After studying like mad for a doctoral test at Eastman School of Music, jazz trumpeter Dave Chisholm decided he needed a new outlet for his creative energy. So he spent February through December of 2013 writing and illustrating a 204-page graphic novel. Then he set its seven chapters to music – composing a full-length soundtrack of seven songs to pair with it.
Now, 26 panels from this book, “Instrumental,” will be displayed in a gallery exhibit for his one-man show, “Music Meets Comics,” which runs October 27 – December 5 at Lightner Gallery in Lightner Library. An artist reception where light refreshments will be served will be held Thursday, Oct. 30 from 4:30-6 p.m. Earlier that week, Chisholm will also host a comics workshop at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28 on the second floor of Allen Hall. The exhibit and workshop will serve as a teaser for a coming spring semester course Chisholm will teach as a visiting professor at Keuka College.
“Anytime you do a class like this, people may think ‘How would I draw Batman?’ but really we’re telling stories in pictures and words. In reality, comics are just a medium for telling any story,” Chisholm said.
For many, superheroes serve as the initial gateway into comics, Chisholm said, describing his early interest as a child in the pulp iconography of familiar favorites of the genre. But it didn’t take long for him to move from interest in the superheroes to those drawing the superheroes, to think about their process and how they might think about translating a narrative idea to a 22-page series of drawings with words.
With three degrees in music, including a doctorate in jazz trumpet, Chisholm says his day job is “all things music, with comics thrown in.” In addition to trumpet, he also plays guitar, piano, bass and drums and sings, too. He teaches music lessons and is also an adjunct music instructor at Keuka College. He toured the Western U.S. with a rock band in the years between his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and some of his adventures became part of his first graphic novel, “Let’s Go to Utah” which he described as “inspired by the craziness of touring … where it’s all spread out and you drive through the desert for hours and hours and kind of lose your mind a bit.”
Come spring, Chisholm will be running a full-semester, three-credit course through the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts on comics. Students will explore hands-on the detailed work of traditional ink-on-paper comic book creation. According to Chisholm, the course will cover the finer points of comic book panel composition, page composition, working with scripts, lettering, and character/environment design. The overarching goal of the entire course is training students in clear, communicative, sequential storytelling, he said.
“I’m interested in the mechanics of comics, meaning, how do you pace a story over eight pages? How do you put it together?” Chisholm said, describing a potential panel sequence where a man finds a key lying on the ground, uses it to open a nearby door, and a lion jumps out at him.
“Is the key important? Is the man important? Will we show reactions on his face, or are we using words to show what he’s thinking? It becomes this incredibly rigorous intellectual exercise to communicate any idea or narrative in comics form. It has almost infinite possibilities and that’s inspiring to me,” he said.
Another example he cites is the work “A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge” by Josh Neufeld which documents life and times in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
“He did research, went down several times and kept in touch with people and he happened to tell this story in the medium of comics as opposed to a novel or documentary,” Chisholm explained.
If students were to follow elements of Chisholm’s approach of integrating music into comics, they might start with an exercise of illustrating lyrics, he said, citing Queen’s iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody” as example.
“So if the lyrics state: ‘Mama, just killed a man/Put a gun against his head/Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead,’ how do we show this? Is he on the phone with his mom, calling from prison, telling her this stuff? Is it told in flashback?” Chisholm asked.
By the time the course concludes next May, students will each have written and/or drawn 24 character sketches, 24 environment sketches, a 1-panel strip, a 1-page comic, and a 2-3-page comic “book” for the final project, he said. All final project comic books will share a similar theme and will be printed in a collective anthology by the end of the semester.
For more information on registering for the course, students can contact the registrar’s office or visit http://registrar.keuka.edu
The Keuka College music program is on the move.
Kelley Hamilton, music instructor and director of the Chorale, is starting a select choir that will perform at on-campus events and alumni gatherings, and travel for student recruitment.
“It will be a polished, professional group that will showcase the College and give students a high-quality music experience,” said Hamilton,
Hamilton, who has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and other well-known groups, says the spring semester will also bring the formation of a jazz band, private instrumental lessons, and a concert with the Chinese Choral Society of Rochester.
In this interview with Doug Lippincott, executive director of communications and host of Keuka College Today on WFLR (Dundee), Hamilton discusses these initiatives and others, the increased interest in music among students, in particular athletes, and the future of the program.
With Keuka College’s fall Chorale and Band concert in the books, Kelley Hamilton, music instructor and director of the Chorale, has her sights set on the future of the music program.
And the future starts during the spring 2014 semester, when Hamilton will hold auditions for students who want to join a select choir.
Hamilton envisions the select choir performing at on-campus events, alumni gatherings, and traveling for student recruitment.
“It will be a polished, professional group that will showcase the College and give Keuka students a high-quality music experience,” said Hamilton, who plans to have the choir accompanied by live instrumentalists.
Hamilton, who has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) and other well-known groups, “likes to sing a lot of different genres, and I want to incorporate those genres into the choir.”
With that variety in mind, Hamilton anticipates the choir will sing “mostly pop, R&B, jazz, and Broadway, as well as present some a cappella pieces.”
Chorale member Jakiem Brown ’15, an educational studies major from Rochester, would seem to be a logical candidate for the select choir.
“Many of my best singers and musicians are athletes, and Jakiem is a member of both the men’s volleyball and tennis teams,” said Hamilton. “He plays the saxophone and ukulele, sings, and beat-boxes. He performed a solo during the concert, and is just a great kid who is hungry for more.”
Another athlete who would seem to a logical select choir candidate is Stephanie Havens ’14. The adolescent English major from Unadilla is a forward/midfielder for the women’s soccer team, and has been “singing and playing the trumpet for a long time.
“I liked that I could join Chorale or Band and have private voice lessons,” said Havens. “There is a Mozart piece I am working on that I am excited about, but is nothing I’d have ever considered if not for the voice lessons. I am not afraid to get up and sing in front of people anymore.”
As the select choir works through its formative stages, the popularity of the Chorale is growing, as evidenced by Kelsea Flynn ’17, a psychology major from Penn Yan. She sang a duet at the concert and “is excited to participate in Chorale next semester.”
“There are a lot of new students registered for Chorale next semester, and I’m excited,” said Hamilton. “There will be some challenges, though. I have several Chinese students registered, and a lot of students can’t read music. But, I hope to incorporate more popular songs into the concerts, and to one day partner with the Arion Players Drama Club and perform a musical.”
Next semester will also bring the formation of a jazz band, private instrumental lessons, and a possible concert with the Chinese Choral Society of Rochester.
“There are many Chinese students in the Keuka College Chorale and I wanted to find an authentic experience for them,” said Hamilton.
Also on tap for next semester will be new music opportunities in the classroom. Hamilton will teach a class on American Music Traditions, which will explore the history of American popular and classical music, including colonial folk music, blues, jazz, Broadway, rap, and hip hop, among others.
Added Hamilton: “One of the things I hope to do is partner with [Assistant Professor of Art] Melissa Newcomb’s students in her digital photography class and have them design album covers for my students.”
Keuka College was the site of a summer music camp conducted by the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, July 14-26.
The camp, designed for middle and high school students, featured a range of classes, as well as master classes, small and large ensembles, and individual instructon in jazz, strings, voice, and guitar. Each program was led by distinguished faculty from the Eastman School of Music and Eastman Community School. Free and open to the public concerts were also staged during the camp. (There is one scheduled Friday, July 26, at 3 p.m. in Norton Chapel),
In this interview on WFLR, Executive Director of Communications Doug Lippincott interviewed students Ciara McCarthy from Stanley, a senior-to-be at Marcus Whitman Central School; Pittsford resident Owen Goettler, a freshman-to-be at Pittsford Sutherland High School; and faculty member Doug Stone.
In 1967, theorist Marshall McLuhan published his classic work with its signature theme “the medium is the message.”
Artists Liz Brownell of Victor and Barron Naegel of Rochester see compelling parallels in their own exhibit, which uses a first-generation iPad to introduce viewers to a fusion of old and new technologies and new approaches to art and work.
The exhibit, Reconfiguring Another Way, runs through March 2 at Lightner Gallery in Lightner Library, with an artists’ reception, open to the public, scheduled Thursday, Feb. 23, from 4:15-6 p.m. The exhibit features many of Naegel’s limited-palette drawings and Brownell’s layered mixed-media designs alongside their signature creation: PORTOISE.
Last year, Naegel and Brownell received a $500 “SOS” grant, or special opportunity stipend, funded through New York State’s Council on the Arts (NYSCA), to purchase a first-generation iPad and other art supplies used in creation of PORTOISE, which is taken from the words “portal” and “tortoise.”
The three-foot wide sculpture, resembling a sea tortoise, houses the iPad, which is programmed with a variety of apps and artistic works conceived by Naegel and Brownell.
“The whole thing is a portal to another dimension of creativity and working,” Naegel explained, “a tongue-in-cheek nod to an old version of silica (clay). New technology is heavily based in ways of working with silica.”