Profiles of Seniors in the Arts

Lindsay WerkingBy Peter Henningsen

Senior Lyndsay Werking has had a lot to do with the arts during her time at Colgate. She’s a theater and music double major and has been taking voice lessons since her first year here. She has been involved in three University Theater productions (“Drums in the Night,” “PUNCHjudyJUDYpunch.,” “The Lady’s Not for Burning”) and is a member of University Chorus and Chamber Singers.

For her semester abroad, Lindsay traveled to Frieburg, Germany, where she worked for the city’s theater.

“I did a practicum, which is kind of like an internship,” Werking said. “I worked alongside a dramaturg who works in the dance department of the city theater. I got to observe and help with rehearsals, and to see all kinds of performances. It was pretty awesome.”

When asked about what she’s been up to this past year, Werking cites her cross-dressing performance in “The Lady’s Not for Burning” as being quite a challenge.

“I was dressed as a man, so I had to work really hard to try not to stand like a girl. Standing and walking were both pretty difficult.”

Werking also mentions her second voice recital, which took place Monday, April 20.

“I got to add some of the opera stuff that I’d been working on in my lessons.”

This summer, Werking will be employed by the Glimmerglass Opera House in Cooperstown, New York, working as a dramaturg.

“A dramaturg is someone who does all the research for the operas that the House puts on.” Werking will also be in charge of the “projected titles,” the subtitles that appear during the performance for those of us that don’t speak the language.

What has been Werking’s favorite part of the Colgate Arts Program?

“What I like most was the personal relationships that I was able to develop with my advisors,” Werking said. “I really got to know all of them. I also liked all of the guest artists and theater experts that the departments brought in to help out with some of the productions.”

Stephanie McClellanBy Brittani Dimare

It may be three weeks before the end of the semester, but some seniors-Stephanie McClellan included-are still as busy as ever. The Vancouver native has been hard at work both in class and out of it, especially for the upcoming Dancefest.

“My life is basically dance,” McClellan said. “I’m constantly thinking about it, constantly listening to music for it and everything.”

McClellan grew up dancing, though her involvement with it “intensified in college.” Presently a member of Kuumba and a captain of Colgate Groove, McClellan has been choreographing and running events like Dancefest for the last two years.

“I don’t have one favorite memory,” McClellan said of her times dancing at Colgate. “I laugh just as much as I dance, though. I’m surrounded by amazing people who challenge me. I’m just incredibly lucky. Because these groups are student-run, I’m really given a great opportunity. I love to teach, to get that creative freedom. There are no limits.”

Though McClellan has enjoyed her time at Colgate and with her dance groups, she’s ready to leave the Colgate campus in May.

“It’s bittersweet, but I’m ready to move on,” McClellan said. “I’ll miss things and definitely the people-I know everyone in our groups will just start crying, realizing that this is the end. Dance will always be a part of my life, but [Dancefest] will probably be my last big show. This is it for a lot of us.”

A geology major, McClellan is looking to continue in that field after Colgate. After doing geological research in her sophomore year and having the unique opportunity of studying abroad in Antarctica, McClellan knows two definite things about her plans for next year.

“I definitely want to continue with geology and I want to be abroad,” McClellan said. “There’s no real plan after that. Just floating around abroad, trying to work.”

As for some advice for those she leaves behind in Hamilton? McClellan has a few words of wisdom.

“Take chances. Step outside your comfort zone. I’ve learned so much that way. It goes by quickly, so savor it.”

Erin PiersonBy Courtney Tuttle

As the Colgate careers of the Class of 2009 are quickly drawing to a close, the Colgate community prepares to say goodbye to many talented and unique individuals who have left their mark on the university these past four years. While the achievements of countless members of the graduating class could be noted, one such member is Erin Pierson. Through her contributions to the arts at Colgate, Pierson deserves recognition.

Pierson has been involved with and dedicated to the art department, as well as the Colgate Student Lecture Forum. As a studio art major, she has concentrated mainly in photography and video art. Though Pierson ultimately chose video as her area of specialty, art majors at Colgate are encouraged to play around with different mediums, and to experiment creatively.

Indeed, Pierson has been involved with the theater as well as art, taking up roles in “The Vagina Monologues” and the student directed “Blood Wedding,” written by the Spanish author Federico Lorca.

While other Colgate seniors can commiserate over the writing of a senior thesis, Pierson mentioned, Colgate studio art majors strive to produce a piece for a senior spring show. There is also a show in the fall. Pierson’s major piece of artwork, a video piece created in an independent studio space, can be found in Little Hall in an exhibition near the Clifford Gallery.

After graduation, she plans to earn a Masters in Fine Arts. Though this graduate school application is primarily portfolio based, Colgate, unique to a Liberal Arts school, pushes its art majors to be extremely professional in their process of self discovery, Pierson noted.

Pierson additionally has worked in helping with the Student Lecture Forum, a group which meets weekly to engage in thought provoking discussion. The discussions take place between students and Colgate faculty, and are a valuable part of intellectual discussion outside of the classroom.

Kat YenBy Amanda McKeon

During Kat Yen’s first year at Colgate, she worked on nine theater productions; since then, she has only further engrossed herself in this passion. She has stage-managed numerous performances on campus and has also branched out into director, which she has come to prefer.

Before Colgate, Yen had been interested in music and visual art; when she got to campus as a first-year, a friend asked her to work on a play. Theater drew her in immediately.

“I did music and art my entire life,” she said, “but once I discovered theater, I totally caught the theater bug.”

Recently, Yen directed “Oleana,” a play by David Mamet. The play, which is a story about a teacher and his student, delves into issues like political correctness and higher education, as well as privilege; these are issues Yen saw as relevant to Colgate. She described relevancy and reality as necessary parts of theater.

“[Theatre should] push, to make you think, teach you,” Yen stated, continuting that theater should “blur the lines between reality and theater, be very intense…make everyone uncomfortable.”

Throughout her theater work at Colgate, Yen has attempted to incorporate these elements into performances. Her philosophy on theater includes the belief that it should be, “super-intense, very psychological, able to relate.” She is particularly fond of the “In Yer Face” genre, which aims to push boundaries and invade the viewer’s space.

Because she is so involved in theater, Yen tries to bring it into her other academic work, finding ways to include it in her class assignments. For an archaeo-astronomy course, she recently staged a yurt ceremony, which allowed her to merge her interests.

After graduation, Yen will spend the summer in New York City where she and fellow Colgate students will work to produce a play during the week of the French Festival. Beyond the summer, Yen plans to direct and possibly stage-manage. Undoubtedly, no matter where Yen’s future takes her, she will be greatly missed by the Colgate community.