WCSU News

University identifies object that prompted shutdown

DANBURY, CONN. — After a thorough investigation, police have determined that the sighting of a “gun” which was reported at the Western Connecticut State University Visual and Performing Arts Center on Nov. 20, 2018,  was actually a portable light stand.

Security cameras in the building captured photos of a person carrying the light stand. A student later carried the same piece of equipment past the classroom where a student called 911 to report seeing a man with a gun.

After examining the photos, a witness who had been in the classroom acknowledged that the tripod-like light stand, and the student carrying the stand with a shoulder-slung book bag, matched the description from the 911 call. This was corroborated by additional witness accounts.

WCSU President Dr. John Clark expressed relief that in fact there had been no gun on campus, and praised the investigative work of the University Police, the Connecticut State Police and Danbury Police. He also praised the patience and understanding of the students, faculty and staff over the past two weeks. He gave special recognition and praise to the student who made the initial 911 call.

“She took the exact, right action and should be congratulated for it,” Clark said.

“Our entire university community must remain vigilant after this last incident,” Clark added. “Everyone must follow a simple rule for safety and security. If you see a suspicious person or activity and even have a doubt, call the police and 911 immediately.  The old axiom, better be safe than sorry certainly applies here.”

“This has been a difficult, traumatic time for us,” Clark said. “We want to believe that our university is safe and secure, and any indication that we aren’t, causes anxiety and anger. I thank everyone involved for their patience and for sharing their concerns. We need to make sure that everyone’s questions are answered and that help and assistance are provided to all students, faculty, and staff who experienced this incident.”

While this incident did not involve an actual gunman, Clark said the university is determined to implement a number of improvements to campus security based on the recommendation the administration has received from faculty, staff and students.

Some actions have already been taken. Campus police have increased foot patrols in the Visual and Performing Arts Center, Counseling Center staff has provided additional support and outreach to the campus community and several hundred more people have signed up to receive notices through the campus emergency notification system. Changes to infrastructure of the center are being considered to improve communication within the building as well as access controls. Additional training for all members of the campus community is also being developed. An assessment of the entire incident is being conducted, which will result in recommendations to cover the range of possible emergency situations that may arise on either WCSU campus.

Clark said he is working toward starting the improvements and additional training protocols as soon as possible.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

Final report from President Clark on Nov. 20 incident

Dear members of the university community:

After a most thorough and exhaustive police investigation, I am greatly relieved to report that the instrument that was originally reported as a gun on November 20 at the Visual and Performing Arts Center has been positively identified as a portable light stand used by our art students.

Security cameras in the building captured photos of a professor and later a student who carried this piece of equipment under their arms as they walked down the hallway next to the classroom where a student called 911 to report seeing a man with a gun.

After examining the photos, the eyewitness and supporting witnesses who had been in the classroom acknowledged that the tripod-like light stand, and the student carrying the stand with a shoulder-slung book bag, matched the description from the 911 call. This was corroborated by additional witness accounts.

We are most grateful to Chief Roger Connor and the members of the WCSU Police Department as well as the Connecticut State Police and Danbury Police Department for both their quick response and the countless hours working to complete the investigation in a timely manner. We are most fortunate to have professionals of such high caliber devoted to our safety.

I also want to recognize our faculty, staff and especially our students for their bravery and courage during and after the event.  This has been a difficult and traumatic time for us. We want to believe our university is safe and secure, and any indication that it is not causes understandable anxiety and anger.  So the calm, understanding and patience displayed during this difficult and trying time is deeply appreciated and reflective of our outstanding students, faculty and staff.

However, I want to emphasize that even though this was a case of mistaken identity, we must remain vigilant.  Please observe the following rule: If you see a suspicious person or activity, even if you have a doubt, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY.  The old adage of BETTER BE SAFE THAN SORRY certainly applies here at our university.  In that regard, I want to recognize and applaud the actions of the student who made the 911 call.  This student took the exact, right action and we should all be thankful and congratulate this student.  This student’s quick and correct action is an example to us all and in an actual emergency could have saved countless lives.

Most importantly, we must take advantage of this opportunity to improve the safety and security of the University. We can accomplish this by initiating immediate measures and also implement improvements to campus security from the recommendations and suggestions we have received.

As I noted in my previous email message to you, campus police have increased foot patrols in the Visual and Performing Arts Center, Counseling Center staff has provided additional support and outreach to the university community and several hundred more people have signed up to receive notices through the campus emergency notification system. Changes to infrastructure of the center are being considered to improve communication within the VPAC building as well as security access controls. Additional training for all members of our university community is also being developed.

I, and the senior members of the administration, are committed to your safety and well-being and we are determined to make the necessary improvements on an “as soon as possible” basis to restore your sense of safety and security at the university.

Again, my thanks to all involved in facing this potential danger in such admirable fashion and I want to wish everyone an enjoyable holiday season and a Happy New Year!

My very best wishes,

Dr. John B. Clark
President
Western Connecticut State University

 

 

WCSU theatre arts department to present ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

image of a scene from 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

A scene from ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Department of Theatre Arts will present “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” from Thursday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. Performances will be at 8 p.m. on Dec. 6 (High School/Student Preview Night), and at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7 and 8; with 2 p.m. matinees on Dec. 8 and 9.

The performance will be on the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. For tickets, go to www.eventbrite.com/e/the-25th-annual-putnam-county-spelling-bee-tickets-45386750994 or call (203) 837-8732.

The production is a well-known musical comedy, centered on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the Bee, which is run by three equally quirky adults. According to Music Theatre International, the eclectic group of students compete in the “spelling championship of a lifetime” while candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives. The tweens also “spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming ‘ding’ of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.”

Based on the book by Rachel Sheinkin, the added music and lyrics of William Finn helps to bring this story to life. The 2005 Broadway production by James Lapine was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning two, including Best Book. The show has also inspired numerous other productions throughout the United States and across the world.

The cast includes Krista Allen, of East Hampton, as Logainne Schwartzandgrubinerre; Nathan Clift, of Trumbull, as William Barfée; Lu DeJesus, of New Haven, as Mitch Mahoney, Colin Gallaher, of Wappingers Falls, New York, as Leaf Coneybear; Emma Giorgio, of Ridgefield, as Olive Ostrovsky; Tony Harkin, of New Milford, as Chip Tolentino; Izzy Mercaldo, of Brookfield, as Marcy Park/Movement Coach; Jessica Schwartz, of Brookfield, as Rona Lisa Peretti; and Dominick Ventrella, of Ridgefield, as Douglas Panch.

The crew includes Director Phillip George, Music Director Howard Kilik, Assistant Director Chelsea Weaver, Production Stage Manager Sarah Renzoni, Lighting Designer Stef Carr, Costume Designer Jessica Bowe and Set Designer Abigail Bueti.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

President Clark update on November 20 incident

Dear members of our university community,

The extremely upsetting event that many of our faculty, staff and students experienced at the Visual and Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, has created justifiable feelings of fear, anxiety and anger, and the understandable need for more information.

As an update, I have been advised today, that in collaboration with the Connecticut State Police and the Danbury Police Department, our University Police will be completing their investigation of the VPAC “gunman” incident shortly.

As you can appreciate, this has involved countless interviews, review of surveillance camera footage and other investigatory work to bring this case to a conclusion. I wanted to make sure anything reported to you about this incident is totally accurate and fully credible.

As soon as I have the final findings from the police, I will immediately share them with you. I plan on a follow-up forum and informational sessions if any questions remain.

I also want to assure you that we are and will continue to work on the recommendations and suggestions received from you to better insure your safety and security at our University, now and in the future. University Police have already increased foot patrols in the VPAC, Counseling Center staff have provided additional support and outreach to the campus community, and several hundred more people have signed up to receive notices through the campus emergency notification system. Informational reminders on safety and security protocols and procedures will be provided at the beginning of the semester, along with a list of additional long-term security measures that will be put in place as soon as possible.

For your information, the Counseling Center is available for students. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and it is located in the Student Center Room 222 on the Midtown campus. The telephone number is (203) 837-8690. Faculty, Students and University employees may also contact the Fairfield County Trauma Recovery Network for a list of community providers at https://fctrn.com.

Finally, I wish to emphasize that your safety and security is my primary goal, and when this case at the VPAC is successfully resolved, please remain vigilant. There is one simple rule to follow if you see suspicious activity: WHEN IN DOUBT – CALL 911 AND THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY.

I should be in contact with you soon with the final results of the investigation. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding during this most difficult and trying process.

Sincerely,

Dr. John B. Clark
President
Western Connecticut State University

WCSU to host discussion about ‘Holiday Celebrations from Around the World’

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Office of Intercultural Affairs will present Benjamin Teixeira de Aguiar, who will discuss “Spirituality With or Without Religion” at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018,  in the Ballroom of the Campus Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. It will feature English and Portuguese translations. This “WCSU Holiday Celebrations from Around the World” event will be free and the public is invited. Get tickets at www.eventbrite.com/e/holiday-celebrations-around-the-world-spirituality-with-or-without-religion-tickets-52482372188.

Teixeira de Aguiar, a spiritual leader, medium, lecturer, writer and TV host, is well-known throughout Brazil and South America, and has followers in more than 170 countries. He is the president and founder of the Quantum Leap Institute, a nonprofit Christian spiritual school of thought, which was launched in 1994.

“This is a lecture on spirituality, from a scientific modern perspective of reality, with the opportunity for the audience to ask questions,” Teixeira de Aguiar said.

Bharbara Viegas, a WCSU Justice and Law Administration (JLA) student with a concentration in legal studies, is a follower of Teixeira de Aguiar’s work and became a member of his institution three years ago. She works in the Office of InterCultural Affairs, where she pitched the idea of bringing the speaker to campus to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. With the help and co-sponsorship of the student organization WestConn Without Borders, the event finally came to fruition.

“He comes to the United States once a year to hold his international lectures and has spoken at the United Nations and the World Trade Center,” Viegas said. “He wanted to do more outreach to students, so I thought that coming to WCSU would be a great fit.”

Viegas believes that the community can benefit from his talk because he is trying to bring to people an understanding of themselves and others by promoting inclusion and acceptance, since younger generations are increasingly more reluctant to join organized religion.

“Young people miss out on the many benefits of practicing their own individual form of spirituality, whether it be through meditation, prayer or personal introspection,” she said. “But everyone is accepted, regardless of religious affiliation; whether it be atheist, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, etc.”

Teixeira de Aguiar’s Quantum Leap Institute is disassociated from any formal religious affiliation and spreads ideas that foster spirituality, wisdom, peace and happiness through mass communication. Its headquarters are in Aracaju, Sergipe, Brazil, with a main branch in the Danbury area, and its website publishes daily messages of enlightenment and guidance in text, audio or video, by Teixeira de Aguiar’s mediumistic practices.

Marcone Viera, a member of Quantum Leap Institute, believes this event is a great opportunity for WCSU students. “They will have access to a renowned spiritual leader followed by more than five million people worldwide on his Facebook pages, the founder and president of an organization with special consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations Economic and Social Council.”

Teixeira de Aguiar’s work also offers community development programs at Sister Brigida’s Health Centre, the organization’s social services headquarters in Brazil. It benefits hundreds of people in the community by providing services such as medical care, dental care, Christian-spiritual education, citizenship rights and classes, English classes, writing classes, empowerment projects for women, distribution of soup, bread and snacks, food pantries and much more.

For more information, contact the Office of InterCultural Affairs at (203) 837-8961.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

 

Family-owned Connecticut firms featured at WCSU panel

Directors of Luke’s Toy Factory, Triback Sports and Unger Global to speak at forum

DANBURY, CONN. — Three Connecticut manufacturers that have achieved entrepreneurial success under boldly imaginative and innovative family ownerships will be featured in an Entrepreneurial Arc panel discussion to be held on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, at Western Connecticut State University.

Participants in the Entrepreneurial Arc panel, presented as part of the WCSU series of programs showcasing local entrepreneurs, will include Luke and Jim Barber, the son and father who own Luke’s Toy Factory, of Danbury; Edwin Salazar, founder of Triback Sports, of New Milford, and his daughter Isabella; and Dane Unger, a director of Unger Global, of Bridgeport, in partnership with his brothers Jan and Mark.

The forum will be at 6 p.m. in Room 218 of the Classroom Building on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Admission will be free and the public is invited to attend. Co-sponsors for the event include the Center for Entrepreneurship, Research, Innovation and Creativity (E.R.I.C.@THEGARAGE), the Ancell School of Business and the Macricostas Entrepreneurial Endowment, all at WCSU; the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce; and the Danbury Hackerspace.

Dr. Pauline Assenza, associate professor of Management and coordinator of the Entrepreneurial Arc program, observed that the panel discussion will focus on issues confronted by family-owned businesses as well as supply-chain and sourcing challenges that American manufacturers face in today’s global marketplace.

“Family businesses represent 80 to 90 percent of all business in North America,” Assenza remarked. “Evidence suggests that family businesses are a powerful force for success because of the values that are passed down, and the innovation that occurs when different generations work together to find new ways of tackling problems. This innovative mindset can be key to overcoming the sourcing, supply chain and sustainability issues that are becoming important to consumers worldwide. The three businesses represented on our panel are in various stages of development, yet they all have achieved important milestones and have a positive story to tell.”

A 2012 Rutgers University graduate who entered a weak post-recession job market, Luke Barber chose to turn his passion for making things into a profession as the designer of paint-free toy trucks suitable for the preschool and early education markets. He received encouragement in his quest from his father Jim, an advertising photographer who sensed the market opportunity for more U.S.-made, child-safe products in the toy market in the wake of the 2007 lead-paint recall for Thomas the Tank Engine toys manufactured in China. Together they launched a Kickstarter campaign to launch Luke’s Toy Factory in Danbury in 2014.

The company specializes in the use of virgin polypropylene and sawdust from recycled maple wood scraps to create a material that can be molded into the interchangeable parts that make up a diverse line of toy trucks. The manufacturing supply chain is thoroughly American — wood plastic composite manufacture in Michigan, 3-D prototype printing in Danbury, steel mold casting in Massachusetts, injection molding in Southington, and final assembly and shipping at the Danbury home site. The process has enabled Luke’s Toy Factory to produce paint-free toys with the appearance and feel of handcrafted wooden goods at a fraction of the cost.

The company has enjoyed success in marketing its products to small toy stores and early education programs, with future plans in 2019 to introduce sale of its educational toy line in Europe through a Belgian distributor. The firm’s commitment to a “Made in America” process has reaped benefits as well, Assenza said. “Companies have realized that not only are labor and shipping costs rising for overseas production, but there is a direct benefit in positive perception of a company’s image when manufacturing jobs are returned to the United States,” she noted.

Edwin Salazar founded Triback Sports with a clear vision to establish a niche market in the manufacture of custom-designed soccer wear for adult and youth players, seizing opportunity in the rapidly growing popularity of the sport in the United States. Together with his daughter Isabella, a management major in the WCSU Ancell School of Business, he has created a thriving business in high-quality soccer jerseys, shirts, shorts and accessories that are customized through embroidery, printing, dye sublimation and other processes. Triback’s extensive technical capacities to customize garments and accessories at its factory in New Milford enable the firm to produce goods to the customer’s order, whether for individuals seeking the jersey of their favorite clubs or for entire teams who can be outfitted with a full kit including team and sponsor logos.

The Salazars have drawn upon the family’s close connection over the past two decades with a manufacturer in Colombia, where Triback sources its fabric and produces its clothing. Assenza observed that soccer’s dominance as a national sport in the South American nation provides a competitive edge for Triback in design and development of apparel for this expanding market in the United States. “This should become a lucrative market for the Salazars, especially as young people are now selecting soccer as often as they pick basketball as their favorite choice for local team play,” she said.

Dane Unger’s unique journey to entrepreneurial success began as a classically trained musician and band leader in California and as a chemical sales representative before moving to Connecticut in 1985 to join Unger Global. The family-owned company, founded in Germany in 1964 by his father Henry and now headquartered in Bridgeport with branch offices in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and China, specializes in manufacture of quality cleaning tools designed to improve worker efficiency and safety while providing healthier and environmentally sustainable building sanitation for corporate, institutional and consumer clients. Its corporate mission is reflected in its platinum sponsorship of the Healthy Schools Campaign, a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote “green clean schools” across the United States.

Currently a director of Unger Global, Dane’s record of accomplishment includes his leadership as president of Unger Industrial in the development and implementation of the firm’s consumer business strategy, opening the way to marketing and distribution of its consumer product line at Williams Sonoma, Home Depot, Ace Hardware and other major retailers. Most recently, he has directed the global research and development divisions in the United States and Germany and overseen the setup of a new engineering group in China. He also maintains strong engagement with the university and Danbury area communities as a member of the WCSU Foundation Board of Directors; the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation at WCSU; and the Wooster School Board of Trustees.

“Dane is truly a champion of education,” Assenza remarked. “I first met Dane at the Danbury Hackerspace, where he was delighted to find a community of makers including Luke Barber supporting each other while innovating and learning. Dane represents an enduring innovation mindset, always curious and look for opportunities both to improve and to give back.”

For more information about the panel discussion, contact Assenza at assenzap@wcsu.edu or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

WCSU spring production of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ wins national honors

National Opera Association competition gives WCSU performance first-place ranking

image of Christine Manalo, of Watertown, as Gretel, and Olivia Conforti, of Naugatuck, as Hansel

Christine Manalo, of Watertown, as Gretel, and Olivia Conforti, of Naugatuck, as Hansel.

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Opera spring 2018 production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” has received first-place honors in the 2017-18 Opera Production Competition sponsored by the National Opera Association.

The WCSU “Hansel and Gretel” production directed by Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup achieved a first-place tie in Division I with the University of Missouri at St. Louis. This year’s NOA competition attracted 78 applicants for full opera productions at universities, colleges and young artist training institutions across the United States. Twenty-four judges drawn from academic music programs and from professional opera companies nationwide determined prize winners in eight competition divisions based on cast age, budget size, type of musical accompaniment and other factors.

Suzanne Ramo, co-chair of the NOA competition committee, observed that judges “commented on how exciting it was to see so much talent and creativity on display, and those who work outside of academia remarked especially that the future of our art form is in good hands.” Ramo noted that WCSU and other higher education institutions participating in the competition also benefited in “getting feedback not only from their colleagues at other schools, but from singers, directors and producers actively working in the professional world that many students aspire to join.”

The NOA, founded in 1955, seeks to fulfill its mission statement objectives “to promote a greater appreciation of opera and musical theatre, to enhance pedagogy and performing activities, and to increase performance opportunities by supporting projects that improve the scope and quality of opera.” NOA-sponsored competitions in various aspects of collegiate opera presentations are designed to promote all aspects of the art form from scene design, voice and composition to production, Ramo said.

The WCSU production featured Olivia Conforti, of Naugatuck, as Hansel and Christine Manalo, of Watertown, as Gretel. Other performers included Dan Satter, of Trumbull; Nicole Salamon, of Greenwich; Sergio Mandujano, of Norwalk; Amy Cerbie, of Meriden; and Callie Sorrento, of Carmel, New York.

“Winning the National Opera Association Opera Production Competition is a great achievement for our student cast and all who worked towards creating this opera production,” Astrup remarked. “It is also a great honor. WCSU Opera has been steadily growing during the past 20 years, and for our school to be recognized with this competitive national award validates all that we put into it.

“I am extremely honored to have been able to work with these talented students, a wonderful creative production team, and gifted music colleagues,” she said. “With opera, so many diverse elements must come together — and when they do, it is magic!

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

Message About the Reported Gun Incident from President Clark

Dear Members of our University Community,

First of all, after the difficult ordeal many of you had to experience last week, I would hope that you all had a Happy Thanksgiving holiday.  I want to express my sympathy and concern for you, especially for those on our Westside campus, especially in and around our School of Visual and Performing Arts building and Campus Center where the police search and investigation took place after the reports of a person with gun were received.  It was a traumatic ordeal especially in the context of the real tragedies of mass shootings across the country that disturbingly occur on a regular basis.

Please rest assured that while our main mission is teaching and research, our chief concern is your security and safety.  So saying, we will schedule informational sessions for our community as well as open forums so all can share their experiences, concerns and offer suggestions for improvement.  In conjunction with our campus police and state and local law enforcement agencies, a comprehensive assessment of the day’s events and the university’s response and actions will be conducted.  Included in that assessment will be a full review of our safety protocols and communication procedures.  It is vitally important that we learn from this situation so we can correct deficiencies and make the necessary improvements in the university’s management of emergency situations.  Just as importantly, it is critical that all the members of our university community be fully informed about last week’s events so you can provide your own suggestions and critical comments to us during this review process.  Our dedicated goal is to make our campuses even more safe and secure.

Lastly, but most importantly, I would like to express my deep appreciation to our university faculty and administrators and the state, city and university police who responded to and assisted during this incident.  Also, I want to recognize the bravery and composure of our faculty, staff and students who had to endure such an emotional ordeal.  I was especially impressed with our students who were at the Westside Campus Center.  While this was a most upsetting time, they all conducted themselves so well – exhibiting patience and calm in the face of danger.

While improvements will be needed and deficiencies properly addressed, please know that we are totally committed to maintaining a safe and secure environment where you can perform the wonderful work and service you provide our treasured students.  This is my professional responsibility as your president as well as my deepest personal concern.

Regards,
John

Dr. John B. Clark
President
Western Connecticut State University

 

 

WCSU Opera to present ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’

24th annual production features performances of Menotti holiday classic Nov. 30 & Dec. 1

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Opera will present its 24th annual production of the holiday classic “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in two performances on Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury.

 The “Amahl” presentations at 7 p.m. on Nov. 30 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1 will feature WCSU students in the principal adult roles, with a different cast appearing in each performance. General admission is $12, with a ticket price of $8 for senior citizens and children under 12. Advance reservations may be made online at www.wcsu.edu/tickets or by calling (203) 837-TIXX. Tickets also will be sold at the door.

The English-language opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti, originally commissioned for broadcast on the NBC television network in December 1951, has become a popular holiday tradition in the Danbury area for nearly a quarter century. The opera, which runs approximately 50 minutes, tells the story of an impoverished and crippled shepherd boy’s encounter with the Three Kings on their way to Bethlehem and the heart-warming outcome of their chance meeting. In notes describing his composition of the opera, Menotti explained he was inspired by his fond memories of the Three Kings as the legendary source of Christmas gifts during his childhood in Italy.

Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup, director and producer of the WCSU Opera production, described the Menotti opera as “a seasonal favorite of people of all faiths that resonates a universal message of self-sacrifice and generosity. This is a captivating entry work to the art form and a way for children and families to be introduced to both theatre and opera.”

The title role of Amahl will be performed on Nov. 30 by 9-year-old Nathan Horne, of Stratford; and on Dec. 1 by 12-year-old Nicholas Eklund, of New Fairfield. “Both Nathan and Nicholas join this production with considerable stage experience, both amateur and professional,” Astrup remarked. “If you haven’t seen ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors,’ this is the year to do it!”

The WCSU student cast for the Nov. 30 performance will feature Abigail Swartout, of Horsehead, New York, as Amahl’s mother; William Alldredge, of Naugatuck, as Kaspar; Anthony Deluco, of Cheshire, as Melchior; Americo Salvi, of Hamden, as Balthazar; and James Bavolacco, of Stratford, as the Page. The cast for the Dec. 1 matinee will feature Cathryn Jordan, of New Britain, as the mother; Peter Ryan, of Watertown, as Kaspar; Matthew Sacco, of Orange, as Melchior; Kevin Michaud, of Bristol, as Balthazar; and Zachary Nelson, of Wiccopee, New York, as the Page.

Featured pianists will be Andrew Gordon on Nov. 30 and Susan Anthony Klein for the Dec. 1 matinee. Adjunct Professor of Music Dr. Mark Snyder will play oboe for both performances.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

WCSU Art Department to host student ceramics sale Dec. 6 & 7

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Department of Art will host a ceramics sale from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6 and 7, 2018, in Room 017 of White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The public is invited.

Students in the WCSU Department of Art will sell their handmade ceramic craft products. The student artists have produced a variety of functional and non-toxic ceramic wares as part of their course work. Ceramics on sale for holiday gift giving and personal use will include plates, bowls and other pieces that are made with pigmented clays or have been given a glazed finish. Prices for items on sale will generally range from $5 to $25.

Funds raised from the sale will support the Art Department ceramics program. A tour of the new WCSU ceramics studio and information about the ceramics process will be available to visitors during the sale.

For more information, contact Adjunct Professor of Art Jurg Lanzrein at lanzreinj@wcsu.edu.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.