Fall term music ensembles available for all students
By Jace Jaeden Ellis.
No matter your program, no matter your year, anyone can participate in music ensembles at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo. Joining an ensemble is an ideal way for any student to keep music in their lives, especially those who are studying another subject and are craving musical opportunities. Music provides opportunities to develop skills and grow, to form lasting bonds through community, and to heal the mind and improve mental wellness by relieving the stresses of intense study.
“For me, music has been a way to connect and form friendships with many different people,” said Tessa, a second-year student involved in the Chamber and Chapel choirs. “It is also a way for me to express myself, and playing instruments or singing helps me to de-stress.”
At Grebel, there is an ensemble for everyone, depending on the musical interests and abilities. In fall 2021, most of the department’s ensembles are planning to return to in-person rehearsals with safety in mind and health protocols in place. For those who like to sing, the department will offer three ensembles, the Chamber Choir, Chapel Choir and a Vocal Techniques Ensemble. The University Choir will return as an offering in Winter term of 2022. Chapel Choir focuses on hymns, worship songs, and other styles of sacred music. Chamber Choir is a 24-person voice ensemble that offers ways to engage with and learn a wide range of repertoire. Vocal Techniques is presented in a lab format and will be offered online over Zoom in Fall 2021. It teaches the foundations of singing, vocal theory and techniques, and allows students to sing using their learned skills.
“The music department is excited to be coming back to in-person music making after about 18 months of rehearsing and performing virtually,” said Professor Mark Vuorinen, director of the Chamber Choir and chair of the Music Department. “Our rehearsal process may look a little different than it did before the pandemic, so that students and faculty can remain safe, but being able to create music together again after so long will be wonderful.”
Instrumental ensembles include the Jazz Ensemble, Balinese Gamelan, Instrumental Chamber Ensembles (ICE), and orchestra@uwaterloo. The Jazz Ensemble features instruction if a variety of Jazz styles, for a rhythm section, brass and winds. The Balinese Gamelan provides participants the opportunity to perform with guest musicians and dancers during concerts, while learning how to play Balinese percussion instruments. ICE Ensembles perform a wide variety of classical music from all time periods in small groups of 3 to 8 musicians, based on ability. And orchestra@uwaterloo is a large, 60-70 person group of faculty, staff, graduate students, and alumni in addition to undergraduate students, and includes members across academic faculties, especially Math and Engineering.
Both students and ensemble directors are looking forward to in-person music.
“I think that all of us have learned enormously from the process of playing chamber music online: instructors as much as students," said Ben Bolt-Martin, ICE director. "I’m really glad for the opportunity to stretch my knowledge, but I’m very much ready to get back to working in-person. The art of chamber music is a social one and, while no two groups function identically, fundamentally, the act of playing chamber music together really is about sharing a little bit of yourself with your fellow players and with an audience. Without being together in one space, there is something missing from this process and I for one can’t wait until we can return to being fully immersed in the chamber music process.”
Each ensemble consists of regular group practices and performances, and as long as participants regularly attend, the ensemble may be taken for credit without an assigned grade. Depending on the ensemble they choose to join, interested individuals must sign up for an audition or interviews. With so many options to choose from, all students can enjoy a fun way to fill their lives with the joy and benefits of music.
“Playing music is a great way to take a break from courses and other stressful commitments,” said Lila Huang, a fourth-year student involved in the Orchestra and Instrumental Chamber Ensembles. “Taking some time each week to shift our focus to a different field that’s also meaningful to us helps us meet new people who share this common interest in music, de-stress, and become more well-rounded.”
The Music Department looks forward to seeing many students join in person Ensembles in the 2021 fall term. See our website for the list and audition information.
2021 Golden Jubilee Research Excellence Award winners named
This article was originally published on the Faculty of Mathematics website.
The Faculty of Mathematics Research Office recently announced its 2021 recipients of the Golden Jubilee Research Excellence Award. Eduardo Martin-Martinez, an associate professor in applied mathematics, and Sophie Spirkl, an assistant professor in combinatorics and optimization, were this year’s winners.
The Golden Jubilee Research Excellence Award recognizes outstanding research contributions from early and mid-career faculty members. It may be awarded based on a faculty member’s overall research program or based on a single, highly influential paper.
Eduardo Martin-Martinez’s research focuses on relativistic quantum information. He previously won the John Charles Polanyi Prize for Physics and the Ontario Early Researcher Award. He is cross-appointed with the Department of Physics, an associate faculty member at the Institute for Quantum Computing, an affiliate faculty member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and a faculty member with the Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics.
Sophie Spirkl’s research focuses on geometric and structural graph theory. She previously won the Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Fellowship from Princeton University. Spirkl and a team of co-investigators have recently made a significant breakthrough on the Erdős-Hajnal conjecture, with promising indications of further progress coming.
COVID-19 antibody research project seeks participants
Do you want to contribute to research that will help the scientific community understand how our bodies build immunity to COVID-19?
This project led by Professors Brian Dixon of Biology and Marc Aucoin of Chemical Engineering seeks to understand the nature of immune responses to COVID19 in all members of the campus community, regardless of vaccination status. The project is funded by the COVID19 Immunity Task Force of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The research team is recruiting participants for a study tracking COVID-19 antibodies in individuals associated with the University of Waterloo campus. You do not have to be working on campus, just a student, faculty or staff member. This can be anyone, but we are especially looking for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 (whether they were symptomatic or asymptomatic at the time of infection).
Participants will be asked to fill out a survey on medical history and social factors then provide 3 blood samples over 9 months for analysis of antibodies and memory T cell responses. This will take approximately 60 minutes of your time the first time and less than 60 minutes the second and third time. Blood draws will take place at Health Services on the University of Waterloo campus. Blood group type will be tested, and a questionnaire of risk factors will be conducted (e.g. on/off-campus housing status, time spent on campus vs. doing remote work, etc.).
This study has been reviewed by, and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Board.
Participants will be given a 5$ gift card after their first test and will have a chance to win 1 of 10 50$ gift cards after completion of their second and third tests.
Participants of both sexes, ages (18+) and backgrounds are encouraged to participate but need to be faculty, staff or students of the University of Waterloo.
From backyard offices to backstabbing books, here are the notes of the day
Engineering student Charlie Frise was recently profiled by BlogTO for his efforts to take advantage of the COVID lockdown by building backyard offices for employees who need some innovative work-from-home space. Backyard offices, what a concept.
Stephen Briggs, associate director, utilities in Plant Operations has published a novel entitled "Family of Killers: Memoirs of an Assassin" via independent publisher Black Rose Writing. "David is pulled from his bed; he is seven. His father, freelancing for British intelligence, is identified while attempting to assassinate a terrorist. Now a wanted man, he must relocate his family from Northern Ireland to Canada," says the book's promotional blurb. "David is raised in the family's business. A business that, eliminates those that can't keep secrets, sells weapons around the world, and hides those that need protection. As a teen David struggles with his future in the family business and his mother's desire to have him live a customary life. Nigel, the man that identified David's father, entangles himself with David and his family again. Now, David is determined to meet Nigel, and utilize the skills he has developed."
Michelle Radman of Co-operative and Experiential Education had a magical moment recently when she was included in a PR Daily article in which readers shared what Disney character best described their approach to work. For the record, Michelle likens herself to Tinkerbell: fearless, sassy and stubborn. Keep sprinkling that fairy dust, Michelle.
There are two upcoming innovation, coaching and networking opportunities for all Waterloo undergraduate and graduate students at the GreenHouse Social Impact Incubator. Apply to the Workplace Innovation Program if you’d like to make a meaningful impact within a team by tackling challenges with local organizations. Apply to the Social Innovators in Training Program if you have a problem or venture you’d like to work on. The deadline to apply is August 5.