Finding Your Calling In A Campus Full of Artists

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Steven Williams ’15 is one of two Senior Editors this semester. Previously, Steven served as the editor for the Arts section. Steven is a Sociology major.

Looking for a way to express your artistic talents? Whether you’re dead-set on your ambitions as an a cappella virtuoso or pining to get your start in the world of photography, Vassar flourishes with groups to foster your artistic aspirations. The selection can be intimidating, but hopefully this compendium gives you a sense of what groups, both audition and non-audition, fit your skills and interests.

One of the most prevalent ways for Vassar students to show off their talents is to join one of Vassar’s many a cappella groups. These musical organizations serve every niche imaginable. There are mixed groups like Matthew’s Minstrels and Vassar Devils, single-gender groups like the Accidentals and Night Owls and themed groups like Broadway and More (BAM!). And lament not at a lack of whistling groups, for Vassar features that too, with its very own AirCappella.

Are you an experienced photographer? Or perhaps you’re considering buying your first camera. Regardless, Phocus is a group for all those interested in photography to come and explore the craft. You can learn, teach, or sit in on lectures from professional photographers from around the area. Even if you scoff at the use of new-fangled DSLR photography, there’s plenty of room for you: there’s a fully functional darkroom in Main Building. And you should check out The Misc’s blog Exposure, dedicated to campus photography.

Vassar also has plenty of groups where you can develop your comedic talents. Sketch comedy abounds with groups like No Offense, Indecent Exposure and Happily Ever Laughter. Or if you’re partial to stand-up, you can try Comedy Normative, an all-inclusive group. It’s a place where you can do your own set, or just talk comedy.

Musical groups on campus come in all varieties. Vassar College Orchestra, led by conductor Eduardo Navega, is a place where you can join up with other talented musicians for symphonic performances. And choirs are the perfect avenue for trained singers to perfect their craft. They include Vassar College Choir (men and women), Madgrial Singers (also men and women but focused on earlier compositions), and Women’s Chorus.

Theater is a similarly prominent staple at Vassar. Even if you’re not a part of the Drama Department, there are countless opportunities to get involved in either the performance or technical aspects of the trade. From Woodshed and Future Waitstaff of America to Idlewild, Vassar’s Theater groups are varied and abundant.

Although visual and auditory arts groups are many, writers should not feel left out of the mix. Helicon is an organization which functions as an outlet for prose and poetry among campus writers. They publish a literary magazine among other publications, and hold lectures and workshops for writers to hone their talents.

Music buffs can get involved in sharing their auditory tastes with others in a number of ways. Vassar College Entertainment (ViCE) is an organization which, besides catering to events such as a dances and screenings, is responsible for bringing musical acts to campus. Being a part of a ViCE committee ensures that your voice is heard in who the student body welcomes to campus, whether it’s Grizzly Bear, Phantogram or Das Racist. Or you could become a part of Vassar’s radio station WVKR, and host your own radio show. The station plays host to the musical choices of students and the community at large and caters to numerous tastes.

For those who are keen to express themselves through dance, Vassar offers opportunities to all levels. Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT) represents the highest level of dance on campus. Dancers must pass a rigorous try-out and showcase their work in multiple large events throughout the school year. Other groups include HYPE and Fly People, which put more emphasis on hip-hop stylings. Even those with no experience can learn a new skill with the Ballroom Dancing Club.

Perhaps the least traditional artistic route would be for you to join the Barefoot Monkeys, Vassar’s circus troupe. If spinning fire and performing acrobatics sounds like your kind of fun, the Monkeys may be your choice of artistic expression.

It would be impossible to have a comprehensive list of Arts related groups. So go out there and explore your interests; it doesn’t matter if you want to play symphonic level cello or stage-manage a Chekhov play. And, if it’s not already in existence, start your own group!

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