From the Dean's Notebook
December 5, 2018
Greetings of the (many) Seasons – liturgical, meteorological, athletic, academic, and artistic. I hope and trust that a majority of those seasons are treating you well. I’m a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, so at least one of them is trending badly for me right now, but the rest are rolling merrily along toward the New Year. If we haven’t met formally, let this be our introduction. I’m the guy in the lobby who is usually wearing a gold Mason baseball cap, defying indoor headgear protocol in the spirit of visibility. Feel free to come over and say hello, tell me what you think of the performance, ask any kind of question, or offer any kind of advice. I’ve been working in the arts at Mason since 1991, and have had the honor of being your Dean since 2015, so it’s high time that I heard from you if I haven’t already!
One of the joys of my job is to work on and in this amazing Center for the Arts with a great faculty and staff in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. We are constantly thinking about the role we play in carrying out our mission, expressed (in what we often call “the world’s shortest elevator speech”) as the arts create community. The last couple of weeks at the Center have offered rich evidence that this assertion contains power and truth. When a world-renowned ensemble like Chanticleer or the Soweto Gospel Choir graces our stage, making music that can only be described as heavenly, you can feel the audience becoming one, drawing breath together, leaving our day-to-day cares aside for a time. We become a kind of temporary community, and repeated experiences of this kind may go some distance toward creating a deeper, more lasting sense of community. One might even call it part of the work of building and sustaining civilization.
There are so many amazing performances ahead in this season of seasons, and this edition of our newsletter features insights and information to help you plan your holiday theatergoing. My request of you is simple – next time you’re in one of our theaters, whether it’s for a performance by one of our talented student ensembles or a marquee evening with the American Festival Pops Orchestra or Canadian Brass, take a moment to look around at the friendly strangers that have made the same decision as you that night. Realize that we’re all in this together. Join our community. Let the performance add value and meaning to your time together. And look for the gold baseball cap.
-- Rick Davis, Dean