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Letter To The Editor


Arts are integral
Music is life, thanks to Hearnes
Theater set stage for career
Singing a new tune
Saga saga

Arts are integral
My wife, Norma, and I both especially enjoyed the most recent issue of the Cornell Report. I suppose the emphasis on the arts is a particular reason, but the entire issue is beautifully written and edited as well as being visually most attractive. Your Editor’s Corner column is a highlight! Your essay eloquently captures the reasons that the arts are so integral to education. You help me understand why I have been so personally rewarded by a career in education in the arts. Thank you!
Robert Thayer
Cornell music professor, 1958-72
Bowling Green, Ohio

Music is life, thanks to Hearnes

When I came to Cornell in 1993, music was just a part of my life. When I graduated in 1997, music was my life. I never considered majoring in music until I met the two people who would forever change my life: Marty and Lisa Hearne. For four years I sang and played in Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Wind Ensemble under their direction. When I declared a major in music education, the Hearnes became my primary teachers. However, teachers are not all that they were to me. The Hearnes were my mentors. They gave me support, advice, criticism, and opportunity. They treated me with candor, kindness, and respect.
Working with Marty and Lisa was not only my most significant music experience at Cornell, it has been the most significant experience of my life.
Kristen Kasuboski ’97
Waupaca, Wis.

Theater set stage for career
I’m really glad Armstrong is being renovated. Can’t wait to see it. I was a double major in theater and sociology. The flexibility of One-Course-At-A-Time allowed me to direct two full-length productions. That’s a very rare experience for an undergrad.
A popular place for student-directed productions was the Underworld below the main stage in Armstrong. Now, as we all knew, the area needed lots of tweaking to make a performance work. Our professors frequently told us if we could produce a good technical production with the equipment we had at Cornell, we’d feel we had it made almost anywhere else. Renee Getter ’89 was my lighting technician for “Plenty.” Renee and I bought all the fuses in Mount Vernon trying to fix faulty wiring. During the last minutes of the final four performances we noticed smoke coming from the black box. We fanned the smoke away from the audience and prayed the performance wouldn’t go up in flames literally!
While I didn’t pursue theater professionally, it has benefited me in my work life.
Ellen Harter Wall ‘87
Ames, Iowa

Singing a new tune
I came to Cornell with years of music training and experience. But I was not a music major and had no intention of becoming one. Little by little, under the tutelage of Dr. Alf Houkom, Dr. John Klaus, and Karen Houkom, I became involved in music at Cornell, singing in Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, playing in the orchestra and performing in musicals. I was welcomed into the music community at Cornell, where I was never pressured to change my major to music and I continued my involvement for the sheer love of music. How typical of Cornell!
I graduated with my politics degree and pursued a career. Now many years and twists and turns later, I find myself in a new career in—guess what?—music! I am in my second year of teaching elementary school music and loving it.
Kim Fiorino Vangel ’83
St. Louis, Mo.

Saga saga
Once again, reading the Cornell Report took me completely out of myself. Last night, fireplace glowing beside me, I spent a couple of hours reading it. Your inside cover piece on your personal connection with the arts was a great opener. Later, as I read about the theater program and its history, I thought about the plays—seemingly, one or two each month—I absorbed during my freshman year.
Your feature on Randall Davidson ’75 brought back hilariously vivid memories of my less-than-distinguished career with Saga with Randy as student manager. One day I dropped an entire gallon of Italian dressing on The Commons’ tiled floor, and at least three students slipped and fell as I struggled—valiantly but vainly—to clean up the mess. Randy never batted an eyelash. Great guy. He even managed to reassign me to a Saga job less fraught with possibilities for disaster.
Allan J. Ruter ’76
Glenview, Ill.

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