A Sound Idea

Years before “Glee,” there was the UWGB Sound Idea, the university show/jazz choir under the direction of Prof. Trini Chavez. (Pictured here: the debut ensemble of 1985-86.) The group performed at special events, conventions, competitions, UWGB concerts and periodic tours of selected Wisconsin high schools. A highlight of the all-scholarship group’s decade-plus run was an April 1994 booking as the opening act for comedy’s Smothers Brothers at the Weidner Center.

Cool jazz keeps cookin’

Renowned drummer Carl Allen, a Music program alumnus, headlined UW-Green Bay Jazz Fest XLV on campus last February. Former musical director for trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, Allen has played with Branford Marsalis and the late Sammy Davis Jr. and directed jazz studies at Julliard. The annual Jazz Fest concert and youth clinic dates to 1971 and is one of UW-Green Bay’s most popular and long-running traditions.  (The festival has had only two directors over the years: founder Lovell Ives and his former student John Salerno, director of jazz studies at UWGB.) The event draws middle- and high-school students from across the region for a day of ensemble performances and clinic sessions. One or more high school jazz ensembles are selected during the day to perform at a special closing concert which also features the UW-Green Bay Jazz Ensemble and a special guest artist. Over the years those guests have included saxophonist Tommy Newsom and drummer Ed Shaughnessy of the “Tonight Show,” trumpeters Bill Prince, Clark Terry and Bobby Shew, the Stan Kenton Orchestra, vocalist Todd Buffa and many other luminaries. The first concert, on Jan. 23, 1971, featured guest artists Urbie Green, trombone, and Joe Morello, drums. In his review the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Warren Gerds wrote, “The First Annual UW-GB Jazz Festival was great… There’s a wonderful future ahead for jazz in Green Bay. Hooray! And thank you, UW-GB.”

Sheepshead Review

In 1975, the Sheepshead Revue went to press as a student outlet for creative writing and visual art. For nearly a quarter century, it gave students and others a venue to publish short stories, poetry, creative writing and visual images. Citing a lack of financial support, the student publishers released the final issue of the Revue in 1999. Like the Phoenix, the Sheepshead Review would be reborn. It relaunched in 2003 with a new name (the new spelling was more customary for a literary review) and renewed energy. Championed by UW-Green Bay Prof. Rebecca Meacham, the Sheepshead Review bills itself as a premier literary magazine of the Midwest, supported by a student staff of forty and facilitated by Meacham’s Practicum in Literary Publishing course. The earliest student literary magazine at the four-year UW-Green Bay, The Big Yellow Bust, was busted soon after its first issue in November 1970. Some considered the issue’s content to be obscene. State funding was withdrawn on orders of Chancellor Weidner. As a student publication, Weidner said, the magazine should have been supported by student fees.

2003 Chili Cookoff was hot, hot, hot

The annual campus Chili Cookoff was an on-and-off success, running hot and cold during its 20-year life at UW-Green Bay. The 2003 edition of the mid-winter celebration, however, hosted at the University Union, was certainly one of the red-letter years. The competition was so intense that the Provost Office’s “Fire and Ice Chili” managed only a third-place in the voting. The entry’s creators, Provost Sue Hammersmith in a red devil’s costume and Associate Provost Tim Sewall in some sort of odd, shimmery, icy-silver gown, did rave reviews for their dishing-out-the-samples attire. Winner of the coveted Chili Bowl Trophy was the naughtily named “Party in Your Pants” entry of students Michael Brunner, Nick Wallner and Samantha Klinger. A great time was had by all.

First award-winner, prolific author

Climate and meteorology expert Joseph Moran, the Barbara Hauxhurst Cofrin Professor in Natural Sciences, was the first UW-Green Bay faculty member to earn the prestigious UW System Board of Regents award for teaching excellence. (He was also one of the first in the state — he received the honor in 1993, the program’s second year.) By that time, Moran was the author or co-author of nearly a dozen textbooks, a claim to fame since his earliest days with UW-Green Bay.  In 1973, Moran and faculty colleagues Michael Morgan and James Wiersma had collaborated in writing the widely used and, for advocating an ecosystems approach, groundbreaking text Introduction to Environmental Sciences, published by Little, Brown. It was the first textbook produced by a UW-Green Bay faculty team. Moran retired from the faculty in 2001.

Summer Camps: A look back

As early as 1966, UWGB hosted a wide variety of summer camps, starting with a music camp for high school students organized by music professor Jerry Abraham of what was then the two-year Green Bay center of the University of Wisconsin. With the founding of a four-year UWGB followed by the mid-1970s construction of Studio Arts and the Creative Communication Building (later renamed Theatre Hall), the summer program expanded. By 1977, UWGB annually attracted more than 1,000 youth musicians to campus. (With nice weather, closing concerts could be held outdoors behind Theatre Hall using the old City of Green Bay “showmobile” as a stage.) The Summer Art Studio workshops followed a similar pattern, growing rapidly once the local UW Extension program became a full-fledged UWGB camp.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s, UWGB began offering Jazz Ensemble, Dance, and Theatre-Music-Dance Camps. Ever since, UWGB’s summer camps have hosted thousands of middle and high school students each summer, offering a wide variety of educational opportunities, including Band, Orchestra, Choral, and Piano camps, a Rock Academy, Summer Studio Art Workshops, Reality Science Camps, and Grandparents University, designed for grandparents—alongside their 7 to 14-year-olds—to take courses together on campus.

Resale shop

2nd Gear UWGB Thrif Shop 1Students Kay Hamilton and Terri Metcalf shopped at 2nd Gear shortly after its opening in 1975. Billed as “a new recycling project at UWGB,” the resale shop operated out of glass-walled, cozy quarters on the Library-Learning Center’s first-floor concourse. Used clothes, albums and kitchen items were hot sellers. Run by volunteers from the University League women’s service organization, the shop raised money for student aid ranging from grants to the childcare center to funding for an emergency loan fund to donations in support of lecture series and art exhibits, library materials and Weidner Center equipment.   Faith Sanders was the longtime coordinator, and volunteers handled sales, stocking, consignments and bookkeeping. The University League eventually disbanded, a student proposal to take over the shop failed to materialize, and 2nd Gear (located in the general vicinity of today’s Garden Café) closed its doors for good on March 31, 1999. Over the years, the University League awarded student scholarships totaling more than $50,000. That initiative survives.  The League directed its remaining funds, more than $20,000 (a healthy sum in 1999), to create a perpetual scholarship endowment.

Ban the Car!

Signs saying “Why didn’t you walk?” and “Your car pollutes the air I breathe” were flashed at motorists departing campus in this 1970 scene at the new UW-Green Bay. The Ban the Car campaign was related to that year’s inaugural Earth Day celebration and sought to draw attention to modern society’s addiction to oil and gas-guzzling methods of transportation. (Among the green-minded picketers that day was Urban Analysis major and future community housing administrator, Alumni Association president and Pamperin Hall namesake Keith Pamperin, second from left.)

Alma Mater

Lovell Ives of the Music faculty arranged a hymn-like melody — simple to sing and dignified — in the fall of 1980 for the official UWGB alma mater. Poet Peter Stambler of the Humanistic Studies faculty provided the words, alluding to the mythical Phoenix bird, the UWGB mascot. The alma mater was introduced at May 1981 commencement in a solo performance by choral Prof. Trinidad Chavez.

Presidential visits

An all-ages crowd of better than 2,200 packed the old gymnasium at the Kress Center Oct. 19, 2012 for a campaign appearance by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who visited UW-Green Bay to urge re-election of the Obama-Biden ticket. The Clinton visit was the first major public appearance by a sitting or former U.S. president on the UW-Green Bay campus. Gerald Ford had a brief, private meeting with local supporters and GOP candidates, and local media, on the first floor of the Cofrin Library during the fall 1988 campaign. Barack Obama, while a candidate in the February 2008 Wisconsin presidential primary, made a campaign stop at the Kress Center.