Music to Micro-Turbines: Winter FSAs

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Music to Micro-Turbines: Winter FSAs

F. Lynch '19

F. Lynch '19

F. Lynch '19

F. Lynch '19

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This winter students are pursuing Faculty Sponsored Activities (FSAs) in a variety of areas. Music FSAs are as popular as ever, but students are also committing to art, science, and humanities activities as well.


Candilla Park: Classical Piano


Candilla Park ‘18, who is well-known on campus for her breathtaking piano recitals, will further explore the craft with an FSA focusing on classical piano, which she describes as a “family member.” Candilla is interested in doing the FSA so that she can work on perfecting her senior recital, which will take place June 1, 2018. She will be working with Ms. Lanier and the FSA will give her the much needed time “to sit down at a piano for hours on end” in order to experience “getting lost in it.” As Candilla says so eloquently, “I play piano because I enjoy making music. [Music] is not necessarily done for the sake of sharing. Music exists for itself.” Students should look forward to enjoying Candilla’s beautiful music come spring.


Lars Caspersen: Micro Wind-Turbines


Lars Caspersen ‘19 will be working with science teacher David Black. Lars says “I’ve always liked wind turbines and I thought it’d be cool to further understand the mechanics involved.” Lars is in the early stages of the project, researching materials, however his final goal is to finish three distinct types of micro wind turbines. In addition, Lars says “These [turbines] will hopefully be integrated into the Environmental science curriculum.”

Phoebe Shi: Painting with Wittgenstein


Phoebe Shi ‘19 will be doing an FSA with Ms. Van Gelder that joins the fields of painting and philosophy. Specifically, she will concentrate on the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, who, according to Phoebe, “revolutionized our understanding of language and consciousness.” Despite her long-standing admiration for philosophy, Phoebe says, “I’ve always been a bit scared by the difficulty of the material.” Nevertheless, in her final project, Phoebe aims to “make a series of paintings that illustrate each of Wittgenstein’s seven propositions in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in addition to exploring some of Wittgenstein’s other philosophy and linguistics.


Neha Agarwal: Figure Skating

Following in the footsteps of Lucy Gund ‘19, Neha Agarwal ‘20 will participate in a skating FSA. Neha is an experienced ice skater and is excited to finally revisit the sport as an upper schooler with more sports flexibility. Like Lucy, she will skate off-campus and anticipates the opportunity to “spend time with a community of old friends.” Specifically, she plans to work on her five freestyle maneuvers and is considering starting an artistic program in which she would compete and perform in the spring.


Andrew Lei: Recorded Interpretations of Jazz Standards


Andrew Lei ‘19 will be doing an FSA with Ms. Lanier called Recording Jazz Standards. Throughout this FSA, he hopes to become more proficient at playing the bass guitar, an instrument he became serious about after coming to Groton. Andrew intends to end the term with either a recital or a portfolio of recorded songs.


An Nguyen: Scientific Literature


Last year, An Nguyen ‘18 worked on a lab-science-based FSA. However, this time she will work with science teacher Stephen Belsky on non-fiction scientific literature. Over the term, An will read six or seven texts with different perspectives on modern science, including The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee and A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. “I chose these particular books because they’re much more well-written and engaging and accessible than much of the science writing that I normally encounter,” she says. Over the course of the term, she will keep a journal to comment on what she’s read thus far. She will then discuss each book with a teacher in a related field. “I do hope that my FSA can set a precedent for future FSAs like mine…” she says.


Chip Pontifell: Organ


During the fall, Chip Pontifell ‘19 focused on playing classical repertoire on the organ. In  continuation of her work, she plans to advance with her organ work by specializing in playing hymns, preludes, and postludes during chapel. Chip will work with Libor Dudas, the head of the baroque music department at Longy Conservatory in Cambridge. She wishes that “by playing in morning chapel, more students will become interested in learning the organ and see it as an open possibility.” In other words, she hopes her FSA will inspire other students to pursue even more unusual instruments.


Rajit Khanna and Edward Cho: Poetry Writing


Rajit Khanna ‘19 and Edward Cho ‘19 will work alongside English Department Head Sravani Sen-Das to create a twenty-five poem portfolio which they will submit to three different poetry competitions as well as to the Grotonian in the spring. Raj says that after fourth form, both he and Edward believed that poetry was the best form of self-expression. Both boys are very excited to spend a term committing themselves fully to the craft.

Gloria Hui, Montanna Riggs, and Kochoe Nikoi: Music Production


Gloria Hui ‘19, Montanna Riggs ‘19 and Kochoe Nikoi ‘19 – known around campus as “Glo-Mont-Cho” –  will be working in music production this winter with Ms. Lanier. The girls are well known on campus for their performances during Open Mic nights and morning chapel. Most recently, the trio performed “Big Black Car” for the trustees. Montanna said, “It’s really inspiring that so many people react so positively to our performances and it only makes us want to create more music.” Although the girls usually play covers, during this FSA they will also explore the production of original music.


Marianne Lu: Monograph on the Intersection of the East and the West


Marianne Lu ‘19 will be doing an FSA with Ms. Martin-Nelson on the Intersection of the East and the West, focusing on Ancient Rome and China. She was initially inspired by her internship in the National Museum of China, while working on a Silk Road Exhibition. Marianne says she was prompted to “think about how material culture reflects the economy, politics, and culture of a society” and wants to use her two research papers, which act as her final project, along with a personal essay, to explore the material culture of ancient Rome and China. She hopes her two research papers will be published in the Groton Classics Press.


Katie Chung: Flute –  Repertoire and Performance


Katie Chung ‘18 will partake in an FSA for flute. Katie plays flute for the school orchestra and most recently performed for Imani McGregor’s chapel talk. This winter she will be practicing flute and playing music that her tutor gives her. She was motivated to do an FSA in order to prepare for her junior recital which will be in the spring. Katie says, “I always wished there was more time for me to practice flute,” and by working with Ms. Lanier, she will be able to do just that.