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Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Answering the Call of the Big Apple

When Canandaigua native Amber Smith graduated from Keuka College in 2011, she had dreams of the Big Apple.

Smith as the character Billie Dawn in the Keuka College play "Born Yesterday."

Forging her own path at the College, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in management, but fleshed out her concentration in theatre and minor in communication studies by investing time acting in campus plays, serving as president of the Arion Players (drama club) and honing leadership skills. For example, she coordinated special events such as an all-arts or improv night for the Arion Players.

When she graduated, there were three potential career options in mind: acting, hip-hop dance or managing her own business.

Now a New York City resident, the dancer/actress/singer has begun to make her mark in choreography, putting her hip-hop dance talents to use in three music videos and now, serving as co-choreographer for the Bristol Valley Theater production of “Rent,” which runs through July 19 in Naples. She is also a cast member.

The Bristol Valley Theater cast of "Rent."

“In the ensemble, I sing and dance a lot as I play about six different characters minor to the show. Singing and dancing are what I love to do,” said the Canandaigua native.

Amber Smith '11 as one of several supporting characters in the summer production of the Tony-award winning musical "Rent," at the Bristol Valley Theater in Naples.

As a co-choreographer for “Rent,” Smith has choreographed the tango sequence and dance sequence – two of the biggest numbers – with what she calls a “softer side.” Where other versions of the show have portrayed characters dancing with little thought or intent, Smith’s choreography seeks to echo the lyrics and rhythm of those songs in the physical movement, she said.

Audience members may also see elements of hip-hop in the choreography, a nod to Smith’s dance specialty. Her music videos include two for rap artist D’Chrome Foster and one for the rock band dec3. In addition to dance, Smith has sung backup vocals for Foster, and will return to the Big Apple following “Rent” to record vocals for his next album and then choreograph his next music video.

Smith sees great marketability when a performer can sing, act and dance on stage or screen, so she plans to continue choreographing whenever the opportunity arises. Ultimately, however, she would love to utilize her business skills as a manager in the music industry, she said.

“I’d really like to help guide people in developing their entertainment careers,” she said. To that end, Smith believes her Keuka College education prepared her well for success.

Amber Smith, Class of 2011

She cited faculty members Mark Wenderlich, professor of theatre, and Ann Tuttle, professor of management, for their guidance and encouragement to pursue her dreams, push herself to success and be confident in her decisions. In addition, the “small-town friendliness” that encompasses the campus community has served her well in New York City, where she said people respond positively when she interacts with them in a warm, open way atypical of big-city residents.

“The atmosphere at Keuka College sticks with you and helps you relate to people on different levels,” she described.

If it takes a little while to build up the business side of her career, Smith is not worried. Meanwhile, she stays busy auditioning for roles, taking dance lessons and more on top of her job at a couture children’s boutique inside the Plaza Hotel.

“If someone offers me a part in a show, there’s no way I’d say no,” she explained. “Who’s going to say no when you can sing and dance and do what you love?”

 

Bill Turner to Receive 2015 Stork Award

On the surface, the Presbyterian Church, Penn Yan Racquet Club, Lions Club, Christmas for the Needy, and Keuka Care Comfort Home might not seem like they have much in common.

Nor might the Once Again Shoppe, Penn Yan Area Council of Churches Community Action Program, the Back to School Program, and the Elks Club.

But there is one common—and constant—bond that connects each organization to the others. His name is Bill Turner, a lifelong resident of Penn Yan and the 2015 recipient of the Donald and Corinne Stork Award for Community Service. The award will be presented Tuesday, Aug. 11 at a noon luncheon in the Geiser Dining Hall in Dahlstrom Student Center at Keuka College.

The Stork Award was established in 1991 by Keuka College to recognize outstanding individuals who exemplify the College’s commitment of valuing individual initiative for the common good. The award was named after its first recipients, Penn Yan residents Corinne Stork and the late Donald Stork.

Those who know Turner say he’s a person who believes that individuals can change communities for the better. This is just one lesson Turner’s parents instilled in him as a child—a love of his community and a commitment to helping others.

Take the Presbyterian Church, where the young Turner helped his father stoke the furnace. Since then, he has continued to dedicate himself to his church through a variety of roles. He continues his work as a trustee, has served as an elder and a deacon, and sits on the Building and Grounds Committee. He has also been active with the Penn Yan Area Council of Churches Community Action Program Inc., where he has served on its Board of Directors.

For the Christmas for the Needy program, Turner has organized the transportation of toys and food, and makes certain that those unable to get to the distribution site still receive Christmas packages. At the Once Again Shoppe, Turner can be counted on to move and sort donated items or find the right piece of furniture for someone in need, among other projects. He chairs the Building Maintenance and Repair committee there, too.

In addition, Turner has assisted with the efforts of the Back to School program by helping shop, package, and deliver school supplies to ensure students are ready to begin the school year. He is a founding member of the Penn Yan Racquet Club, and a longtime member of the Elks Lodge and the Lion’s Club, where he received an Award of Merit in 2002. Turner has also served as a Town of Milo councilman, been a member of the United States Junior Chamber (more commonly called Jaycees), and has supported efforts to raise money for Keuka Comfort Care Home.

Tickets for the luncheon are $13. Seating is limited, so advanced reservations are advised. Make checks payable to Keuka College and mail to: Office of Alumni and Family Relations, Keuka College, Keuka Park, N.Y. 14478, or reservations may be made online at events.keuka.edu. The reservation deadline is Wednesday, Aug 5.

For more information call (315) 279-5238 or e-mail alumni@keuka.edu.

Keuka College Welcomes Eastman School of Music Summer Camp to Campus

Eight free and open to the public performances at Keuka College will highlight a summer music camp conducted by the Eastman School of Music July 13-24.

Known as Eastman@Keuka, the camp is an intensive music training experience for students in grades 6-9, which brings together students from all corners of the United States and several countries around the world. They will study classical, jazz, and musical theatre with professionals from the Eastman School of Music and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Keuka College is proud to host the Eastman School of Music summer camp and welcomes the community to enjoy their talents at the following free concerts:

Keuka College Receives More Than $160,000 for Energy Conservation Efforts

Robert Schick, chair of the Keuka College Board of Trustees and president of the Lyons National Bank, will accept a $168,351 check on behalf of the College for energy and conversation measures undertaken in campus facilities. He will accept the check during the College’s June 24 Board of Trustees meeting.

The measures are part of a $4 million campus-wide modernization project that will reduce Keuka College’s environmental impact while increasing the productivity and comfort of students, faculty, staff, and guests to the campus. The upgrades will leverage new technology, including LED lighting and adaptive energy management strategies, and ultimately reduce Keuka College’s operational expenses by more than $6 million over 20 years.

As a result of the project’s plans, the College has earned the $168,351 efficiency rebate provided by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA).

“Environmental sustainability is an important component of Keuka College’s long-range strategic plan,” said Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president of Keuka College. “We are committed to investments in sustainable technologies, and this project will reduce the main campus’ carbon footprint by more than 14 percent each year.”

“The 14 percent reduction is equivalent to 709 metric tons of CO2, the same emitted by more than 79,700 gallons of gasoline,” added Jerry Hiller, vice president for finance and administration.

Keuka College’s leadership team evaluated numerous investment options, ultimately selecting the best blend of financial and technical performance. Funding for the project was obtained through a financing program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development assistance program.

The project will be delivered by Trane and includes new natural gas-fired heating plants to service 12 buildings, several high-efficiency heating, ventilating, air conditioning (HVAC) systems, exterior LED lighting, complete renovation of Harrington Hall’s comfort systems and a comprehensive, web-based energy management platform to maximize performance and efficiency.

Hunter Heselton Creates ITS Work-Study Guide, Documents Each Konica Minolta Printer During Field Period™

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of 2015 Konica Minolta Scholarships for Graphic Arts and Print-related Field Period™ experiences. In support of academic excellence, Konica Minolta will offer $30,000 ($10,000 each year from 2014-2016) to be used as scholarship funding for internships or a Field Period™ that promotes the advancement of graphic and/or print-related studies. Amounts awarded will vary based on the expense needs of each recipient as determined by the committee.

Hunter Heselton receives congratulations from Tara Bloom, assistant director of Field Period™ and internships, during Honors Convocation (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

The work sophomore Hunter Heselton completed during his Field Period™ with Keuka College’s Information Technology Services (ITS) will last long after he graduates.

That’s because the Penn Yan resident created an ITS work-study student training guide, which includes a combination of online activities, printed material, and video podcasts.

“With the partnership between Konica Minolta and Keuka College, the main role for my Field Period™ was to develop the guidelines and procedures that the students, faculty, and staff will utilize within the managed print environment,” said Heselton, an exploratory major. “I worked closely with the ITS staff to develop the procedures and guidelines that will be utilized as the basis for the ITS work-study student training guides.”

And if you ask him, Heselton can tell you the location of each of the 44 fleet printers and three production-based Konica Minolta devices across campus and the Center for Professional Studies. He spent “substantial” time dedicated toward the asset management and documentation of the not only the location of each Konica Minolta device, but it’s model number and serial number as well.

He also familiarized himself with the functionality and nomenclature of the 44 printers, including standard printing, copying, scanning, and faxing procedures.

“I also conducted an analysis of the wireless printing capabilities across campus utilizing the Konica Minolta Equitrac/PrinterOn solution to include all residence halls,” Heselton said. “Any problematic areas were documented within the IT Services call-tracking system.”

Heselton then coordinated the scheduling of, and presented, an Equitrac/PrinterOn printer training classes to all departments. It is a printing management system that provides tools to enforce student print quotas, charge for printed output and promote sustainability.

“I was thrilled to work with ITS, and learn about the latest technologies at Keuka College,” Heselton said of his Field Period™.