Corner House residents volunteer with Cornerstone youth

Ellie Kahn
Contributing Writer

About once a week, each member of Corner House, a program house at The College of Wooster, travels to volunteer at the nearby Cornerstone Elementary School. Comprised of 16 students ranging in age from sophomores to seniors, with five being abroad each semester, the students who live in Corner House look forward to the time they are able to spend with the children, creating bonds and memories that last from week to week.

One of the four public elementary schools in the Wooster City School District, Cornerstone Elementary is located just a short walk from campus. At the elementary school, the members of Corner House play with the kids during recess as a way of fostering a supportive and nurturing environment, as well as forming a connection between the College and the greater community of Wooster.

The program was founded due to the construction of the brand new PlayLab at Cornerstone, which is a playground that is as academically enriching as it is fun for the children who use it. The PlayLab is meant to encourage an environment of learning, sharing and inclusivity, and the elements within the site do just that.

For example, the PlayLab includes a “Buddy Bench” where the children can go if they want someone to include them in an activity, as well as a butterfly garden to observe different types of rocks and insects. For those who aren’t feeling as active, the PlayLab has an outdoor book depository, where the student members of Corner House can often be found reading to the children.

Margy Adams ’19, a member of the house and volunteer program, emphasized the significance of college-age students volunteering at the school every week.

“We don’t just watch the kids, but play with them as well; we’re in that comfortable spot where we’re not teachers but not other children, so they look up to us while also having fun and looking forward to seeing us. And a lot of them confide in us too; we’re like older siblings,” said Adams.

In addition to the volunteer program being beneficial to the children, it has an impact on the student volunteers, as well. As Adams explains, “We look forward to seeing these kids every week. It’s really refreshing to be around young energy, especially when [we’re] suffocating in schoolwork most of the time.” Because the students volunteer on a weekly basis, they can continue to regularly build upon their relationships with the children, something that both sides find to be valuable.

The purpose of the Corner House volunteer program is to spread messages of sharing and inclusivity at the new PlayLab at Cornerstone. As Adams shares, “it’s really heartwarming to know that we’ve had an impact on these kids’ lives — when we see someone help someone else up after they’ve fallen, or offer to include someone looking for a playmate in a game they’re playing.”

Wooster Seniors approach certain, academic doom

Daniel Sweat
Features Editor

Well, it’s that time of year again. Spring Break is right around the corner, the weather’s starting to heat up and the Senior I.S. deadline looms in the not-so-distant future.

If you’re a senior and you haven’t already turned in your thesis, you’re probably spending a lot of time at your carrel, cranking out those final pages and putting in endless amounts of edits. Writing your very own senior thesis can be quite stressful, so here are a few helpful tips to cope with finishing your I.S.

1) Quit messing around and get to work. Considering that pretty much everything in this day and age is typed on a computer, it’s all too easy to get sidetracked and fall down a Google rabbit hole while you’re trying to work. One minute you’re writing about the political implications of having subjective conceptual schema, and the next minute you’re watching a hot dog getting caught in a mouse trap on YouTube. We’ve all been there. Of course, you can’t completely sever ties with your keyboard — you need it for work! But you can sever ties with your Wi-Fi connection. It’s a lot harder to avoid your work if you first have to make the conscious effort of turning your Wi-Fi back on. Think of turning off your Wi-Fi as just another way to put barriers between yourself and procrastination

2) Transfer money from your checking account to savings. If you’re writing an I.S., you’re probably going to graduate soon and head off into the real world. Now, there’s no flex or meal swipes out there in the real world; you can’t pay your rent with mozzarella sticks from Mom’s. So it’s always a good idea to start saving money whenever you can. Nothing relieves stress quite like the potential for financial security.

3) Plead for help from your preferred god. There are a lot of churches around here; maybe now’s the perfect time to make use of them.

4) Watch Family Feud. It’s about time we all had a talk about America’s most ludicrous game show. Literally anyone can be on Family Feud, and as Smash Mouth taught us, not everyone is the sharpest tool in the shed. In fact, a lot of the people on Family Feud have no business being there; they just had five friends lying around and thought, “Yeah, let’s do that.” The point is: not everyone who gets on Family Feud is all that smart. Odds are you’re probably a lot better at Family Feud than they are. So unwind by watching a suburban family guess wildly what you can order at a fast food restaurant (Kebabs? Really Jim?), while Steve Harvey smugly chuckles at them from behind his moustache. Use their game-show failures as self-affirmation.

5) Go to the Writing Center. TW: Actually serious content. Ok, a lot of you who are reading this probably already go to the Writing Center or get some other kind of help for your writing. But, in my opinion, the Writing Center is one of the most underused services on campus. A lot of the time, students only go to the Writing Center when they have a completed draft and want one more pair of eyes on it before they submit. This is a fine strategy, but the Writing Center can be much more than an editing service. Need someone to bounce ideas off of before you start writing that final chapter? Need help making an outline or brainstorming? Just want to talk through your I.S. with someone to make sure that you understand what you’re writing about? The Writing Center can help with all that stuff.

6) Stop reading The Wooster Voice. Seriously, why waste mental power on trying to decipher these cryptic memes?

West-Marvin hits it out of the park with pitch lecture

Lily Iserson
Chief Copy Editor

Have you ever wondered about especially talented musicians, who can recognize and hit perfect notes without referencing an instrument? Rather than accepting pitch perfect at face value, Wooster alumna Professor Elizabeth West-Marvin will give a lecture on the very subject, exploring the science behind those who possess the rare aptitude for an “Absolute Pitch” (AP).

On Thursday Mar. 2, West-Marvin will interrogate absolute pitch as a mystery and a science in a lecture entitled “In Their Own Words: Analyzing the Extents and Origins of Absolute Pitch.” The lecture will occur from 12-1 p.m. in Scheide Music Center, room 203. Posters on the lecture invite audience members to bring and enjoy bagged lunches during West-Marvin’s presentation.

Having originally received a double BA in Organ Performance and Theory Composition at The College of Wooster in 1977, West-Marvin now teaches at the Eastman School in Rochester, NY as a professor in music theory; she also holds a secondary appointment in the University of Rochester’s Brain and Cognitive Department. These combined disciplines demonstrate West-Marvin’s enjoyment of diverse research that analyzes music and the cognitive process, which includes the science of the flawless pitch as a skill capable of analysis.

In her abstract on the lecture, West-Marvin explains that “although tests of AP possessors’ abilities have been studied extensively in the laboratory, few researchers have collected qualitative data about the experiences of AP listeners as they engage in musical and nonmusical activities in their daily lives.”

Indeed, a brief Google search for the absolute pitch online procures a variety of pseudo-scientific resources, training tests, and blog reports of experience. None of these immediate results engage qualitative experience using a precise scientific method. By conducting experiments alongside interviews with AP Eastman musicians about their memories and experiences, West-Marvin presents a more comprehensive understanding of AP as a genuine skill set that impacts different parts of the AP musician’s life.

“Of course there is no denying that AP can be helpful to musicians,” said West-Marvin in her essay, “Absolute Pitch Perception and the Pedagogy [Teaching] of Relative Pitch,” originally published by the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy in 2007. In this paper, West-Marvin acknowledges the remarkability of AP, while practically comparing AP against “relative pitch,” the process of deducing pitch by comparing notes against other notes. Using this comparison, West-Marvin expresses interest in music teaching methods that acknowledge the skills and tendencies of AP musicians and non-AP musicians through a realistic understanding of ability.

West-Marvin continues, “To name just a few examples, AP assists musicians in hearing long-range, tonal relationships over time, tuning and performing atonal music, providing pitches for a cappella choral music, hearing unfamiliar music inwardly (from score reading) and transcribing music from sound to paper. Nevertheless, the AP musician who never develops relative-pitch skills may miss an entire dimension of music listening and performance: the aural understanding of dynamic hierarchical relationships within a key.”

As a culmination of these studies, West-Marvin’s lecture posters and research promises a frank overview of AP’s discovery, its perceived extents, and the ways it impacts the musician’s listening skill. All Wooster community members, professors and students can attend this event free of charge.

A sneak peek of Springfest 2017 at Bonnawoo

Desi LaPoole
Contributing Writer

It’s no secret that we are surrounded by many creative and talented people here at Wooster. There are so many poets, dancers, painters and, of course, musicians. Student artists explore many genres of music, from rap to EDM, and put time and effort into creating songs for us to enjoy. However, outside of organized groups such as the bluegrass band, our artists don’t have many opportunity to perform their work on campus.

Bonnawoo is here to change that. Created by WAC two years ago to help search for student openers for Springfest, Bonnawoo serves as another way for student artists to perform their music.

Covers, hosted by the Goliard, is a musical event featuring student musicians and bands who cover songs to fit a theme. Like Bonnawoo, Covers provides a venue for student musicians to perform together and in front of a crowd. However, as Covers was the only organized event that allows students to perform for the College, WAC believed there should be another opportunity.

Bonnawoo director Emily Partika `19 said, “Covers is such a well-attended event, but it’s really the only way less organized groups of people — as opposed to blue grass or acapella — can perform together in front of other students.”

What sets Bonnawoo apart from Covers is that it encourages artists to play their original music instead of cover songs for a specified theme. As an artist, it can be difficult to get your work to the outside community; Bonnawoo is a great opportunity to reach new audiences and gain experience performing in front of groups of people.

Bonnawoo invites all musicians, from bands to solo artists to DJs to share their music with the College community. Since Bonnawoo was on hiatus last year, WAC only hosted Party on the Green. WAC is excited to see Bonnawoo back this year and to open up a great opportunity for both student fans and artists alike.

“Look forward to the diverse acts,” Partika said. “This year ranges from bands to solo artists to DJs, and all the artists are eager to perform so we’re really expecting everyone to have something awesome to share.”

This year’s lineup includes Shades of Gold, Ben Jenkins, Nate Harling & Friends and Gabe Dale-Gau. Artists also have a shot at being an opener for this year’s Springfest. Each artist and band will have a 15 to 20 minute set prepared that the WAC directors will be evaluating as they perform tonight. According to Partika, a major deciding factor in the artists’ evaluations is the audience’s reaction to the performance. Thus, tonight go out to Bonnawoo to support our student artists. They created this music for us; it’s time for us to listen.

Gag Me: Fifty Shades Darker

It’s commonplace here at Wooster to complain about projects the school is undertaking as being a ‘waste of money.’ We understand these complaints. However, that’s not fair to the school. As a general rule, if even one person can find value in the slightest aspect of a purchase, then it could be argued that it’s worth the cost.

That said, Fifty Shades Darker is a waste of money.

On Feb. 16, your humble correspondents were accompanied by Mariah Joyce, Adam Hirsch and Marisa Adame to a 10:15 p.m. showing of Fifty Shades Darker — an experience all of us asked for but none of us deserved — just like the female lead. With dialogue that sounded like it came straight from Donald Trump’s Twitter, we could go on about the rampant misogyny and glorification of abusive relationships that the film portrays, not to mention the overall poor quality of the narrative. However, it would be quicker and less painful for us to highlight the few good aspects of the film with the knowledge that if we didn’t bring it up here, it’s genuinely awful. Here are our top six highlights:

1.The soundtrack: For a movie that was visual diarrhea, it was surprisingly pleasant to listen to. With bangers by Sia, Nick Jonas, Nicki Minaj and John Legend, the soundtrack offers a way to enjoy the best parts of the film without having to actually watch anything. Your humble correspondents were especially big fans of Zayn and T. Swift’s collaboration in “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” to the point of leading a singalong during the closing credits.

2.The sex positions: Regardless of how much BDSM ornamentation might be in the scene, your humble correspondents were relieved that the film confirmed our suspicions that there is indeed only one sexual position — missionary — as God intended.

3. The Bush: we’re not talking about George W.

4. The audience: One upside to watching Fifty Shades in a crowded theatre is most of the people there are in the same boat as you are. There is a bizarre sense of community that stems from experiencing Fifty Shades as a unit — I imagine it’s kind of like how pledging brings people closer in Greek groups. Added bonus if you end up with someone in your theatre who thought they were going to see a different movie — that always adds an extra layer of fun.

5. Mariah Joyce: If you’re like us, you will watch the movie with the most illustrious Editor in Chief. The only sound more constant than moaning throughout the film was Mariah expressing anger. To be fair, it surprised everyone that she actually came.

6. Appreciation for the arts: The first thing we would recommend watching after the film is porn. You will find yourself engrossed in the storyline in a way that you were not during Fifty Shades Darker. For a movie that prides itself on being softcore pornography, the story is really lacking behind some other classic of the genre, such as Seinfeld: a Porn Parody.

And that’s about it. Take it from your humble correspondents: save the $7.50 or spend it on gas to drive in the very opposite of any establishment showing this film.

Migos’ Culture album to change the culture of hip-hop for 2017

Waverly Hart
Contributing Writer

Dropped as a single on Oct. 28, “Bad and Boujee” gained immediate success, eventually climbing the charts to number one as listeners quoted its iconic opening line “Rain drop, drop top” and danced to its rhythmic beat and slick lyrics.

With the momentum from this trapthem pushing them into the spotlight, Migos released their second studio LP, Culture on Jan. 27, 2017. Culture combines Migos’ signature Southern rap sound with a higher production quality creating an album that sets the tone for the rap game in 2017.

Although it is only the second album under their current label, Migos has been prominent in the rap scene since the release of their first mixtape in 2012. Based in Atlanta, the rap trio consists of family members Offset, Quavo and Takeoff, whose voices come together to complement and build off each other. Even before the album’s release, the three rappers have helped to define and personify Atlanta rap, creating a style and rhythm that other acclaimed hip hop artists have borrowed and incorporated into their own songs.

The 2017 album consists of 13 tracks, all of which have the catchy lyrics and danceable backbeats characteristic of hit singles. However, Culture is much more than a conglomeration of trap hits. While still keeping the group’s signature staccato-style rapping, this album has a higher production quality and includes more features from mainstream artists, two elements that combine to turn the album into a quality piece of music, not an aggregation of songs depicting only the raw lyrical talent of the trio.

The features (which include DJ Khaled, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott and others) don’t overshadow the rapping ability of Migos, but instead add a notable legitimacy absent from their earlier works.

Although the songs are perfect to dance to, the lyrics transcend the trivial meaning of most rap songs. Instead, songs such as “Big on Big” address the past label troubles the group has run into, detailing their pertinent history. While handling tougher issues, the songs are sprinkled with hip slang phrases that give the music a youthful energy characteristic of newer rappers.

Another prominent element of Culture is the steady, percussive, rhythmic backbeat that can be heard throughout each song. Additionally, some of the songs, such as “Call Casting,” feature barely-noticeable piano riffs that add the right amount of hidden music notes to go beyond the usual tone of one-dimensional trap music.

Culture does an excellent job of blending Migos’ Atlanta-style rap with mainstream artists features. With this album, they are continuing to subtly influence other rappers’ style. The album keeps the nostalgia of older albums alive while still incorporating new elements, to make Culture a favorite for long-time listeners and first-day fans.