All posts by madjack

Relay for Life, locally!

Support our local cancer organization Living Journeys at Western’s 5th Annual Relay

Make a relay team and come enjoy a night full of games and fun, all dedicated to showing support to those who are fighting or have fought cancer. All event profits will be donated to Living Journeys.

April 1st, 2017

2:30-8:30 at the Mountaineer Field House

$3 per person, children under 6 free


Dance Classes at the GAC

Second session of dance classes will begin at the Gunnison Arts Center’s Dance Studio right after spring break. Choose from First Steps Dance Class for kids ages 2-4, Ballet/Tap Combo for ages 4-6 and 7-10 and Youth Hip Hop Troupe for ages 5-9 and 10-15. Adults can choose from Tap Levels 1 & 2, Hip Hop and brand new this semester, Merengue couples dance! This six week session of classes will end with a Dance Showcase on May 10th. Get the full schedule and register online at, stop in at 102 S. Main St or call us at 970-641-4029.

Oscar Short Films – Double Header

In coordination with the Crested Butte Film Festival, the GAC presents a monthly film held on the 4th Friday of the month. This March is a double header! View the best of the best of the Oscar nominated Action Short films on Friday, March 24 and the best Animated Shorts on Saturday, March 25. Popcorn and full bar available. Admission: $10. Doors open at 6:30, film begins at 7 pm. Tickets available for pre-purchase. Box office at, 102 S. Main St or by calling 970-641-4029.

St. Patrick’s Day Variety Show


Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day… unleash your inner Leprechaun with this one-of-a-kind, fun filled evening of Irish song, theater, dance and don’t forget the green beer! Filled with acts from your local favorite celebrities, this show is family friendly and is exciting for everyone. One night only on St. Patrick’s Day Friday, March 17th. Doors open at 7, Curtain 7:30 pm. GAC Black Box Theatre.  Tickets: $15/adults, $12/kids, snrs, members. Box office  at, 102 S. Main St or by calling 970-641-4029.


Clay & Chardonnay

Come get dirty for this month’s AND Series Event on March 16! Pull up a stool, grab a glass of wine, some clay and join us for a unique evening of ceramics and socializing. Make unique wine bottle stoppers out of clay in the GAC Clay Studio. Projects will be kiln fired and available for pick up after the event. 6:00 – 9:00 pm. $40/person includes all supplies, two drinks, light apps and fun! SPECIAL: Sign 4 up for price of 3. Pre-registration is required. Instructor: Lynn Cudlip. Pre-register at, 102 S. Main St or by calling 970-641-4029.


Women’s History Month empowers women and men at Western

Western celebrates women on campus and in the community

Bethany Eveleth/Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Mar. 7, Western celebrated Women’s History month on campus. Hosted by the Western Cabinet, the event welcomed guest speakers to campus to encourage and empower women (and men)! Tom Burggraf, director of the Western Foundation welcomed all of the guests in attendance, and shared an anecdote about his mother, in which he reminded women to not limit themselves to “what man can do,” but to challenge themselves as individuals and achieve what they personally can do.

Keynote speaker Stephanie Dawes spoke about her experiences in the fashion industry, and her challenges as a business owner. Dawes graduated from Gunnison High School in 2005, and moved away for several years to pursue a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California. Three years ago, Dawes took over “The Toggery,” her family’s long-time business. After renovation, Dawes reopened the store as “Toggery Elevated,” which is located on Main Street in Gunnison. A business owner, mother of two, and wife to a full-time student, Dawes addressed the pressures and stresses of being an entrepreneur while raising a family, and reminded everyone that with hard work and determination, anyone can accomplish their dreams.  

“I was fairly nervous,” Dawes said. “I had been contacted just the week prior, so I was a little intimidated at the idea of speaking for 30 minutes! Once I began though, I felt more comfortable and really just tried to share my experiences in a way that would be encouraging to those in attendance.”

Dawes attended the event last year and was pleased to see the improvements, and hopes that it continues to gain popularity in future years.

“It felt very empowering to be a keynote speaker for a Women’s History Month celebration!” Dawes said. “I really did enjoy everyone who spoke and it always is a lovely event.”

Between speakers, recent Western graduate Sara Coblentz kept everything moving and introduced the line-up as the MC of the event.

“The atmosphere when you walked into the ballroom was empowering, sassy, classy, and beautiful all in one,” said Coblentz. “And that was all because of the community that attended.”

Not only was the event about recognizing women at large, but recognize women at Western’s campus. History professor Heather Thiessen-Reily was recognized at the event for her leadership on campus. She was introduced by the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department administrative assistant, Donna Holden, who gave audience members who were not familiar with Thiessen-Reily a snapshot of what exactly she does for her students and colleagues on campus. Thiessen-Reily has been with Western since 1995, and added new fields to Western’s history program: Borderlands History and Public History.

“It was inspiring to hear a local woman speak about her struggles and successes in the pursuit of her dream,” said Western student, Brooke Gilmore.

The event ended in social time for congratulations, old hellos, and new acquaintances for all that attended.

Springfest Headliner Announced at the Silent Disco

Marisa Cardin / Senior Staff Writer

Students from all over Gunnison came to the Silent Disco party in the UC Ballroom on Friday, Mar. 10. The Disco, which featured multiple local DJs, provided students with wireless headsets so they could tune into whichever DJ they wanted, all while staying in the same room as everyone else. Free beer was also provided by Eddyline, a brewery located in Buena Vista, Colorado, and non-alcoholic refreshments and snacks were provided by Sodexo. The event was a party intended for the announcement of the headliner for Springfest; The Floozies, an Electronica and Funk duo consisting of brothers Matt and Mark Hill. They’ve performed at festivals all across the country, including Summercamp, Camp Bisco, and Bumbershoot. They’ve also joined musical talents with GRiZ at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. Springfest will feature The Floozies as the headliners, with other bands to be announced, as well as local bands and artists playing music on campus throughout the day. More information to come!


Honors Choir Weekend

Quigley Hall welcomes 150 high school students to the 65th Western Slope Choral Festival

Grace Flynn/ Staff Writer

High school students from 27 different schools all around Colorado spent Mar. 2 through 4 working with Western vocal music majors and guest conductors.

The students traveled to Western to attend the Western Slope Choral Festival. Professor Heather Roberson, director of concert choir and chamber singers, organized the weekend and invited guest conductors to work with the students.

“The most difficult thing about this festival is the amount of time it takes to organize it all. People are aware of what happens when the festival occurs, but they don’t know what all happens behind the scenes and what leads up to it,” Roberson said.

Daniel Afonso Ph.D., from the University of California, Stanislaus, was the guest conductor for the women’s choir, and Jeremy Manternach Ph.D. was the guest conductor for the mixed choir. They worked with the students on techniques to improve their singing skills.

“My favorite part about the festival is the progress the students make in the short time of just two and a half days. It’s just amazing,” Roberson said.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) played a part in the festival by helping visiting students find their practice rooms, the rehearsal hall, and navigate the campus. NAfME students helped keep the festival running smoothly and going for the three days of rehearsal.

During this festival, the fire department also held their annual benefit concert. Back in 1953, a committee of Gunnison Volunteer Fireman spoke with the president at Western to suggest sponsoring two evenings of music by the Western band. Since then, the proceeds from these concerts have been used to replace equipment at the fire department. The band concert traditionally features the piece “Third Alarm March” by Arthur Fiedler, which includes fire fighters playing bells and earsplitting sirens.

Western is proud of the Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department and appreciative of their efficient and indispensable contribution to the school and the community. These concerts are a token of that appreciation.


Facing Adversity and Breaking Records.

The Mountaineers at the NCAA DII National Championship Festival

Nicholas A Fischer/Staff Writer

Over the weekend of Mar. 7-11, eleven Mountaineers from Western’s Wrestling, Swimming and Diving, and Track and Field teams qualified and travelled to the NCAA DII National Championship Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.

Junior Alicia Konieczek continued her run through the Western record books as she became the first Mountaineer to win National Championships in two events. Konieczek edged out Admas State’s Jenna Thurman by just over half a second in the Women’s 3000m with a time of 9:23.19. Konieczek’s won the championship in the Women’s mile by 3.54 seconds with a time of 4:37.42, a school record. In addition, Konieczek has the school record in the 3000m with a time of 9.17.90, which she posted earlier this year.

While Konieczek had the most success, her fellow teammates’, Senior Georgia Porter and Junior Sophie Seward, performances helped Western’s women team to an eighth place finish at the National Championships. In the the 3000m, Porter finished eighth while Seward was fourteenth. Seward and Porter finished in seventh and eighth place in the Women’s 5000m. Seward and Porter’s times in the 5000m and 3000m were also good enough to earn positions in Western’s record books.

Konieczek, Porter, and Seward became All-American with their top ten finishes at the National Championships. This goes along with the All-American honors the trio earned at the Cross Country National Championships this past fall. They will have a chance to earn All-American honors in the coming outdoor track and field season.

Western’s Men’s Track and Field also experienced some success at the National Championship, with Seniors Noah Zorsky and Keifer Johnson having strong showings. Zorsky became an All-American with a second-place finish in the final round of the Poll Volt after clearing a height of 5.25m. Johnson finished sixteenth in the 5000m finals and nineteenth in 3000m finals.

Representing Western in Swimming and Diving at the National Championships, were Sophomore RMAC Swimmer of the Year, Randi Yarnell and Junior Diver, Jessica Anderson. Anderson was unable to qualify during the preliminaries and Yarnell was swimming through an illness and did not break the top 20 in her four events.

Western’s Wrestling team was represented at the National Championships by Senior, Ronald Wardleigh at 125 lbs., Junior, Ian Steen at 149 lbs., Sophomore, Brandon Supernaw at 174 lbs., and Freshmen, Konnor Schmidt at 184 lbs. All four drew strong competition for their first matches of Championship rounds and lost. Wardleigh, Supernaw, and Schmidt won their first matches in the Consolation Round, before being eliminated in their next matches. Steen was eliminated in first match of the Consolation Round.

Even though Western’s Swimming and Diving and Wrestling did not see the same success and the Track and Field teams at the NCAA DII National Championship Festival, just qualifying for them was an admirable feat. To reach that level of competition it takes year of dedication, hard work, and support of teammates, coaches, friends, and families. Each athlete represented Western well on what is one of NCAA DII grandest stages.

Set collapses during theater rehearsal

Incident in Taylor Studio Theater leads to injuries and canceled show

Kennedy Sievers/Senior Staff Writer

A platform collapsed on stage during a rehearsal for Woyzeck Saturday, Mar. 4 in the Studio Theater. Five students—Noah Grutel-Hoyt, Lance Jones, Bella Lewis, Zack Prall, and Spencer Shiplett—were all standing on an eight-foot platform when it collapsed under their weight. Four of the students sustained injuries and went to the ER.

“Honestly, I still can’t believe it happened, though, all the signs were there. We’d been breaking steps on that stage for quite a while, hearing foreboding cracks and moans when we stepped in the wrong places. Still, it’s hard to imagine something like that happening until you’re right in the middle of it,” Lewis said.

Jones received a tetanus shot and staples in his hand, Lewis bruised her tailbone, Prall injured his knee, and Shiplett fractured his spine. All students involved were not severely injured and are recovering.

“There was a warning shot with the initial crack. Then, suddenly, I was on my back, and everyone was surrounding me, telling me to stay down. I’m lucky I didn’t get a spinal fracture with how I fell, and I’m glad no one got severely injured. It was scary, and, had they built the stage again, I probably wouldn’t have stepped on it,” Lewis said.

Western will be paying the students’ medical bills in full.

The cast and crew held a meeting Monday, Mar. 6 to discuss the accident. During the meeting, director Scott Little, Director of Theatre and Technical Director, claimed that the accident was most likely due to malfunctions with the materials used to build the set.

In the same meeting, the cast and crew resoundingly chose to work on a new show in place of Woyzeck called All in the Timing, a set of comedy one acts, which is set to premiere sometime in mid-to-late April.