Skip to content

Keuka College News

Keuka College’s 125th Anniversary Concert Series Continues Nov. 22 with Nine to Five




As Keuka College continues to celebrate its 125th year, it will host a series of concerts through April 2016.

Sponsored by Lyons National Bank, the Keuka College 125th Anniversary Concert Series continues with a performance Nov. 22 by the ensemble Nine to Five. Led by award-winning Eastman School of Music student Dominic Giardino, the concert begins at 3 p.m. in Norton Chapel.

Giardino (clarinet) is joined by Dorothy (Dolly) Canevari (bassoon), David Belkovski (piano), and Noah Kay (oboe). All are students at the Eastman School of Music.

Giardino, is a senior at the Eastman School of Music studying with Jon Manasse. He has played with the Eastman Philharmonia Opera Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Eastman Harmonie, and the student group Ossia New Music Ensemble. Currently serving as principal clarinetist with Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band, Giardino’s passion for historical performance has lead him to explore early music at Brandeis University’s Early Clarinet Workshop, and to Ochsenhausen, Germany where he worked with the acclaimed period music orchestra Concerto Köln.

Canevari is a junior at the Eastman School of Music studying for a degree in bassoon performance from the studio of John Hunt. In addition, she is pursuing a degree in cultural anthropology at the University of Rochester. Canevari enjoys chamber music and has played in bassoon quartets, woodwind quintets and wind sextets.

Belkovski, a senior at the Eastman School of Music, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in piano performance under the instruction of Natalya Antonova. Born in Skopje, Macedonia into an exceptionally musical family, he has performed in master classes for esteemed pianists such as Boris Slutsky, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Christopher Taylor, and Frederic Chiu. Belkovski has performed at the Young Artist World Piano Competition in Cincinnati as well as Carnegie’s Weill Hall. He was most recently featured playing Mozart’s 17th Piano Concerto in collaboration with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra. Along with his solo piano endeavors, Belkovski has worked extensively with piano trios.

Kay, a junior at the Eastman School of Music, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree under Richard Killmer. He began his studies on the oboe at the age of 15, and is involved in a variety of ensemble, including the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Eastman Philharmonia, and Eastman Harmonie Octet, an auditioned ensemble specializing primarily in 18th century wind music. Over the summer, Kay was a featured musician in the Cape May Music Festival with his dad, Alan Kay, and members of the New York Chamber Ensemble. He has also attended Le Domaine Forget in Québec, Canada.

The Keuka College 125th Anniversary Concert Series continues in 2016 with a jazz trio from Ithaca College for a Valentine’s Day concert Feb. 14, a baroque-style concert featuring Publick Musick will perform March 20, and a series finale on April 17, 2016.

All concerts are free and open to the public, and held on Sundays at 3 p.m. at Keuka College’s Norton Chapel.

Rochester Native Matt Griffo will Perform Nov. 19 at Keuka College

Comedian Matt Griffo will perform Nov. 19 at Keuka College.

Free and open to the public, the show begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Red Barn Theater.

Griffo, a ukulele player who grew up in Rochester, plays original comedic songs on piano and ukulele. Now living in Chicago, Griffo is also an actor and comedian who writes songs about such topics as the environment, love, and zombies. He performs at festivals across the country, has opened for Reggie Watts, and is the composer for the Chicago smash hit Jersey Shore The Musical.

In creating his songs, Griffo says that sometimes it starts with an idea, or a melody, or “sometimes it starts with serious song lyrics that I think sound too serious, and then it becomes a comedy song.”

Griffo picked up the ukulele as a child, when he thought his hands were not big enough for a guitar.

“My dad is a drummer and guitar player, and I wanted to play guitar,” said Griffo. “I tried when he wasn’t looking and thought my hands were so small I’d never be able to playing guitar. I clearly did not realize they would grow. I looked up ‘small guitar’ online and ‘ukulele’ came up in the results,” and he’s been playing it since then.

Griffo taught himself to play the piano when he was 12 using a how-to-play-piano songbook.

“I wasn’t very good, but I practiced a lot,” said Griffo. “Years later when I was in Chicago, I was playing piano in between classes and Mike Descoteaux [head of the music program for Second City Training Center and resident music director of the ETC Stage] asked if I’d like to learn how to become an improv music director. I freaked out, and said ‘yes.’ I then practiced a lot and got by on my ear for the majority of my playing ability.”

Griffo now trains at the ACM School of Music in Chicago.

Among his favorite performers are Tom Lehrer, Tim Minchin, Flight of The Conchords, and Stephen Lynch, as well as Chicago-based comedians Boaz Reisman and Crassus.

For videos, and more information about Griffo, click here.

Putting Some Soul Into Design

Self-portrait of the artist (Sandra Devaux)

Sandra Devaux believes art should contain something of the soul. A lifelong aficionado of art and design, Devaux also enjoys finding words that convey her aesthetic beliefs.

One of those words, “meraki,” means “to do something with soul, creativity or love; to put something of yourself into your work,” and given the term reflects her relationship with the world of art, Devaux chose it as the title of her exhibit. “Meraki,” which runs through Dec. 11 in Lightner Gallery at Lightner Library, features many branded creations Devaux has created for Keuka College, as well as photography and select drawings. An artist reception with light refreshments will be held Thursday, Nov. 12 from 4:30 – 6 p.m. and Devaux hopes guests who attend will see beyond words and graphics to the creative passion beneath them.

Drawings by Devaux

“I like to incorporate more artistic sensibilities into the design process. A lot of people think of graphic design as functional and practical, but I want people to see it as an art as well,” Devaux said.

Indeed, Devaux’s work has taken her to New York City, before a return home to Penn Yan, where, after a two-year transition freelancing for the New York Yankees and designing ads for a weekly newspaper, she joined the College in December 2012. Since then, Devaux has made her mark, so to speak, revamping a number of print and digital materials across the College before being tasked with a lead role in transforming the visual identity, including the school’s logo and its athletics mascot, in 2014. In recognition for that work, she received the school’s highest employee award, the Presidential Award for Sustained Outstanding Achievement, in August 2014.

A fresh perspective on color palettes by Sandra Devaux

According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art and curator of Lightner Gallery, it was important to showcase the work of a graphic designer at the gallery. The College offers a major in Art and Design, and a minor in digital design has just been added to the curriculum as well.

“Sandra’s work has impacted the College aesthetically in so many ways.  She is so talented, and has learned from some of the best, including Milton Glaser In New York City,” Newcomb added, referring to the man artists consider the “Father of Design.”

When Devaux first moved to the Big Apple in July 2005 she applied for an internship at Milton Glaser, Inc. and spent a few months under the tutelage of Glaser and his design team. Glaser is known for the state’s famous “I (Heart) NY” icon and the popular silhouette of Bob Dylan with multicolor hair.

College of design materials for the NY Yankees

“What really excited me about working there was the passion and dedication everyone had, a drive to communicate a message in a way that made it appealing and as clear as possible. That was really the first experience for me in the real world and it was very encouraging to work with people so dedicated to what they do. It was an amazing start in the right direction,” Devaux said.

From there, Devaux freelanced a short time for mNovack Design in New York, designing materials for hospitals and city colleges. The transition from internship to freelance work was fortuitous, she said, as she ultimately landed a job at the Catch 24 Advertising and Design Agency in Manhattan. There, she was assigned to national accounts including DirectTV, Lufthansa Airlines, American Express and the Yankees. She worked in New York City almost seven years before returning home to Penn Yan.

Devaux uses unique angles to showcase a collage of College designs.

A few select works from Devaux’s big-city career appear in her show; most, however, are more recent designs created for the College. But while Devaux hopes guests enjoy seeing some original prints, feeling textured paper and flipping pages, she didn’t merely frame her works. Many print pieces on the gallery walls are presented from a new perspective, one created when Devaux photographed them, often by spreading the works across a surface and shooting at an angle or adding filter effects.

“It’s amazing how typography and imagery can take on an entirely different personality depending how you look at it,” she said. “Including photographs that show design in a more abstract way helps convey that sense of art as well, and I want them to see design as I see it.”

Big Night, Big Wins for Keuka College Alumni

Election Day 2015 was a stellar success for two Keuka College graduates. Aileen McNabb-Coleman ’00 and Tom Drumm ’15 both won seats in the Cayuga and Oswego county legislatures, respectively.

Aileen Coleman-McNabb, center, celebrates her victory Election Night. (Image courtesy the Auburn Citizen.)

Running on the Democrat, Independent and Working Family lines, Mc-Nabb-Coleman defeated opponent Joseph Runkle, to win a four-year term in Cayuga’s 6th District seat. Meanwhile, Drumm, who ran on the Democratic and Women’s Equality lines for Oswego’s 16thDistrict seat, defeated Republican opponent James Scanlon and will serve a two-year term. At Keuka College, McNabb-Coleman earned a degree in unified childhood/special education while Drumm earned degrees in political science and history and organizational communication.

“I believe strongly in engagement and participation in local government,” said McNabb-Coleman “Due to the climate of the national stage of politics, I find that citizens are disengaged; couple that with having busy careers and family life, and it is difficult to increase awareness.”

So she did something about it.

McNabb-Coleman and her family. (Image courtesy Aileen McNabb-Coleman).

“When I finally decided to run for county legislator, what drove me was the idea of setting our county on a new fiscally responsible path so that my children could enjoy the fruits of our labor—and representing women on a 15-member, all male, county legislature,” said McNabb-Coleman, who used the phrase “Run Like a Girl” in her campaign signs to reinforce her position.

Drumm said he ran on a message of “new energy and new blood” at the county level. He started getting that message out about six months ago when he launched his campaign and sticking to it proved effective, he said.

“I think those in the county are craving new leadership,” Drumm said. “I discussed that we seem to have become stagnant, whether in social issues or some economic areas as well.”

Drumm’s campaign got a boost the Sunday before Election Day from six political science and history majors at Keuka College who traveled to Oswego with Dr. Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of political science and history. After convening briefly at the union hall for Oswego’s UA Local 73 to hear from Drumm about his platform, the group picked up campaign literature and set out to help Drumm make door-to-door visits.

The Keuka College team with Dr. Narasimhan, center, gave Drumm, left of her, in blue, a final boost.

“It was huge how that team helped me cover my entire district in a day,” Drumm said. “My opponent was a lifelong resident in the city, raised a family and he’s lived here probably 45 years, and sometimes that works to people’s advantage. I’m fresh out of college and it can take a lot to establish a coalition. The big thing is the final push – you have to turn out the vote. To get a push like that from students who traveled two hours to Oswego to help knock on doors for a campaign like mine – I’m in debt to them. I’m so grateful.”

According to Dr. Narasimhan, three of the students had never met Tom and several were interested in getting involved politically back home so they were eager to hear his story and his advice.

Drumm and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, during Drumm's freshman-year Field Period™ at one of Schumer's regional offices.

“He used each Field Period™ experience and his major to explore different avenues, and was able to tell my students about the connections he made and how he found an office to run for,” Dr. Narasimhan said, describing how Drumm learned from local party leaders the strategy they envisioned for him to win an open seat. The canvassing experience “absolutely” aligned with the College’s focus on experiential learning, she added.

During his time as a student, Drumm conducted separate Field Period™ experiences with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) and the NYS Democratic Committee. He also completed his senior practicum with Doug Lippincott, Keuka College’s executive director of grants, government relations and compliance. Some of the individuals he met became mentors, Drumm said.

“It’s very rewarding to see it all pay off  – it’s exciting, and honestly, it’s a little overwhelming,” Drumm said, attributing his win to “not only how much I’ve learned but the amazing people I met during college —professors like Drs. Narasimhan, Chris Leahy, David Leon—who gave me the confidence and knowledge to be able to make a political run at 22.”

Both Drumm and McNabb-Coleman will be sworn into their new offices in early January.

Meet New Faculty: Social Work, Spanish and Nursing

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of Q&As with full-time faculty members who recently came aboard at Keuka College. Today, meet three of our professors.

Dr. Margaret “Malia” Spofford-Xavier, assistant professor of Spanish and intercultural studies, currently teaches all Spanish classes as well as ENG 207 (Latin American literature and society) and INS301R (Intercultural Studies). She joined the faculty at the start of the 2015-16 academic year.

Last book read: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Favorite quote: “Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.” (Author unknown)

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why:  The Little Prince has always charmed me with his optimism and creativity.

What makes teaching fun:  I enjoy getting to know students as they transform their dreams into reality through critical thinking and hard work.

What do you do for fun?  I like to jog, kayak, and garden. I spend time with my husband Bruno and two children, Nicholas and Olivia. We enjoy cooking, being outdoors, swimming, and visiting the library.

Christopher Clinton, assistant professor of social work, directs the BSW field placement program for the Division of Social Work. Currently, he teaches Social Work Practice I, SW Policy II and Senior Practicum.

Last book read: Joseph Campbell “The Power of Myth”

Favorite quote: “I have the world’s largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world … perhaps you’ve seen it,” by Steven Wright.

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: The Cat in the Hat, the greatest of iconoclasts, challenger of authority all the while awakening the mind and spirit to a new world of possibilities that would have otherwise remained hidden.  Be careful what you wish for children, this cat will surely take you to the edge of your comfort zone, hang you by your feet staring down at the abyss of new possibilities and consequences and then throw you back on your comfy-cushy couch begging for more….and once that iconoclastic kitty-cat leaves, you will never be satisfied with your once-accepted status quo. Best of all, after all that mayhem and unadulterated fun, you don’t have to lift a finger to clean up. Let’s not forget that he also banished Dick and Jane to the bookshelves of the humdrum and uninspired: ”What would you do if your mother asked you?”

What makes teaching fun:  When the effort and consciousness of teaching dissolves and we are effortlessly learning, consumed by the moment and collectively transformed by the experience. Spontaneous forays into role plays all the while making new connections between seemingly disparate concepts that fold into one another as if they were puzzle pieces effortlessly falling into place before our very eyes. How did that happen?

What do you do for fun? Hiking or hiking and hunting for mushrooms, listening to and playing music, tennis and kayaking.

Dr. Darlene Del Prato, professor of nursing, teaches Philosophy and Theories of Teaching and Learning, Nursing Theory and Research, Teaching and Learning Environments and Governance, Health Care Policy, Teaching and Learning Methods. She joined the faculty in early 2015.

Last book read: Parker Palmer’s “The Heart of Higher Eduction: A Call to Renewal”

Favorite quote: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”  Vince Lombardi

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: Hmm, I don’t typically read fiction.

What makes teaching fun: The energy and exchange of ideas!

What do you do for fun? I enjoy being on the water, long walks in nature, gardening, and spending time with family and good friends.