CLP-Stand Up For Peace 12/2

7-8:30 p.m., December 2, Daniel Chapel. Guests: Comedians Scott Blakeman & Dean Obeidallah.

CLP-The War in Syria 12/1

7-8 p.m., December 1, Trone Center/Watkins Room. Speaker: Akan Malici, Ph.D. (Political Science).

FSO and Oratorio Chorus present “Messiah” Dec. 4

Furman FSO, Singers, Chorales, Messiah from Jeremy2The Furman Symphony Orchestra and Oratorio Chorus will present Handel’s Messiah Friday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. in McAlister Auditorium on the Furman University campus.

The event is part of the Sound Quality Concert Series and is open to the public. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students/youth.

Conducted by Furman music professor Dr. William Thomas, Handel’s Messiah holds a unique position as a monument of Western civilization. 1742 marked the debut of Messiah in Dublin, Ireland. The oratorio later gained in popularity particularly in England and America, eventually becoming one of the best known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

Adjunct professor Jay-Martin Pinner has prepared the Furman Symphony Orchestra in the absence of Dr. Thomas Joiner who is teaching in Furman’s Study Away program in Arezzo, Italy. The Furman Symphony Orchestra and the Oratorio Chorus, featuring outstanding student soloists, will present highlights of the work including the famous “Hallelujah” chorus.

Soloists for the performance are:

William Booker, tenor, Holly Springs, N.C.
Evan Currie, baritone, Mount Holly, N.C.
Jessie Barnett, mezzo-soprano, Greenville, S.C.
Mason Lambert, baritone, Moore, S.C.
Julia Woodward, soprano, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Layla Dougani, soprano, Morrisville, N.C.
Ashton Nicewonger, mezzo-soprano, Pelion, S.C.
Carmen Beam, soprano, Greenville, S.C.
Kristen Murdaugh, mezzo-soprano, Smoaks, S.C.
James Douglas, tenor, Rome, Ga.
Bergsvein Toverud, tenor, Lenoir, N.C.
Henry Branson, tenor, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Andrew Whitlow, tenor, Savannah, Ga.

For more information or advance ticket sales, call the Furman Music Office at (864) 294-2086. Tickets may be ordered online at

About Dr. William Thomas

Thomas served as Chair of Furman’s Music Department for nearly two decades, and currently teaches studio voice and vocal pedagogy, directs the department’s study away program, Music in Italy, and regularly conducts major works for choir and orchestra. A member of the Furman faculty since 1987, his career is marked by constant activity as a solo and ensemble singer, conductor and clinician, nearly 40 years of college teaching and administration, and a number of church music positions. His work with the Furman Chamber Choir includes the highly anticipated annual presentation of a Festival of Lessons and Carols in Furman’s Daniel Chapel.

Terrorism and the Future of Europe: Professor Nelsen Weighs In

Ekaterina Pokrovsky/

Ekaterina Pokrovsky/

The shock of the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris last week has been felt around the world, but the impact has been especially profound in Europe.  To gain a better understanding of what the immediate future holds for the European nations, Furman’s News and Media Relations office asked political science professor Brent Nelsen to answer a few questions about the situation there.

Dr. Nelsen, who joined the faculty in 1990, teaches courses on Europe and the European Union.  He is the author of several books, including “Religion and the Struggle for European Union: Confessional Culture and the Limits of Integration,” which he co-authored with Furman professor James Guth.

Nelsen serves on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and is also chairman of the South Carolina Education Television Commission.  He just returned from Brussels, Belgium, where he oversaw Furman’s foreign study program in the city that serves as the unofficial capital of the European Union.

Q: How will the attacks in Paris affect the political culture of Europe?  Will it boost support for the far right politicians?

Dr. Brent Nelsen

Dr. Brent Nelsen

Nelsen: These events will surely focus attention on security in Europe. Political parties that promise a crackdown on Islamists will gain influence. The far right parties will certainly benefit from the fear that people feel. The National Front in France has already been polling well. I assume the party will only gain support by taking a hard line on immigration and open borders.

Q: Are the European nations’ immigration policies likely to change now? What does it mean for the Syrian refugees who are already in Europe?

Nelsen: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed not to change her open door policy, but some of her own party members are openly questioning the wisdom of bringing so many refugees into the country. Bavarian politicians have even threatened to close Bavaria’s borders if Germany as a whole doesn’t reduce the flow of asylum seekers.

Clearly, newly settled refugees will experience high levels of distrust. We may see more refugee shelters burned down. We will certainly see more law enforcement control in immigrant neighborhoods where Jihadists have been known to hide, such as Molenbeek, Belgium and Saint-Denis, France.

Q: How is the response to the attacks likely to affect the European Union?

Nelsen: The terrorist attacks may be a bigger threat to the EU than the Greek euro crisis. The flow of refugees has already caused some governments to close their borders or re-impose border checks. These borders have been open and uncontrolled for over a decade, longer in some cases. The fact that terrorists have used  the freedom of travel characteristic of Europe in the 21st century to facilitate their violent jihad calls into question the ability of Europe to have both open borders and safe citizens.

The freedom to travel unhindered by borders is one of the EU’s most visible benefits. If it disappears, many will question the need for the EU. This may lead to a British exit. Other member states may follow.

Q: How is Europe’s response to the attacks likely to affect the rest of the world?

Nelsen: The Paris attacks have already changed the power calculus in the Middle East. The U.S. and Russia may be more willing to work together in Syria.

The major external impact may be in the U.S. The presidential campaign could focus more on security issues and foreign policy than it might otherwise. It will also make more attractive candidates offering interventionist solutions to the mess in the Middle East. Expect a new president in 2017 to come into office having pledged to fight a much more aggressive campaign against ISIS at home and abroad than has been conducted by President Obama.

What Really Matters? Read President Davis’ Speech

President Davis’ “What Really Matters?” Lecture

Dr. Elizabeth Davis

Dr. Elizabeth Davis

Furman University President Elizabeth Davis talked about what is truly important and why thinking like an accountant is not necessarily a bad thing when she delivered the “What Really Matters?” lecture on campus Tuesday evening in the Daniel Chapel.

Her talk was part of L.D. Johnson Lecture Series that honors the memory of the late L.D. Johnson, who served as chaplain and professor of religion at Furman for nearly 15 years before his death in 1981.

Davis became Furman’s 12th President on July 1, 2014.

Engaging all the senses

Three-dimensional work by artist in residence transforms spaces

Janke 3

We live in a closed world, blocked by objects—some solid, some symbolic, all immovable. Or so we think.

Janke Klompmaker, Furman’s first True Inspiration Artist in Residence, seems to be exposing these barriers as self-imposed illusions with her unique form of installation art, a genre of location-specific, three-dimensional works that are designed to transform perception of a space.

“My theme is mostly that I make things light,” she says, “in weight and also in meaning.”

Klompmaker, who is Dutch, arrived in South Carolina on Aug. 28, compliments of a chance meeting with Furman art professor Michael Brodeur five years ago and two significant gifts to the art department. Duke Endowment funds were used to build her a studio, while seed money for the residency itself was donated by the family of True Harrigan ’13, who graduated with an art degree.

“She has an impressive background of installations and residencies, so we’re very, very pleased to have her here,” Brodeur said. “Her works cover various media—sculpture, drawing—and she combines these things into really poetic installations.”

Klompmaker is staying at the The Magnolia Inn in Travelers Rest, and in true European fashion she rode a bicycle to Furman to work in her installation, which was unveiled Saturday with a commemorative procession that began at the Place of Peace. The procession itself was a symbolic journey of a wandering population carrying their “homes.” Accompanied by a percussion ensemble organized by Furman music professor Omar Carmenates, participants carried illuminated paper houses Klompmaker created with Furman art students to the Bell Tower and back to the Roe Art Building, where they got their first look at her installation “You’re Welcome, We’re Glad You’re Here.”

In what was once a storage room rests a wooden frame built in the shape of a miniature house. It’s “walls” consist of hanging paper drawings that allow air, light, and sound to pass easily through, but there is only one proper doorway. Janke 2

“(The walls) are moving, and you can go in it and look at the drawings because the paper is transparent . . . and when there’s a good light in it on the outside you can also see the drawings,” she said.

Klompmaker was inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe which has displaced more than nine million people, and the ongoing immigration debate in the United States. What is a home? And why are so many unable to find one?

“Europe makes a problem of it to welcome the people. Part of them do; part of them close their borders,” she said. “It’s really tragic what is going on there, and when I came here it was so fresh, all the tragedy I feel. People are so warm and welcoming to me here. In a way it got to me to my theme.”

Paper is Klompmaker’s primary medium, which she uses in many disciplines but most often plasters over everyday objects—stones, chairs, or, in this case, miniature houses. After it dries, the paper cast is removed, resulting in a visual representation of the item without the density.

Nearly weightless, the casts are then combined with things from nature, and in an attempt to engage all of the senses Klompmaker will also often add an abstract element such as light, sound, or even smell. Feathers are a key component of the pieces in her installation.

“I saw the films of the fugitives walking through the land, thousands of people and children, and thought to myself that if they were birds they’d just fly away.” she said.

Location is generally her starting point, though this time Klompmaker had an idea before she got to Furman.

“Mostly I come very empty to a place, see what’s happening, and I react. That’s my way of working,” she said. “But I thought, well, let me take a few of my drawings with me, because in the beginning if I don’t know what to do I can draw and then inspiration will come … I had the idea that one day, when I have enough, I want to make a house of it, a very open house.”Janke 1

Brodeur met Klompmaker at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation residency in Taos, NM. They became friends and stayed in touch, and when the opportunity to bring an artist to Furman presented itself she was the top of his list of potential invitees.

“The constant on Janke’s work is the human quality of empathy,” Brodeur said. “She arrives at a place, and she finds this empathy for the residents who are there, the political or economic differences we see there . . . Because it’s not pleasantly pictorial, because it’s not a lovely landscape with no metaphorical meaning, a lot of people don’t want to embrace it because it takes time to look at it and absorb it and to really reflect. You have to be able to put art in the context of what’s happening within your world, and if you persist in putting it in its own little niche of something that only titillates the visual senses, what makes you feel happy for the moment, then you’re never really going to get the reason that significant artists make work.”

“I think we have to welcome everything, just welcome life and people, but it’s not so in the world,” Klompmaker said. “But I can make my little dream in my heart where things are light and you can be happy.”

She will be on campus until Dec. 17. For more on her art, visit her website or find her on YouTube.

Find out more about the Furman Art Department.

Furman Theatre presents “God of Carnage”

Read Greenville News review of play

Photo by Sam Nelson, '16

Photo by Sam Nelson, ’16

Furman University Theatre will present God of Carnage by Yazmina Reza Nov. 12-14, and Nov. 18-21, at 8 p.m., with a matinee showing Nov. 15, at 3 p.m. All performances take place in The Playhouse on campus.

Theatre Arts professor Rhett Bryson directs Reza’s play, which is translated by Christopher Hampton. Tickets are $16 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $8 for students.

In the production, a playground altercation between two 11-year-old boys brings together two sets of parents for a meeting to resolve the matter. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed, but as the meeting progresses, and the rum flows, tensions emerge and gloves come off, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters.

A hit in London with Ralph Fiennes and in New York with Jeff Daniels and James Gandolfini, God of Carnage is described by Variety magazine as “Elegant, acerbic and entertainingly fueled on pure bile.”

Furman sophomore Drake Shadwell of Dalzell, S.C. plays the role of Alan; Sarah Cushman, a junior from Aiken, plays Annette; Furman senior Sam Feigenbaum of Greenville is cast as Michael; and sophomore Jess Pinaire of Flagstaff, Ariz. is cast as Veronica.

Rhett Bryson designs scenery for the production. Lighting is designed by Taylor Jensen. Erin Barnett designs costumes, and Dakota Adams is sound designer.

For ticket information and reservations, call the Theatre Box Office at (864) 294-2125. Box Office opens Monday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m.


Furman Symphonic Winds in concert Nov. 19

Furman Symphonic Winds will present its fall concert Thursday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. in McAlister Auditorium on the Furman University campus.

Jubilee! is open to the public. Tickets are $5 for adults $3 for seniors and students. The concert is presented by the Furman Department of Music, and is part of the university’s Cultural Life Program.

The performance features Furman’s Director of Bands, Leslie W. Hicken, who conducts the 85-member Symphonic Winds. Also conducting are Furman senior music education majors Hannah Carlson of Tallahassee, Fla., and Alex Helms of Rock Hill, S.C.

Guest composer, Edward Green

Guest composer, Dr. Edward Green

Music and arrangements by John Philip Sousa, William Byrd, Gordon Jacob, Ron Nelson, and guest composer Edward Green will be part of the program along with a Consortium World Premiere of Symphony in E-flat for Concert Wind Ensemble (revised 2014) by Green.

Furman faculty member Lisa Barksdale, soprano, is soloist for Nelson’s Aspen Jubilee.

For more information about the concert, contact the Furman Band Office at (864) 294-3069, or email the department,

About guest composer Edward Green
Edward Green is an award-winning composer and professor since 1984 at Manhattan School of Music where he teaches both Composition and Music History. He is also on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in New York. For several years, he served as a Senior Scholar in American Music for the Fulbright Foundation, and with the foundation’s support, conducted doctoral seminars in Argentina. He is editor of the recently published Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington, and earlier, China and the West: The Birth of New Music, published in translation by Shanghai Conservatory Press. Some of Dr. Green’s wide-ranging scholarly writings and recordings of his compositions are available on his website: Green lives in New York City with his wife, actor and singer Carrie Wilson.

Shi Center develops online learning module

Sustainability Science and FCAIn keeping with its mission “to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching in support of sustainability on campus and in the greater community,” the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability at Furman University has launched a free, open-source, online learning module for undergraduate and introductory graduate-level courses.

The online learning module explores Sustainability Science and Full Cost Analysis (FCA), a method of problem solving which uses systems thinking to account for the economic, societal, and environmental costs of a problem.

The learning module is the result of two years’ development by the Shi Center with generous multi-year support from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

The materials are designed to be easily incorporated into preexisting course syllabi or as the foundation for new courses, and can be used by anyone for educational purposes.

Content for the learning module includes:

  • A video primer on Sustainability Science and Full Cost Analysis
  • Six five-minute case study video documentaries, which spotlight sustainability initiatives at Furman and in the Greenville community such as Furman’s lake restoration project and wastewater treatment, and the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail, for example
  • Worksheets for each video documentary to facilitate course dialogues and student understanding
  • Assignments for developing case studies on campuses and in communities
  • Additional readings and links to online resources

The free, publicly available online resource can be accessed at this link: Or for further information, contact Shi Center for Sustainability Program Coordinator Kelly Grant Purvis at (864) 294-2517, or