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Performing Arts Groups Continue Hitting High Notes

Friday, February 13, 2015
Performing Arts group on Hatfield Hall stage.

Arts Advocates: Leading campus music programs and performing arts groups are David Chapman, seated at piano, and (back row, from left) Norm Hanson, Michael Compton, Julie Dugger, Randy Carle, Terence Hartnett, and Daniel Tryon, Hatfield Hall manager and director of student performing arts. (Photo by Shawn Spence)

It might be surprising that a campus filled with budding scientists, engineers, and mathematicians has long been associated with the performing arts.

Rose-Hulman's first music clubs were started in 1889, and there have been glee clubs, choruses, bands, and orchestras for more than 100 years.

"Music needs engineers; engineers need music," says David Chapman, PhD, assistant professor of music. "The idea that an institute of technology would be dry, heady, and dull is totally wrong. Rose-Hulman proves that creativity and soul thrive alongside the life of the mind."

Later, he adds, "everyone has a relationship with music, even if they don't play an instrument or read music notation. They have their own playlist, record collection, and favorite band. As a music professor, I love tapping into that existing love and knowledge of music, and I always try to take those relationships to new places."

Director of Theater Programs Terence Hartnett, PhD, agrees. He is in his first year directing such diverse drama club productions as "Cinderella" (fall), "A Flea in Her Ear" (winter), and "Les Miserables" (the upcoming spring musical).

"Creative thinking, intelligence, innovation, work ethic and time management are all crucial attributes for an engineer and an actor," Hartnett states. "Our students tend to be highly motivated and intelligent people with a strong work ethic. Finding actors here is not a problem."

Rose-Hulman provides students with the opportunity to earn an academic minor in music and is blessed to have the state-of-the-art Hatfield Hall Theater, opened in 2002 following a $14-million gift from alumnus/trustee Michael Hatfield and his wife, Deborah. The building hosts student performed shows and visiting Performing Arts Series events for the campus and nearby communities.

"Rose-Hulman provides exciting opportunities in music and theater for our talented students, and we invite the Wabash Valley to enjoy these performances throughout each school year," says Daniel Tryon, manager of Hatfield Hall and director of student performing arts.

Other staff members assisting performing arts groups include Randy Carle, Hatfield Hall's production manager; Michael Compton, set designer; Chad Roscoe, director of choral programs; Norm Hanson, orchestra and jazz band conductor; Julie Dugger, concert band conductor; and Jessica Becker, costume designer.