2013 Fall Newsletter

Faculty Activities


Brammeier Composes for Canzona

The women of PolyPhonics will join Canzona Women’s Ensemble to premiere a new composition by Meredith Brammeier on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 4 p.m. in the Cuesta College Performing Arts Center. The piece was commissioned by Canzona and features poetry by Arroyo Grande poet Bonnie Young. Titled “To the God of Light and Shadow,” the poem portrays life in California and the beauty of the Central Coast. The PolyPhonics women will perform several additional works, including Gwyneth Walker’s "I Thank You God” and an arrangement of the British folk song “The Lass from the Low Country."

Canzona will also perform “To the God of Light and Shadow” in Fresno, on May 3, 2014, as part of a joint concert with women’s choir Soli Deo Gloria.

Russell Teaches Courses for SUSTAIN

Professor Craig Russell has been part of the experiment called SUSTAIN in which faculty and students work intensively on project-based learning that is involved with the community. Students apply to the program, and if accepted, are assured of getting the classes offered by the SUSTAIN faculty. That enables faculty to coordinate projects and assessment across the various disciplines. In spring when Russell taught Music of the ’60s, he worked with Carley Kopecki in the Physics Department and with students enrolled in both of their classes. They overlapped in areas of sound waves, resonance and the musical timbres of Jimi Hendrix and the acid rock bands of the 1960s. Some of the projects in Russell’s class involved the creation of “underground newspapers” much like the ones from the late ’60s; poems; songs; lobbying student government to adopt more sustainable and ecologically responsible campus policies; research projects; statistical studies of the properties of Top 40 hits; writing computer code for programs analyzing acid rock songs; building transistors; documentary films regarding energy policies on campus; and more. Russell hopes to continue these cross-disciplinary and learning-based projects in his classes this year, working with professors and students in engineering, business, agriculture, science and math, and the humanities areas. SUSTAIN has been spearheaded by three brilliant individuals: Linda Vanasupa (Materials Engineering Department), Liz Schlemer (Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering), and Roger Burton, a researcher on SUSTAIN’s grants from the National Science Foundation — all of whom have distinguished themselves in their respective fields. With their help and a major grant from the National Science Foundation, the members of SUSTAIN hope to make further strides in this learning initiative. For more information, visit the SUSTAIN Web page.