Elizabeth “Liza” Folsom ‘21 is a geology major and spanish minor from Can Mateo, CA. She is a member of the women’s rowing team at Bates and was the coxswain for the team that won the Division II National Championship last year. I had the opportunity to speak with Liza about her experience as a member of the Bates rowing team. This article has been edited for grammar and clarity.
Author: Sophie Rockland
The first Seder of Passover at Bates, held on Friday, March 30 in Memorial Commons, was a great way to kick off the holiday. As someone who has been to a few Hillel events, I found this one to be organized especially well. Twenty or so round tables were filled with friends talking, laughing, and reading the Haggadah (the text recited at the Seder) together. Co-presidents Brooke Drabkin and Matthew Winter led us through the service, beginning by explaining the reason for the newly introduced orange on the Seder plate; it is a symbol of women’s rights as well as a symbol of gays and lesbians and others who are marginalized within the Jewish community. In addition, each orange segment has a few seeds to be spit out, a gesture that repudiates homophobia.
Next, we delved into the service, lighting the candles, saying the kiddush, and breaking the matzah. All first-years in attendance were then called upon to read the four questions. The first question we ask is “How is this night different from all other nights?” with the main difference being that on most nights we eat sitting up or reclining, but on this night we recline to commemorate the freedom of the Jews. The second question, “Why on this night do we only eat matzah?” deals with the idea that the bread did not have enough time to rise as the Jews hastily left Egypt and this was also the bread the enslaved produced. The answer to the third question “Why on this night do we eat maror?” is that it reminds us of the bitterness of slavery in Egypt. Finally, the fourth question, “Why on this night do we dip twice?” allows us to understand that the salt water in which we dip the herb into is bitter to represent the tears the Jews cried in Egypt and that dipping food is considered a luxury and a sign of freedom. Reciting these questions in Hebrew after not reading them for years was slightly difficult, but made easier by the help from my peers; everyone was leaning on one another, allowing all first years to participate in reciting the four questions.
We then delved into the ten plagues, putting ten drops of wine on our plates to represent each of the plagues: blood, frogs, lice, beasts, cattle disease, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and plague of the firstborn. As we continued along in the service, eating maror, charoset, and matzah, everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy each other’s company as well as the story of Passover, told shortly but succinctly throughout the service. After some more prayers and Dayanuh, it was time to feast. Dinner was spectacular with all the favorites: charoset, matzah ball soup, kuegle, and honey glazed chicken, followed by flourless chocolate cake and macaroons for dessert.
Overall, the night was special and the perfect way to begin the celebration of the holiday. Being away from home during the holidays can be difficult, and so the warmth and happiness of the Seder was comforting for many. On Saturday night, there was a Seder at the local synagogue, which is a great way for the Bates community to interact with local community members. Passover is an important holiday for the Jewish community, as it symbolizes their freedom from slavery in Egypt; celebrating with a Bates Seder was the perfect way for it to begin.
On Thursday, February 1, Bates put on a Student Showcase Village Club Series (VCS). Given its wide attraction, seats were sparse, the food quickly disappeared, and the room was filled with good music and talented people. A variety of groups and ages performed, all of which were a pleasure to watch. Each act was unique, displaying the variety of talent at Bates, from vocals to collaboration with others to using technology (a looper) to create a piece of music. Nick Osborne ’19 and Will Sanders ’19 opened the show, followed by Will Crate ’21 and Billy Lahart ’21.
Crate loved performing, and feels that the amount of people that showed up to hear performances was amazing. He was unaware of how many people would be attracted to the scene. When asked about his motivation for performing, he says that both his “interest in music,” which stemmed from learning piano in second grade, as well as “collaboration with Billy” led him to perform. The duo has been trying to find a performance that would work for both their schedules, and VCS was the perfect venue for them. They began with a cover of “Most Beautiful Girl in the Room” by Flight of the Conchords and ended with Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” a crowd pleaser.
Later in the program, Elliot Chun ’18 utilized both his guitar and violin skills to play Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” and Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love.” Utilizing his loop, we were able to witness the creative process behind his performance. Joshua Redd ’21 performed a beautiful poem about his own race, using his creative license to construct an honest piece of art. Walter Washington ’19 performed two beautiful covers, but his favorite part of the night was watching Lahart, a member of the Men’s Basketball Team, on stage; he says that “another athlete getting involved in performing is always good to see. You realize everyone is so talented her and he’s a freshman, so he will be a huge part of the Bates fabric for years to come.”
Washington has been involved in the Bates music community for a few years and had always wanted to do a VCS but had always “back out before submitting something.” This year, however, he decided he would give it a shot, and luckily, “everything worked out.” Music has been a large part of his life for years, with his mom being a singer and his dad playing the guitar, “back in his glory days,” according to Washington. He also feels that “music has become a getaway and will always be a big part of [him].”
The showcase closed with seniors Sophie Moss-Slavin ’18, Summer Peterson ’18, Emma Schiller ’18, and Sarah Curtis ’18 singing acoustic covers of Aretha Franklin’s “I Say A Little Prayer For You” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Overall, the performances were wonderful and exciting to watch and the audience appeared to thoroughly enjoy each performance.
VCS is a special Thursday night activity at Bates that everyone should attend at some point throughout the semester. Next Thursday, there will be a Spoken Word Night which invites Nkosi Nkululeko, 2016 New York City Poet Laureate and a Callaloo fellow, to the stage. The week after that, we will have the winner of NBC’s The Voice, Javier Colon, perform and hopefully hear some of his originals. It is clear that VCS brings in a variety of different performers, all wonderfully unique from one another. The Student Showcase was highly successful and will definitely be replicated in the future.
On October 16, 2017, the Auryn Quartet played beautifully at the Olin Concert series. The quartet is made up of two violins, Matthias Lingenfelder and Jens Opperman; a violist, Stewart Eaton; and a cellist, Andreas Arndt. Each member played his instrument and individual part melodiously throughout the night, contributing to the overall harmonious sound that the quartet seamlessly produced. The group performed three pieces, each with multiple movements. Beginning with String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80 by Felix Mendelssohn, they moved to String Quartet No. 3 in G Major Op. 94 by Benjamin Butten. Lastly, they played String Quartet No. 14 in A flat Major by Antonio Dvorak. Each piece was distinguishable from the others with a coherent sound from the men throughout the entire performance.
The Auryn Quartet has been playing together for more than 35 years, and the time together is apparent in their performance. The way they interpret each piece so intricately and wonderfully, their distinguishability from one another, and the intense expression they play with sets the group apart from other quartets. These three trademarks were all equally present in the performance on Monday night, making for an entertaining, lovely performance. Their facial expressions in particular cannot be missed. Each man plays with such power and intensity, and both of these characteristics materialize via their facial expressions. I was personally amazed that each man showcased such emotion throughout the entire evening.
The Quartet has been lauded internationally for their skill. They were recognized for their specialness when they won their first prizes at the ARD Competition Munich, the International String Quartet Competition Portsmouth, and the Competition of European Radio Stations. Amongst their successes are the recordings they produce; according to Gramaphone, their recording of the Beethoven quartets is considered to be the best performance of these works in the music industry.
As a violinist myself, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to observe the string players make such beautiful music. There was something truly special about witnessing such pure, effortlessly beautiful music being produced. At the same time however, the performance was equally riveting for a non-musician. Genevieve Dickinson ’21 had “never really been to a concert like this before, but thought it was extremely impressive how the quartet managed to make four instruments sound like a lot more.” She also commented on the idea that “a smaller group can be beneficial in the sense that the musicians get to work together in a more intricate, one-on-one setting.” The performance attracted Bates students as well as local community members, all of whom seemed to thoroughly enjoy the concert as I occasionally looked over to them smiling contently in their seats.
The Olin Concert Series at Bates engages both students and the community, providing us with a variety of talented artists that allow us to witness firsthand artistic excellence and understand a variety of cultures and backgrounds. There are several performances throughout the year, which I highly encourage everyone to attend. The Auryn Quartet was a great addition to the Olin Concert Series and was personally a great introduction to this Series. As a music student, I imagine I will be attending many of these performances throughout the next four years, and am very excited to see what is in store.
After three weeks of living on campus and becoming adjusted to our lives as Bates students, being engaged in our classes, spending hours in Commons, and meeting new faces daily – our parents arrived. This weekend was “Back to Bates Weekend for Students and Families,” a time during which campus is filled with not only students and faculty, but parents too.
Friday night, after eating a delicious Italian dinner at DaVinci’s in Lewiston, my parents and I attended the a cappella concert, a must-see for parent’s weekend. The concert gave students and parents a little taste of the talent and creativity that is here at Bates. Although my parents both thoroughly enjoyed the concert, the most meaningful part for them came before the concert actually began.
We arrived around 7:30 p.m., watching students and parents trickle in. I sit in between my parents, telling them a bit about the different singing groups at Bates. At one point, vivid in my memory, my dad turns to me and says, “I can just tell – you are surrounded by the nicest kids and parents.” Keep in mind, my father had interacted with maybe two or three families thus far; his observation was based on the faces he saw in the Gray Cage – faces full of smiles.
The a cappella concert was one of the many highlights of the weekend. Our homecoming football game was on Saturday afternoon, a scene that attracted many families. Although we lost, it was a great way for families to mingle and get a taste of the athletics scene at Bates. There was also a dance concert at noon on Saturday and Sunday, which was another way for parents (and students) to witness the creativity at Bates. A variety of performances were shown, including preview works from The Trisha Brown Dance Company, student clubs, and independent choreographers. The dancers were impeccable, and, similar to the a cappella concert, they showed off just a fraction of our wonderful Bates student body. After talking to a handful of students at the different festivities, my parents commented on how honest each student was. Most first years commented on how their transition has mostly been smooth, but of course, there are harder parts as well. This type of honesty is refreshing, and is exactly what Bates students are; confident enough about themselves to tell a new set of parents that their transition to college has been great, but of course, there have been some difficult moments.
Claire Kelly ’21, speaks highly of her first parent’s weekend, admitting that it was special for her to have her parents in her new home. Other first years speak of a similar experience. Eliza Blood ’21 feels that this weekend was the perfect way to introduce her family to her new life, “not just the campus, but to new friends and to Maine.” This weekend was a great stepping stone for first year parents to be given a snippet of their children’s new lives. For returning students, this weekend was an excellent way for them to introduce their parents to new and old friends. Eleanor Shields ’20 says that parent’s weekend is a great way for her to show her parents her home here in Lewiston. Last year, she was “still getting acclimated” when parents weekend came around, but this year she was able to bring her family to her favorite spots and “introduce them to all the little things that make this place home.”
Overall, Back to Bates as a member of the class of 2021 was the first introduction my parents and 509 other parents had into their children’s college lives. Anna Hadar ’21 discussed how showing her parents around the campus made her realize “how settled [she] is at Bates,” and how it has become familiar within the three short weeks she has been on campus. And for the other three classes, it allowed parents to come back to the place that has been their child’s home for two, three, or four years. My first parent’s weekend was a great success, and I cannot wait for the next three.