Maharishi School Alumni present the second Annual Alumni Extravaganza at the Sondheim Center on September 1, at 7:30 p.m. This show features a diverse exposition of dance, music and comedy from more than 12 performing artists, all alumni.
Last year's event rocked the house and this year's will be even better! Produced by Celeste Siemsen and hosted by David Murphy and Meredith Hirsch, this just-for-fun celebration includes everything from the comedic to the sublime, from classic to mind-bending.
Alumni performers travelling to Fairfield include Jenna Riegel from New York City, Ali Sperry from Nashville, Meredith Siemsen from Chicago, and Elsa Navarrete from Mexico. Iowa-based performers include Sarah Brooks, Katie Dinkel, Ben Estey, Adrien Daller, David Hurlin, Heather Miller, Penelope Makeig and more!
This is a celebratory event to showcase alumni talent and creativity in the spirit of reunion and merry-making. This event is not a fundraiser, nor is it for profit.
A la carte dinner is available at 6:30 p.m. in the atrium courtesy of the class of 2014.
Adrien Daller - Adrien grew up singing the blues with her dad, a pianist from 13 mile road in Detroit. In 2004 she moved to England and ended up singing jazz and musical theater professionally over there for five years. She even sang God Save the Queen to the actual Queen. She then got deported (long story) and moved back to Iowa where she started writing her own music with her pal Philip Rabalais. The best thing that could have ever happened. For several years, Philip and Adrien were both employed by the David Lynch Foundation. Adrien wrote for their online TV channel DLF.TV and conducted interviews at events (she's interviewed Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, Katy Perry, Daphne Guinness, and Russell Brand), as well as doing David Lynch's make-up for a yet-to-be-released documentary film. After many excited, late night talk-offs, they started the band Trouble Lights. They've since released a video that garnered over 20,000 views in a week, opened for Girl Talk and Pictureplane, and played their album release show at Maximum Ames Music Festival headlined by Jeff Mangum and Wanda Jackson.
David Hurlin - David Hurlin is known for his ruthless energy, gnashing of teeth, and mind-numbing dynamic range; from his barely audible Wal-Mart dusters to his thunderous tribal mallet romp parade, Hurlin rakes the whole spectrum of human emotion. He has toured the midwest with his free-funk jazz trio The Apocalypso Tantric Boys Choir of Memphis. After graduating from Maharishi University of Mangament with a BFA in photography and a minor in the Indian Classical Music known as Gandharva Veda, David moved to New Delhi where he continued his studies of tabla with Guru, Anup Ghoshji. In 2007, Ghoshjji and David performed together for the first time in a riveting drumset vs. tabla battle. After the birth of his son, Dil Mondrian Hurlin, David joined the Jefferson County Green Band and toured the midwest again, playing biker rallies, casinos, racetracks, riverside bars, and festivals getting schooled in his local hillbilly culture and developing a fierce "Folsom Prison train chug", and a showstopping hard hat drum solo.
Heather Miller - Growing up in Fairfield, Heather surrounded herself with art and music at a young age. While at M.U.M., she taught herself how to play guitar and started performing at open mics. In 2008, Miller began DJing her own show for women singer-songwriters called Lyrical Venus on KRUU, a solar powered radio station in Fairfield. In 2011, she found Rubicon Artist Development in Austin, Texas, a recording studio and year-long mentorship program founded by producer and musician Daniel Barrett. Throughout the course of the year she performed at over 150 open mics, showcases, and gigs in Austin and formed a band. She closed out her year by recording Anchor, a 5-song EP. Sonically, the album pulls from Miller's acoustic folk roots and builds on them with appearances by some of Austin's finest musicians. Rick Richards on drums (Joe Walsh, Dixie Chicks, Mary Gauthier), Red Young on piano and Hammond organ (Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt), Daniel Barrett on guitar and bass (porterdavis), and Warren Hood on fiddle (The Waybacks) are all featured on Anchor.
David J. Murphy - is a multi-talented musician/composer/actor/audio tech working and performing here in Fairfield, IA. He has scored the music for Wormtooth Nation, a 9-episode steampunk web series, The Vindication of Ronald Clay and other Stories, a feature length science fiction film as well as composing and recording the soundtrack to Persephone: A Rock Ballet, an original dance/theater performance created and performed in Fairfield. He also has recorded several albums of his original music while spending his days as an audio tech for the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. For more information about David's work, visit http://davidjmurphy.bandcamp.com/.
Elsa Navarrete - While attending MIU (now M.U.M.) and getting a BA in business, Elsa did various plays with Prairie Moon Company, including Shakespeare, Moliere and Dirty Works at the Crossroads. Upon returning to one of her "home" countries, Mexico, Elsa was taken in by Televisa, the biggest television consortium in Latin America, which launched her as their new talent of the year on El Premio Mayor. She started a production company with her husband and best friend, calling it "En LLamas" which means "On Fire." En Llamas currently has three plays in production. Her acting credits include: the leading role in Molly Sweeney with Brian Friel Theater, the leading role in Entre Palabras with Carlos Mugica Film, and starring roles in the soap operas, Apuesta por Un Amor, Esmeralda, El Premio Mayor, Acalupco Bay and Crystal Empire. Her production credits include Razones para set Bonita by Neil LaBute, Menage a Trois, Julio Cesar and Mujeres Snaron Caballos. Elsa has also translated and adapted the following scripts: Reasons to be Pretty, Efectos Secundarios, Fachon Models, and Who is Afraid of Virginia Wolf?.
Jenna Riegel - Jenna Riegel has been a New York-based dancer, performer and teacher since 2007 and is currently a company member of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Ms. Riegel holds an M.F.A. in Dance Performance from the University of Iowa and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Maharishi University of Management. She has performed with Michel Kouakou's Daara Dance, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Tania Isaac Dance and Bill Young/Colleen Thomas & Company. She has toured nationally and internationally as a company member of David Dorfman Dance, Alexandra/ Beller Dances and Johannes Weiland. Jenna has accepted a position teaching dance at Juilliard this fall.
Meredith Siemsen - Meredith is blessed to be a part of Erasing the Distance, a non-profit organization dedicated to shedding light on mental health through theatre. She also performs for (and with) senior adults every spring in Imagination Theater's participatory 'Senior Spotlight' program. Other Chicago stage credits include: Robyn Hood at Oak Park Festival Theatre, Hamlet with Signal Ensemble, The Ruling Class with Backstage Theatre Company, The Outfit with Serendipity Theatre Collective and The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window with Infamous Commonwealth. On-camera work includes feature film The Lucky Ones, and independent films: Good People (recently screened at Chicago International Film Festival) and Hank's Auto Repair. Meredith has also curated art exhibits for Flourish Studios and Erasing the Distance and enjoys creating art of her own including children's murals, greeting cards, sculpture and collages made from repurposed paper.
Ali Sperry - Ali had the good fortune in this life to be born to two musician parents who encouraged her innate desire to sing and create music from the time she could speak. The first "official" song of Ali's was written and performed at age 7 in front of 2000 people at the Golden Domes in Fairfield, Iowa. Her love of music, combined with a passion for theater, brought her to Syracuse University where she studied musical theater and got her BFA in acting. Writing songs only as a hobby during these years, she spent some time in New York after college to pursue acting. After relocating to Chicago Ali was granted the opportunity to audition for a band in Nashville, Tennessee. Family friends of hers were putting together the all-girl group Sweetwater Rose. Nearly four years later, Ali has released her debut solo project Storybook and she and the Family Vacation are embarking full-steam-ahead to play this music in clubs, theatres, homes, coffee shops, bookstores and bowling alley's all across the country.
Ben Estey - Ben is an actor, artist, theater teacher, and carpenter. He studied theater at Connecticut College and received his BFA in Visual Arts from Maharishi University of Management. He has worked in film, television, video and print media but the theater will always be home. He is currently Maharishi School's IHSSA coach and, in his first year as coach, two of his teams were deemed outstanding in their category and invited to perform at the All-State Festival in Ames, IA.
Penelope Makeig - A gifted soprano who graduated from Maharishi School in 2011 and enrolled at the University of Iowa that fall. During her time at the University of Iowa, Penelope has covered the role of Flora (The Turn of the Screw) and was in the chorus of La Clemenza di Tito. She has also appeared in scenes as Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Virtu (L'incoronazione di Poppea), and Destino (La Calisto). This summer she was engaged in the Emerging Artist Program at OperaWorks, and last year she participated in Oberlin Conservatory's Oberlin in Italy where she appeared in Suor Angelica. She will return to the University of Iowa in the Fall, where she is pursuing a degree in vocal performance.