El Capitan operetta headlines September round of 50th Anniversary Events

Our 50th anniversary is very important for the GV community.

Eric Coulter

Our 50th anniversary is very important for the GV community.

Derek Wolff

Grand Valley State University will kick off its 50th Anniversary celebration on Monday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. with John Phillip Sousa’s El Capitan.

The unique concert, which will be held in the Performing Arts Center, will be the first installment in an exciting Fall Arts Celebration 2010 that will highlight events on campus and in downtown Grand Rapids for the celebration the university’s 50th anniversary year.

Professor Barry Martin will do the honors of conducting what is considered a gem of compositional verve and excellence. The operetta will also include a music faculty/student orchestra. Visiting professor Ben Cole will narrate the operetta of the “March King”.

El Capitan itself is a humorous and silly story of mistaken identity. The lead character, Don Enrico Medigua, is the viceroy of Spanish-occupied Peru who secretly has a rebel leader killed only to assume his enemy’s identity to win over the rebel soldiers.

El Capitan is just the first of the many events that will occur around campus or in downtown Grand Rapids this year for GVSU students, faculty and alumni to celebrate. Teri Losey, the Chair for the 50th Anniversary Comitee, stressed the value of attending the events.

“I think that it would be a great opportunity for students to get to know some of Grand Valley’s rich and unique history,” she said. “Going to the events and checking out the website for more information is a great way for students to get involved.”

Following El Capitan through the Fall Arts Celebration, the School of Communications will present an Art Gallery Exhibition in the Art Gallery of the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus. The gallery’s opening reception on Sept. 15 will showcase 75 new works of art by 28 current faculty members in the Department of Art and Design and the School of Communication. A wide range of artwork will be included, such as animation, installation, metals, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, video and works on paper.

GVSU President Thomas Haas was adamant in an interview for WGVU television on Aug. 27 that the 50th anniversary events were celebratory for both the students and faculty.

“It’s all about the students,” Haas said. “But we’re also celebrating this 50th anniversary because of the public-private partnerships that continue to nurture this university.”

Next in line with the anniversary celebrations is the 2010 Battle of the Valley’s, which will include a Pedometer Challenge this year. Not only will GVSU students, faculty and staff be battling their Saginaw Valley State University counterparts, but also GVSU’s own internal departments will compete against each other as well.

Registration for the competition begins on Sept. 1 with a captain and three additional teammates needed to fill a team roster. The captain can then chose whether his or her team wants to be in Level 1 or Level 2, the latter of which being more strenuous and time consuming physical activity. Beginning on Sept. 1 after registration, captains can visit the web tracker at [email protected] and pick up free pedometers, one for each member of the team, at Lake Michigan Hall in Room 140 at no charge.

The first 125 teams to register will receive a free Battle of the Valley’s 50 years in 50 days 50th anniversary t-shirt. The top 25 teams overall will receive a drawstring gym bag. The competition itself will begin on Sept. 22 and runs through Nov. 10.

Rounding out the September celebratory events will be a special campus lecture by distinguished academic lecturer Dr. Jill Ker Conway. She will present “The Next 50 Years in the World” where she will share the insight, experience and wisdom she gained from current and past leadership roles at Nike, Colgate-Palmolive, Merrill Lynch & Co. and the Lend Lease Corporation. She is also a best selling author of several books, including The Road from Coorain and A Woman’s Education.

The lecture and a Q&A section will begin at 7 pm on the second floor of the Eberard Center on GVSU’s Pew Campus in Grand Rapids. A book signing and reception will begin at 8 p.m.

President Haas’ full interview with WGVU telivision can be viewed at www.wgvu.org.

Admission for El Capitan operetta is free after requesting a ticket online or calling the Grand Valley box office at (616) 331-2300.

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