Arts Calendar


Paul Handley Art
My Room is Turning by the late Paul Hartley, an acrylic and oil painting held by a private collector.

Image courtesy Lee Hansley Gallery

His world seen
through their eyes


aleigh’s Glenwood South arts district hosts a major exhibition of works by former students of the late Paul Hartley, with 200 paintings covering the walls of two galleries a block apart. “The Legacy of Paul Hartley” will run through Feb. 27 at both Lee Hansley Gallery locations.

Hartley, who taught art for 37 years here, died of cancer at Thanksgiving. His long-time friend, Raleigh gallery owner Lee Hansley, began working then on what he said turned out to be the largest exhibition mounted by a private gallery in the history of the state—200 pieces by 100 artists from 17 states and India. A committee that included the artist’s widow, Lane, and several friends and ECU colleagues compiled the list of artists to represent Hartley’s legacy through their art.

The galleries, open Tuesday through Saturday, are in the 100 and 200 blocks of Glenwood South.

The N.C. Museum of Art recently purchased one of Hartley’s paintings for its permanent collection. He also has paintings in the Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro, the Greenville Museum of Art, the Cameron Museum of Art in Wilmington, the Barton College Museum in Wilson and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem. Several major corporations also own his works.

University People

Including his seven years as a student here, Jack Brinn ’64 ’66 ended a 44-year career at ECU when he retired Dec. 31. He held many positions over the years, lastly as associate vice chancellor and chief information officer. A national expert in health care information management, Brinn served last year as chair of the UNC CIO Council, the UNC system’s organization for campus IT leaders.

Returning to Greenville in 1972 with a Ph.D. from Duke, Brinn became an assistant professor in the Brody School of Medicine, rising to become chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology.  In 2000 he became associate vice chancellor for health sciences information systems and managed the Center for Health Sciences Communications in 2003.

He joined the Information Technology and Computing Services department on an interim role in 2004 and was appointed to his last position as chief information officer in 2007. Through his leadership ECU’s information technology functions flourished and gained state and national recognition. Brinn oversaw the implementation of SCT/Banner, the university’s new all-encompassing computer gateway, and converted the phones to a computer-based system. A national search has begun to find a replacement.

David WhiteDavid White, a faculty member and administrator since 1981, was named dean of the College of Technology and Computer Science after serving as an interim for the past year. White is a former chair of the Department of Health Education and Promotion and former interim dean of the School of Health and Human Performance. White holds a bachelor’s degree from Concord College in West Virginia, a master’s from Radford College in Virginia and a doctorate from the University of Tennessee. Before coming to ECU, he taught at the University of Tennessee.

Virginia HardyVirginia Hardy ’93, senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Brody School of Medicine, was named vice provost for student affairs, replacing Kemal Atkins, who accepted a position at Delaware State. Hardy joined the university in 1993 as a student counselor at BSOM. She was the university’s interim chief diversity officer from 2006 to 2008, and she has taught in the medical school since 2000. Chancellor Steve Ballard said, “Great leaders are essential to the success of higher education, and in Virginia Hardy, we have an exceptional leader. She will be a member of the university’s Executive Council, and she will be a mentor, teacher and example to our students.” She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from UNC Chapel Hill, a master’s in counselor education from ECU and a doctorate in counselor education from N.C. State University.

Robin Armstrong, who was assistant director for graduate programs in the College of Business, was named director of graduate admissions in the Graduate School.  At COB she was responsible for recruiting, graduate admissions, process improvement and advising 350 MBA students.

Len RhodesLen Rhodes ’82 ’99, a faculty member in finance and assistant dean in the College of Business, was named director of Institutional Research, a position he held on an interim basis since July. Rhodes joined the university in 2000; previously, he was principal owner of a small company in the access control industry. He has served on numerous university committees and teaches a sought after course on personal finance.

Deb Jorda
n was appointed professor and chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. She comes to ECU from Oklahoma State University, where she was the graduate coordinator for the leisure studies program and taught in the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. She has authored or co-authored six textbooks.

Alan White, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, was elected to a three-year term as a director of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, which is composed of accredited, baccalaureate-granting colleges from across the United States. White was among 13 candidates vying for seven open positions on the 12-member board. He will serve a three-year term. An active member of the organization, White has participated in several CCAS sessions as a presenter and session facilitator.

Maryellen O’Brien
was appointed director of Sponsored Programs in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies. She comes to ECU from Rutgers University where she held the position of acting director of the office of research and sponsored programs.

Francis G. Serio joined the School of Dentistry as associate dean for Clinical Affairs and Margaret B. Wilson joined as associate dean for Student Affairs. Serio will manage areas related to clinical pre-doctoral and clinical residency programs while Wilson will manage areas related to pre-doctoral student recruitment, admissions and support programs. Serio has been in full-time academics and part-time practice since 1981. He taught at the University of Maryland and was chair of the Department of Periodontics and Preventive Sciences at the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry from 1993–2009. He is founder and former director of the Dominican Dental Mission Project. Over a span of 28 years, this project provided more than $8.2 million of services to the rural poor in the Dominican Republic. Wilson comes from the University of Maryland where she spent 20 years. She is an alumna of David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., and attended the Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry.

Click here for ticketing information on any of these events.

Imani Winds blows into town


he Imani
 Suzanne Vega
Winds ensemble (above), whose repertoire ranges from Mendelssohn to jazz, has been added to the popular S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series for a limited-seating performance Feb. 25 in A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall. The quintet, formed in 1997, earned a Grammy nomination in 2006; its 2008 recording, "This Christmas," received several year-end “best of” mentions.

Chanticleer (right), a premier a cappella male chorus with more than 30 recordings and two Grammy Awards, will appear April 15 in Wright Auditorium. The group’s songs range from sacred music of the Renaissance to Gershwin’s Summertime.

Singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega (right) wraps up the 2009-10 SRAPAS season with an April 20 performance in Wright Vega AlbumAuditorium. Vega’s first album was named by Rolling Stone magazine as among the 100 best recordings of the 1980s.

Her second album, Solitude Standing, contains her biggest commercial hits, Luka, about an abused boy, and Tom’s Diner, which takes place inside the same New York restaurant featured on Seinfeld.

The spring semester also marks the conclusion of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival’s 10th anniversary season. The final regular concert April 29-30 will feature two famous romantic chamber works, Johannes Brahms’ String Sextet in G, Op. 26, and Peter Tchaikovsky’s String Sextet in D-minor, Op. 70, “Souvenir de Florence.”

Ara GregorianJoining festival artistic director Ara Gregorian (left) will be violinist Elina Vahala, violists Hsin-Yun Huang and Maria Lambros and cellists Ani Aznavorian and Nina Lee.

The second of two new programs in the festival, the Next Generation Concerts, will take place March 28. The principal guest artist will be pianist Robert McDonald, and ECU students and faculty members also will participate. 

Performing Arts
The ECU School of Theatre and Dance will stage two plays in the spring, Woody Allen’s "Play It Again, Sam," and Andrew Lippa’s "The Wild Party."

The Woody Allen comedy, which will be produced Feb. 25–March 12 at McGinnis Theatre, focuses on bookish and insecure Allan Felix, who idolizes Humphrey Bogart but without any of Bogey’s manly attributes or technique. The play includes several fantasy sequences in which Bogey tries to rescue Felix from his predicaments.

Lippa’s musical, playing April 15–20, is set in the Roaring ’20s and focuses on a vaudeville couple whose relationship is fraying. They decide to put on a party to end all parties, and the arriving guests show how they, too, are living on the edge. The play is described as “sexy, contemporary and dangerous.”

Family Fare
The school’s Family Fare program will conclude its 2009–10 season with Nobody’s Perfect, a Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences on Tour production. The musical play, based on actress Marlee Martin’s book about a fourth-grader trying to figure out a new classmate, is performed simultaneously in spoken dialog and American Sign Language. 

The ECU Opera Theatre will stage Mozart’s ever-popular The Marriage of Figaro, April 15–17 in A. J. Fletcher Recital Hall. Directed by John Kramar, the comic opera is based on flirtations, amorous entreaties and rejections, and lost identities. First performed in 1786, the opera is among Mozart’s most enduring works.

The 10th annual New Music@ECU Festival takes place Feb. 24–28 and will include, among other guests, clarinetist Nathan Williams (who was ECU professor Christopher Grymes’ teacher and predecessor), ECU percussionist Chris Nappi and composer Steven Dembski of the University of Wisconsin. The festival will include the premiere of a new work by festival founder Edward Jacobs, as will an orchestral version of Mark Glick’s "The Wife of Bath" for soprano and orchestra, with soloist Karen Hall.

The annual Billy Taylor Jazz Festival takes place April 22–24, with an opening night program at the Hilton Greenville Hotel that includes the Eastern Region Jazz Festival. A three-day Flute Symposium, which includes master classes and performances, will take place March 18–20 in Fletcher Recital Hall.

Jazz at Christinne’s, hosted by Tom Mallison of public radio’s An Evening With Tom the Jazzman, winds up the second season of Friday night jazz programs at Christinne’s restaurant in the Hilton Greenville Hotel Feb. 26 and March 26. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., and music follows at 8 p.m. The performances are by students and faculty members in ECU’s jazz studies program.  

Faculty and student performances
One of the main programs by student musicians in the spring semester will be a performance of Brahms’ German Requiem April 25 that will combine the ECU Symphony Orchestra with the School of Music’s various choral ensembles. The program in Wright Auditorium will be led by Dr. Daniel Bara, director of choral activities. Also on the program will be a performance by the winner of the 2009–10 concerto competition.

The ECU Chamber Singers, whose second compact disc is scheduled for release in early spring, will sing March 4 and March 27 in Fletcher Recital Hall. The second program marks the conclusion of the annual two-day ECU High School Singers Symposium. The ECU Percussion Ensemble plays April 7, the St. Cecilia Singers perform April 10, the ECU bands play April 13, and the ECU Guitar Ensemble performs April 21. Zamba Yawar, ECU’s Afro-Andean Music Ensemble, will perform April 20 in Fletcher Recital Hall.

The School of Music’s keyboard program conducts its annual piano competition March 12–13 and is sponsoring a recital by Swiss pianist Jean-Jacques Schmid April 26 in Fletcher Recital Hall.

Fine arts
The School of Art and Design’s annual exhibition of undergraduate work takes place March 3–April 1, and the exhibition of works by Master of Fine Arts thesis students is scheduled April 16–May 21.     —Steve Row

Books by Faculty

Secret flights to the Patent Office
e all know what the Wright brothers accomplished on Dec. 17, 1903. The story of what happened after that first powered flight is less well known, an oversight that professor Larry Tise corrects in his newest work on the Wright brothers, "Conquering the Sky: The Secret Flights of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk." The book focuses on the brothers’ covert tests in May 1908 as they played a game of cat-and-mouse with international press reporters and nosy Outer Banks locals and raced the clock to produce commercial flying technology that could be sold to the governments of Europe and the United States.

Wright Brothers Book CoverThe book focuses on seven days that May when the Wright brothers went from relative anonymity to worldwide recognition and cult status. Between 1903 and when their work was shown to the world in 1908, the Wright brothers worked privately and secretly to improve and patent their flying machine. Meanwhile, would-be French aeronauts were working publicly and were being well documented in the process.

“Everyone assumed that the French group was way ahead (in the technology race),” says Tise, who is the Wilbur and Orville Wright Distinguished Professor of History at ECU. The Wright brothers knew they would have to fly publicly and returned from Dayton, Ohio, to North Carolina to prepare. They wanted to continue working in secret, but as soon as they got back to Kitty Hawk in 1908, word spread through the community.

“Word had gotten out—totally fictional—that they were flying out over the ocean. Newspapers around the world published that as fact,” says Tise. “The New York Herald and the London Daily Mail, two of the leading newspapers on technological innovations of the day, sent reporters to the Outer Banks. They were interested in the advancement of new weapons.

“It was a colossal comedy of errors between the reporters, the Wright brothers and the (Coast Guard) life-saving crews. The crew members would tell the reporters wild tales of how far the Wright brothers had flown out over the ocean—up to two miles from shore. And the reporters would wire it in as a story.”

Tise points out that the famous image of the Wright brothers flight on Dec. 17, 1903, wasn’t published until Sept. 1, 1908. The brothers kept that image—along with others taken in 1904 and 1905 documenting their work—filed away in their shop in Ohio.

Even though "Conquering the Sky" focuses on the historical details of the Wright brothers’ work and travels, it is written in a conversational tone for general readers with an interest in this part of American history.

Tise grew up in North Carolina and was always interested in the Wright brothers. During the centennial of their first flight, he started working on the brothers’ North Carolina story. “Most historians treat the Wright brothers as great American heroes,” Tise says. “I see them partly as tragic figures. Once they had the invention, they wanted to be like Henry Ford and Alexander Graham Bell and become rich off their invention and work. They got the patent on their flying machine and then they didn’t work to further flight. They worked to protect the patent.”

Tise is now editing the North Carolina-related papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright, which have been at the Library of Congress since 1949. He plans to distill the 4,000 pages of material to produce a complete edition on the Wright brothers’ experience and heritage in North Carolina.

Jeannine Manning Hutson

Conquering the Sky:
The Secret Flights of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk

Palgrave Macmillan, 256 pages, $25