council for the arts and culture posts displayed by tag

Channeling My Inner Beyoncé: Learning to Sing Like a Pro

Sitting at my desk, rarely taking the opportunity to leave for lunch, I was intrigued when I saw the Elm post, “Broadway 101 Event at Hippodrome: Learn to Sing with Becky Mossing.”

One of my five children, now a college freshman, has been studying classical voice since early middle school. For years, I have sat on the sidelines listening to her instructor teach her and observing her performances. But for me, a “shower singer” who can barely remember the words, I thought this would be a great opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and into my daughter’s shoes. I clicked the link to sign up.

On the day of the event, we were escorted through the side door of the Hippodrome, where we could sneak a quick peek at the inner operations of the theater, an exciting opportunity to be sure. We quickly took an elevator up to a small rehearsal room that featured an upright piano and mirrored walls and was encircled by a two-tiered ballet bar.

Mossing introduced herself and began sharing her operatic knowledge with our group of attendees from across the University of Maryland System. It was the second event in the series, arranged through the UMB Council for the Arts & Culture, and she indicated that it was going to be a hands-on — or should we say “voice-on” — vocal lesson.

Mossing started our experience by explaining that she likes to teach through visualization, creating many visual scenarios that help her protégés identify with the principals and technique she fosters. So we immediately got into singer-stance, a neutral position that was like a tree  — knees slightly bent, but not locked, and loose limbs. This anchored us and gave us the perception of power and strength while creating a pathway for better energy flow with our breath.

Next, we envisioned a large, fat straw pulling air into our mouths, channeling it through our airways and filling our abdomens. Even though we all understood that breathing involves air entering our lungs, Mossing wanted us to learn that what we really need to do to be in control of our singing is to direct or “channel” that energy into our stomach area. This technique actually results in more oxygen filling our lung space, which enhances our ability to peacefully push out the melodic “me, may, ma, mow, mu” sounds she next instructed us to emit. We visualized our “sound” (aka our “voice”) filling all of the sinuses in our faces and heads. She demonstrated how to casually release the sound from our throat and let it spill over our lips, causing a vibration as it was liberated.

As the lesson continued, we were asked to identify a strong female singer: Collectively, we selected Beyoncé. Mossing explained that one of the most important aspects of singing is that we need to develop great technique, but technique alone will not make us great singers. It’s the combination of learned skill with passion that gives connectivity to what we are singing. So we all channeled our inner Beyoncé and continued to use our “head voices” as the lesson carried on.

We were each handed a copy of “What I Did for Love,” one of the musical scores from A Chorus Line. Most of the attendees were familiar with reading music and the musical selection, so the fun began! We read through the music and began to sing. Mossing kept reminding us to use our head voices. We repeated stanzas and focused on controlling our sound as opposed to “belting” out the tune. After 15 minutes of rehearsal, we actually sounded quite good.

We ended the lesson with a fun exercise — each attendee selected a sound to make vocally. We went around the circle, one after another, adding on to the existing sounds. The first person started by repeating “beeeeeep-bop,” the next person added “whiirrr,” someone chimed in with a low “laaaaaa,” and next, a high-pitched “ding.” The additions continued until collectively we produced a melodic tune.

We were all quite impressed with our accomplishments during the hourlong lesson. It was great to take a midday break from our work to not only become educated in the fine art of opera, but also have fun while meeting new colleagues. Certainly, no one is ready to perform at the coveted Super Bowl halftime show in February, but a few participants left planning to sign up for additional vocal lessons. Holly Hammond, laboratory research specialist at the School of Medicine, summed it up as follows: “This class was wonderful! … [It was] a real day maker! Thank you so much for the Hippodrome series! [It is a] very wonderful benefit of employment at the University.”

For more on the Council for the Arts & Culture, and to get information on other upcoming Broadway 101 events at the Hippodrome, visit the council’s web page.

— Dana Rampolla


Dana Rampolla Collaboration, People, University LifeNovember 27, 20171 comment
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Spring Festival at Community Engagement Center

Neighborhood Spring Festival

Join us for UMB’s Annual Neighborhood Festival at the Community Engagement Center! Connect with your neighbors and enjoy free activities.

Saturday, April 22  |  11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  |  800 W. Baltimore St.

Free Activities

  • Health and dental screenings
  • HIV and Hepatitis C testing
  • Mental health resources
  • Legal advice
  • UMMC on the Move (University of Maryland Medical Center Mobile Health Van)
  • Performances: Korean dancing, local school dance groups, and spoken word
  • Live music
  • Taekwondo and outdoor zumba
  • Local food and craft vendors
  • Earth Day activities

Fun for Kids

  • Games
  • Hula hoop fun
  • Face painting
  • Puppet-making

Sponsored by the UMB Council for the Arts & Culture
First Lady Yumi Hogan, Honorary Chair

Clare BanksABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, The UMB Dish, UMB Go Green, UMB News, University Administration, University Life, USGAMarch 16, 20170 comments
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Raising the Curtain on Opportunity at Camp Hippodrome

The UMB Council for the Arts and Culture has partnered with the Hippodrome Foundation, Inc. (HFI) for an exciting opportunity for children of UMB staff, faculty, and students.

HFI is the nonprofit partner of the Hippodrome Theatre and works regularly with local schools to increase student access to our beautiful theater. This year, HFI will once again be offering our free Camp Hippodrome and we are pleased to invite 10 children of UMB employees (rising 6th, 7th, or 8th grade sons or daughters) to participate. (Each child may only register for one session.) There is no try-out for Camp Hippodrome.

In 2016, HFI will offer two sessions:

  • Session 1:  June 27 through June 30. This session ends on Thursday – with a finale performance for family and friends on June 30 at 6 p.m.
  • Session 2:  July 11 through July 15. This session ends on Friday – with a finale performance for family and friends on July 15 at 2:30 p.m.

Please note this is a Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (No Friday – Session 1) commitment and children MUST be able to attend all days. (No exceptions – this is a cumulative program so students must be on time and attend all sessions.)

HFI will be welcoming back camp directors, Caitlin Bell and Becky Mossing. Activities will include theater, dance, music, vocals, and more. Students who participate will be expected to attend every day – arrive on time and stay until camp is over. Please do not sign up unless you know your son/daughter can fully participate every day!


Theater experiences can be life-changing. Through free outreach and education programs, the Hippodrome Foundation works to introduce Maryland students and community members to the arts and all of the assets of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center. By exposing young people to new possibilities, we are raising the curtain on opportunity for students in the Baltimore Metropolitan region.

If you are interested in enrolling your son or daughter, please email the following information to

Full Name
School or Department
Phone Number
Child’s Name
Session Requested
Child’s Grade

Space is limited to 10 children. We will be accepting applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.

Holly BaierFor B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University LifeMay 4, 20160 comments
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Broadway 101

Hippodrome Theatre Backstage Tour

The UMB Council for the Arts and Culture and Hippodrome Foundation invite you to Broadway 101: Behind the Red Curtain Hippodrome Theatre Backstage Tour.

Wednesday, Nov. 18  |  Noon to 1 p.m.  |  Hippodrome Theatre

Join us for an exclusive look behind the red curtain. Stand on stage like you are the star of the show and see what goes on backstage during a touring Broadway production. Tour will be lead by a member of IATSE Local 19 – the Hippodrome’s stagehand local. It’s an event not to be missed. Space is limited to 30 guests. This event is not a brown bag luncheon.


Holly BaierBulletin Board, For B'more, People, University LifeOctober 15, 20150 comments
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Blithe Spirit

Critics Rave About “Blithe Spirit”

The UMB Council for the Arts & Culture invite you to UMB Night at Everyman Theatre. UMB faculty, students, and staff will receive a 50 percent discount ($20 – $22.50 after discount) on tickets to Blithe Spirit on Wednesday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Read what Critics Have to Say – Then Come See For Yourself!
A balm for Baltimore’s Soul. Sign of a good time had by all? Patrons in the parking garage elevator making plans to return for another performance… anyone who admires wit and style will bask in the Prosecco-light, bubbly glow of this production!” – DC Theatre Scene

“Blithe Spirit is a refreshing and lighthearted send-off to another great year of theater at the Everyman.” – MD Theatre Guide

“[Nancy Robinette is] a genuine scene-stealer as Madame Arcati, and that’s where Everyman is especially fortunate. I didn’t expect to encounter a second notable portrayal of the role so soon after savoring the one by brilliant, ageless Angela Lansbury, whose adorable Madame Arcati lit up Washington’s National Theatre in March. Robinette tackles the assignment with a subtle, winning charm.” – The Baltimore Sun

Order your tickets today! 

Holly BaierBulletin Board, For B'more, People, University LifeJune 11, 20150 comments
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CIRCA Catalyst


Catalyst is an ongoing series promoting conversations around transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary research that fuses the performing and visual arts with other fields of inquiry and scholarship. This event is brought to you by the Council for the Arts & Culture.

Monday, May 18
3 to 4 p.m.
Health Sciences & Human Services Library – Gladhill Boardroom, 5th Floor

Attendance is free and open to all, registration is required.
Refreshments will be provided following the event.


Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS

Chief Academic and Research Officer and Senior Vice President and Dean, Graduate School

As the chief academic and research officer, Bruce Jarrell is the focal point for all such matters at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

When he’s away from UMB, however, aside from his family, his passion for metalsmithing takes center stage. In his shop at his home in Severna Park, Jarrell has turned out many impressive projects, some that currently beautify UMB and its ceremonial events.

Jarrell came to UMB in 1997, recruited by the School of Medicine to chair the Department of Surgery. In 2003, Jarrell moved to the Dean’s Office of the School of Medicine, where he served as the executive vice dean. So it is only fitting that the School of Medicine (SOM) received his first UMB metalsmithing gift, a mace holder that has been used in SOM ceremonies since 2006.

In 2010, Jarrell, a former cabinetmaker who belongs to the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland, was given a greater challenge: to create a mace holder for President Jay A. Perman’s November inauguration. The resulting work was based on the Maryland state flag, which bears the cross bottony and the palisades of the Calvert and Crossland families of the Lords Baltimore.

It was a family affair. His daughter Gwynneth incised in steel “University of Maryland” and his sister Bess Jarrell Naylor, a cabinetmaker in York, Pa., handmade a box of ebony and Maryland Wye oak for the mace holder to sit on.

The finishing touch? Jarrell forged handmade nails remaining from the restoration of Davidge Hall, the University’s iconic signature building, and created a hook, on which Perman placed the original 7-inch brass key to Davidge Hall during the inauguration ceremony.

In 2012, the year he became chief academic and research officer, Jarrell teamed up with Ukrainian blacksmith Anatoliy Rudik to create a metalwork art piece that fills two second-floor windows of the University’s Southern Management Corporation Campus Center. The treelike piece is based upon the Davidge Elm, a majestic tree that before its death a decade ago stood for nearly 200 years outside Davidge Hall.

“I don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian and Anatoliy doesn’t speak English so it was a quiet shop,” joked Jarrell at the unveiling.

Jarrell’s most recent UMB project was making a ceremonial mace for the School of Nursing (SON). He was again assisted by Gwynneth, an alumna of the nursing school.

“There’s a little story that you won’t see because it’s on the back side of the mace,” said SON Dean Jane Kirschling at the unveiling. “Gwynneth and her dad were having a conversation about the mace and should they sign it. And Gwynneth said absolutely. She then put in her initials and put RN afterward. So father that he is, Dr. Jarrell put in his name followed by MD. We’re glad you’ve got a nurse in the family, Dr. Jarrell!”

Asked before the inauguration why he was willing to put in long days on weekends and find hours before and after University workdays to make the 2010 mace holder, Jarrell smiled and said, “First of all, I’m a surgeon and any time you create something with your hands you get pleasure from it. Second, it’s fun to be creative. They said go make something and I did. And, of course, it will be very nice to have the mace sit in a nice holder.”

Lee Boot, MFA

Associate Research Professor and Associate Director at the Imaging Research Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Lee Boot is an experimental media artist and researcher exploring new ways to represent knowledge in human environments, with a focus on digital domains. He serves as associate research professor and associate director at the Imaging Research Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

Boot’s research has produced innovative film, video, and real-time interactive works to help audiences connect with and co-create knowledge in the humanities, sciences, and arts to stimulate new thinking on education, health, and social challenges. During the past two decades his work has been broadcast, screened, published online, and exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the National Academies of Science, the Johannesburg Biennial, and London’s Serpentine Galleries.

His feature film, Euphoria, was selected for numerous festivals and won the Gold Award for documentary at the Houston International Film Festival in 2005. His findings have been published in journals and presented at conferences on art, education, new media, and digital communications. Current projects include developing interactive, web-based tools for persistent, inclusive discourse to address and solve big, complex human problems — particularly the challenges facing his city of Baltimore.

Boot also is working with the National Academy of Sciences on innovative digital media to help rework the relationship between science and mainstream culture in the U.S., and is collaborating with celebrated dancer/choreographer Liz Lerman to give her creative tools an online, interactive presence.

A Digital Impression of Science in the Past 90 Years

The Great Hall in the National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) headquarters on the National Mall in Washington D.C., has a beautiful dome elaborately painted by artist Hildreth Meiere in 1924. The eight disciplines of science as conceived of at that time, the great science academies of the world, and even the ancient “elements” of Wind, Water, Fire, and Earth are all represented in neat and ornate gold-bordered icons.

Boot was commissioned to update the way science is represented on the dome in a form that can be accessed not only for visitors to the dome itself, but for people anywhere in the world, digitally. Working with JD Talasek, director of cultural programs of the NAS, Boot did an ethnographic study, interviewing 12 national leaders in the sciences, including several Nobel Laureates, to understand how science has changed since the early 20th century.

Boot and a team of artists and programmers at the Imaging Research Center at UMBC then sought to capture what the scientists had to say about science now, how it is done, what it offers, what its limitations are, and how it has changed — perhaps radically, since the dome was originally painted.

The result is an iPad application that augments the visible reality of the dome for visitors to the NAS, and also recreates it in the hands of those who cannot be there in person. It uses Meiere’s dome as a launchpad for an impression of science that has broken loose from the pat schematics of an earlier time, into a rich, ambiguous ecology of nature as it is.

Holly BaierCollaboration, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University LifeMay 5, 20150 comments
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