The ’Grove

Spring Summer 2024 Issue

Two Operas, One Historic Weekend

Susquehanna University’s departments of music and theatre partnered to present two one-act operas for an historic weekend.

“Susquehanna’s performance of Fête Galante constitutes the first-ever, fully staged production of the opera in the United States, while The False Harlequin is staged very rarely,” says Associate Professor of Music David Steinau. “The opportunity to enjoy a fully staged opera — with sets and costumes — is rare for our area, and we were excited to offer our region this unique experience.”

Andrew Lisk, Ariana Rodi and Luke Rider in Fête Galante Andrew Lisk, Ariana Rodi and Luke Rider in "Fête Galante"

Fête Galante, written in 1923 by British composer Ethel Smyth, and The False Harlequin, written in 1925 by Italian composer Gian Francesco Malipiero, are very different operas unified by the traditional Italian commedia dell’arte acting-troupe characters that appear in both stories. But that’s where the similarities end.

“The operas are so contrasting, the first a tragic drama and the second a comedy,” says Ariana Rodi ’24, a music performance major from Lawrence Township, New Jersey. “You get intertwined in the stories.”

Tariq Cannady ’24, a theatre performance major from Selinsgrove, says, “Fête Galante is a love story that takes a turn from a happy tale to ‘something real is about to happen.’ It’s full of mystery and suspense.”

In The False Harlequin, a woman extends an invitation for the wealthy lords of Italy to win her heart by creating a beautiful melody, explains Maxwell Wigoda ’24, a theatre performance and communications double major from Minersville, Pennsylvania, who played one of the suitors. Mistaken identities lead to an unexpected twist and a happy ending in The False Harlequin.

“The vocal lines that are written are just beautiful,” Rodi adds. “It’s been great to see the two departments collaborate.”

Both operas were performed with a company of 20 music and theatre students and a full orchestra. The plays were directed and choreographed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Kevin Crowe, and the music was directed by Steinau and conducted by Assistant Professor of Music Zachary Levi.

The performances were underwritten by Marian Shatto ’67, who previously donated her collection of Smyth’s works to the Jane Conrad Apple Rare Books Room in Susquehanna’s Blough-Weis Library. 

Family & Kinship

By Haley Dittbrenner ’25

Syllabus is an ongoing series of stories that gives readers an inside look at some of Susquehanna’s most interesting classes.

Waist-high image of John Bodinger de Uriarte sitting in his office. Books on shelves in the background. John Bodinger de Uriarte

The definition of family is constantly evolving. John Bodinger de Uriarte’s anthropology course Family and Kinship explores family from the first instances of humans all the way to our contemporary times.

“Theories of kinship are fundamental to the historical trajectory of anthropology,” says Bodinger de Uriarte, professor of anthropology. “While earlier studies of kinship may have approached its framework as applicable to all cultural sites, later understandings have allowed for a wider perspective on how people reckon who is kin and what might determine their respective rights and responsibilities.”

The coursework in this class delves into the intricate structures and functionalities of family and kinship across various cultures. It underscores the shifts over time, both historical and contemporary, in understanding and practices related to family dynamics, marriage, procreation and kinship within the United States. Special attention is paid to the cultural shaping of kinship, the establishment of identity and distinctions, and the intricate politics surrounding reproduction.

Bodinger de Uriarte, who has taught the class for over 20 years, updates the material in each iteration of the class to reflect current events. As government policies change concerning issues such as parental rights, genetic testing and assisted reproductive technology, so do the class reading assignments, which Bodinger described as in-depth, thoughtful and often provocative. By reading up on hot-button issues from multiple perspectives, Bodinger de Uriarte hopes students will define for themselves what family means in the modern United States.

“I have learned a wide variety of concepts pertaining to family patterns, kinship, how an individual’s demographics can shape their experience, and how social, cultural, state, global and political forces shape and transform family and kinship,” says Abbey Mooney ’25, a psychology major from Warrior Run, Pennsylvania.

She also said the course has improved her critical thinking skills and that the concepts discussed in class has helped her form and articulate more knowledgeable opinions and understand the societal issues and cultural implications that are tied to them.

Mooney plans to pursue clinical psychology after graduating, and she believes the Family and Kinship course prepared her well for that path.

“From what I have learned and the skills I have developed from this class, I will be able to better understand the sociocultural forces that influence people’s lives,” Mooney says, “and how these forces may impact my future clients’ lives, which will allow me to be better able to help them.

National Board Appointment

President Jonathan Green has been selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Founded in 1976, NAICU serves as the unified voice on public policy issues for the nation’s 1,700 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. He currently serves on NAICU’s Tax Policy Committee.

Green has also just been named chair of the Annapolis Group and is chair emeritus of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania.

In 2022, then-Gov. Tom Wolf appointed Green to the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, of which he is a member of the executive committee and chairs the nominating committee.

Prestigious Government Fellowship

Ka'Meron Hopkins '26 KaMeron Hopkins ’26

KaMeron Hopkins ’26, a computer science major from Odenton, Maryland, has been awarded the prestigious and highly competitive Foreign Affairs Information Technology Fellowship by the U.S. Department of State — one of only 15 awarded annually in the United States.

Hopkins’ interest in the fellowship opportunity stems from his work as an intern with the U.S. Department of Defense, a position he has held since he was in high school that has generally centered around data engineering and analysis.

“Being chosen for the FAIT Fellowship reflects an intense competition, and seeing KaMeron’s dedication acknowledged with this remarkable opportunity fills me with pride,” says Karol Weaver, professor of history and coordinator for fellowship advising. “The journey ahead through the FAIT Fellowship promises transformative experiences that will shape KaMeron’s career path for years to come.”

The FAIT Fellowship provides undergraduate and graduate students in IT-related fields with summer internships at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., and at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, tuition assistance, mentorship and professional development to launch their careers in the U.S. Foreign Service as information management specialists.

Upon successful completion of the fellowship program and the State Department’s entry requirements, Hopkins will receive an appointment in the Foreign Service as a diplomatic technology officer. He will support and maintain secure and reliable IT tools and resources, ensuring that the State Department, other federal agencies, nongovernment partners and Americans overseas can effectively communicate at over 275 overseas posts in nearly 200 countries.

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