UR founds Institute of Popular Music

In an effort to promote and support a broad range of popular music, UR founded the Institute of Popular Music on Saturday, Dec. 1, spearheaded by Music Professor John Covach. The Institute will have some physical office space after the music department moves into Dewey Hall at the end of the spring semester, but it is more of an overarching entity to organize courses, lectures and the study of popular music, according to Covach, who said the formation represents UR’s commitment to “promoting certain specialized units of study.”

The Institute currently has four initiatives: containing a centralized, multidisciplinary listing of all courses on popular music offered at UR; putting on a speaker series featuring leading experts in the field; hosting summer workshops to train popular music teachers or bring together top scholars; and offering pre- and post- doctoral fellowships. Covach also said that there is the possibility of creating a  popular music major, in addition to the existing popular music track inside the music degree on the River Campus and said that the Institute plans to have many additional initiatives in the future.

Covach likened the Institute to an advocacy group.

“We really think it would be great if there was more first rate study of popular music, not just rock and roll,” Covach said.

“We’re not just talking about the Beatles here, but any type of pop music that people might want to work on. Our job is to advocate for these people.”

Faculty at many other schools are often more old-fashioned and think that courses on pop music are not “serious” enough for college level study. “Just being present is already a kind of advocacy and a kind of support,” Covach said of the Institute. “It makes us a leader and a model for promoting popular music.”

Sophomore Tom Perrotta, who is a member of the Rock Repertory Ensemble which Covach directs, said he is optimistic about the Institute’s success. “[Covach is] really passionate about the true cultural appeciation of those significant decades and his dedication to exposing a younger generation to the golden age of music has been incredibly well-received,” Perrotta said. “The furthering of this program is bound to succeed and having something like this here in Rochester is yet another thing that separates us from other schools.”

The Institute’s inaugural lecture will be given in January by Jocelyn Neal, a music professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and will be entitled “Ladies Love Country Boys: Gendered Narratives and the Meaning of Country Music.”

Political Analyst to deliver MLK Commemorative Address

Melissa Harris-Perry, who hosts a current affairs program on MSNBC, will give this year’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Address in January. Harris-Perry, who teaches political science at Tulane University, will discuss racial issues, religious questions and gender issues in American politics in the address. She also writes a monthly column for The Nation and provides commentary in various other television, radio and print venues worldwide, including “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “The Last Word.” The annual address, which will be given in Strong Auditorium on the River Campus, is co-sponsored by the College Diversity Roundtable and the Office of the President.

ESM appoints new director of concert activities

The Eastman School of Music has appointed Keith Elder, an attorney and former arts administrator with several orchestras, as director of concert activities, effective Monday, Dec. 3. Elder will advise deans on the school’s concert series, manage performance venues, lead the concert office staff and oversee the Eastman Theater Box Office, Theater Shop and concessions. Elder, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in music from Indiana University, has held several positions at the Boston University School for the Arts and the Boston and Detroit Symphony orchestras.

Grade access to be contingent on course evaluations

For the first time, students not completing all course evaluations by Friday, Dec. 21, the end of the evaluation period, will be unable to view their grades as instructors submit them. Students who complete evaluations for all courses in which they are enrolled will be able to see their grades as soon as they are entered, beginning on Wednesday, Dec. 12, the first day that faculty are able to submit grades. Students who do not complete all of their course evaluations will be unable to see their grades until Saturday, Dec. 22. Course evaluations were made available to students on Blackboard beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Assistant Dean and Registrar Nancy Speck said the change was made this semester because “research at other institutions has shown that allowing students to see their grades as they become available has increased response rates significantly.”

Singer Award deadline extended

The deadline for seniors to nominate a high school teacher for a Singer Award has been extended from Monday, Dec. 3 to Friday, Dec. 21. The Singer Awards recognize influential high school teachers and are presented during Commencement weekend in May. UR pays the travel expenses of winning teachers and also gives their schools a financial award. A committee of faculty members and students not from the senior class choose up to four teachers.

5 students banned from campus for Gaza solidarity encampment

UR has been banning community members from campus since November for on-campus protests, but the first bans for current students were issued this weekend.

UR Baseball beats Hamilton and RIT

Yellowjackets baseball beat Hamilton College on Tuesday and RIT on Friday to the scores of 11–4 and 7–4, respectively.

Zumba in medicine, the unexpected crossover

Each year at URMC, a new cohort of unsuspecting pediatrics residents get a crash course. “There are no mistakes in Zumba,” Gellin says.