M.A. in American Studies:
In addition to performing music for patrons on cruise ships, Lance Boos ’05 recently composed music for Theatre Fairfield’s performance of The Glass Menagerie. See Q&A below for more information.
MFA in Creative Writing:
James Chesbro MFA’12 recently completed his MFA in Creative Writing and received the Academic Achievement Award as the top student, as voted by the faculty. Chesbro, who is a part-time professor of English at Fairfield and teaches at Fairfield Prep, is the co-editor of You. An Anthology of Essays in the Second Person, published in 2012 by Welcome Table Press. His essays have appeared in The Huffington Post and Connecticut Review among others.
Deborah Henry’s MFA’11 first novel, The Whipping Club, was named as one of Oprah Winfrey’s must-reads in last summer’s edition of O Magazine. Henry said, “This particular recognition from Oprah Magazine is really exciting for me because I am a huge admirer of Oprah Winfrey. Her appreciation of art and how books in particular can make a difference in the world resonates with me.”
M.A. in Communication:
Susan Robinson King M.A.’73, a member of Fairfield University’s Board of Trustees, has been named dean of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Prior to this position she worked as vice president of external affairs for the Carnegie Corporation. King has also worked as a journalist for ABC, CBS, and NBC news.
Meghan Muldowney M.A.’12 had a paper she adapted from her thesis accepted at the National Communication Association, the oldest scholarly speech association in the U.S. Her paper was titled, “Gender Performance in the Age of Facebook: The Continued Relevance of Erving Goffman’s Theories of Self-Presentation.”
M.A. in Mathematics:
A.J. Edwards M.A. ’07 has been named Cornell University’s chief investment officer of its $5.3 billion endowment. Edwards has been working at Cornell since 2008 where he began as a senior investment officer and managed Cornell’s pension plan.
Q&A with American Studies graduate Lance Boos:
Musician Lance Boos spends his time performing for patrons on cruise ships and composing music for Theatre Fairfield performances such as The Glass Menagerie. He recently spoke about his path to an American Studies degree and what it meant to him.
- Why did you choose to get a master’s in American Studies?
- I had actually never intended to be a performer full-time. When I graduated [from Fairfield] with a BA in Music in 2005, I knew I wanted to go to grad school but at the time I wasn’t sure exactly what for. So I took what was originally supposed to be a year off to figure it out, during which time I got my first cruise ship gig, which was just too good an opportunity to pass up. That one year off turned into four years of traveling before I started thinking about grad school again, at which point I decided that I wanted to broaden my focus beyond music, or at least put the study of music into a broader social/cultural/historical context. I had always had some interest in American history and American arts and literature, as well as American music, so American Studies really seemed like the right field for me to get into when I went back to school. At the moment I’m still working as a performer, but I plan to return to school again at the doctoral level, and hopefully the American Studies degree will open some of those doors to me.
- Tell us about your work as a musician and composer. Why did you choose that field?
- I’ve always had a lot of different interests. When I was a kid, the question of what I wanted to be when I grew up had a different answer every year. It just happened that when I was finishing high school and had to make that decision, I was really into music. It started with a fixation on being a songwriter, which naturally drove me to learn to play guitar. I dabbled with several other instruments as well, but bass was the one that ultimately stuck. Bass players tend to be overlooked in the pantheon of musicians, but we’re essential to every style of music from rock and pop to jazz and classical. Competent and versatile bass players get plenty of gigs, and by the end of my first year in college it had become my primary focus. I studied some composition in college as well, and wrote several pieces, but it’s pretty hard to make a living as a composer, so for me it really takes a back seat to performance. However, when opportunities such as The Glass Menagerie come up, of course I take them.
- How did you come to work on The Glass Menagerie? How did you balance writing original music while working abroad?
- During my time at Fairfield I got involved with the theatre department playing music for several plays. It started with Romeo and Juliet in 2010, for which I played bass. In 2011 I signed on to help write music for Dead Man’s Cell Phone. That project was great fun, and I was involved in the whole rehearsal process over the course of two months, so the music I wrote was really able to take shape. As part of my American Studies degree, I took a class with Dr. LoMonaco, who asked me to consider working on The Glass Menagerie. After finishing my degree I moved away from Connecticut and went back out to sea, so there was some geographical difficulties involved with the project, but I was happy to do it. On a cruise ship, musicians rarely work more than three or four hours a night, so I had ample free time to work on the composition. I use a music notation software program called Finale that allows me to synthesize the sounds of instruments, and I was able to create MP3 files of my compositions for the play and email them to the cast to use for rehearsals, and I made various revisions, particularly for the timing of each musical cue, according to their feedback. Modern technology is a marvelous thing. I left the ship and made it to Fairfield during the final day of tech rehearsal, and there was still a lot of work to do to get the music ready for performance, but it worked out quite well. Considering the time and distance, I was generally pleased with the results, and I am immensely grateful to Dr. LoMonaco and everyone else who was involved for their patience with my situation.
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