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Monthly Archives: December 2017

Madrigal

One of the first things that initially drew me to Juniata were all of it’s crazy, unique traditions- when I was looking into Juniata I spent over an hour on YouTube watching videos about all of the traditions here. This past weekend my personal favorite Juniata tradition, Madrigal, took place. Madrigal dinner comes as a reward after a grueling week of tenting. For one week during the fall, which somehow always happens to be the coldest week, students sleep in tents and are awoken almost every hour of the night for role calls and to compete in events in order to gain points. The groups with the most amount of points get to select and secure their table at the Madrigal dinner first. The competition during tenting can get pretty intense, but in the end it’s all worth it for getting to have the perfect Madrigal evening.

As a Juniatian, the entire process of Madrigal didn’t seem that weird to me, but my date was pretty confused the whole night. The pinnacle of Madrigal dinner is singing “The 12 Days of Christmas”- at the top of your lungs…while standing on your chair. While this is an integral part of the Juniata experience, it’s not something you’ll find anywhere else, so to outsiders it may seem a little strange. The dinner is also served by faculty and staff members dressed in silly Christmas attire, which makes it even more fun. That professor who just gave you some feedback on a paper that you aren’t happy about? She’s refilling your water glass. Did your boss give you a long list of work for the week? He’s serving you your chocolate cake. Things like that are a part of what make me love Juniata so much, if I went to a school that was bigger than this I would never get to experience this kind of quirky, fun event. Plus, who doesn’t love a good excuse to get all dressed up with their best friends? Madrigal is another example of how Juniata traditions bringing everyone together to give us a special kind of experience and sense of community and togetherness that you just can’t find anywhere else.

 

A Small, Unimportant, and Beautiful Life

As a Theater POE, I have had countless opportunities to build my theatrical skills through my classes and productions at Juniata. One thing I haven’t had as much experience with however, is film. My freshman year, I did a four-day intensive with an artist named Britt Whittle, who was an actor in L.A., guest starring on different television shows and commercials. The intensive was called “Acting for the Camera”, and we had the opportunity to work on different scenes from television shows, all with a camera pointed at our face, which was hooked up to a monitor so the rest of the students in the class could watch you while you worked. I got to do a scene from Gossip Girl, which was a show I used to binge-watch all of the time. I had so much fun playing a high-class celebrity, and it was definitely something I had never done before.
Since then, I have hosted “This Week at Juniata”, the school web show, and been in a few student short films, but that’s it. Working with a camera is so weird, because I’m used to being on stage, where the focus is entirely different, and you only get one chance to say a line, since we can’t cut and re-do it. Last semester however, I got the chance of a lifetime here at Juniata, and I starred in my first student feature film, which was written and directed by a fellow IMA student, Matt Gaynor.
Matt reached out to me and asked me to audition for a movie he had written, and to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I was very unprepared for the audition, and I went in, said my lines, felt super uncomfortable with a camera on me, and then that was that. I remember walking out of the audition room thinking, well that was the worst audition I’ve ever done…, and sure enough, the next morning I woke up to learn that I had been cast as the lead in the film. It was crazy! I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I was so excited to get to work.
We filmed for about three months, on weekends, at night, and any free time we could find. Unlike other films I had worked on, this one was full-length, so there was so much more material to work with. I was very lucky to have been a part of this project, and it has given me new experiences and lessons I am so excited to take with me into the real world. When we finally wrapped, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had just finished my debut feature film! I didn’t know what was to come with the film, but I was so happy I was able to help.
I’m very excited to announce that my film A Small, Unimportant, and Beautiful Life is premiering this Thursday, at the Clifton 5 (the local movie theater in Huntingdon) at 8:00 PM. I hate watching myself perform, but to see myself on a big screen is something I have always dreamed about, and it’s finally happening! We are having a big premiere, with wine tasting and a Q&A, and my parents are even driving from Boston to see the film with me. I’m so excited (and nervous) for it, but this is definitely a big step in my journey to becoming a professional actor. I’m so grateful to Matt Gaynor, the IMA Department, and to Juniata College for allowing me this opportunity to grow as an artist! See you at the premiere!

Being a Student-Athlete at Juniata

For most of my life I was a pretty active kid, I loved sports, I played sports, and I watched sports. But, life got in the way during high school I didn’t really participate in sports much and I missed it a lot. Even though I wasn’t a part of a team I still considered myself active and saw myself as an athlete, so I knew that I wanted to get more involved with sports when I came to college. After committing to Juniata I looked into which club and intramural sports teams we had and was really excited about getting to play again. When I got here I joined the women’s club rugby team and loved it. It was great getting to be active again and to be a part of a team. But, then a unique opportunity came to me.

I was at a women’s volleyball game, cheering on my roommate, when I met the new women’s lacrosse coach, Naomi Radio. We talked for a little while and she tried convincing me to come and try out the new lacrosse program, but I wasn’t biting. The idea stayed on my mind for a while though, I had a friend on the team and it seemed cool enough. Then, I met her and talked to her again at a women’s basketball game a few weeks later and she convinced me to join the lacrosse team even though I had never played lacrosse before.

Initially I was really nervous about the time commitment, but it actually turned out to be one of the best things to happen to me thus far in my Juniata career. Being a student athlete has made me not only a better person but also a better student. Having to work in practice times has made my schedule more structured and made me more accountable and efficient with time management.  I’ve also become a part of something bigger than myself, giving me even more resources than I already had to support me. Now my support system has extended beyond my friends here, my professors, and my advisers- I also have my coach and my teammates. There’s nothing more reassuring during stressful times than knowing how many people around you have your back and are willing to help you out. Juniata is already such a tight-knit community, but being a student athlete here has made me feel it even more by introducing me to more people and strengthening my ties to the community.

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