The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) has been an integral opportunity for the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Anderson University for many years. In addition to supporting students through lectures, competitions, and performances, the nationally acclaimed festival recently recognized AU associate professor of music Laurel Goetzinger for her outstanding work.
Goetzinger was awarded the Indiana Faculty Service Award by KCACTF for the support she has provided students at AU. A group of committee members from the festival come together every year and vote on the recipient. “It’s very nice to be rewarded,” said Goetzinger. “I am honored.”
Goetzinger will use the award to inspire students to continue their hard work and push themselves to new levels. “Getting this award is going to help others recognize AU and its performing arts,” said Goetzinger.
Goetzinger has been heavily involved with KCACTF, traveling to many schools to act as the respondent, a volunteer who attends other colleges and judges the performances of the actors in its productions. She has also submitted several of AU’s performances in competitions. According to Goetzinger, the festival provides a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity, and she wants as many of her students as possible to experience it.
Goetzinger and several music students have attended the national festival in the past six years. KCACTF also sponsors regional festivals every year, and the festival is a gathering place of young performers to come together. AU is a part of Region Three, which includes all the colleges in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. “It is an eye-opening experience for our students,” said Dr. Jeffrey Wright, dean of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.
In contrast, the national festival lasts several days and is held in Washington, D.C.
“I love getting to see a variety of shows — all brought by different schools,” said alumna Sarah White, a 2006 graduate and theatre and English major. “We were invited to present a scene two years ago. I think one of the biggest things I’ve gained from the festival is knowing that our program is preparing us just as well as some big state school might.”
White has attended the festival three different times and was nominated for the Irene Ryan Scholarship competition, where actors compete in three regional rounds and then three national rounds for a full scholarship to graduate school.
Wright said he can always tell which students attended the conference because they come back excited. “The festival provides valuable feedback and helps inform students about the industry,” said Wright. “The festival is a great tool for our students.”
— Haley Burger is a sophomore from Stockwell, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in marketing. Burger is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.