Law Faculty Scholarship Cited in FTC Virtual World Report
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Get Ready for Reunions
It’s never too early to start making plans for the Washington and Lee reunions this spring, and a new blog site makes it easier than ever. Just go to Reunions at W&L to keep abreast of the latest plans for the weekend of April 30 to May 2. You can filter the information by class year and can see news and notes from classmates. You are also invited to go to the Alumni Weekend Straw Poll where you can register your attendance preference and see who else from your class is planning to attend.
Are You Fan of Lexington?
Lexington has its own Facebook fan page where you can see photos and keep up with the latest doings in Metro Lex. You can become a fan at this link and try your hand at Trivia Tuesday. Lexington’s got almost 4,500 fans already–more than our official Washington and Lee Facebook page. So as long as you’re on Facebook, if you haven’t become a Washington and Lee fan, just do it and invite others to join, too. At the same time, you can also fan the Southern Inn and the Theater at Lime Kiln.
Self-Taught W&L Musician Publishes First Album
When she entered college, Julie Slonecki was a self-taught musician who could not read music. Two years later, as a junior music major at Washington and Lee University, Slonecki has released her own indie rock album, “Borders.”
Although music has always inspired her, Slonecki attributes her growth as a musician to classes like Music Theory and to professors like Terry Vosbein.
“The more I learn of music theory, the more I am fascinated and utterly absorbed by music,” said Slonecki. “Professor Vosbein has taught me most of what I know about how music all fits together. He is very relaxed and comfortable with his students, and we always manage to have fits of roaring laughter in class. I hope one day to be as fluid as he is in talking about music and analyzing chords.”
Slonecki is the women’s section leader in University Chorus, the musical director of the a cappella group General Admission, a work-study student for the Music Department, and a DJ for WLUR, the university’s radio station.
In addition, she plays in a band composed of Washington and Lee students, Rikki Tikki Tavi. Fellow band members are senior Will Stewart, senior Michael Morella and junior Robert Wason. Slonecki performs vocals and plays the guitar, drums and keyboards.
A distinct part of Slonecki’s music is her originality – she has written and produced all of the music on her own. She says that anything can inspire her: “It could be the weather, a certain moment, a feeling. However, I’m not usually just struck with an idea, and then scramble to write it down. Usually they come about when I am just playing guitar, and out of that something that I like evolves into a song.”
Slonecki’s musical goals are organic and simple. “I just want to be able to make music that I love, and that other people can relate to and love. I guess making a decent living wouldn’t be bad, either,” she said. “However, looking ahead to a career as a musician, I am worried whether I will find success, since it’s a business that is not known for being easy to break into. However, I know I’m passionate about it, and I’m going to give it everything I have.”
Slonecki’s album is available on Amazon.
— by Maggie Sutherland ’10
Take Our Survey
The two feet of snow that blanketed Lexington and Rockbridge County on the weekend made for treacherous conditions but spectacular photography (and videography). Photographer Kevin Remington was on the W&L campus before the plows and a his shot of Holekamp Hall at the right shows what it looked like Saturday. And Terry Vosbein, professor of music at W&L, posted two videos of the snow, including one of a drive around Lexington once the roads were clear enough to drive safely. Terry, who has just published a new jazz CD, put his videos to his music. The first is Odin’s Dream, which was shot at his home, and the second is Don’t Blame Me, which is the auto tour of Lexington. Have a look at the links below:
Music Professor’s Progressive Jazz CD Honors Stan Kenton
Washington and Lee University music professor and composer Terry Vosbein spent three months at the University of North Texas in 2007 cataloging the works of jazz bandleader Stan Kenton. As he sifted through the material, he made a happy discovery: a treasure trove of unrecorded Kenton scores that the musician composed during his most popular period, 1946 to 1948.
In addition to that surprise, Vosbein made another unexpected finding. “During 1948 there was no recording going on because of a strike with the musicians’ union, and so all this music was being written and none of it got recorded,” he says. “Brilliant stuff that nobody’s heard.”
Vosbein includes seven of these songs on his new CD, “Progressive Jazz 2009,” a rousing tribute to Kenton performed by the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. Vosbein composed or arranged six additional selections. He’s been a fan of Kenton’s since high school-when his father encouraged Vosbein and his brother to play hooky for a show.
“Stan Kenton was going to be doing a concert and workshop in Columbia, S.C., and we mentioned this to my dad,” says Vosbein. His father promptly organized a road trip from their home in Atlanta. “I remember my dad saying, ‘This is better than school.’ “
Kenton, one of the most popular bandleaders of the 1940s and 1950s, is remembered for his experimental composing. “Rather than being a commercial big band like Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey and some of the other bands, the goal of his band was to be innovative,” says Vosbein. His compositions are also highly dramatic. “There’s this pacing that’s bringing you on an emotional trip. And that appeals to me whether it’s in jazz or classical music,” he says. “I like the sense that there’s an emotional ride, and Kenton was the master.”
He was also a master of marketing, touting his evolving sound by regularly changing the name of his band. From Artistry in Rhythm to Innovations in Modern Music to the Neophonic Orchestra, the names encapsulate the periods. Vosbein’s CD spotlights songs composed during Kenton’s Progressive Jazz Band period. “They were still playing in lots of clubs and lots of ballrooms and things, but he tried as much as he could to book these things into concert series,” says Vosbein. Kenton moved from dance hall music to a more complex, almost artistic, sound.
Kenton often hired risk-taking composers to arrange his music. Two of them, Pete Rugolo and Bob Graettinger, arranged the Kenton pieces on “Progressive Jazz 2009.” “Kenton’s band was not a concert band before Rugolo came along,” says Vosbein. “And Bob Graettinger really pushed it even further away from jazz and into experimental.”
Infused with the Kenton sounds he’d cataloged at North Texas, Vosbein composed his original pieces during a seven-month stint in Europe. “I would record [them] back into the computer and put on my iPhone and walk around the streets of Paris or Copenhagen with those headphones, listening to what I’d written that day or night,” he says. His song titles-from “Crows in Tuxedos” to “Jumping Monkey”-were inspired by images and stories that caught his attention abroad.
Working within the original 20-musician, concert-band framework-five saxophones, five trumpets, five trombones and a five-piece rhythm section-Vosbein and the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra then put their own energizing spin on Kenton’s progressive sound.
Reviewers like what they hear: “Composer/arranger/conductor Terry Vosbein has reinvigorated a number of heretofore overlooked themes from the creative world of Stan Kenton, added several of his own, and placed them in the capable hands of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra for a concert performance that shines from start to finish,” writes Jack Bowers at www.allaboutjazz.com. The Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer calls the CD “a masterful and emotionally rewarding tribute.”
“Progressive Jazz 2009” is available at www.maxfrankmusic.com.
— by Amy Balfour ’89, ’93L
On the Civic Soapbox
Washington and Lee English professor Marc Conner hopped up on WMRA radio’s Civic Soapbox to discuss his recent visit to the National Book Awards when he opted not to heed Thoreau’s imperative (“beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes”) and wore a tuxedo to the gala event in New York City. The awards, which honored Colum McCann’s novel Let the Great World Spin, underscored for Marc the notion that our “national, ethnic, and racial identities are re-inventing themselves and all our boundaries have become more fluid.” You can read Marc’s remarks on the WMRA blog and listen to them below:
Decade's Hottest Colleges
The Daily Beast, former New Yorker editor Tina Brown’s Web site, has named its 15 hottest colleges of the decade this week, and Washington and Lee comes in at No. 13. The list was compiled by Kathleen Kingsbury, who writes about education issues for The Daily Beast and also for TIME magazine. There is not any rationale for the choices offered except for this description at the start of a slide show of individual schools: “The past 10 years transformed the collegiate landscape, creating a whole new class of first-choice schools. Kathleen Kingsbury on 15 colleges that soared in the rankings.” The University of Southern California is No. 1 on The Daily Beast list, which also includes one non-U.S. institution, the University of St. Andrews, at No. 12. Check out Washington and Lee’s entry here.