Articles by David Dupont

Vintage Valentines celebrate the sweet & sour sides of the holiday

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Most of the origin stories about Valentine’s Day are not true. There really is no link to any one of the five Valentines who share Feb. 14 as their saint days. And the connection to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia seems tenuous at best. That celebration involved sacrificing dogs and goats, and whipping young women and crops with whips made of the goat’ hides to ensure fertility in the coming year. The more modern belief that Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday,” cooked up by the card company to boost sales is also not true – people were exchanging Valentine’s Day greetings for more than a century before the company was founded in 1910. “Most of what we know is probably wrong,” said Steve Ammidown, manuscripts and outreach archivist for the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University. Ammidown visited the Wood County District Public Library to share a selection of vintage Valentine’s Day cards. The first reference to St. Valentine’s Day being associated with lovers comes in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century poem “Parlement of Foules (The Parliament of Fowls).” By the 16th century the tradition of exchanging romantic notes on Valentine’s Day took hold, especially in England and Germany. Exchanging cards began early in the Victorian Era. True to the times, Ammidown said, “complicated and fragile” was the way to go. It was a female entrepreneur, Esther Howland, who founded the first Valentine card manufacturer in America in the 1840s. The Worcester, Massachusetts, businesswoman had a staff to create her line of cards, which “were very ornate, very overwrought.” Ammidown showed a Howland card from the archive’s collection with its intricate patterns and fine, lace-like cut paper. It was meant to display, and its excellent condition indicates it was treasured. The Valentine card business proved attractive enough that competitors sprang up. The most prominent, George Whitney, eventually purchased Howland’s business. “He became the biggest name in Valentine’s cards,” Ammidown said. The business flourished at the turn of the 20th century…


Teachers from around the world attending BGSU institute

From INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION INSTITUTE The International Democratic Education Institute (IDEI) in the School of Teaching and Learning at Bowling Green State University welcomed 22 master teachers from across the globe on Friday, January 26th for a six-week professional development seminar. They are part of the Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and administered by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). TEA Fellows are from Algeria; Bangladesh; Burkina Faso; Cambodia; Cameroon; Colombia; India; Kyrgyzstan; Malawi; Mozambique; Nepal; Niger; Nigeria; Peru; Rwanda; Sri Lanka; Tunisia; Turkey; Venezuela; Vietnam; Zambia; Zimbabwe. The theme for BGSU’s program is “gender equity in education.” TEA fellows will participate in workshops and seminars on equity and diversity in education, curriculum development, technology in the classroom, and inclusive pedagogy. While in residence, TEA Fellows will partner with US teachers through field experiences in American secondary schools, work on service-learning projects with community partners, and learn more about U.S. culture through field trips to historic sites and various arts and culture events. The public is invited to meet and interact with the TEA fellows at various events including: International Educator Night at BGSU February 26 6-8 p.m., Eppler North 221 on campus. Gender Equity in Education Brown Bag, March 2, noon to 1 p.m. BGSU Women’s Center.


Camaraderie is a reward for pianists at competitions, guest artist Ursula Oppens says

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Most of the 25 competitors in the David D. Dubois Piano Festival and Competition at Bowling Green State University this weekend will not have a spot in the winner’s circle. They won’t share in the monetary prizes, nor the recognition. That doesn’t mean, said guest artist and judge Ursula Oppens, that they won’t gain something. Certainly there’s the discipline and focus performing in such a high level competition brings. They also may very well find friendship. Oppens, who will be one of the judges in Sunday’s final round, said even as a young pianist growing up in New York City in the 1950s, she didn’t know many pianists. “Being a pianist is solitary.” When pianists do get together they can form close bonds. Just how close and enduring those bonds can be will be on display Saturday night when Oppens and childhood friend Phillip Moll, also a festival guest artist and judge, will perform music for two pianos. The Dubois competition begins Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall with a master class with the guest artists. It continues on Saturday with the semifinal round in which 25 pianists from around the country will perform, and concluding Sunday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. with the final round. The Dubois attracts teenage pianists from around the country. The performance level is high, with the semifinalists boasting impressive resumes of triumphs in other competitions. They will be competing for awards of $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second, and $1,000 for third. Oppens said as a judge “mainly I just try to let go and see how exciting and wonderful I feel the music is.” She said that “winning gives a person a great deal of confidence. Not winning shouldn’t destroy it.” And the recognition that comes with victory helps when advancing in the musical world. Her former teacher Rosina Lhevinne said “she wants her students to do competitions so they will practice on Saturday night instead of going to the movies.” The competitions…


Student singing association to host benefit trivia night, Feb. 28

From BGSU CHAPTER OF STUDENT NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS OF SINGERS Bowling Green State University’s current chapter of SNATS (Student National Association of Teachers of Singers) was formed in the  fall of 2017 by Rachael Cammarn, second year graduate student and current president, Adelle Blauser, senior and current secretary, and Autum Jordan, senior and current social chair. They began to work on the chapter the summer beforehand. SNATS comes from the National Association of Teachers of Singers (NATS), which is a national professional organization and includes both performers and teachers of voice. Their mission statement is as follows: “To encourage the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing; and to promote vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented.” While BGSU has had chapters in the past, this is the first active SNATS chapter in at least three years. We have 12 official members (who all pay dues). The current vision of our chapter in its inaugural year is not only to establish an environment for growth in knowledge and practice of voice performance, but also to create a community in which students are enabled to proactive creativity, leadership, and outreach. We have held four official events so far: Meet & Greet with the singers of The Toledo Opera’s “Pearl Fishers,” A Panel Presentation With The Resident Artists of The Toledo Opera, “Death by Aria” Recital, and a Career Presentation by Cleveland Opera Theater’s Megan Thompson. All of these events have had non-member attendance and participation. Upcoming events include: SNATS Trivia Night, a Masterclass with Elizabeth Baldwin, and a Guest Lecture on vocal health with Dr. Ronald Scherer. SNATS Trivia Night will take place on Wednesday, February 28 from 6-8 p.m. at Ziggy’s in Bowling Green. The trivia will be written by musicology graduate student, Alexis Scangas and will include trivia customized to singers and musicians. Ziggy’s will be donating 10 percent  of their proceeds back to…


Baby, it’s cold outside, so why not celebrate?

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News During a season when the temptation is stay bundled up at home, Bowling Green’s Winterfest BG Chillabration gives folks a reason to brave the cold. On Saturday afternoon, visitors could alternate between experiencing the chill as they strolled through the ice sculpture garden or ride around the downtown in an open horse-drawn trolley. They could warm up in the heated Chillabration tent where bands had started performing mid-afternoon, or view high school art work on display in the Four Corners Center. Another option was to stop for a bite to eat at a local restaurant or do some shopping. Aaron and Molli Blachuta had done a bit of all of that. The event gave the couple and their 19-month-old son Blaiden “a change to get out of the house and give the little man a walk,” the dad said. Molli Blachuta had seen an announcement on Facebook. “It’s always nice to find something we can take him to.” That’s harder to do in the winter. They also ate lunch at Sam B’s before taking the carriage ride. They were going to stop into Ben Franklin before heading home. Jayan Karunarathna, a doctoral student in photochemical sciences from Sri Lanka, said he likes coming downtown for any of the events, whether Winterfest or Black Swamp Arts Festival. Winter events are especially appreciated. He checked out the ice sculptures created to advertise local businesses and services. He said he was going to go back to campus and bring friends down to hear more of the music in the Chillabration tent. “I think it’s good to have things like this … so people can hang around and meet new people,” he said. Earlier in the day the tent had featured about 10 vendor tables. The fair was an innovation in Winterfest’s 10th year. By 4 p.m. it had been transformed into a music venue with Ginger and the Snaps the opening act for a lineup that would run until 11. Up front, beer and wine were being…


Dozens ready to go bald for a cause at BGSU St. Baldrick’s event

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of children’s cancer research, will host one of its signature head-shaving events at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union at Bowling Green State University Feb. 18, when more than 60 people will shave their heads to raise money for lifesaving childhood cancer research. The event will include barbers from Ambrosia Salon & Spa, Bowling Green Mayor Richard Edwards, BGSU Interim President Dr. Rodney Rogers, BGSU Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost Dr. Thomas Gibson, the St. Baldrick’s Honored Family the Roszmans, additional speakers, musical performances and a raffle. Over the past 6 years, BGSU has raised more than $108,000 for St. Baldrick’s, shaving 635 heads and donating 343 ponytails. Every 2 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer worldwide, and in the U.S. one in five kids diagnosed won’t survive. Those who do survive often suffer long-term effects from treatments too harsh for their developing bodies. As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, St. Baldrick’s is leading the charge to take childhood back from cancer. From its beginnings, St. Baldrick’s has believed that kids deserve the chance to be kids – fun-loving, carefree, refreshingly honest, and always a little goofy – and deserve the chance at a healthy future. That’s why donations raised at events like this have made it possible for St. Baldrick’s to fund more than $232 million to support the best childhood cancer research, wherever it takes place. About St. Baldrick’s Foundation As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation believes that kids are special and deserve to be treated that way. St. Baldrick’s is leading the charge to take childhood back from cancer by funding some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts who are working to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. Kids need treatments as unique as they are – and that starts with funding research just for them. Join us at StBaldricks.org to help support the…


Service award helps Mariana Mitova rally support for sports program for kids with special needs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Receiving the Faculty Senate’s Community Involvement award wasn’t just a boost for Mariana Mitova. It was also a boost for the causes she espouses, especially RallyCap Sports. Mitova, who teaches in Bowling Green State University Apparel Merchandising and Product Development Program, said that in addition to being a personal recognition – “the glass plaque is proudly displayed in my office” – being honored last year has greatly benefited RallyCap Sports. The program, which was founded by alumnus Paul Hooker, offers the chance to be active in sports to young people with special needs. BGSU was the first campus to host the program.  (click for related story.) Mitova is the BGSU chapter advisor, and her son, who is blind, is a participant. Mitova told Faculty Senate Tuesday that her recognition has increased awareness about the program, donations have increased to RallyCap, and more faculty became interested. They then promoted it to other families who may benefit. Her receiving the award is being used by this at national headquarters who are trying to find campus advisors at the 12 other RallyCap locations. Mitova said she used the monetary award to host a dinner for 22 core student volunteers. (More than 1,000 students volunteer putting in more than 5,200 volunteer hours.) Those broader effects, said Mitova, are the reason faculty members should take seriously the calls for nominations. If Associate Dean Mary Murray had not nominated Mitova this would not have happened. She conceded faculty get a lot of emails, and it’s easy to delete them. Mitova said she deleted the first two calls for nominations herself. “Guilty as charged,” she admitted But after being asked to address senate, “I started thinking more about what would have happened if Dr. Murray hit the delete button,” she said. “Instead she took the time to solicit support, write the nomination letter, and submit the nomination package.” That time is valuable, Mitova said. “However, she thought this nomination is worth the time.” In addition to RallyCap, Mitova is also active…


Mantra sextet to perform new work for percussion at BGSU concert

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Percussion sextet Mantra Percussion returns to Bowling Green State University for a concert at 8 p.m. Feb. 19 in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. The group’s performance is part of the Music at the Forefront series sponsored by the University’s MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, and is free and open to the public. Committed to honoring the past and expanding the future of percussion music, Mantra Percussion brings to life new works for percussion by living composers, collaborates with artists from diverse genres and styles, and questions what it means to communicate music with percussion instruments. The group engages new audiences by challenging the standard concert format through evening-length events that look toward a grander artistic vision. Their BGSU performance will feature new works by Aaron Siegel, Lesley Flanigan, Tristan Perich and Michael Fiday. After co-commissioning Michael Gordon’s evening-length percussion sextet “Timber,” they gave the work’s United States premiere in October 2011 at BGSU and subsequently toured the work internationally. They also gave the New York premiere of “Timber” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in December 2012. Since forming as an ensemble in 2009, Mantra Percussion has been featured throughout North America, Europe and Asia, including the Bang on a Can Marathon, Duke Performances, the Redcat Theater in Los Angeles, National Public Radio, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the Drogheda Festival in Ireland, the Ecstatic Music Festival and the Ecstatic Summer Festival, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Right Now Festival in South Korea, Vancouver New Music and numerous others. Over the past eight years, Mantra Percussion has commissioned and/or premiered more than 40 new works for percussion ensemble. Mantra Percussion has been hailed by the New York Times as “finely polished . . . a fresh source of energy” and by TimeOut New York as “forward thinking.” The group was praised by The New Yorker and TimeOut New York for presenting one of the 10 best classical performances of 2012. They recorded one of Time Out New York’s Ten Best Classical Albums of 2011,  Siegel’s “Science Is Only a Sometimes Friend,” on Lockstep Records,”…


Hospital, chamber team up to offer blood analysis screenings

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Wood County Hospital and the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce will host their 14th Annual Blood Analysis Program on Saturday, April 28 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., at the Wood County Hospital. This comprehensive blood analysis screening is for multiple health risk indicators including but not limited to kidney function, electrolytes, liver function and lipid profile and requires a 10 hour fast. Additional available tests are PSA for men and TSH (thyroid) for men and women. Cost of the program is $50 for BG Chamber Investors and $60 for Non-Investors, with $25 each for the additional tests. Blood pressure checks are also offered. The results of this fasting blood test should be used as a guide to determine your current health status and to make positive changes in diet, exercise or lifestyle to enhance your well-being. The screening should not take the place of routine physicals. Although normal ranges are listed, only you and your physician can establish what is normal for you. A report providing all test results will be sent to the participant or his/her physician. Proceeds from the event will go to support the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and Wood County Hospital Foundation Scholarship Funds. The Wood County Hospital Foundation Scholarship is designated for full-time undergraduate students at BGSU. The scholarship is awarded annually to one student. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Scholarship is a $2,000 award that is given annually to one Chamber-affiliated student for their study at BGSU. Appointments are required. Starting now, you can call the Chamber office at (419) 353-7945 to schedule an appointment. Registration will be taken until April 13th, or until all spots are filled. Prepayment is required at time of registration by cash, check or credit card, and must be paid prior to event.


Symphony’s North Star Festival celebrates music of African Americans

From the TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Toledo has a rich history as a safe haven along the Underground Railroad, a 19th century network that helped many slaves escape to freedom. Toledo Symphony’s new North Star Festival highlights this local connection and celebrates the musical contribution of Black Americans throughout history. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra will present this North Star Festival from February through April in a series of concerts and collaborations, presenting music by Black American composers and about Black American history—from songs brought over to America during times of slavery to more contemporary music that pays tribute to the brave men and women of the Civil Rights Movement. “Lift Ev’ry Voice: The Musical Legacy of the Underground Railroad” will take place February 15, for two performances at 9:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra along with additional community organizations will come together to explore Toledo’s Underground Railroad history through music. Special friends from the Lathrop House will be on hand to narrate and make history come to life. This program features a screening of the word-less storybook “Unspoken” by Henry Cole and a sing-along of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” This event is sold out. A Preschool Storytime will take place February 22, at 10:30 a.m. at the Sanger branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. This Preschool Storytime will feature musical guest, members of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. Free and open to the public. Registration required. Reaching for Our Stars will take place February 25, at 5:00 p.m. at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra will perform a neighborhood concert in celebration of Black History Month. Tickets at St. Martin de Porres, 419-241-4544. An Instrument Petting Zoo will take place February 27, at 4:30 p.m. at the Kent branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Children will see, hear, and play a variety of orchestral instruments. Members of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Toledo Symphony Youth Quartet will present music inspired by…


City at work repairing water main break on campus

The City of Bowling Green is currently repairing a water main break along Park Avenue near Lot W. It is not known when repairs will be completed. Affected buildings include the College Park Office Building, the Greenhouse, Central Services and the Park Avenue Building. These buildings do not have restroom or drinking fountain service at this time. The closest available restrooms are in the Technology Building. Please see signage in the affected areas for more information.


CD relives memorable night that bluesman Luther Allison put Howard’s on the map

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Back before Howard’s was Howard’s Club H. Back when it was on the west side of North Main Street. Back when it served liquor, beer, wine, and sandwiches prepared upstairs, and it also served a lot of colorful characters, some of whom lived in the rooms out back. What it didn’t offer was live music. That is except for when a college professor assembled friends and guitars for an impromptu hootenanny singing folk songs, some with decidedly blue lyrics. When the Wood County District Public Library bought the property in the late 1960s as a site for its new facility, the bar was displaced across the street to the former Modern Heating storefront, and then to the room next door. For Charlie Davis the long-time manager this was an opportunity. Yes, the place that opened Feb. 14, 1973, was nicer. The floors were level for one thing. “It was supposed to be more of a club atmosphere instead of just a watering hole,” remembers Tom Lambert, who had worked at the bar since returning home from the Army. It also had room for live music. Davis had been wanting to host bands, especially blues bands, for a while, and now he had his chance. He started booking acts including J.B. Hutto, Willie Dixon, and Jimmy Dawkins, as well as locals including Diamond Reo (not the 1980s national act with a slightly different spelling). The music drew decent crowds until about 18 months later when Chicago bluesman Luther Allison came to town for a September weekend in 1974. Lambert was manning the sound booth. He brought along his reel-to-reel tape recorder and jerry-rigged a connection. He caught local history on tape. The first night’s crowd was modest, Lambert remembers. Allison came to party, and the room could hardly contain his energy. Davis remembers Allison getting up on the bar and walking down in true blues fashion, jangling the lights as he went. When he got to the end he didn’t stop. Trailing a long cord…


Haitian musician Mona Augustin battles for justice with his voice, guitar, & imagination

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For the poor of Port au Prince, Haiti, life was always hard. Then came the earthquake in 2010. Mona Augustin was not one of those poor. He is a musician who lived with his bandmates. After the earthquake he went to an open area in the city where people once played soccer. Now it was occupied by a city of rudimentary tents occupied by people driven from their homes by the earthquake. For the next five years, Augustin set aside his music to take on the role of helping this community, which came to be known as Mozayik. Now he’s back making music in the service of the people of Mozayik. The Haitian singer-songwriter is visiting Bowling Green this week with his wife and fellow activist Candice Welsh. Augustin performed Wednesday night at the First Presbyterian Church and will perform another free show tonight (Feb. 8) on the Bowling Green State University campus. The presentation, which includes a performance by Augustin preceded by the screening of a short documentary film by Jon Bougher about Mozayik, will be at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room (228) of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Life in the makeshift village was hard. The residents barely had the essentials for life. The film shows them trudging through narrow muddy alleys between canvas tents to bathe and fetch water. Yet that subsistence living itself was threatened. A large commercial building was being constructed in the next lot, and the company, Arcotec Haiti owned the land, and working with the government sought to evict the residents, offering them $125 in US dollars to leave. Little of the millions in aid dollars that flowed into Haiti found their way to the poor. Augustin tried to work with the mayor for some reprieve, but in the end the project trumped the interested of the residents. The company sent workers in to destroy the village. Augustin was able to locate land in a development called Canaan outside the city where the government had granted a…


Heavier snow on its way

Brad Gilbert, Wood County EMA director has issued the following advisory: The next storm system will move into the area after midnight Thursday night/Friday morning.  This will be a longer duration snowfall which will last through the early morning hours of Saturday.  Heavier snow bands are likely by late Friday morning and into the afternoon hours.  With the current projected path, the heavier snow (6”+ of new snow) will be north of the Maumee River and that area is currently under a Winter Storm WATCH.  Areas south of the Maumee River (including Wood County) are currently forecasted to be in the 3”-5” range.  Areas south of the Maumee River will likely have a Winter Weather ADVISORY issues by Thursday evening if the current forecasted storm path holds true. As the above information indicates, Wood County is very close to the heavier (6”+) forecasted snow area.  With snowfall still 38 hours away and there is always the potential for a slight change in the forecasted path of the storm, everyone should be prepared for the potential of heavier snow from this storm system should a slight change to the south occur.  It would only take 20 miles to the south of a change in the forecasted storm path to put Wood County into the heavier snow totals, so it is important to monitor local media and weather radios for the latest weather information over the next 48 hours. And yes, there is another likelihood of accumulating snow on Sunday…potentially heavier snowfall.  Again, please check with local media and weather radios over the weekend for the latest information on Sunday’s storm system.


BGSU theater staging ‘The Language Archive’

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University’s Department of Theatre and Film will present Julia Cho’s award-winning play, “The Language Archive” in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at BGSU’s Wolfe Center for the Arts, Feb. 15-24. Performances are in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts on the BGSU campus, Feb. 15-17 and 22-24 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 17, 18, and 24 at 2 p.m.Tickets purchased in advanced are $5 for students, $10 for seniors, and $15 for adults. All tickets are $20 if purchased on the day of performance. Tickets can be purchased through the BGSU Arts Box Office in the Wolfe Center, online at bgsu.edu/arts, or by calling 419-372-8171. Winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for women who have written distinguished works for the English-speaking theatre, “The Language Archive” tells the story of George, a brilliant linguist who has devoted himself to archiving dying languages. When George’s wife leaves him after he fails to decode a series of mysterious notes he receives from her, he struggles to learn the vocabulary of loss as he fights to preserve the Elloway language. Its last known speakers, a bickering elderly couple grappling with their own sense of loss, refuse to speak to each other in their native tongue, making George’s work nearly impossible. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to George, his assistant, Emma, finds herself unable speak in complete sentences as she tries to come to terms with her feelings for him. Inspired by the universal language of Esperanto, which was created with the hope of moving toward a more peaceful and unified world, “The Language Archive” offers a poignant and bittersweet exploration of the insufficiency of language to capture and communicate the human experience. Still, Cho’s play reminds us that language is sometimes an act of faith, and often our only hope for coming to terms with loss. As Cho’s characters discover, we sometimes have to venture further into sadness to find the endings we need – even if they’re not the endings we imagine. Introspective and lightly comic, “The…