“Discovering Oregon Originals” with poet George Venn

News contact: David Milholland | President, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Phone: 503-285-8279 | E-mail: encanto@ochcom.org | Website: www.ochcom.org
Source contact: George Venn
Phone: 541-962-0380 | E-mail: gvenn@eou.edu | Website: www.georgevenn.com


Photo by Marie Balaban / George Venn is a noted poet and professor emeritus of creative writing at EOU.

March 27, 2013
 - A distinguished figure in Western American literature is coming to the Portland metro area next month as part of the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission’s “Discovering Oregon Originals” series.

George Venn, of La Grande, will share selections from his new memoir “Keeping the Swarm” at 3:30 p.m. April 6 at Gresham Library in the Community Room, and at 2 p.m. April 7 at Portland’s Central Library in the U.S. Bank Room. 

Both readings are free and open to the public and are concurrent with OCHC’s 25th anniversary.

Venn is a poet, essayist, literary historian, editor, educator and beekeeper. “Keeping the Swarm” contains 11 of his essays about the Northwest, in addition to pieces on his international sojourns in Spain and China, and others eulogizing individuals he loved. Fellow Northwest author Craig Lesley describes it as “Another brave and rewarding book.”

Venn has lived in the Grande Ronde Valley for four decades, much of which he devoted to working with students at Eastern Oregon University as a professor of creative writing. He received the Distinguished Teaching Award upon his retirement from EOU in 2002.

From 1971-1988 Venn served as the advisory editor for Oregon East, the award-winning art and literary magazine produced by EOU students. He was also involved with the Ars Poetica Lecture Series, which is still going strong at the university today.

Venn holds the distinction of being the first Oregon poet to receive the Pushcart Prize for his poem, “Forgive Us…” from “Off the Main Road.” Other works include “Marking the Magic Circle,” recognized by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission as one of the 100 best Oregon books in two centuries. His collection of poetry, “West of Paradise,” was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.

The OCHC discovers, celebrates and commemorates contributions to Oregon’s diverse literary and cultural legacy, raising awareness through publications and other media, memorials and public events. For more information visit www.ochcom.org/events.html.

Join EOU & Pendleton Chamber for after hours event

Contact: Jessie Brett | Alumni Coordinator, EOU
541-962-3740 | jbrett@eou.edu

March 25, 2013
PENDLETON, Ore. (EOU) - Get updated on Eastern Oregon University’s activities in the region at the next Chamber of Commerce “Kick It Up After Five” event April 11.

EOU President Bob Davies will be attending the business after hours reception from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Umatilla-Morrow Counties Regional Center at Blue Mountain Community College, Morrow Hall, Rooms 200-01 and 203-04. Refreshments will be provided.

The EOU Foundation is sponsoring the event in conjunction with the Pendleton Chamber. For more information call 541-962-3740 or e-mail foundation@eou.edu.


A “Transposition” of mixed media, prints & drawings

Contact: Cory Peeke | Nightingale Gallery Director
541-962-3584 | cpeeke@eou.edu

March 18, 2013

Digital collaborative collage.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - The Nightingale Gallery at EOU announces “Transposition,” a senior capstone group exhibition featuring work by James Long, Christina Roe and Henrik Soerensen.

The show will open with a reception for the artists at 6 p.m. April 5 and continue through April 19. Works in mixed media, prints and drawings will be on display.

James Long is a non-traditional student who began his academic career at Boise State University in 1995. Though he also enjoys painting and digital media, his true passion is drawing with graphite on paper. Many of his conceptual influences involve familial heritage, cultural identity and societal institutions.

James Long, “The Other Man”, Graphite on Paper, 13” x 13”, 2013

The body of work Long will be showing began as collages of 19th and 20th century photographs. Through a process of positioning selected elements of two or more photos, such as a daredevil perched at the top of an urban high rise and a sober-faced immigrant, Long is able to craft new situations which explore facets of human nature including hope, disappointment, jealousy and tenacity. Through the black and white of graphite and paper, he presents contrasting subject matter both literally and figuratively.


Untitled by Christina Roe, print, 22.5” x 30” (2013).

Christina Roe is originally from Kodiak, Alaska, and she draws much of her inspiration from the natural landscape. Though well-trained in representational art, her new body of work focuses mainly on formal concepts of line quality, space and texture.

Roe’s work explores intangible ideas of time and thought through non-traditional drawing. Instead of providing a visual representation of these concepts, her drawings seek to capture their reflections in a physical, tangible way. Through materials such as thread and string, chosen specifically for the line quality they possess, she is able to draw images onto a grounded surface, which evolve into their own environments and ask viewers to question reality and perception. 


“Dust Collector” by Henrik Soerensen, 78” x 32” x 26”, granite, wood, wool blanket, scythe handle, bronze, vacuum, paint and rag (2012).

Henrik Soerensen grew up in Denmark and is currently making work that is inspired by and questions our culturally-formed patterns. Soerensen concentrates on sculpture and his work satisfies, as well as questions, his fascination with the crafted object. He is especially interested in how a particular color or found object can present a narrative possibility or an altered perception of everyday life.

His fascination with the process of making, along with a background as a professional chef, fosters his interest in the universal function of objects across cultures. His sculptural installations include the use of found objects combined with painstakingly crafted elements of various materials composed in ambiguous compositions.

“Despite the wide range of media used by Long, Roe and Soerensen, there is a certain chaos that all three artists rely upon in their respective processes,” said Cory Peeke, Nightingale Gallery director. “As a cohesive whole, ‘Transposition’ illustrates through both 2D and 3D space how the positioning of disparate elements, shapes, or concepts impacts the relevance of an idea.” 

Nightingale Gallery is located in Loso Hall. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.  For more information visit www.eou.edu/art/nightingale-gallery or follow the gallery on Facebook.

High school artists receive awards in annual EOU exhibition

Contact: Cory Peeke | Nightingale Gallery Director
541-962-3584 | cpeeke@eou.edu

March 13, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - The Nightingale Gallery announces the following award winners from the 2013 “Eastern Oregon Regional High School Art Exhibition.”

The EOU art program presented University Scholar Awards to the following high school seniors whose work demonstrates great potential for continued success at the college level. These students also each received a $1,500 renewable scholarship to study art at EOU:

- Andrew Camarena, of Ontario High School, for his mixed media sculpture “Head”
- Eli Kerns, of Baker High School, for his mixed media and clay sculpture “Willow Creek”
- Molly Witten, of La Grande High School, for her oil on canvas painting “Sarah’s Solo” 

The following Best of Show winners received award certificates and sketchbooks in which to continue to sharpen their creative skills:

Union High School

- Travis Gregory, 11th grade, for his acrylic painting “Tree with Leaves”
- Micayla Prummer, 11th grade, for her mixed media puppet “The Big Bad Wolf”

Grant Union High School

- Hannah Pereira, 10th grade, for her graphite drawing “Self Portrait”

Cove High School

- Saskia Lay, 9th grade, for her mixed media drawing “Dedicated to Jade Connall”


The following Honorable Mention recipients received a certificate of award:

Baker High School

- Jordan Warren for the pen and ink drawing “Bifocals”

Cove High School

- Lacey Bard for her photograph “Resistance”
- Hannah Brazil for her ink and collage work “Neck-less Positioning”

Joseph High School

- Lindsay Kemp for her watercolor painting “Rainy City”
- Mia Whittle for her mixed media work “Spring”

La Grande High School

- Alora Brown for the oil painting “Welcome to My World”
- Taite Haynes for the acrylic painting “Batman”
- Ally Tsaitos for the acrylic painting “Colorful Elephant”

Ontario High School

- Alina Schueler for her drawing “Tiger Year”
- Ashton Stark for the drawing “Reflection”
- Ashley K. Suyematsu for her drawing “Snack Time”

Weston McEwen High School

- Angelica Mirnov for her acrylic painting of a peacock

Additionally, Jaime Gustavson, art instructor at Union High School, presented a $100 Union High School Bobcat Foundation Scholarship Award to Tanner Tracy-Mugrage.

The La Grande Arts Commission also presented a special award to Alora Brown, a junior at La Grande High School exhibiting her painting “Welcome to My World.” The La Grande Arts Commission’s “Promising Young Artist Award” comes with a certificate and check for $50.

“The Nightingale Gallery and EOU congratulates the winners and all the outstanding participants,” said Cory Peeke, Nightingale Gallery director. “We would also like to express our appreciation to the region’s art teachers who went out of their way to make sure their students’ work was included in the exhibit and who do an outstanding job with extremely limited resources.”

Following is a list of participating teachers/schools: Kristen Bell, Baker High School; Eric Gustavson, Cove High School; Connie Robbins, Crane High School; J.J. Collier, Grant Union High School; Olivia Hinojos, Joseph High School; Mike Schireman, La Grande High School; Pam Helfrich, Ontario High School; Jaime Gustavson, Union High School; and Julie Pridgen, Weston McEwen High School.

The “Eastern Oregon Regional High School Exhibition” continues through March 20 in Nightingale Gallery in Loso Hall. For more information visit www.eou.edu/art. Winning artists’ works may also be viewed on the gallery’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NightingaleGallery. 

EOU music department prepares for Alaska adventure

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu
Story for EOU by Stephanie Brookhart-Beedle

EOU photo by Tessa Ortmann / A cast of 62 members including a 10-piece band will rock the production, “Totally 80′s Rewind,” across southeast Alaska during spring break, Mar. 22-30.

March 12, 2013
 – Cross the threshold of the EOU music department in Loso Hall and enter a virtual surround-sound of snapping fingers, instruments, singing and an occasional high-pitched squeal.

The squeals do not emanate from a specific instrument or arrangement, but from students expressing their excitement about the department’s upcoming tour.

Through the years, EOU groups have set out on some pretty big adventures including excursions to China, Ecuador, Eastern Europe and Alaska. This year, students and faculty are headed north again and they’re taking the music of the 1980’s with them.

A cast of 62 members including a 10-piece band will rock the production, “Totally 80′s Rewind,” across southeast Alaska, including stops at Juneau, Ketchikan and Wrangell.

The EOU music department and Chamber Choir presented the 80′s show last January and the Alaska tour is a continuation of a production that began developing in the spring of 2012 with students from Professor Peter Wordelman’s seminar course. Holly Sorensen, Luke Basile, Jonathan Davidson, Mike Kellison and Lindsay Martin constructed and arranged the entire program to fit the strength of the choir and instrumental ensemble.

EOU music students and faculty share the stage and throughout the show all the performers have one or more featured solo moments.

“It is a true collaborative effort that features the many diverse talents within the music department at EOU,” said Wordelman, who is also the Chamber Choir director. “It took a long time to put this production together. The 80’s were full of amazing music that runs the whole gamut of genres, including pop, rock, country and bluegrass. More than 30 songs are in the lineup, and they aren’t simple songs to learn.”

Some pieces are performed a cappella, the band accompanies several of the numbers, and still others include “vocal percussion.” An a cappella version of “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for” by the rock group U2 is a prime example. Just when the harmonies intermingle and linger for a quick second, the piece moves into the bridge and percussion takes over – yet there are no visible drums being played.

“Ahh, but there are drums,” Wordelman said. “They are vocal drums!”

Vocal percussion sounds are produced without the help of traditional instruments and EOU student Jacob Mitchell is a master at performing them.

“It brings depth to the tune, and Jacob does it very well,” Wordelman said.

What does a music professor add to a production that has such a wide array of talent and an extensive range of music? Choreography, and Wordelman is always looking for opportunities for students to learn from other professionals in the business.

That is where Catherine Herrmann comes in. A La Grande native, Eastern alumna and University of Georgia-Athens graduate, Herrmann now lives in New York City and has returned home to choreograph several EOU productions.

Exciting as it is, some students were hesitant to add movement to the somewhat complicated music.

“You have to add it in slowly,” Wordelman said. “Most of my students have had some experience with choreography, but for some it was like asking them to do gymnastics on stilts while keeping time to the music and staying on pitch. Catherine exercises her craft so well with them though, they caught on right away.”

During the nine-day trip to Alaska, the group will stay at hotels part of the time and also at private host homes. The host homes in Ketchikan were arranged in part by choir member and Juneau native, Emily Smith. Another student from Alaska, Caite Debevec, hails from Sitka, where the group will stop for a short time during a 26-hour ferry ride.

The group will perform at middle and high schools, and also conduct music workshops. These venues provide opportunities to promote enrollment at EOU, and students and faculty will be on hand to answer questions and offer perspective on what it’s like to attend the university.

“Eastern is a superb school for students from Alaska as evidenced by the number that attend here,” Wordelman said. “We will not only be recruiting, but will also hold auditions for various music and theatre scholarships that are available.”

“Our students have a unique opportunity to participate in many different ensembles and performances,” Wordelman continued.

Embarking on an expedition like this takes a tidy sum of money – money the music department does not have an abundance of. The group does, however, have immeasurable support from the university and Union County communities, substantiated at its well-attended events.

Bob Coulter, owner of Red Cross Drug Store, is a major event sponsor for EOU’s choral groups, from the 80’s concert to the annual Choirs of the Valley performances.

Steven Koza, D.M.D., of Koza Family Dental Care, is also stepping forward as a major supporter of the Holiday Music Festival and spring choral concert.

Students have been busy raising funds for the journey by performing in concerts, organizing and selling tickets for a raffle and strategically placing tip jars. Individuals are also responsible for air fair.

The nine-day excursion begins March 22, kicking-off a spring break like no other for the musical troupe. From Earth, Wind and Fire to Joan Jett, Cindy Lauper and Michael Jackson, it is sure to be a wonderful experience from the audiences’ perspective as well.


Experience “Totally 80′s Rewind: Alaska Touring Show”

La Grande Les Schwab Tire Center presents a chance to experience the “Totally 80’s Rewind: Alaska Touring Show” Friday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for EOU students and senior citizens, and are available at the EOU Bookstore and Mountaineer Market downtown. Advance ticket purchase is recommended.

For more information contact Wordelman at 541-962-3352 or pwordelm@eou.edu.

Grande Ronde Community, EOU Women’s choirs perform

Contact: J. Michael Frasier | EOU Instructor of Music
541-962-3463 | mfraisier@eou.edu

March 11, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - The Grande Ronde Community Choir and EOU Women’s Choir will perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

The performance culminates the musical activities of the Community Choir for the 2012-13 year and is the final concert of winter term for the Women’s Choir. J. Michael Frasier directs both groups with the assistance of accompanists Dr. Mio Aoike and Lanetta Paul.

Folkal Point, a group directed by Duane Boyer, EOU instructor, will also make a guest appearance for the event. Folkal Point is a 13-member eclectic folk group featuring students on fiddles, penny whistle, guitars, acoustic bass, mandolin, banjo and cajon (drum box). They will perform four pieces: the Irish tune “Marie’s Wedding,” “Ashokan Farewell,” done as a fiddle trio, the Bob Dylan tune “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” and a song entitled “Friend Til the End.” 

A variety of other folksong based or multicultural inspired pieces will be highlighted for the portion of the program featuring the 24-voice Women’s Choir. An instrumental ensemble will accompany the singers on “Riversong,” a Celtic inspired piece, and “Adiemus,” from the filmAvatar.” Also being performed are two songs of celebration from South Africa, with djembe accompaniment provided by Luke McKern, EOU instructor, and the Canadian folksong “Savory, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.”

A musical set celebrating the 150th anniversary of the signing of The Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln will conclude the concert, with the 54-voice Community Choir performing “The Homecoming” based on a 19th century hymn with text from a poem written by Lincoln. 

The Community Choir will also perform two African-American pieces: the Escape Spiritual “Keep Your Lamps” and the Freedom Spiritual, “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel.” The set closes with two Civil War pieces that include audience participation, “Workin’ For The Dawn Of Peace” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Admission to the concert is free. Donations will be accepted at the door with proceeds benefiting future music ensemble projects. 

For more information contact Frasier at 541-962-3463.

Hear from GRH pharmacist at next Health Speaker Series

Contact: Kimberly Mueller | EOU Pre-Professional Health Liaison
541-962-3070 | kmueller@eou.edu

V. Andrew Rudolph, D.P.

March 11, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - V. Andrew Rudolph, D.P., will be the next presenter for the EOU Health Speaker Series Thursday, March 14. Students and community members are invited to attend the free presentation at 6 p.m. in Badgley Hall, Room 102.

A staff pharmacist at Grande Ronde Hospital since 2011, Dr. Rudolph has a passion for teaching and advancing pharmacy practice through innovative practice models. His professional interests include solid organ transplant, infectious disease and improving the continuity of care between inpatient and outpatient settings.  

Dr. Rudolph completed his doctor of pharmacy at Pacific University in Hillsboro and his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Brigham Young University.

The speaker series is made possible by EOU and the Northeast Oregon Area Health Education Center with the goal of providing students interested in pursuing healthcare careers the opportunity to hear first-hand experiences from members of the area medical community. The series will continue through spring term with one presentation each month. 

For more information visit www.eou.edu/prepro or contact Kimberly Mueller, EOU’s pre-professional health liaison, at 541-962-3070.

Business professor explores computer-mediated communications at next colloquium

Contact: Molly Burke | 541-962-3508

March 11, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - Michael Santucci, assistant professor of business, shares his study of computer-mediated interaction for the next colloquium Thursday, Mar. 14 at EOU.

Santucci investigates the compatibility of two theories: Media Naturalness and the Social Identity Model of Deindividuation Effects. He describes how their reconciliation under a combined model can be used to explain and predict changes in perceptions, attitudes and behaviors arising in computer-mediated interaction. 

The presentation begins at 4 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 210. It is free and open to the public. A reception with question and answer session with Santucci will follow.

A list of related resources provided by EOU’s Pierce Library is available for more in-depth information on this topic. Visit http://library.eou.edu/colloquium. To be added to the colloquium mailing list call 541-962-3508.

Poetry students support food drive with “A Night of Verse”

Contact: David Axelrod | EOU Professor of English
541-963-9178 | daxelrod@eou.edu

Bring a donation of non-perishable food or cash to the event this Thursday at Cook Memorial Library. Readings begin at 7 p.m.

March 11, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - An opportunity to hear original works by EOU poetry students while supporting a good cause is coming up Thursday, March 14 at Cook Memorial Library.

The student-readings are the cornerstone of “A Night of Verse” fundraiser being organized by Professor David Axelrod’s introduction to poetry class. Admission is a donation of non-perishable food or cash to be collected at the door for the university’s ongoing food drive. The event starts at 7 p.m.

Axelrod, who is involved with bringing the arts to Union County and EOU through the Ars Poetica Lecture Series and “basalt” magazine, has incorporated into his curriculum the opportunity for students to gain experience in arts administration. Students have named themselves “Hungry Poets” for the event and they hope to bring in many donations.

“This is a charitable event, and the students of EOU are performing both a civic and artistic responsibility,” Axelrod said. “The class as a group wants to make an effort to help out the community.”

For more information contact Axelrod at 541-963-9178.


Documentary highlights WWII service of distinguished EOU alumnus & fellow area veteran

Contact: Jessie Brett | EOU Alumni Coordinator
541-962-3740| alumni@eou.edu

EOU Alumnus Fred Hill and fellow veteran Fred Parish are featured in the WWII documentary, and both will be in attendance at the film showing.

March 8, 2013
– A documentary featuring two area veterans premieres at 7 p.m. March 15 in Zabel Hall Auditorium, Room 101, at Eastern Oregon University.

“The Jungleers in Battle: A Documentary of the 41st Infantry in WWII” highlights the Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana National Guard group considered to be the “best” National Guard infantry division in the U.S. prior to WWII.

Division members and Union County residents Fred Hill and Fred Parish are included in the film. Audience members will have the opportunity to visit with both Hill and Parish about their experiences at the event.

Hill, a noted photographer and local historian, donated his complete collection of WWII images to EOU’s Pierce Library and in 2011 he was named the university’s Distinguished Alumnus.

Fred Hill

The 41st was activated on Sept. 16, 1940, and trained at Camp (Swamp) Murray in Washington before being rushed to defense of the Oregon and Washington coastline after the attack at Pearl Harbor. They were then sent overseas, arriving as the first American Infantry Division in Australia, and fought under General MacArthur through New Guinea, the Philippines and on to occupation duty in the Hiroshima District of Japan.

Alisha Hamel of the Historical Outreach Foundation directed “The Jungleers in Battle.” Proceeds from the showing will support the foundation’s mission of bringing a history field trip to schools at little or no cost.

Admission is a suggested donation of $10 per person, payable at the door. For more information contact the EOU Alumni Office at 541-962-3740.

> View the movie trailer at www.eou.edu/alumni/events/jungleers.