By the Light of the Moon - February 2016
                   Wisconsin Singers Newsletter                   
Hello, everyone! I hope you all had a great first month of 2016. It's hard to believe it is already February. The Wisconsin Singers are in full swing to start this semester, highlighted by successful shows in Hayward, Beaver Dam, Plymouth and Sheboygan. 

We have also kept busy offstage. Many of the troupe members worked at the Spring Student Involvement Fair, helping to promote the Wisconsin Singers and get the word out about auditions and internships for 15-16. Our dance captains, Carter and Abby, had the pleasure of traveling to Madison East to work with Encore on their competition set. And, Superbowl Sunday gave us all some time to get together and wind down after a busy start to the season. 

The Singers still have a busy performance calendar ahead, so make sure to check out the upcoming show list or website to find a show near you!

On Wisconsin!

Jason Chladek

Alumni Spotlight: Dillon Cody

This month's featured alumnus is Dillon Cody. During the 2001-2002 season, Dillon served as the Singers Lighting Tech, and then moved over to Sound Engineer through the 2004-2005 season. He graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Computer Engineering. After graduation, Dillon went to Washington D.C. to work at the US Patent Office. After missing working on live shows, he moved back to the Wisconsin Dells to take the position of Sound Engineer at a new dinner theater in the area.

After two years, Dillon was hired to work on his first tour, Sound of Music, in China. He followed that by working with a number of other touring companies including J esus Christ Superstar, West Side Story, and Anything Goes, and even a short Broadway stint with Come Fly AwayThese experiences helped lead him to his the gig as Assistant Sound Engineer for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder at the Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway which won the 2014 Tony Award for "Best New Musical". Being able to spend Tony night with the company and celebrating at Rockefeller Plaza was one of his favorite experiences.

Dillon currently resides in Astoria, New York. He enjoys taking advantage of everything New York has to offer, such as biking and running along the East River, seeing new Broadway shows, and cultivating his love of music and great food from all over the world.

Looking back on his Singers experience, Dillon misses the people the most. Although he keeps in touch with a few of them, he says there is nothing like putting on a show with your best  friends. Dillon says that the Wisconsin Singers taught him the value of a show as a whole, and to always keep the big picture in mind when you're feeling overwhelmed. He will never forget the day at production camp when one of the choreographers said, "Shut up and take the note." Dillon says this has been some of the most valuable advice in his career. He has learned to not make excuses, but to do whatever he needs to in order to achieve success.

How Footsteps Could Change Mobile Electronics

Imagine being able to charge your phone by using your shoes. In the not-so-distant future, this could be a possibility. Tom Krupenkin, a professor of mechanical engineering at UW-Madison, and Ashley Taylor, a senior scientist in UW-Madison's Mechanical Engineering Department, have begun working on new methods to develop a technology that can be used for capturing the energy of human motion to power mobile electronic devices. The technology could enable a footwear-embedded energy harvester that captures energy produced by humans during walking and stores it for later use. 

This innovative technology could reduce our reliance on the batteries in our mobile devices, ensuring we have power for our devices no matter where we are. Krupenkin says that by tapping into just a small amount of human energy, we would be able to power a wide range of mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and flashlights. It would be especially useful for the military, as soldiers currently carry heavy batteries to power their radios, GPS units and night-vision goggles.

WI Singers Helping Local Community Students

The Wisconsin Singers are extremely excited to once again have the opportunity to work with Parker High School's Adaptive Music Program! This program allows students with cognitive disabilities to learn about rhythm, music, and dance, as well as play certain instruments, such as the drums, bells, horns, and keyboard. It offers each student a unique experience, as the director works with a wide range of abilities - from more severe students, to those with mild or moderate cognitive disabilities.

The Adaptive Music Program has been so important for many of these students, as most of their education must be sensory based. Learning beats and rhythms has helped them learn things such as how to spell their names or certain words. Applying music to learning has also shown to help with students' memories.

At the upcoming show at Janesville Craig High School, the Singes will get the chance to perform on stage with the Adaptive Music kids. All of the students will get to display their musical talents in some of the songs from this year's show. The Wisconsin Singers look forward to this opportunity every year, as there is nothing like sharing the stage with these tremendously talented individuals.

In This Issue

The Sound Engineer Position

We have explored many of the behind the scenes duties in previously newsletters, and we would like to finalize that series by taking a looking at the role of the sound engineer. Most of us take for granted being able to appreciate a great performance, but many don't know what is involved throughout a performance day to ensure that that happens from a sound standpoint   Hunter Falkowski, the Singers' current sound engineer, was able to help answer some of our questions.

1. What's the sound engineer's job when the troupe arrives on site?

The sound engineer meets the staff from the venue and rest of the "away" team from the Singers, and determines the placement of the soundboard, speakers, amps, and other equipment.  This is really important for creating the best sound during show time. 

2. What sort of tasks are you responsible for while the Singers are rehearsing or in clinic?

There are so many different things the sound engineer can work on during this time. Mostly, though, it depends on whether or not the clinic group is performing before the show. If so, it is my responsibility to work on their audio mix and make sure it is good to go for the opening of the show. I am working right up until house opens to finalize all EQ, troubleshoot any equipment problems, walk the house to check on full coverage and coordinate the guest groups, intros,  and emcee process which changes at every show.

3. What all goes on during show time?

During the show, I'm attached to the sound board. The sound engineer has to focus full attention in order to coordinate audio  and video cues and mix the show.  I also need to to communicate with the stage manager in case there is a mic or monitor issue, such as a microphone dropping out. It's up to the two of us to fix that issue as quickly as possible without tipping the audience to the fact that there is any real problem.

4. What is your favorite part about being sound engineer?

I enjoy getting to work in a new venue every show. I also love being part of the behind-the-scenes process. It's so interesting to see what needs to happen off stage in order for the show to be a success.

5. What does the sound engineer have to do during rehearsals leading up to show season?

In the rehearsals before show season, the sound engineer has to learn every detail of the show. This includes all of the vocal and band score noting when vocals are on and when the band is playing alone - this includes making sure to know how to mute the vocals during dance breaks and overtures so the company of singers can actually breathe! While the show is being cast, I work to plan an initial sound design and program it into the board. If something doesn't work in the next run, we redesign, reprogram and try an new approach until the cues for audio and video are performance ready. 

6. Describe the position in one word and why?

"Ceaseless." I choose this word because I feel like there is always something that I have to do, especially on show days. I never really get a break from the time we arrive at the venue until the time we leave site. However, this is what makes the sound engineer position so engaging and exciting.

Wisconsin Singers Spotlight: Madison Sanderson

February's spotlight is on Madison Sanderson. She is a freshman singer/dancers who graduated in 2015 from Madison East. Her favorite part about being a Wisconsin Singers is becoming so very close with a great group of people who all share common interests and goals. Madison is also really looking forward to the spring break trip to Florida! She loves this year's show, and her favorite song is"Turn the Beat Around" where she gets to do her best to do justice to Gloria Estefan!

She is currently majoring in genetics and plans to go to medical school after graduation, although she's not sure what she will specialize in. In her free time, Madison enjoys watching Netflix, playing guitar, and sleeping to catch up on her busy weekends on the road with the Singers. A fun fact about her - she has a scar on her forehead from when she was three and her brother launched her into a TV stand.
Upcoming Events

Feb. 26 - Janesville Craig High School - Fundraiser for Adaptive Music - 7 p.m .
Mar. 5 - Reedsburg High School - 7 p.m.
Mar. 11 - Deforest High School - 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 12 - Franklin Middle School, Green Bay - 7 p.m.

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455 N. Park St
Madison, WI 53706


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