Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January brings faculty artists to the stage

Guest blog by Christopher T. Barton
The beginning of a semester can be a quiet time at Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts. Auditions, rehearsals, choreography and set construction have only just begun for the many student performances that will take place on our stages. And unless you’re a set designer, an empty stage just doesn’t quite capture the imagination. Fortunately for UNC Charlotte, we have talented and active faculty in the performing arts and in these next several weeks we have exciting opportunities to enjoy their work.

In October, our newly appointed Anne R. Belk Distinguished Professor of Music, violinist David Russell, performed his inaugural recital and earlier this month he helped “Light the Knight” at the gala opening of Charlotte’s new Knight Theater with a solo performance that Classical Voice of North Carolina called “impossible not to enjoy.” This Friday, January 22nd, David is joined by fellow faculty members Mira Frisch (cello) and Dylan Savage (piano) as well as a distinguished group of guest artists from The UNC School of the Arts, The Hartt School, and West Virginia University for the next program on our Faculty & Friends Concert Series. This concert promises to be an exceptional performance of two of the great masterworks of the chamber music repertoire by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – his Piano Quartet No. 1 – and Franz Schubert – the Cello Quintet. The concert series will also continue through February and March with performances by tenor Brian Arreola and Duo Savage, the musical partnership of husband and wife Dylan and Susan Savage.

January also brings two remarkable performances of dance to the Belk Theater at Robinson Hall. Our Department of Dance once again hosts the annual tour of the North Carolina Dance Festival on Friday, January 29 and Saturday January 30. Unique in the country and now a North Carolina institution, NC Dance festival began in 1991 as a weekend of concerts in at UNC Greensboro and has grown into an annual tour showcasing dance artists from across the state. Eight different dance companies tour (stops in 2009-10 include Boone, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington) and are joined on the program by artists local to the host communities. Those local artists featured in our UNC Charlotte performances are E.E. Motion, Caroline Calouche & Co., and NCDT II. E.E. Motion is directed by E.E. Balcos, Assistant Professor of Dance at UNC Charlotte and will perform “The Party”, a work for six dancers choreographed to music written by UNC Charlotte composer, Dr. John Allemeier. Caroline Calouche & Co., a Gastonia based contemporary and aerial dance company, will perform an excerpt from the piece “The Macabre Mask”, an original work that blends the poetry and literary works of Edgar Allan Poe. And in a very special appearance, North Carolina Dance Theatre 2 (NCDT II), a group of young professional artists affiliated with Charlotte’s prestigious North Carolina Dance Theatre, will perform the piece “City South”, an NCDT signature piece choreographed by Mark Diamond.

These special performances are just the beginning of an exciting semester at Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts. Please join in – once again or for the very first time – as we support and celebrate our faculty and student artists. Visit, stop by our Box Office, or call 704.687.1TIX (1849) for information and tickets to upcoming performances.

See you at Robinson Hall!

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Chris Barton in marketing/box ofice manager for Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts

Monday, January 11, 2010

Campus Police Prove Mettle in Emergency Exercise

Guest blog by Paul Nowell

It’s an old adage that an admirable performance by police officers is akin to one turned in by a first-rate referee crew – they are usually doing a commendable job when they are scarcely noticed.

UNC Charlotte campus police did a first rate job last Tuesday and this time they WERE noticed.

Anyone who witnessed the full-scale emergency response exercise on Jan. 5 on the UNC Charlotte campus would come away impressed by the performance of our campus police. I did witness it and I would like to give them some well-deserved credit.

Those cheering the loudest included some veteran Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers and representatives from the consulting firm that organized the exercise, EnviroSafe. These are not the sort of folks who worry about making you feel better about yourself.

On Jan. 5, UNC Charlotte Police officers were the first to respond to the simulated “active shooter” incident at Duke Centennial Hall near the Highway 29 entrance to the sprawling campus.

Arriving in a matter of minutes, they were in charge of the scene until CMPD officers arrived. Before long, one of the two assailants was detained and the other was located. The officers performed their duties impeccably.

Although there was one simulated “fatality” during the simulated siege, the "shooting" occurred before the UNC Charlotte police officers arrived on the scene. Another 33 volunteers played the role of injured; they were treated and transported to area hospitals.

The hostage ordeal ended without additional injuries to students, faculty or staff. And no one was injured as a result of a hazardous material investigation that was thrown into the mix by EnviroSafe to test the overall response.

“I think it went really well. The collaborative effort out at the scene was really compelling,” Major Jeff Baker of the UNC Charlotte Police said following the exercise.

The simulation, sponsored by the Risk Management, Safety and Security Department in conjunction with Homeland Security, was designed to test the readiness of University departments, campus and local police, the fire department, local hospitals and other first-responders.

The bottom line is that the UNC Charlotte police officers were properly trained and prepared to handle their part of the crisis. By participating in a simulated “active shooter” exercise, valuable lessons were learned.

I came away from the day’s events with far more respect for all the law enforcement, fire and emergency officials – including our campus police. It’s no surprise that they are dedicated public servants. But now I’ve seen them in action and my respect is even greater.

Paul Nowell is Media Relations Manager in UNC Charlotte’s Office of Public Relations.