Monthly Archives: August 2009

Naperville’s North Central College Receives High Rankings from U.S. News and Forbes

As residents know, North Central College has been a proud part of our Naperville picture7community and a source of quality higher learning since 1861. 

In 2009,  U.S. News & World Report has ranked North Central as one of “America’s Best Colleges” for the 16th consecutive year at No. 19 among 146 Midwest colleges and universities and No. 3 among 23 Illinois schools in its category.

In the Forbes rating of 600 of “America’s Best Colleges,” North Central ranks No. 159 in the nation, and seventh out of 23 schools in Illinois. The rankings by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity evaluate the quality of the educational experience and student achievement. 

For those who may not know, North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in six areas.  With more than 2,725 undergraduate and graduate students, North Central College provides a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service, a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation and a caring environment with small classes.

The campus of North Central College is both historic and beautiful.  If you’ve never taken a walk around the campus, which is just a couple of blocks east of Washington Street in Downtown Naperville, I encourage you to do so.  Take in a concert at the new state-of-the-art Wentz Concert Hall or a North Central football game this Fall. 

Regardless of whether or not you attended North Central College, it is a vital cornerstone of our community and one worth becoming more involved.  I’ve truly enjoyed the interaction I’ve had with key North Central officials over the past couple of years and have even pledged my own support.

To learn more, visit North Central College’s website at www.northcentralcollege.edu . SM

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Von Heidecke and Meyer to Debut Two Original Ballet Works at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet

DSC_0298The  Von Heidecke School of Ballet of the Chicago Festival Ballet will present  its annual summer workshop performance this Sunday (8/9/09) at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.   

In addition to student performances, there will be two original works performed by professional ballet dancers relating to my current collaboration with Kenneth von Heidecke.  The pieces are derived from a full-length ballet which Ken and I are currently developing concurrently with our documentary film project, Imprévu – The Kenneth von Heidecke Story .

The inside story is as production on the film has progressed over the past year, I found the original score I had been composing and recording telling me a story of its own as I listened over-and-over.  There is one piece of music, in particular, I had composed which unexpectedly summoned memories of an extraordinarily lucid and vivid dream I had shortly after my father passed away from a year-long battle with cancer in 2001.   My own grief had become amplified by the fact my mother lost her battle to cancer in 1997.  There I was, at age 29, sleeping in the only family home I had ever known for the first time in my life in the days after my father’s passing, feeling as though my life’s foundation was vanishing around me.  That night, I dreamed that I was standing along a small winding stream that was running downhill in a dense, yet beautiful forest.  I was paralyzed by my own grief and at a complete loss as to which direction I should travel.  To my astonishment, my mother appeared with a peaceful smile on her face, comforting and reassuring me that this was not a dream, that they would always be with me and that it was time for me to move on with my own life and dreams.  With that, we embraced before she turned and walked away back up the hill into the most beautiful rays of light.  I awoke in a peaceful calm that I had never before experienced and that morning a new sense of resolve began to surface.    

Based on this dream, I introduced the rough storyline I had visualized vividly to Ken along with the music and soon thereafter we had crafted the overall story.  The premise of the ballet flows from the same type of unforseeable and unexpected triumph, tragedy and transcendance which has characterized mine and Ken’s life, as well as the lives of so many others.   The story is as beautifully passionate as it is dark and tragic with the theme resting on the truth that dreams may grow dim, but they never truly die.

The two original pieces which will be performed on Sunday at the Rialto are taken from the second half of the ballet, one a romantic Pas de Deux and the other a high-energy rhythmic piece featuring three male ballet dancers.  The photo above features two professional ballet dancers, Katherine and Shane, who will be performing the Pas de Deux.

The full workshop performance featuring these works along with other performances from all levels of Ken’s school will take place at 2:00 PM on Sunday (8/9/09) at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.  Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for Seniors and children under the age of 12.  If you would like to attend, tickets can be purchased at the Rialto Square Box Office prior to the performance at 2 PM or by calling 815-726-6600.  We would love to see you there!