Shaffer Girls Take Italy: Florence

Shaffer Girls Take Italy: Florence

Saturday night: We had the perfect sunny day in Florence. Once we got there, we checked in to our hotel and set out for lunch. We got a little sidetracked along the way as we passed the duomo and Linds fell in love. She didn’t want to leave! We passed a gelateria on the way, … Read more

Saturday night:

sister

We had the perfect sunny day in Florence. Once we got there, we checked in to our hotel and set out for lunch. We got a little sidetracked along the way as we passed the duomo and Linds fell in love. She didn’t want to leave! We passed a gelateria on the way, called Bellamia, where we were persuaded into waffles… with nutella… and gelato… two scoops, for lunch. OK so we may not have needed that much persuading. They were so good and worth the sugar coma for the next few hours.

waffles

After lunch we made our way to Ponte Vecchio and explored around the Pitti Palace. Although I already visited Florence once before, this time it was so much different due to the weather, and of course who I was with. Every experience means so much more to me when I have the opportunity to share it with my family. The rest of the afternoon we walked around Florence to the shops and different sites. We then waited in line to climb to the top of the duomo. 463 steps and the work out of a lifetime later we made it to the top. Even the view from the top seemed different this time. Looking out onto the city, everything looked so much greener and livelier.

view

After the duomo we made our way through the streets and came across a cute restaurant for dinner, where we were thankful to take our time and rest our tired feet from our adventurous day. We then went back to our hotel to get some sleep before our 6:30 a.m. wake up call to catch the train to our next destination, Manarola. Here we come Cinque Terre!

Band concert

Coming up this weekend is the concert band and wind ensemble concert! It’s going to be quite a show, and I am really excited. For one thing, we’re playing a bunch of fun music. We’re doing a Rent medley, and also the theme from Captain America. We’re also doing this really challenging piece called Helm … Read more

Coming up this weekend is the concert band and wind ensemble concert!

It’s going to be quite a show, and I am really excited.

For one thing, we’re playing a bunch of fun music. We’re doing a Rent medley, and also the theme from Captain America.

We’re also doing this really challenging piece called Helm Toccata. It’s got this really interesting rhythm where it seems like you can’t keep track of the beat. It switches from 4/4 to 3/4 and back quite often so it’ll really keeps the audience moving.

And, there’s this really special piece being performed. It’s in two parts, and it was actually written by one of our seniors! Jenna Linville is looking to go to grad school for music composition, and this is one of her works. It’s called Chasing the Horizon and it’s really fantastic. If you come out for nothing else on Sunday, you should come out to support the student who wrote it.

It’ll be this Sunday at 3 p.m. in Rodman Playhouse.

There will also be a cookie reception to follow, sponsored by Kappa Kappa Psi, the marching band fraternity.

It’ll be a great Sunday, and an excellent showcase of some of the musical talent at Mount Union.

See you there!

Relay for Life is music themed!

Relay for Life is music themed!

This year’s going to be really cool. They always come up with such fun themes. This year it’s Relay for Life: Battle of the Ban(d) Cancer. So it’s like, we’re banning cancer! I’m super excited it’s music themed too. We have a team from the Department of Music, and our theme is “Please Don’t Stop … Read more

This year’s going to be really cool. They always come up with such fun themes. This year it’s Relay for Life: Battle of the Ban(d) Cancer. So it’s like, we’re banning cancer!

I’m super excited it’s music themed too. We have a team from the Department of Music, and our theme is “Please Don’t Stop the Music.” Basically, people can pay us to go follow someone around and play an annoying song at them, and they have to pay us to stop playing.

I, for one, am learning “It’s a Small World After All.” Ya know, that really annoying and repetitive song from the Disney ride? Hee hee !

I think that’ll get some pretty interesting reviews.

I’m just excited for the night in general though too. Each hour is going to be a different theme of music, so that’ll be pretty cool. For example, there’s going to be 50’s at 7 p.m., and a rave at 4 a.m. There’s also going to be 80s, 90s, 2K, country, pop, R&B, line dancing—pretty much any musical genre you could ever come up with.

Did you hear that? A RAVE of techno music is going to be happening this weekend at Mount Union. I know I’m going to be there. How about you?

As the WRMU program director, I’m kind of heading up DJ-ing for the event. That’s 18 hours of music, and I am READY!

We stay up all night because “cancer doesn’t sleep.” Our goal is 18 straight hours of fundraising.

I can’t wait to have a ton of fun with my friends and raise some money to help fight cancer!

It’s this Friday (April 19) at 6 p.m. until Saturday April 20 at noon. It’ll be in the Peterson Field House in the MAAC. If you want to participate or donate, go here!

Hope to see you there!

relay

 

Shaffer Girls Take Italy: Venice

Shaffer Girls Take Italy: Venice

Thursday: I can’t believe I’m in Venice with my sisters right now. I have been counting down the days until their arrival for months now. They’ve been in Italy for only a few hours and we’ve already had so much fun. When I first arrived at the train station in Venice, I was giddy with excitement. … Read more

Thursday:

venice

I can’t believe I’m in Venice with my sisters right now. I have been counting down the days until their arrival for months now. They’ve been in Italy for only a few hours and we’ve already had so much fun. When I first arrived at the train station in Venice, I was giddy with excitement. The countdown on my phone was alerting me that the event “SISTERS ARRIVE IN ITALY” was finally here. I had to hop on the water bus in order to get to the hotel. Although the ride to my stop was only a half hour long, it felt like five hours as I was so anxious to see my sisters and Val. I arrived at the hotel to find out that they did not yet arrive, so I did some exploring in the area. I was gone only five minutes when I decided to turn around. I headed back over a bridge that lead to our hotel to find three girls with large suitcases looking incredibly lost. I ran across the bridge and hugged them all at the same time as it was impossible to decide who to hug first.

venice2

Today we went on a gondola ride on the canals! Now I can cross one more thing off my Europe bucket list. It was even better than I imagined it would be. Linds got a chance to steer the gondola herself… or attempt to steer it anyways. Venice is so cute and it is amazing how the entire city is run by the waterways. I am so happy my sisters (and Val!) are here and am so, so excited for the next few days with them.

venice4

Saturday:
Yesterday it was pretty cold and raining non-stop in Venice. We had to walk on high boards to get across the piazzas since the water was so deep! Venice was literally under water. After breakfast we walked around and a bit and warmed up at a cafe with some hot chocolate. Me and Linds got Nutella crepes for lunch (Linds’ first one!). After the girls got caught up on some much needed sleep (I give them props for doing so well since I felt so tired for a week after I first arrived in January), we went to explore a little more of Venice. We came across the cutest bakeries, bridges and waterways. We stopped at a pizzeria along the way for dinner. Despite the cold, we grabbed gelato for dessert before heading back to the hotel for the night. This time I tried frutta di bosco (wildberry). I absolutely loved Venice and am so happy I got to experience it with Laur, Linds and Val. Now we are on our way to our next destination! Next stop: Florence!

Goodbye, Greece

Goodbye, Greece

Spring break was amazing and I am so happy I got to travel to Greece. It is so beautiful and we had perfect weather while we were there. I am leaving Santorini with capri tan lines, tzatziki stains on my jeans and so many fun memories. Due to many, many clouds, we were unable to … Read more

oiaSpring break was amazing and I am so happy I got to travel to Greece. It is so beautiful and we had perfect weather while we were there. I am leaving Santorini with capri tan lines, tzatziki stains on my jeans and so many fun memories.

Due to many, many clouds, we were unable to see the famous Oia sunset, but that just gives me an excuse to come back to Greece again one day! The last two days were filled with lots of hiking, beautiful scenery, fitting in last minute souvenir shopping, waffles and gyros and taking in as much of Santorini as we could.

oiagreeceAlthough I am sad to leave, I am also eager to be on my way because MY SISTERS WILL BE IN ITALY IN TWO DAYS! I leave early Thursday morning to meet them, and our good friend Valerie, in Venice and we will then travel for a week to Florence, Cinque Terre and end in Rome! I cannot wait to spend time with my best friends and experience more of Italy right along with them.

Make sure to check out my video here of my time in Greece! I apologize in advance for the low volume of the video at the end.

End of the semester blues

End of the semester blues

It’s getting to be that time again! Everyone is starting to cram, stress out, get worried about graduation, worry about finals, staying up late doing projects, skipping meals to get a little more work done, pull all nighters, hunt for summer jobs, freak out—- STOP!!! Whew. You can’t let the semester get you carried away. … Read more

It’s getting to be that time again!

Everyone is starting to cram, stress out, get worried about graduation, worry about finals, staying up late doing projects, skipping meals to get a little more work done, pull all nighters, hunt for summer jobs, freak out—-

STOP!!!

Whew. You can’t let the semester get you carried away. If you don’t have your health, you haven’t got anything! Musicians, theatre people, athletes, Greeks, scholars–you name it, everyone is busy.

Here are some tips for making the end of the semester a good one:

Get some sleep:
Here’s what happens. For every hour after midnight you stay up, your body needs more sleep. So staying up late will actually make you exponentially more tired! So, try to plan out your evenings better so you don’t have to stay up. Or, if you know you’re only gonna get a few hours of sleep, try waking up early instead of staying up late. Still rough, but not as rough on your body.

Don’t skip meals:
We all know this. You can’t deny your body the energy it needs to carry on. You’ll get more accomplished in the long run if you’re giving your body the right stuff! You can only run on fumes for so long, and your quality of work will suffer the more you do.

Give your voice a break!
Whether you’re singing in the choir or giving a speech for a class, you want your voice to stay with you all semester. Don’t go crazy yelling at your video games or cheering on your favorite athletics team. No one likes a sore throat! And, if you feel one coming on, go on vocal rest! You just don’t talk unless absolutely necessary! It’s even kind of fun to just listen and observe life for a little.

Hang out with friends!
I know this sounds silly, but… what are you going to remember more in five years? That time you stayed up late finishing a paper or that time you walked barefoot around campus with a buddy? I’m not saying pick socializing over academics, obviously that’s important. But remember that mental health is part of health too! Here’s an idea: make friend time an incentive for getting work done quickly!

Get off of Facebook!
Seriously, it’s getting to be a bit of a dying fad anyway. I’m sure no one will miss you online anyway, especially since you’ll be hanging out with them in real life more often anyway! Facebook is the antithesis of getting homework done. Think of how much less stressed you’ll feel when you don’t waste hours on Facebook!

 

Do homework outside!

My freshman year, I completed a final paper and a project while sitting beside the lakes. It’s a beautiful campus, and we’re about to get some beautiful weather. I PROMISE it’s so much more enjoyable getting work done when the sun is shining on your back. You’ll probably get work done even faster because you’re enjoying what you’re doing!

Keep a planner!
I keep a planner. It’s huge. But I never forget to do anything, and I can budget my time appropriately because of it. Keeping a planner is great for organization and keeping track of things. Instead of remembering things by yourself, use the aid of a planner.

So those are my tips. I think they apply to everyone on campus, whether you’re interested in music, arts, sports, Greek life–whatever. Let’s just make this end of the semester a good one!

Cheers.

A day in the sun…

A day in the sun…

So here’s something really cool that happened.                   Everyone’s sitting out and enjoying the sun and each others company! I love a good cookout every once in a while, but there’s nothing quite like a theatre cookout. We had a matinee performance last Sunday, and I thought, … Read more

So here’s something really cool that happened.

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Everyone’s sitting out and enjoying the sun and each others company!

:)

I love a good cookout every once in a while, but there’s nothing quite like a theatre cookout.

We had a matinee performance last Sunday, and I thought, why not have a cookout after the musical? The show would end around 4:30 p.m., and we could have a 5 p.m. cook out.

It was so much FUN! I really appreciate all the help I got from Rudy and Kevin. They’re really supportive of all the social and theatre endeavors of the theatre club.

We took up a cemented grilling area in the courtyard of the Union Townhouses and pretty much just enjoyed one of the first warm days of April.

We flew some kites, played tag and ate lots of food. It was a pot luck, so there was plenty to go around. We even got to hear Jacob Ward’s monologue from a play he’s in right now.

I appreciate that there aren’t just clubs at Mount Union. These aren’t organizations occupied by people who don’t see each other outside of their meetings. You find real friends here, and I’m always happy to hang out with them.

It was a great day with great people and great food, at a great place.

 

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Some of our Alpha Psi members (Nicolina Nolletti, Jacob Ward, Rosie Tabaj)

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Playing tag!

Sunsets, Sailboats & Santorini

Sunsets, Sailboats & Santorini

This is the first year as far back as I can remember that I did not go to grandma’s with Laur to color Easter eggs. It has always been one of my favorite traditions… along with getting dressed up in pretty, spring dresses for the Easter church service and eating far too many Reese’s eggs … Read more

This is the first year as far back as I can remember that I did not go to grandma’s with Laur to color Easter eggs. It has always been one of my favorite traditions… along with getting dressed up in pretty, spring dresses for the Easter church service and eating far too many Reese’s eggs for a girl to count. Although I wish I was there with my family to celebrate, I can’t say that I’m hating laying out by the pool in the 70 degree weather in Santorini, Greece.

The past few days have been nothing but amazing. Best. Spring break. EVER! And we still have two more days ahead of us. I flew to Greece with my friend Olivia and we were greeted at the airport by Nikos, the hotel manager. He drove us to the hotel, giving us many restaurant and day trip recommendations and Greek 101 lessons along the way. After showing us around, he informed us that he was going to upgrade us to a superior suite! Needless to say, we loved Nikos from day one. After resting at the hotel for a bit, we got ready and went out for our first Greek dinner. We went to a restaurant called Naoussa, where I ordered dolmades, grapevine leaves stuffed with rice. They were… interesting. Not something I would ever order again, but I am glad I tried it. For dessert, we stopped at a bakery where I got milopita, a Greek version of apple pie with cinnamon. Definitely made up for the grape leaves!

sunset

The next day we got the full Greek experience. First, we had breakfast by the pool. Greek yogurt with honey, a Greek cake with jam and orange juice! I now love Greek yogurt with honey and look forward to it every morning. We then made our way to the city center, only about a five minute walk from the hotel. Most of the houses and buildings are all white cave houses with pastel blue, pink or orange domes and doors. The colors and houses make me so happy; they are the cutest in the world. We then took a cable car down to the port, where we got on a sail boat for a boat cruise to the volcano. We got off at the volcano and had over an hour to hike to the top and enjoy the amazing view. I loved this volcano hike much more than Mt. Vesuvius as it was so warm out and instead of snow on the volcano, there were gorgeous pink flowers and large straw umbrella awnings and benches to sit on along the way in case you got tired.

boatcruise

After the volcano, we got back on the boat to go to the hot springs. Once there, people began to strip down and jump in. Now you would think that when I saw everyone’s faces turning pale white when they jumped in and heard their gasps, I would have known better than to get in the water… but it appears that I didn’t pick up on those clues. A lady at the front of the boat saw me hesitating and promised that if I didn’t do it, I would regret it forever. So with that, I stripped down to my bikini and plunged into the Aegean Sea. I can’t even describe the first few minutes in the water. I literally could not breathe. All air was sucked out of me and I was left coughing for air and laughing from shock at the same time. It was the coldest water I have ever felt in my entire life. I was then informed that I had to swim 15 meters to get to the hot springs. So, after urging Olivia to hurry into the water, I began to swim like a fish. Olivia had to turn around and get back on the boat because it was that intolerable, but I was so determined. If only I knew that when arriving at the “hot springs,” the water would be only about five degrees warmer. “Where is it hot?!” I gasped when I arrived near the other jumpers. “Nowhere!” they all replied through chattering teeth. So, ten seconds later they all began to swim back to the boat. Not wanting to get stuck in the arctic cold water waiting in line at the boat’s ladder, I waited for five minutes and tried to build my courage to start back. God was probably a bit confused as to why I was so worried about the small swim, considering how He’s carried me through this entire study abroad experience so far, but I prayed the entire way back that I would have enough breath to make it back to the boat. HOT springs?!?! Yea no. Worthwhile experience? Absolutely. (We were then informed that there were storms and heavy rains for the past three days before we arrived and that may be why the water was so cold. Thanks for the late notice buddies).

donkeyride

Instead of taking the cable car back up to the city center, we opted for donkey rides!!! It was a bit scary as the old, Greek men were a bit rough and pushy and the donkeys literally ran up all 600 some steep steps, but it was one of the coolest things I have ever done. We then did some souvenir shopping and then I ordered my first gyro for lunch! It was so good! I can’t believe I would never try them before at the fair. We then went back to the hotel and relaxed by the pool for the rest of the afternoon before getting ready for dinner. We ended up at the cutest little outside restaurant where we ordered waffles. Waffles are apparently a big deal in Greece! Who knew? I ordered a waffle with fresh fruit and honey. It was delicious! The entire day felt like it was straight out a movie. I had the perfect day in Greece.

gyro

The next day we went to the Red Beach, apparently the only Red Beach in the world. It was cool to see. Along the way we stopped at a little house where a lady was selling homemade wines, honey and other small products. She let us taste the wine and figs, which reminded me of fig newtons from home. That night we ended up at another waffle place for a late dinner/dessert. This time I ordered a waffle with caramel baked apples, cinnamon and honey… with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. SO good! When we got back, Nikos said “Why are you girls here?! Why are you not out? Have fun! I take you out!” So, we agreed to go out the next night for dinner.

That night we got all dressed up and went with Nikos, and his friend George, to Naoussa. He made reservations for 10 p.m. and told us it usually gets very crowded around then since Greeks eat dinner around 9:30 p.m. every night! And I thought 8 p.m. was late for dinner in Italy! He recommended that I try a traditional Greek dish called moussaka, a sort of casserole with ground meat, eggplant and potatoes. I never thought I liked eggplant and I am definitely not a fan of any meat besides chicken, but when will I ever get to come back to Greece? So, I ordered moussaka and loved it! It is my favorite dish I have had here. It reminded me of lasagna, but it was even better.

We sat and talked for over two hours and learned so much about Greek culture. We learned that without donkeys, Santorini would not be the same as it is today. When building cave houses, the Greeks would have to hang by harnesses. There was no way to put rocks on a truck or cart so high up, so the donkeys would carry the rocks up and down the narrow paths. Without them, the architecture would be completely different. Also, most of the buildings have arcs and domes because of an earthquake that previously shook Santorini. The construction of the arcs allowed for more stable buildings.

I asked Nikos if he plans on staying in Santorini for a while and he said he doesn’t make plans anymore. “When you make plans, the gods are laughing,” he said. After much insisting that we were way too full, Nikos and George still ordered two traditional Greek desserts for our table to share. When I tried to give Nikos money for our meal, he said it was an insult and that they covered the bill. George drove us back to the hotel and said goodnight, followed by “be my Facebook friend!”

You never know…

You never know…

Class of 2013 – Traveled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to work with the West Indies Christian Mission Row 1: Alison Hendrickson, Julie Jakmides, Jenny Gamertsfelder, Sarah Wroblewski, Jon Borrego. Row 2: Steve Kramer, Amy Ricciardi, Emily Christmas, Kelsey Tomlinson, Naoko Oyabu-Mathis, Zak Suhar. Row 3: Kody Severino, Megan Merlene, Kelly Slutz, Kathy Girton (host), … Read more

DRtrip

Class of 2013 – Traveled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to work with the West Indies Christian Mission

Row 1: Alison Hendrickson, Julie Jakmides, Jenny Gamertsfelder, Sarah Wroblewski, Jon Borrego.
Row 2: Steve Kramer, Amy Ricciardi, Emily Christmas, Kelsey Tomlinson, Naoko Oyabu-Mathis, Zak Suhar.
Row 3: Kody Severino, Megan Merlene, Kelly Slutz, Kathy Girton (host), Elana Anderson (cook), Mike Patterson, Jonathan Espacio (guide).

Over spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic on a service trip. It was part of the social responsibility and personal well-being course offered at Mount Union, and it was quite an awesome experience.

It was an AMAZING experience. I learned so much about another culture, the other people on the trip and myself. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to grow and do service at Mount Union, but this one was definitely one of the best.

We did a lot of work while over there. We mixed cement the old-fashioned way, we painted at least six rooms and we helped feed more than 200 people in a dump village. In a dump village, people actually live in little communities next to the local landfill, and that’s where they get their meals.

I also learned a lot about the people on the trip with me. Every night we would share our life stories, and I grew to realize that with any given person, I have a lot more in common with them than not. I look at life and people a little differently now because of that.

BUT! You’re probably wondering what this has to do with music and the arts, since I typically blog about the arts. Well, I’ll tell you.

Before we headed to the Dominican Republic, our host Kathy Girton asked what we were interested in and good at. She wanted to know what we could do with any kids we worked with, and how to make the free day enjoyable. So naturally, I said singing and music.

Well! On day one, we were headed to work with a bunch of kids. And we worked with a ton of kids; that was probably a majority of the trip. We played with bubbles, jump ropes or just gave them piggyback rides. It was awesome.

But I digress. On day one, Kathy hands me this book of Spanish songs. And I’m like: Uh oh. I don’t know any of these songs, if I mess up all the kids will know…

So I look through the pages. Then I realize, I CAN read this music! We’ve been learning solfeg in choir for the last three years! Solfeg is a method of assigning notes a syllable, like do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti. Because the intervals between the syllables never change, I can assign syllables to notes in music and sight-read it.

And that’s exactly what I did. Within minutes I had a song or two completely down, and I was so excited.

First, because it was really empowering. I could have been totally lost, but I wasn’t.

Second, because it was so great to use my music knowledge! People say, “Why do I have to take this class, I’ll never use it.” Well, you never truly know where you’re gonna use the knowledge you acquire in a class. And this Dominican Republic moment proves it!

For pictures of our trip, check out this video!

Opening night

Opening night of Company was last night! It was incredible, to start with. It’s a fantastic show that takes a lot of talent to pull off, and I personally think the show was a great success. I’m so ready to have 6 more performances. The thing I really thought was special, though, was director Kevin … Read more

Opening night of Company was last night!

It was incredible, to start with. It’s a fantastic show that takes a lot of talent to pull off, and I personally think the show was a great success. I’m so ready to have 6 more performances.

The thing I really thought was special, though, was director Kevin Kern‘s pre-show speech.

He opened with a favorite quote of his, which I’m going to paraphrase:

“Until someone has participated in a cause larger than themselves, they can never be truly whole.”

I think that’s so true. Being part of something greater than yourself is the most rewarding thing anyone can do. I think there’s a certain kind of completion that can only come from something you achieve with others.

A large part of my arts experience here at Mount Union has been all about collaboration. Because of that mindset, I’ve accomplished a lot of things (both in and out of the art world) and I am grateful that our art departments teach that way.

Kevin then talked about truly appreciating the moment of the show. He said to leave all our energy on stage. And that’s true. When you give an awesome performance, you should leave the stage utterly exhausted.

He quoted Vince Lombardi next:

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

Being part of the play is fulfilling our passions. For some of the cast, it will be a profession someday. But all of us are really passionate about theatre. And Kevin made the point that there are people all over the world who wish they could do what we do on that stage. So we owe it to ourselves, to each other and to everyone else out there to do the very best we can, and love every minute of it.

Finally, Kevin recommended sitting on the stage for a minute after the show. After the costumes and make up come off, after the audience has cleared out–but before venturing out to see the crowd. Just to take a minute and sit on the field of victory and cherish the moment.

So that’s what I did, and I know a couple other cast members did. And Kevin and Lombardi were right. There is nothing quite so sweet as a moment of appreciating what you’ve just accomplished.

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