The Colgate Scene
March 2001
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People on the go

 

Thelma and DeForest Lowen, with choral director David Stevenson and chamber singers Emily Cochrane and Sadie Fuller. Photo credit: Peggy McKenna for The Waldo Independent.
A White House Christmas
The Mount View Chamber Singers have a true friend in DeForest Lowen '31. Just in time for the holidays, he managed to land them a gig at the White House.

     A retired Baptist minister living in Belfast, Maine, Lowen and his wife Thelma were inspired by the local high school's select chorus, at one of their concerts last year.

     "The superlative performance of these young people coming from a small school in north central Maine became, for us, a showcase of the possibilities of the arts in public education in this country. We came out saying, `My gosh, they should sing at the White House!'" he remembers. "With the political climate in the White House friendly to this work in the public schools, we felt that the president would be responsive."

     Looking for Maine neighbors who had friends at the White House, Lowen enlisted the assistance of quite a few folks. He found willing participants in his congressman, John Baldacci, and Maine State Senator Susan Longley. He discovered that two administrators at Harbor Hill retirement community, where the Lowens live, had connections to U.S. Senator George Mitchell and Secretary of Defense William Cohen, and asked for their help getting those endorsements. Each appeal was successful, and soon a date was set.

     The chamber singers raised more than $5,000 to fund their trip. "People were pleased as the dickens to support them," says Lowen. The local press liked the story, too. The 91-year-old found himself featured in articles about his dogged pursuit in the Republican Journal, the Waldo Independent and the Bangor Daily News, among others.

     "Whatever skills of `investigative journalism' may have equipped me for the `White House Crusade' were gained when, as an associate editor of The Maroon, I covered the music department beat and wrote up the musical story for the campus," Lowen reflects. "Meanwhile, Thelma was being trained in music at Skidmore College." He says he also owes much to the training of Bill Hoerrner, who directed the Glee Club -- Lowen was a four-year member -- and to his experience as a soloist in Ford Saunders' choir at the First Baptist Church.

     Lowen praises the Mount View choral director, David Stevenson, "a genius of a guy who has developed them into a production of superior tone quality and musical skill."

     The Mount View Chamber Singers made their White House debut December 20, in two performances in the East Room. "Some of the group had never traveled beyond the state of Maine," Lowen remarks. "It became an unforgettable experience." RAC


John Seitz '03 and Jessica Dickerman '02 discuss the challenges of historical research in London with President Karelis.
A Sense of Place
President Buddy Karelis came to class.

     On February 1, he was a more-or-less surprise guest of the London English Study Group, at its headquarters on Great Russell Street in Bloomsbury.

     It was only the second week of classes. The 17 members of the study group were about to make their first presentations of historical research for Dr. Ruth Richardson, their professor for Public Life, Public Health, Public Buildings, a course in 19th-century urban history. The president heard a discussion about the design and construction of the monument to Admiral Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square; the history and purpose of the Victoria and Albert Museum; and the plans for the grand enclosed arena that is the Albert Hall. The students illustrated their talks with handouts, overhead projections, and, in one case, an up-to-date personal experience of Trafalgar Square as a site for political protest.

     Perhaps the most intriguing presentation was the one about Bloomsbury itself, including the genesis of the British Museum, the history of the classroom building we occupy here, and the significant historical sites the students pass each morning on their walk to school from their flats near Regents Park.

     This single morning's work is only one kind of immersion in London that the study group affords; in a course the students take with me on the literature and culture of the Restoration and 18th century, they have already had one guided walk through the financial center, the old City of London, that was the site of the Plague of 1665 and the Fire of 1666 -- enabling them to mesh the geography of the city with their readings in Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year and Samuel Pepys' Diary.

     And our course on women's fiction of the 18th and early 19th centuries has already been complemented by a tour led by one of the students of the Dress exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Now, when we think about the social trials of the naíve Evelina in Frances Burney's novel, we can imagine precisely not only what her unwieldy headdress and gown must have looked like -- but we even know what kind of underwear held it all up!

     Some of our most exotic excursions are to fringe theaters for our course in Contemporary London Theater: the class have traveled to Hampstead in the Northwest to see a dramatization of Dickens' Old Curiosity Shop produced in a small space over a pub and to Battersea, south of the Thames, to see a contemporary play about the notorious Restoration anti-hero, the Earl of Rochester, titled appropriately The Libertine. Most theaters in between these boundaries -- from Islington in the North to the historical reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe across the river from St. Paul's Cathedral -- are on our agenda during this term.

     The group and their director all feel especially privileged to be here to partake of it all. And we're hoping the president got a sense of some of the rich experience we are having during his brief visit! - Deborah J. Knuth, Professor of English


Jim Matott, right, was presented his fifth degree black belt by wife Colleen (a third degree black belt) and Doug Hillman, owner of Otselic Valley Tae Kwon Do.
Matott honored
Jim Matott, athletic attendant and Tae Kwon Do instructor, was awarded the master rank of fifth degree black belt by the board of the Horange Chong Chin Organization.

     "It has been an honor and privilege to learn, teach and work with hundreds of people over the years," said Matott, whose 17-year martial arts career has included teaching and self-defense programs. He is the owner of Matott School of Tae Kwon Do and Matott Defensive Systems.


Kerstan Lincoln in central California's Ansel Adams Wilderness Sierra National Forest
Take a hike
When we left Kerstan Lincoln '93 early in 1998 she was working as a counselor at a camp for troubled boys in New Hampshire. She had just hiked the Appalachian Trail, a cathartic adventure that became a kind of 2,160-mile transition from Wall Street (where she landed after graduation) to her passion -- the wilderness.

     She completed the arduous Pacific Crest Trail that runs between Mexico and Canada during a five-month trek from April to September, 2000. Hiking its 2,660 miles is a challenge only 400 hikers have managed -- a startlingly low number, especially compared to the more than 800 climbers who have reached the summit of Mt. Everest.

     "The PCT is 500 miles longer than the Appalachian Trail and the window of opportunity for a through hike is smaller. The conditions are more extreme, too," says Lincoln. Moving between desert and mountain, Lincoln found the High Sierras the most difficult portion of the trip. "The elevation ranges from 10,000 feet to Whitney, which is 14,500. The Sierras are the most beautiful part of the trail, too."

     Lincoln, who was married early in March, plans to return to New England with her husband Guy and find a position as a social worker. Happy trails.

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