UT’s 101st Homecoming Week kicks off Sunday

On Sunday, “Homecoming 101: Intro to Rocky Top” events will begin and continue throughout the week, leading up to the Homecoming parade from Circle Park to the Strip on Friday and the football game against the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi on Saturday.

For the first time in 30 years, the Homecoming parade is returning to Cumberland Ave.

Nate Hogan, president of the Student Homecoming Committee, says that the city of Knoxville asked for the parade route to be moved to the Strip to promote more local involvement.

“It will be nice to see the integration with the Knoxville community,” he said.

The Student Homecoming Committee is one of the many campus organizations that worked to plan various events.

According to Hogan, they began preparing for the events in March, and the University Homecoming Committee began planning this year’s Homecoming as soon as the last one ended.

There are 46 individual events taking place all over campus over the span of next week. One of which is the Slime Trivia, which Hogan is particularly looking forward to.

“[The] Slime Trivia, which happens on Wednesday, is going to be where contestants will be asked trivia questions about random topics, some even UT related,” he continues, “and if they get it wrong, they get slimed!”

There will be other events throughout the week for students who do not want to get messy. On Monday, the Black Cultural Programming Committee will host the Homecoming Comedy Show, the Homecoming Fashion Show, which is hosted by People of Style and Education, will take place on Thursday and there will be number of tailgating events on game day. A full list of these events can be found on the Homecoming events page.

The parade on Friday will feature fierce float-creating competition between a number of student organizations, as well as the Little Vol Walk for children under 10-years-old to ride along in the parade and then head to Little Vols at the Ballpark afterwards. Leading the parade will be Del and Dane Bryant. Their parents were the acclaimed songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, who penned “Rocky Top”.

Due to the parade float line-up at 3 p.m., two lanes of Lake Loudoun Blvd will be closed for an hour. Shortly after that, Volunteer Blvd from Lake Loudoun Blvd to Cumberland Ave will be closed from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Cumberland Ave will be closed from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. for the parade and post-parade celebration.

For more information check out the University of Tennessee Homecoming page.

Featured image by Jenna Beaudin

Edited by Taylor Owens

Market Square gets splash of color from ninth annual Chalk Walk

Thousands gathered in Market Square and Krutch Park on Saturday, April 1 to witness various chalk murals for the ninth annual Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk.

The chalk artists ranged from families and adults to children and high school art classes.

Every mural had an image1inspiration behind it. “It was a combination of mine and my children’s favorite things because they wanted to participate this year, too. Butterflies are my favorite. My daughter wanted a rainbow and my son wanted the Smoky Mountains, so we just combined all those together,” Amber Willis said.

Artist Fawne DeRosia decided to go with somebody who people would instantly recognize in East Tennessee.

“Honestly, I did a little digging on who is famous around Knoxville, because I knew I was coming here and Dolly was the first person who popped up, so I was like she’s awesome, let’s do a portrait of her,” DeRosia said.

Connie Passarella, one of the over 25,000 attendees, was amazed at the level of talent of the artists.image2

“It’s really interesting because I’ve never seen anything like it. I have seen it in books before and I wanted to do it at home, so I always like to take back ideas like this,” Passarella said.

Founder Kathy Slocum discusses the reasoning behind the use of chalk for the festival.

“The chalk is used because it’s water soluble and we don’t have to worry about it lasting forever, good and bad. Monday it’s going to rain and this will all be gone,” Slocum said. “But that’s part of the intrigue of this art, is that it’s not permanent. It’s here today and gone tomorrow.”

Artists began their pieces at 8:30 a.m. and had to be finished by 4:30 p.m. Attendees could vote for their favorite piece and the awards were given later in the afternoon.

For the list of winners for this year’s Chalk Walk, check out their website.

Feature Image by Vanessa Rodriguez

Edited by Katy Hill

Pentatonix’s Avi Kaplan hosts UT a cappella workshop

Students from around the region got the chance to work with a  Grammy-winning artist on Saturday, Jan. 28 in Cox Auditorium on the University of Tennessee campus.

Avi Kaplan, vocal bass for a cappella group Pentatonix, headlined the second annual Contemporary A Cappella Workshop hosted by the UT School of Music.

Work began Friday with rehearsals for UT’s three a cappella ensembles: VOLume, UT Singers and ReVOLution. Kaplan listened to and critiqued their sets. He also chose one song to perform with each group on Saturday.

VOLume performs featuring soloist Dalton Mitchell.
VOLume performs featuring soloist Dalton Mitchell.

“He speaks great knowledge and advice,” VOLume tenor Dalton Mitchell said. “It’s great for us to soak that in. He’s just so down to earth.”

Registration began just before 9 a.m. Saturday. High school students filed in and warmed up with a few UT Singers and Interim Associate Director of Choral Activities Jaclyn Johnson.

Dr. Jaclyn Johnson and Avi Kaplan
Dr. Jaclyn Johnson and Avi Kaplan

Johnson coordinated Kaplan’s visit. The two are friends and alumni of Mt. San Antonio College in California.

All female group ReVOLution performed first with Kaplan joining them for “Cheap Thrills.” Kaplan subsequently lent his talents to VOLume and UT Singers. Between performances, Kaplan held question and answer sessions.

Some students did not know what to expect but were excited to work with a prolific member of the music community.

“I’ve never been to anything like this,” high schooler Raven Woods said.

Her friend Sinceer Truss added she looked forward to “tips on what to do better and the experience.”

This clinic marks only the second for Kaplan.

Kaplan demonstrates transitions within a cappella arrangements.
Kaplan demonstrates transitions within a cappella arrangements.

“I just want to make sure I’m doing everything possible to help [music] grow and flourish. I love to see them excited,” Kaplan said. “I just would hope that they are inspired and that they believe in themselves.”

Some students, including UT Singer Nicole Doyal, will not soon forget his advice.

Featured soloist Nicole Doyal performs with UT Singers
Featured soloist Nicole Doyal performs with UT Singers.

“Halfway through the rehearsal I forgot that he was a famous guy because he was just so talented and knowledgeable and was helping us with our craft,” Doyal said.

But the collegiate singers were not the only performers to closely work with Kaplan. An ensemble from Seymour High School and another from Bearden High School received selections to perform onstage. Kaplan chose each school from YouTube submissions.

“It’s a huge opportunity for them,” Andrea Markowitz, a UT alumna and music director for Seymour High School A Cappella said. “For them to get to do it and only be between 15 and 18-years-old is huge. And it’s with someone who is passionate about the same thing as them.”

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Seymour High students work with Kaplan following their performance.

Seymour High performed a Michael Jackson medley. Kaplan then joined them onstage for advice and demonstration.

Choral Director at Seymour High Jean Burkhart hopes students will become interested in all genres of music from all periods by way of a cappella.

“I love the fact that [Kaplan] has a classical vocal background and to see how good vocal technique translates to any genre,” Burkhart said.

Kaplan grew up in choir beginning in middle school. He later majored in opera in college before getting the call to join Pentatonix. The call came just prior to the group’s appearance on NBC’s “The Sing-Off.”

Since then, Pentatonix won multiple Grammy awards and gained international attention with chart-topping tracks and albums on both iTunes and Billboard. Their most recent Grammy nomination comes for “Jolene,” a collaboration with East Tennessee’s own Dolly Parton.

Kaplan works with students from Bearden High School
Kaplan works with students from Bearden High School.

“When you think about a legend, you have a lot of ideas about what you would want them to be. She embodies everything you would want her to,” Kaplan said. “To be able to keep that humble heart is something that speaks volumes and can really set an example for the world.”

Tune in to the 59th Annual Grammy Awards Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. on CBS to see if Kaplan and Pentatonix will take home another award.

 

Images/Audio by Lexie Little

Edited by Taylor Owens

 

UT brings back annual “A Christmas Carol”

The University of Tennessee’s own Clarence Brown Theatre welcomes their annual production of the classic Charles Dicken’s play, “A Christmas Carol,” this month perfectly in time for holiday entertainment.

With a cast of over thirty local adult and child actors consisting of both current and graduate students of UT, “A Christmas Carol” will surely delight families and people alike. Audiences have the opportunity to channel their holiday spirit into this riveting tale of Ebenezer Scrooge as he travels into the past, present and future with the help of four compelling ghosts that lead him on his journey.

With a new director, set, props and costumes, there is a new look to the play this year that will improve the play from those of years past, according to the Clarence Brown Theatre’s website.

To further enhance the holiday experience, there will also be holiday treats sold at concessions, as well as a “Christmas Carol’s Ghost” cutout display to pose with for pictures.

Kathleen F. Conlin, this year’s director, has previously worked for twenty-two seasons at the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival directing many Shakespeare plays, as well as modern American dramas and comedy plays such as, “The Tempest” and “Richard III“, both of which earned her praise for her creativity in the designs of the performances.

Jed Diamond will play Ebenezer Scrooge. He is currently the head of acting at the University of Tennessee. Previously, Mr. Diamond lived in New York City as an actor and director working in plays such as, “Of Mice and Men” and “All the Way Home.” He also taught at NYU, Fordham University and Stella Adler Studio, and was also a part of the faculty at the Actors Center and the Shakespeare Lab at New York’s Shakespeare Festival.

Shows are currently playing and will do so until Sunday, Dec. 18, just in time for a last minute holiday festivity for the whole family. Ticket prices differ depending upon the day of the week and ages. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the price for adults is $26, children from age 5-10 are $10, UT students can buy tickets for $5 and non-UT students for $15.

Weekend shows will be $32 for adults with the ticket prices for children and college students remaining the same. There are also senior, military and UT faculty and staff discounts available along with deals for groups with 15 or more people. Children under the age of five are not permitted.

Featured Image courtesy of the Clarence Brown Theatre

Edited by Katy Hill

Reese Hall residents celebrate ‘Reese’s 50th Birthday’

On Wednesday Nov. 30, Reese Hall Resident Association hosted a birthday party in honor of the aging building. All of the residents were invited and many were in attendance. There were numerous activities for everyone to enjoy as well as a very large cake.

At the event, some of the activities included were water pong, polaroid photo booth, pin the football on Josh Dobbs, RA trivia and hand printing on the basement walls. For each game, there were different prizes for the winners including a Reese Hall t-shirt. Attendees expressed that they enjoyed the opportunity to leave their handprint and signature on the wall. There were also many snacks such as cake, jello cups, assorted candies, soda and fruit punch. A piñata provided many treats, as well, and made the party seem like a true birthday celebration.

A.J. Schroder, president of RHRA, was in charge of the RA trivia. “It was fun learning about the resident assistants of Reese and helping the residents to get to know them more,” he said. “This game was a big hit at the program.”

Reese Hall is closing this December and residents will be moving in to Stokely Hall in the Spring. This was the last event ever to celebrate the building and leave life long memories for its residents.

Numerous residents expressed that this program was a great study break and one of the best programs they have been to this semester.

Resident hall councils and resident assistants put on monthly programs for students living on campus to participate in. Whether it be educational, arts and crafts or just free food, they are meant to be a way to bring students together. Programs are also a way for residents to become more comfortable with the university and their home on campus.

To learn more about Reese Hall and resident events, visit the Reese Hall Residents Association website.

Featured Image by Jada Blackwell

Edited by Katy Hill

 

Fantasy of Trees raises over $400,000 for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital

Over 60,000 people attended the 32nd annual Fantasy of Trees event at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Fantasy of Trees raised over $400,000 for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. This year’s money goes toward anesthesia equipment for the Neonatal ICU.

The show presented over 350 trees, wreaths and holiday home décor for sale made by local businesses. There was also a huge display of gingerbread houses.

Tickets were $8 for adults and $4 for children.

Jordan Stanton, an attendee, said, “We come here every year, and love that we can attend something so great for an even better cause.”

This event hosted many things for kids to do including face paint, cookie decorating, carousel riding and more.

Janet Williams attended the event with her niece. “I love that we can come to this event as a family, and not get bored,” she said. “Seeing Santa was definitely the best part.”

Carter High School, along with many other schools, held a performance of songs for the Christmastime. The Oak Ridge Ballet Association performed a showcase of their Christmas ballet for the people attending.

“This is my third year volunteering for Fantasy of the Trees,” Nick Wylie, a volunteer working at the cookie decorating station, said. “I want to continue volunteering because I love this cause. I have visited the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital many of times, so helping this cause is so awesome.”

For more information of Fantasy of Trees, visit their website.

Featured Image by Rylee Barnes

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo