Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L Jazz Ensemble and Vosbein Magee Big Band Present ‘Hot Jazz’ The concert is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

The Washington and Lee University Jazz Ensemble

The Washington and Lee University Jazz Ensemble will join forces with the Vosbein Magee Big Band for an evening of “Hot Jazz” on Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. at the Lenfest Center on the W&L campus. The concert is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

The student band from Washington and Lee, under the direction of Professor Terry Vosbein, will highlight soloists with a variety of styles, from Benny Goodman’s swinger, “Let’s Dance,” to the Tower of Power hit, “What is Hip?” Other selections include Duke Ellington’s “Concerto for Cootie” and “Harlem Nocturne,” and a brand new jazz version of Saint-Saëns’s “The Swan.”

After intermission, the Vosbein Magee Big Band will take the stage. This ensemble features professional musicians from around the region playing music that can’t be heard anywhere else. Co-leader Chis Magee is the trumpet soloist, along with Tom Artwick on alto sax and Tom McKenzie on trombone. Co-leader Terry Vosbein is responsible for several of the compositions to be heard.

A highlight of each fall concert features the W&L seniors from the Jazz Ensemble sharing the stage with the professional band. Guitarists Joe Wen and Bennett Newman, bassist Clark Mabey and pianist Tommy Willingham will join the Vosbein Magee Big Band for a blues blow-out.

The concert will be streamed live online here.

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W&L Hosts Annual Holiday Candlelight Service The event is free and open to the public.

The performance will be held in Lee Chapel.

Washington and Lee University’s annual Christmas Candlelight Service featuring the University Singers will be held Thursday, December 6, at 8 p.m. in Lee Chapel. Seating will begin at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,” broadcast each year from King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge, and widely used in England, the United States and around the world, is an ancient form for corporate worship at the Christmas season. The prayers, lessons and music tell the story of sacred history from the Creation to the Incarnation.

In 1880, E.W. Benson, later the Archbishop of Canterbury, drew up a service of lessons and carols for use on Christmas Eve in the wooden shed which served as his cathedral. In 1918 this service was adapted for use in the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. In the early 1930s, the BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programming, and it is estimated that there are millions of listeners worldwide.

The service has been held for many years in Lexington and was held at Grace Episcopal Church during the earlier years. The W&L Men’s Glee Club participated in the service held at the church, but when the Candlelight Service moved to Lee Chapel in the early 1990s, the newly founded University Chamber Singers became the featured choir.

Music for the traditional service again will be provided by the University Singers, the evolution of the Chamber Singers, and conducted by Morgan Luttig, ’14, visiting director of choral activities at W&L. The Singers’ anthems will feature a wide variety of music, from traditional favorites to modern masterpieces.

Timothy Gaylard, professor of music, will be the organist for the service, leading the familiar hymns and carols and rounding out the evening’s experience with a festive organ prelude and postlude.

Nine members of the Washington and Lee University community will read the lessons.  William C. Datz ’75 will preside over the service.

The event will be streamed live online here.

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The Campus Kitchen at W&L Presents Annual Turkeypalooza The Bring Your Turkey to Work Day and the University Store’s food drive help provide Thanksgiving meals to the community.

Seniors and Turkeypalooza volunteers Maddie Simko and Catherine Peabody pose with President Dudley on campus.

The Campus Kitchen Leadership Team at Washington and Lee University presents its annual Turkeypalooza: A Family Table Gathering Event from Nov. 9-15.

The Campus Kitchen Leadership Team (CKLT) runs a variety of holiday-themed events during the month of November. The annual Bring Your Turkey to Work Day and the University Store’s food drive provides CKLT with enough food to deliver Thanksgiving meals across the county.

“Turkeypalooza is one of my favorite events because we all get to work together to bring so many individuals and families in our community a nice, Thanksgiving meal,” said Maddie Simko ’19.

If you’re interested in joining the CKLT during Turkeypalooza, see the full schedule below:

  • Nov. 9 | Bring Your Turkey to Work Day (in the Quad) | 8-9:30 a.m.
  • Nov .10 | Kroger Food Drive| 8-10 a.m.
  • Nov. 11 | Cooking Shift | 3-5 p.m.
  • Nov. 11 | BV Delivery Shift | 5-6 p.m.
  • Nov. 12 | Cooking Shift | 9-10:30 a.m.
  • Nov. 13 | Glasgow Delivery | 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 13 | Cooking Shift | 9-10:30 a.m., 5-7 p.m., and 7-9 p.m.
  • Nov. 14 | LCOOY Delivery | 3-5 p.m.
  • Nov. 15 | Magnolia Delivery | 11:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 15 | Manor Delivery | 4:30-6:30 p.m.

“With each year, more and more of the W&L community gets involved with our week of giving back,” said Simko. “I am really excited to see the turnout this year and to see just how much we can serve our amazing community.”

There is also a food-donation drive in the University Store from Nov. 5-16, and the library is donating any cans that are brought in to replace fines to the Campus Kitchen.

The mission of The Campus Kitchens Project is to use service as a way to strengthen bodies, empower minds and build communities. The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee combats hunger and promotes nutrition by recovering and reusing food that would otherwise go to waste into balanced meals for low-income members of the community in Rockbridge County. Volunteers also develop valuable relationships with clients.

For more information, visit the Campus Kitchen website.

Bell Talks “Front Porches of the Dead” W&L Anthropology Professor Alison Bell discusses grave sites on "With Good Reason Radio."

Alison Bell

Alison Bell, associate professor of anthropology at Washington and Lee University, gave an interview with Sarah McConnell the host of “With Good Reason Radio.” The title of the show is “Front Porches of the Dead.”

Bell studies burial practices and says that in the 1980s there was a shift in the way people expressed themselves in cemeteries. In her discussion, she says “One thing that’s happening is that the living are treating grave sites as if they are the front porches of the dead, as if the dead are still ‘at home’ somehow, behind a door, not visible, but cognizant, and vital in a way.”

Listen to the full segment here.

W&L Presents “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” This production is open to the public, but tickets are required.

Photo: L to R Vanya (Jim Grant ’19), Sonia (Charlotte Cook ’19), Masha (Hannah Dewing ’19)

The Washington and Lee University Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies presents “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” on Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. and Nov. 11-14 at 7:30 p.m. in Johnson Theatre on the W&L campus.

Vanya (Jim Grant ’19) and Sonia (Charlotte Cook ’19) have lived their entire lives in their family home, caring for their aging parents. Masha (Hannah Dewing ’19), an international pop movie star whose real wish is to act on the classical stage, returns home to visit her two siblings with her boy-toy actor boyfriend, Spike (Nick Mauer ’20), setting the audience up for a two-hour comedic romp.

Dewing, Grant and Cook lived on the same hall during their freshman year at W&L, and Dewing says the sibling roles they play come naturally to them. “Our relationship just makes sense, so it’s going to be so funny,” she said. “It’s been an easy relationship to settle into because we’re already so close.”

“We have that comedic language established, and we know how to play off of each other already,” said Grant. “It’s super exciting to put that on stage and see it translate.”

Stephanie Sandberg, assistant professor of theater and film studies, directs the contemporary comedy, which is written by Christopher Durang. It parodies Anton Chekhov’s work, so Sandberg said she hopes the audience leaves the theater with the spirit of laughter and an appreciation for theater.

“We need laughter right now,” said Sandberg. “Laughter is incredibly healing, and I think it will be good for audiences to experience that.”

This production is open to the public, but tickets are required. They may be ordered online or by calling the Lenfest box office at 540-458-8000. The box office is openMon.–Fri., 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., as well as one hour before performance time. Tickets are forfeited five minutes to opening and are going quickly, so get yours now! University Swipe is available.

Poet Oliver de la Paz to Give Public Reading at W&L The event is free and open to the public, and books will be available for sale following the reading.

Poet Oliver de la Paz

Poet Oliver de la Paz will give a public reading at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium on the W&L campus. The event is free and open to the public, and books will be available for sale following the reading.

“I’ve long admired the intelligence of Oliver’s poems and the innovative ways he tackles big subjects—identity, place, power,” said Lesley Wheeler, Henry S. Fox Professor of English. “I’m also really excited by his brand new work, some of which, like ‘Autism Screening Questionnaire — Speech and Language Delay,’ is inspired by raising children on the autism spectrum.”

Paz is the author of five collections of poetry, “Names Above Houses,” “Furious Lullaby,” “Requiem for the Orchard,” “Post Subject: A Fable” and his forthcoming book, “The Boy in the Labyrinth.”

He is also co-editor of “A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry.” He co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian-American poetry, and is a former member of the board of trustees for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

A recipient of an NYFA Fellowship Award and a GAP Grant from Artist Trust, his work has appeared in journals like Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, Tin House and Poetry, and in anthologies such as “Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation.” He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University.

Davis Straske ’19 Wins Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology Straske is a psychology major and dance minor and has been a member of Professor Megan Fulcher’s developmental psychology research lab since the winter of her freshman year.

Davis Straske ’19

Davis Straske, a Washington and Lee University senior from Tampa, Florida, has been awarded the 2018 David G. Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology.

The Elmes Pathfinder Prize recognizes a student who has shown extraordinary promise in psychological science or in the application of psychological science in the professions through outstanding scholarship in basic or applied psychology.

Straske is a psychology major and dance minor and has been a member of Professor Megan Fulcher’s developmental psychology research lab since the winter of her freshman year. The lab studies the impact of toy play on gendered stereotypes and children’s visions of their future selves through toys such as Legos, Duplos and baby dolls. Straske has spent the past two summers working as a Summer Research Scholar in the lab, and she currently serves as its participant coordinator. In this capacity, she recruits families for ongoing research projects and works with other undergraduate students, managing and assigning their tasks within the lab and developing coding schemes for data analysis of existing datasets. Members of the lab plan community-outreach events and teach psychology topics to local elementary schools and after-school groups.

“I was impressed with Davis the first time a met her, and she continues to impress every day,” said Fulcher. “She is an incredible organizer and has created many new protocols and standards to lab procedures that have greatly improved efficiency and productivity in the lab. More importantly, she has an intellectual curiosity paired with a deep understanding of literature that makes her a great collaborator during project design and in interpreting findings. It is no surprise that she is studying empathy as she is always kind and thoughtful. The lab has a culture of friendliness and cooperation under her leadership. I know graduate school is a great place for her, but I will miss her here tremendously.”

As a longtime camp counselor and babysitter, Straske has found developmental psychology to be a stimulating and gratifying intersection of her academic interests and experiences working with children. Working in a research lab has allowed her to apply theories and data analyses techniques to research projects she has seen through from start to finish.

Straske’s honors thesis examines empathy development in pre-school age boys, focusing on how parents’ roles within a family may impact their child’s development of certain caregiving or nurturing skills. After creating two interventions, using toy play and picture book reading to elicit empathy, she hopes to assess the interventions’ effectiveness. If the data support these approaches, they may be useful for parents to promote their young sons’ empathy in the home.

Outside of the psychology department, Straske dances with and serves as the president for the W&L Repertory Dance Company, and also teaches creative movement dance classes for early school-age children at Halestone Dance Studio in Lexington. She sits on the planning committee for W&L’s 2019 Science, Society and the Arts Conference and serves as the vice president of recruitment for the Panhellenic Council. She belongs to Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society, Psi Chi Psychology National Honor Society and the National Honor Society for Dance Arts.

The Elmes Pathfinder Prize was established in 2007. It derives from the Elmes Fund, a permanently endowed fund that honors David G. Elmes, emeritus professor of psychology at W&L. The many alumni, colleagues and friends who benefited from Elmes’ commitment to learning during his 40-year career as a scientist, teacher and mentor at W&L created the endowment.

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W&L Presents Author Talk Featuring Harvey Markowitz The talk is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.


Harvey Markowitz, assistant professor of anthropology at Washington and Lee University, will give a public talk on Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. in Leyburn Library in the Book Nook. He will discuss his recent book, “Converting the Rosebud: Catholic Mission and the Lakotas, 1886-1916.” The talk is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.

Learn more about Markowitz and his book here.

This talk is part of the Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author Talk Series, and is presented by the University Library.

W&L Presents The Antioch Chamber Ensemble The Antioch Chamber is one of the most highly regarded chamber choral groups in the United States.

The Antioch Chamber Ensemble

The Washington and Lee University Concert Guild will present the Antioch Chamber Ensemble on Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall on the W&L campus.

The Antioch Chamber is one of the most highly regarded chamber choral groups in the United States. Now in its 21st season, the group performs all facets of music, from classical to contemporary and spiritual to secular. In recent seasons, Antioch has been called “stellar,” “flawless,” “an exceptional group,” and “a spectacular example of what a classical choir should sound like” by the national press.

The Antioch Chamber Ensemble is based out of the New York Metropolitan Area. Its most notable concert venues include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Festival des Choeurs Laureats in France, Carnegie Hall and The Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

Tickets are required and available through the Lenfest Center box office at 540-458-8000 or online at wlu.edu/lenfest-center. Box office hours are Mon. – Fri., 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. and will be open one hour prior to performance time.

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Staniar Gallery Presents Jeff Rich’s “Watershed: Tennessee River” The show will be on view Nov. 5 – Dec. 7.

Coal Fly Ash Spill, Emory River, Tennessee; 2009; archival ink jet print; 44×55 inches

Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery presents “Watershed: Tennessee River,” an exhibition of photographs by environmental photographer Jeff Rich. The show will be on view Nov. 5 – Dec. 7.

Rich will give an artist’s talk on Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall on the W&L campus. A reception for the artist will follow the lecture. The talk and reception event is free and open to the public.

In his ongoing project, “Watershed,” Jeff Rich documents the complex relationship between land, water and man within the Mississippi River Basin and the effects and consequences of this sometimes fraught relationship on the Southern landscape. The exhibition examines widespread development in the Tennessee River Watershed, with a focus on the Tennessee Valley Authority, which has completely reshaped the rivers and ecosystem of the Tennessee Valley, as well as the lives of its residents, over nearly a century of evolution.

The work was published as the monograph “Watershed: The Tennessee River” by Fall Line Press in 2017. Another chapter in this series, “Watershed: A Survey of the French Broad River” received the 2010 Critical Mass Book Award, and was published as a monograph in 2012. Rich is an assistant professor of photography at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina.

Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Mon. through Fri., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 540-458-8861.