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CR News : Del Norte Last Updated: Feb 4, 2015 - 12:35:55 PM

CR Del Norte presents Portugal Award lecture by Ruth Rhodes
Mar 21, 2013 - 6:00:00 PM

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CR presents Portugal Award lecture by Ruth Rhodes
'This is Crescent City: The Making of a Musical'

College of the Redwoods English Professor Ruth Rhodes will present "This is Crescent City: The Making of a Musical" at the CR Del Norte campus on March 21, at 6:00 p.m. in the campus Library. Her program, part reading, part sing-a-long, part discussion, explores what it takes to turn a creative idea into a full-length musical. "Celebrity" performers as well as audience members will help provide a sneak preview of scenes and music from this original stage production, which will premier in November, 2013, in Del Norte County.

Rhodes has taught English at the Del Norte campus for eight years. She did her undergraduate work in English literature at Binghamton University. At Case Western Reserve University, she worked with writers Mary Grimm and Claudia Rankin and completed a novel, Alaska Men, for her master’s thesis.

This is Crescent City is the story of history teacher Norman Randal, who inspires a small cadre of students to explore the roots of their town's history. Their discoveries force the students to confront the demons of Crescent City's past—as well as their own.

"I want to explore the deep disconnect that people—especially young people—have with the place where they live, and the stories of people around them. And I wanted to explore the power of knowing your family’s past, and how it frees you to shape who you are and who you want to be," says Rhodes.
The show stirs up controversy because it deals with often-forgotten histories, including the story of the Tolowa Genocide and the diaspora of the Hmong.

"The play is fictional—the characters are imaginary. But the history they uncover is well-documented in our community. And the historical events that happened here will be eerily familiar to those from communities up and down the north coast."

Rhodes wrote the script for the show, as well as the lyrics and the basic melodies for the songs. But for the past year, she has been collaborating with co-composer and arranger Dr. Damon Sink of Western Carolina University.

"When you write a novel, you’re basically on your own," says Rhodes. "But a play—especially a musical—is a collaborative effort." Rhodes plans to address the intricacies of the writing process during the presentation.

The College of the Redwoods Foundation Board established the Dr. Eugene Portugal Award in 1993 to honor an outstanding faculty member and to exhibit the academic and professional contributions of the CR faculty to the college and the community. Named after the college's first president, this award allows the campus community to share expertise and knowledge, provides staff development opportunities for faculty, increases the community’s awareness of the college, and provides a showcase for excellence both on and off campus.

For more information, contact Crislyn Parker, Administrative Assistant to the VP of Academic Affairs, 476-4109, or email crislyn-parker@redwoods.edu
Ruth Rhodes
Ruth Rhodes

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