Ivy Leaf - Spring 2004

Give My Regards ...

Sophomore Jennifer Perttu always wanted to perform on Broadway. Through an innovative integrative arts course, she is taking steps to shorten the distance between the Penn State Altoona and "The Great White Way."

Perttu is one of fourteen students enrolled in a special topics course that doubles as the "Ivyside Pride Ensemble." The Ensemble affords aspiring singers and dancers with the opportunity to develop their talents while representing the College at special events and functions on campus, in the community, throughout the region and, in time, around the country. The ensemble's performances are best described as "musical theatre."

"Hopefully, Ivyside Pride will make me better rounded and more prepared for any auditions I might attend in the future," Perttu commented. "I wanted to join the Ensemble because of how much I have always wanted to do something with musical theatre. I love being on stage and performing and this gives me the opportunity to not only perform on stage, but to work with other very talented people my age."

Recognizing the critical role private financial support will play in the success of a new musical ensemble on campus, The Hite Company recently presented Penn State Altoona with a generous commitment to help underwrite the costs associated with the purchase of musical arrangements, wardrobe and expenditures related to travel and the recording of unique arrangements.

"We believe that the arts are an extremely important dimension in the life of any community, and we share a personal special love of musical theatre.Our family is excited about the creative potential of the Ivyside Pride Ensemble, especially under the capable leadership of Gregg Brandt, whose talent we have always admired." — Lee and Janie Hite

A unique aspect of the Ensemble is its link with the Integrative Arts curriculum. Students who are accepted into the ensemble meet three days each week during a regularly scheduled class period and one evening for rehearsals. The ensemble is directed by Altoona native Gregg Brandt.

Brandt recently concluded a six-year run as a cast member of Les Miserables, both on Broadway and with the national touring company.

Ivyside Pride made its debut at the College's Community Arts Center on April 17 to rave reviews. In a performance entitled "A Grand Night for Singing", the ensemble brought to life works by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Kander and Ebb, and songs from West Side Story and Les Miserables.