(Sept. 16, 2011)-- The old UTSA adage, "Come here, go far" came to life this summer for five COLFA students as they and associate professor William McCrary (Department of Music) spent the first two weeks of August participating in the Yunnan Opera Festival in Kunming, China.
Department of Music Vocal Performance majors Kristin Degroot, Laura Estrada, Christina Taylor, Darius Thomas, and Jacob Valadez each performed major roles in Puccini's Gianni Schicci and Act II of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. Both operas were presented in their original language and, according to local authorities, were the first productions of western opera to be performed in Kunming.
The three evenings of performances were the culmination of two weeks of voice lessons, diction classes, master classes, music rehearsals, and staging rehearsals in what the Chinese city referred to as the City of Eternal Spring (due to Kunming's yearly temperate climate).
When asked about the educational experience Darius Thomas stated, "The invaluable education and musical experience I received from China will be with me always. The quality of the students and professors were the best in the nation."
The program included students and professors from the United States, Taiwan, and China.
Kristin Degroot noted, "It was astounding to experience, not only the beautiful differences in our two cultures, but also the large number of similarities." Christina Taylor added, "Performing with people from all over the United States, China, and Taiwan was amazing. It was incredible to see the singers grow so and amazing to watch the Chinese students, on stage and in the audience, experience Western opera for the first time. It was absolutely a 'once in a lifetime' experience."
Each performance was attended by local adults as well as a hundred or so school children from a local visual and performing arts school. After each performance, the singers were presented with gifts from the children as a thank you for the performance and as a way of sharing the Chinese culture with the American students. When asked their reaction to the performance, several children stated, "It was awesome!"
The trip was partially funded by UTSA donors Charles and Charlotte Walker as well as by efforts of each student. Jacob Valadez, who begins graduate study at Baylor University this fall commented, "We were so thankful that Charles and Charlotte (Walker) helped us with the airfare. Several of us would not have been able to go without their generosity. As for me, China was a fun and an exciting experience! Being immersed in someone else's culture and getting acquainted with their customs was such a shock. I learned that one must not take for granted the things we are lucky to have here in America."
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.