here is handmade, made to order, and people love the food,” Giogakis stated.

This focus proved to be successful as attendees raved about the quality of the food.

“It has really good food. The atmosphere is extremely inviting, I have been to other Greek festivals but this is by far the best one,” said Frank Davis, Boston native who came to Poughkeepsie just to attend the festival.

Among the food options were, gyros, greek fries, souvlakis, loukoumades, and other traditional Greek food.

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Pictured: Greek fries that were sold at the festival

“It was Greek, very Greek. The food is very similar to the types of foods that I eat at home,” said Cady Anderson, a high school student at Millbrook High School.

This unique event showcases the Greek culture to the local community. Every year it attracts more people and becomes more popular.

“Basically the purpose of this event is our Greek heritage, and giving it to Poughkeepsie. The fact that over 10,000 people have come in four days is truly amazing,” said Giogakis.

“Night on Broadway” Unites the Community

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The Marist Singers gather and sing a medley from Rent for the finale.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — On November 4 and 5, Marist Singers held their 15th Annual “Night on Broadway” benefit concert for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA). As usual, this highly anticipated event was a success: tickets were sold out, over $6,000 in donations were made and performers received a standing ovation. Continue reading

A Song, A Dance, but No Show Plan?

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.—Two months into the fall semester, the Marist College Theater Program continues to have a murky future regarding their spring musical. They have changed their musical of choice twice, from West Side Story to The King and I.  The original choice for the Spring Musical 2018 slot had been Fiddler on the Roof, but had to be changed on account of losing the rights with the show currently touring.  From there the program went in the West Side Story direction, a decision that was later changed to the current show The King and I, and an update as of October 17, 2017 at 10:00 am it was announced that the musical is will not be

Director of the Theater Program, as well as Director of the Spring Musical, Matt Andrews, was available for commentary on the previous show choice for the spring, the main focus being the Golden Era musical.

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Poughkeepsie McDonald’s Involved in Szechaun Sauce Blunder

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. —Many of McDonald’s approximate 68 million daily customers are now very angry with the fast food giant.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, the McDonalds located on 733 Main St. in Poughkeepsie joined several other locations in the company’s attempt to bring back a rare dipping sauce known as Szechuan sauce. The sauce was only made in 1998 to promote the Disney film Mulan, but was recently referenced in the hit Adult Swim television show Rick and Morty. The third and most recent season of Rick and Morty was the most-watched in Adult Swim history, and many of its fans called for McDonalds to bring back their old dipping sauce. As a result, McDonalds announced it would bring back the sauce for one day, but the promotion did not go as planned.

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A look at people we see everyday

Attending a private liberal arts college, it’s easy to think we know everyone we go to school with. However, as Gabriella Gamba, an editor of The Circle at Marist College, mentioned, “When it comes down to it, everyone is confined to their own friend groups. We thought if we could highlight all those people we don’t know, it would give [everyone] a new perspective.” Alongside sophomores, Adler Papiernik and Kerry Tiedemann, Gamba launched the Instagram account known as Marist Stories.

Inspired after the original Humans of New York, and later the capping project that became a Facebook page, Humans of Marist College; Gamba, had been talking about restarting something like this at Marist for months with her Circle colleague, Bernadette Hogan. As she pitched the idea to Papiernik and Tiedemann, “[the three of us] just spearheaded it,” she mentioned. Trying to get students to have a better understanding of the culture around campus, Gamba, Papiernik, and Tiedemann began walking around campus acquiring content and developing ideas.

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