Choir and orchestra honor the classics



On October 27, 2019, the Alma College Choirs and Alma Symphony Orchestra presented a collaborative concert featuring the famous Mozart piece “Vesperae solennes de confessore” and Dvorak’s New World Symphony.

“It’s been a long learning process for both choirs and the orchestra,” said Bennett Dubois (‘19). Dubois participates in both the Alma Choir and Orchestra, making his experience with what the choirs are calling “Mini-Masterworks,” a unique experience.      

This concert is being called “Mini-Masterworks” because of its similarity to the Masterworks concert that the choir and orchestra programs put on in Heritage Center every spring. “I think this concert eases new singers into how these combined concerts work,” said Rachel Whipple (‘20). “It can be hard to get used to singing with an orchestra, so singing a shorter piece with them in the fall helps to get us comfortable with the performance.”

“The orchestra adds a sense of authenticity you can’t get with just the piano,” said Zachary Everly (‘21). “It would’ve been very unlikely to walk into a 1780’s performance and hear this work without the orchestra. Both the Chorus and Orchestra have great parts, but putting them together is what makes it a truly fabulous piece.”

The Mozart piece contains 2 solo quartets, as well as a featured soprano vocalist, Victoria Walker. Walker teaches vocal lessons at Alma College, and sometimes Dr. Nichols brings her in to sing some of the extensive solo work for performances.

“One of the beauties of vocal music is that we have text to help us tell a story,” said Everly. “While the text is not in English, it is still the choir’s job to tell the story. Being in a quartet is an honor, but also a big responsibility. It is our job to continue to tell the story on our own when the choir stops singing. It is more crucial that we know the details of what we are singing because there is nobody to help us.”

The willingness to sing classical music is small for some students, but others believe that these pieces should still continue to be performed. “I feel like programming these pieces is important because we want to keep deeply rooted musical traditions alive,” said Everly. “All of the music we see today exists because this music existed. A beauty of writing music is that it can never be ‘proven wrong’ like some scientific ideas persay, only expanded upon and changed and adapted for culture of the time.”

These pieces have been around for as long as performing ensembles have, and the emphasis on them by Alma College directors have an influence on how the modern student views this classical music literature.

The choirs perform next for their Festival of Carols concert Dec. 7-8, and the groups combine again for Masterworks in April of 2020.                                                                                     

Students take on responsibility of daily news



On Oct. 19, The New York Times reported on the University of Michigan’s college newspaper that is the only daily paper left in the city of Ann Arbor.

The Michigan Daily become the only daily printed paper in Ann Arbor following the closing of The Ann Arbor News in 2009. They eventually closed their website. The Ann Arbor Chronicles, an online paper, closed as well in 2014 after only being in operation for six years.

The college’s paper is staffed by nearly 300 student journalists who cover local area news ranging from local government meetings to sports event. However, in other areas of the country, such as Arizona, student papers are responsible for covering large, national events.

The college’s paper reports on issues the have effects on students such as sexual misconduct and the way the university is handling matters. They also cover the information pertaining to the city as a whole including budget cuts in the county and the responses to local violence. While it may not be daily, there are some places that report on what is happening in Ann Arbor. publishes a piece called “Ann Arbor News” twice a week; however, this is unable to keep up with what is happening in the city.

Since it is not a company that publishes with experienced reporters, there comes some issues. The University of Michigan does not currently have a program dedicated to journalism which has left the students with little training. There is also the issue that the students only hold temporary positions, so some do not take them as seriously. For some papers, the budget can be an issue as they print in large volumes.

Ann Arbor is not the only place this is happening in the United States. As more newspapers are shut down, there is more pressure placed on the student organizations to provide important information.

There is a shift to reading the paper online and The Michigan Daily recognizes that in their production of podcasts as well as blogs to keep citizens informed through social media. The University of Maryland at College Park’s newspaper is switching to only online in the upcoming months.

In Alma, Morning Sun is a local daily paper in addition to the college’s paper, The Almanian. These provide information to those that are on campus and can be found in various locations.

In the changing times, more people are starting to get their information from online, such as Cassie Freeman (’20).

“Since our way of life is changing from paper to internet, it is probably easier if the news was online, and it is also more environmentally friendly,” says Freeman.

Whether or not students should be responsible for informing communities is up for debate. Since they do not have the experience other reporters do and they are full time students, it limits what they can do.

“A newspaper serves two services. You have reporters who are going out and covering stories, but that to me, seems like you need specialized training for that, but that would only be a certain type of student to go out and do that,” said Dr. Dana Aspinall, professor of English. “Then you have the OP-ED page where students write in how they feel about whatever has happen or what their opinion is on a certain politician or decision.”

Aspinall emphasized that it is everyone’s responsibility to participate in some way. Some believe that it is the students’ responsibility to report on campus.

“I don’t know how students would do with world news because many of us don’t have the time to go out, research and see what is going on in the word, but if it was more like campus events, I feel they are spot on,” said Aspinall.

No matter the way it happens—whether it be electronic or in paper—there is a place for the news in our society.

“It’s important for people to stay up on the news especially with politics in general,” said Monika Tomica (’20). “I feel it’s a good way to get people educated on the topic specifically with the presidential campaigns right now.”

Alma College prepares for Halloween


As Halloween is quickly approaching and everyone is making plans there are some things people are forgetting to think about. Safety is one thing that should be a top priority even while having a fun night out with friends.

As you are trying to pick the perfect costume and finalize your plans make sure you are paying attention to the weather. Alma’s first batch of snow is coming here this week according to the radar, snow is possible leading up to Halloween night. The temperature will drop as the week goes on, so definitely try and dress accordingly! Breawna Ritter (’22) said her top safety priority for Halloween is, “making sure my friends don’t stay out too late and making sure they are dressed in warm enough clothing.”

Another thing to pay attention to while choosing a costume is to make sure it is appropriate and not making fun of or disrespecting people, cultures or campus organizations. If you have to think about whether or not your costume is perpetuating negative stereotypes or can come off as hurtful, then it probably is.

The spooky costumes and decorations may captivate your attention, but during Halloween night and that weekend, keep an eye out and do not be a bystander. If you see something, then say something: whether you are dressed like a hero or not, you can step in and be one. Resident Advisor, Kimber Buzzard (’21) said, “Don’t be afraid to call campus safety, your RA or the administer on duty. They are resources who want you to be safe and are there to help you.”

Whether you plan to celebrate in your dorm building, around campus, or at a party this Halloween definitely know your resources. Halloween can be safe and fun at the same time no matter what age you are. 

When going out to celebrate make sure you have at least one person with you, especially if you plan to drink. Cosette Coston (’20) said, “Always have a friend with you and do not let your friends travel alone. Always remember your resources, such as if you do not feel comfortable walking you can call campus security to walk you back to your dorm.”

If you are old enough to drink and plan on it, please be smart about it. Know the signs for when you need to stop drinking and for when you need to cutoff a friend. They may be mad at you then, but thanking you later. Alcohol poisoning is a serious thing and can happen to anyone. If you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning, even if you don’t see the signs or symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Even when a person stops drinking, alcohol continues to be released into the bloodstream and the blood alcohol level continues to rise. Even when the person sleeps or is unconscious it continues rising. Never let an overly intoxicated person go to sleep, especially if they are exciting signs of alcohol poisoning. Don’t wait for the symptoms to worsen, then it could be too late. 

Signs to look out for when around people that are drinking include: mental confusion, introversion/extroversion (depending on the person’s personality), problems with coordination, loss of balance, unresponsiveness, nausea, vomiting, slow or irregular breathing and possibly other symptoms. Everyone is different and displays different symptoms, so if you suspect something is wrong then seek help.

Halloween is meant to be fun, so do not forget to have fun! Just be aware of your surroundings and know when a situation becomes or is unsafe for you and others. Unlike pumpkins, you still have your guts, so trust your gut instincts!

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