“We’re trying to make the performing arts and the humanities available to every student,” says music professor John Covach, the director of a new Institute for Performing Arts.
“A majority of students participating in performing arts on the River Campus are non-majors,” says Gloria Culver, dean of Arts & Sciences. “We hope the institute will make the entry into performance, collaboration, and the creation of new work even easier for a greater number of students, as well as provide new resources and space for students and faculty to develop their artistic interests.”
Rock Repertory Ensemble
Established in 2009 by John Covach, professor of music, and directed by Christopher Meeker, adjunct instructor of music, the ensemble performs historical rock music, with an emphasis on music from 1955 to the early 1990s. Students perform each song as it was recorded, and everything is learned by ear. The selected songs broadly represent rock history. “We want to push [students] out of their comfort zone and challenge them musically,” Covach says.
International Theatre Program
The heart of the theater program is “learning through doing,” says Nigel Maister, the Russell and Ruth Peck Artistic Director of the International Theatre Program. Through it, all undergraduates in the University have the opportunity to work with professional artists in theater in staging ambitious and challenging dramatic works. But for students who want to explore theater without being in a production, an increasing range of classes is also offered.
The chamber orchestra—led by David Harman, professor of music and director of orchestral activities—features musicians from the River Campus who are selected each year through competitive auditions. They come from a wide variety of majors, and many are in the sciences. Over the past 20 years, the orchestra has toured Chile, Italy, Canada, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands.
Program of Dance and Movement
The Program of Dance and Movement provides experiential and theoretical study of dance, emphasizing dance’s many facets: a form of art, creative process, and community building; a dimension of self-awareness; and a contemplative practice. Faculty, led by director Missy Pfohl Smith, draw on practices and techniques from around the world.
In 1976, Campus Ministries created the UR Gospel Choir. Forty years later, it’s still going strong. Now a credited ensemble in the music department, the choir that began with just eight students has a membership of 35 singers. The group performs spirituals, hymns, and gospel songs frequently on campus and in the Greater Rochester community. Thomas Green has directed the choir for the past year.