As a student who is a double agent in theatre and music here at GC, I’m starting to get a little suspicious. Actually, I’m getting quite suspicious. In fact, I’m fairly sure that I reached my breaking point around November of 2014. I was crawling back into Kenwood after a fantastic opening night of Eurydice, the Theatre Department’s fall mainstage production. While my fellow production members and I were excited to finally debut months of hard work, I think that we were all a bit bummed by the small number of people in the audience that night. The cast and crew had worked hard to advertise the show through social media and posters, yet I couldn’t help but feel somewhat abandoned by the community after seeing the small number of audience members, and I wondered exactly what kind of publicity the college had given us. Curious, I checked the GC Facebook page: nothing. However, there were several posts advertising the Hymn Sing Marathon! I checked the GC website: nothing. Just another advertisement for the hymn sing. Interesting.Feeling like I had just been kicked in the gut, I did what any pissed off emotional undergraduate theatre student would do: I ranted on Facebook. Because nothing says “I am upset and I want to see a change” like clicking some buttons and getting some likes.
The normal weekly rehearsal schedule for the cast of a mainstage production is 7 to 11 PM every weeknight, including Friday. Additional practices of similar lengths sometimes take place on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m not a math major so I can’t add that up, but that’s a lot of hours, and the maximum number of credits we can receive out of that is two. With a time commitment like this, I can assure you that the mainstage is the central focus of the entire semester for every theatre student involved. Opening weekend almost becomes a sort of sacred celebration for us, a celebration of our work, our Art, and our commitment as Artists to one another. So when the institution that we love and call home won’t even acknowledge this celebration, it hurts. I know I felt betrayed, almost as if GC was ashamed of me or refused to recognize my work.
Not that students from other arts departments don’t work their butts off, too. As a music major, I know first hand all the individual practice time the department requires. Heck, I’m just a vocalist; I’ve seen people like Jorge Abreu Toyens locking himself in a practice room for hours and practicing violin until his fingers fall off. However, just take a walk through the Music Center and marvel at the almost excessive luster of the building. Sauder is one of the top performance halls in the nation, making performance halls of huge public universities look pathetic. Rieth Recital Hall is by itself visually and aurally beautiful. Not that Umble Center isn’t a magnificent space to work in (it honestly is), but I can’t help questioning which arts department has privilege after seeing the 40th expensive piano in the Music Center. And there’s no way GC would let Festival of Carols go unadvertised, because, you know, donors. Don’t even get me started on the poor Visual Arts building.
I know the college can’t control where donors want to give their money. Regardless, I often feel like the work of some students is given higher value than the work of others. I love you Goshen College, but please be thankful for the energy that everyone gives forth, not merely a select few. Et tu, GC?