Brazilian Drummer to Lead Inaugural 'CreateLab' Class

Arts Transcending Borders’ events kick off Sept. 4

Brazilian drummer Marcus SantosOn Sept. 4, Brazilian drummer Marcus Santos will lead the inaugural class of “CreateLab,” a team taught course with eight faculty members across disciplines and 80 students from more than a dozen different majors. Operating free from the constraints of a traditional classroom, students participating in CreateLab will work cooperatively to produce imaginative projects, which are designed to teach students to be risk-takers, use resourceful thinking, and collaborate on creative work.

Santos will kick off the first day of class with a drumming extravaganza based on traditional Afro-Brazilian rhythms while also drawing from other world traditions. The class will begin in Brooks Hall at 1 p.m., where Santos will lead all students and faculty in Afro-Brazilian drumming exercises.  The class will then move outside (at 2 p.m.) to St. Joseph Chapel Plaza and perform a demonstration of what they have learned for the campus (rain location: Brooks Hall). There will be hand drums and shakers for members of the Holy Cross community to join in.

“The CreateLab faculty wanted an unconventional start for our class. A start that would unify the class members in a joint activity and create a ‘big bang,’” explains Lynn Kremer, professor of theatre and director of Arts Transcending Borders. “World drumming, according to Santos, is used as an ‘educational resource, entertainment and as a catalyst for social change.’ We are certain the ‘big bang’ will set a pitch perfect tone for CreateLab.”

A native of Bahia, Brazil, Santos is a contemporary percussionist and educator, who studies and teaches his hometown's Afro-Brazilian music and heritage. He has performed for the President of Brazil, and on TEDx and Telemundo with the “One World Band” produced by MTV. He also played on the Sony Pictures, Oscar-nominated movie, ‘Rachel's Getting Married’ with Anne Hathaway. He has received several industry honors including the KoSA Recognition Award (2013), Outstanding Arts Performer Award by the Brazilian Immigrant Center (2008) and Outstanding Percussionist Award by Berklee College of Music (2004).

In the education field, Santos has led workshops on Afro-Brazilian percussion and music for social change at notable universities and conventions including Carnegie Hall, PASIC and Harvard University. He is the director of the network project, Grooversity, and artistically directs 15 drumming groups throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The CreateLab class stemmed from Arts Transcending Borders, a new initiative at the College designed to infuse the fine and performing arts in students’ academic lives and create new opportunities throughout the curriculum and the community by transcending cultural, geographic and disciplinary boundaries.  The initiative is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

All Arts Transcending Borders fall events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted:

Sept. 23, 7 p.m. Brooks Concert Hall A concert and panel discussion with Cristina Pato and CreateLab faculty will introduce “Time, Memory and Identity”—this year’s Arts Transcending Borders theme. Joining Pato will be renowned clarinetist Todd Palmer,  fellow Silk Road Ensemble member and percussionist Shane Shanahan,  and musicians from the Boston-based ensemble A Far Cry. The program includes Pato’s “My Lethe Story,” composed in response to her mother’s memory loss, and Holy Cross Loyola Professor of Music Osvaldo Golijov’s “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind.”

Sept. 25, 6 – 8 p.m. Hogan Campus Center, Suite A Cultural Entrepreneurship: At the Intersection of Business and the Arts: the Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies and the Prebusiness Program will host a dinner speaker series with Artist-in-Residence Cristina Pato. Learn about the development of Pato’s annual “Galician Connection Festival” and the emerging field of cultural entrepreneurship from the perspective of an independent artist. Must pre-register in advance.

Oct. 6, 5 p.m. Brooks Concert Hall A Window to the Art of Kathakali: Traditional Dance-Theatre from South India: Kathakali, literally “story-play,” is south Indian traditional dance-theater. Its broad canvass aesthetically synchronizes dance, drama, music – vocal and instrumental. Make-up and costuming of its non-worldly characters drawn from the great Indian epics, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Bhagawata, are colorful and intriguing. A traditional Kathakali recital is a nocturnal affair beginning at 9 p.m.  and continues until next dawn.  In this lecture-demonstration, following a brief introduction to Kathakali, we will learn about the grooming of a Kathakali actor, and the use of language, gestures and facial expressions as techniques and part of the story and the characterizations. Co-sponsored by the dance program.

Oct. 24, 3–4 p.m. and Oct. 25, 11 a.m. – noon Cantor Art Gallery Tableaux Vivants: In conjunction with "The Italian Presepe: Cultural Landscapes of the Soul," the Italian nativity comes to life at the Cantor Art Gallery through a "tableau vivant" theatrical presentation, featuring students enacting the presepe's surprising mix of high and low, angels and demons. All costumes will be created by Kurt Hultgren, costume designer in the theatre department at the College. Co-sponsored by Arts Transcending Borders and the Cantor Art Gallery.

Oct. 28, 5 p.m. Seelos Theater Artists Patty Chang and David Kelley will give a talk titled “Site and the Imaginary.”  Chang and Kelley will discuss their collaborative video work with excerpts from a selection of projects. Exploring what they describe as “the intersection of site and the imaginary,” their work merges performance, photography, and digital video. Co-sponsored by the visual arts department.

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