To ease the pain a little, students should turn their attention to the upcoming spring semester offerings from the theatre, art, music and dance departments.
In keeping with its streak of thought-provoking performances, the theatre department will open its winter season with Joan Holden's "Nickel and Dimed." Based on Barbara Ehrenreich's best-selling book, this piece deals with the struggles of the working class to survive on minimum wage in America, and will be directed by the theatre department's Artist in Residence Dona Werner Freeman.
The department's student-directed piece will be "Melanie Marnichs Quake," directed by Ryan Shipley '05, who described the production as a cross-country journey of one woman in pursuit of her perfect man.
This year's musical production will be Kurt Weil and Bertolt Brecht's "The Three Penny Opera." Depicting a world of beggars, thieves and prostitutes in the seedy underbelly of London, this show will be directed by Artist in Residence in theatre Gary Gisselman. As always, the final performances of the year will take place at the student-directed one-act festival.
The art department's post-baccalaureate apprentices, Jane Becker '04, Mary Schmidt '04, Pete Nelson '04 and Aaron Reiners '04, will present their work in Flaten Hall's first exhibition of the new year. Their divergent focuses, from printmaking to video and photography to drawing, should make their joint exhibition diverse and appealing.
Second semester will bring with it an exhibit in textiles and text from Lila Teresa Church. Church's exhibit will include her own handmade quilts, various artifact quilts from her personal collection and her original poetry. Additionally, Harriberthe Mbele will be exhibiting her collection of southern African cloths known as khangas.
A symposium of regional Africanists focusing on African-American issues will convene in conjunction with Church and Mbele's exhibit. The work of David Mann and Macyn Bolt, two painters native to New York City, will grace the walls of Flaten in late March and early April.
Flaten's spring schedule will culminate, as always, with art shows exhibiting the work of senior majors in April and May.
The start of second semester will find both the St. Olaf Choir and Band on tour on the east coast and in the south, respectively, though both groups will perform a few concerts in Minnesota and Iowa as well. Each ensemble will perform a homecoming concert upon their return to campus.
The St. Olaf Band will perform in Skoglund on the evening of Feb. 8 and the St. Olaf Choir will perform in Boe Chapel on the afternoon of Feb. 13. Orchestra fans will have to wait a little longer to hear their favorite ensemble, as the St. Olaf Orchestra's first home concert of the spring term will not take place until the evening of March 13.
St. Olaf will host a number of visiting soloists and ensembles throughout the course of the semester as well. March in particular will be a great month for lovers of vocal music, as both VocalEssence and the Harvard Glee Club will be paying visits to campus.
In addition to its calendar of Veselica and Companydance performances, the dance department will host visiting artist K.T. Niehoff. Hailing from Seattle's Lingo Dancetheater, Niehoff is committed to an experimental approach to movement, which should bring a unique perspective to the department's spring schedule.
The calendar of performances will round out with the semi-annual open stage performances and a showing of distinction projects from senior majors.
Students should take heart. When they're in the same position next semester that they're in right now - - overworked and ready for a break - - the St. Olaf arts departments will have plenty of diversions in store to break up the academic monotony.