ModFest 2017 in Review

ModFest 2017 was a jam-packed, 11-daylong festival composed of workshops and performances that stretched across various disciplines and art forms. 2017 was the first year that Creative Arts Across Disciplines co-produced ModFest, an experience that was both involved and rewarding. The CAAD staff was thrilled to help bridge the collaboration between various departments in getting the festival rolling, as well as encouraging even more student participation, as described in the Miscellany News in a features article by Jakob Eckstein.

Photo by Karl Rabe Source: The Miscellany News

The festival kicked off on Thursday, January 26 with a traveling concert that began in the Chapel and ended in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. The concert featured performances by Vassar’s Women’s Choir, a string quartet made up of local, professional musicians, the Majors ensemble, and the Vassar College Choir. In case you missed it, you can read about the whole concert in detail thanks to a great article in the Misc by Lucy Ellman.

Modfest was fortunate enough to include two ongoing exhibitions, “Engage! The Artist’s Voice” in the College Center Old Bookstore and “The World After January 20, 2017: Works by Contemporary Artists and Poets” in the Palmer Gallery. To read more about these shows, please read the article by Tori Lafon.

Vassar’s annual Cabaret Night took place on Saturday, February 4th as part of the ModFest lineup. The performance contained the “music of yesteryear,” but according to seniors Seamus and Taylor and Came Hippee, the “contemporary message these songs express” and the “themes of love and hope never go out of style, even in today’s political climate.” Please read the whole story by Matt Stein in the Miscellany News.

ModFest concluded on Sunday with an incredible performance by acclaimed singer Audra McDonald. The phenom performed an engaging selection of songs from a range of musicals, including “Maybe This Time” from “Cabaret,” “Climb Every Mountain” from “The Sound of Music,” “I’ll Be Here” from “Ordinary Days,” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” from “My Fair Lady.” To read more about the details of the show, please read Tori Lafon’s piece in the Misc.

Source: The Miscellany News

The show was wildly popular, with ticket reservations closing after just eight minutes. Hundreds of spectators from the Vassar and greater Poughkeepsie communities were in attendance. Below are some reactions from a handful of Vassar students who were fortunate enough to attend the event.

“[Attending this performance was] the opportunity of a lifetime to see such a famous celebrity in her natural habitat. I felt connected with her on a personal level because of the intimacy and nuance she brought to each song.  Mod Fest, hopefully in the future, will continue to be as successful as it was this past year and will continue to bring a wide range of artists that reflect grace both in their art and in their passion to preserve and transform the arts.”

-Bianca Barragan ’19

“As a Drama major looking to pursue a career in performance, I was overjoyed to have Audra McDonald on campus. Her energy and excitement to be performing filled the room at the same time she began to belt her first chords of music. I found myself laughing several times at her frankness and often commanding performance choices. She also brought me to tears at times by the simple purity of her voice. Hearing her speak at the end of the concert was also a delight. She was very open about her journey through college to where she currently was in her career. She gave so much hope to me personally, and made me excited about the next steps in my pursuit of theater.”

-Mariah Ghant ’17

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