The State – 01/19/23

Rachel Fulton

Today’s weather forecast is predicting cloudy with periods of rain with a high of 47 degrees and a low of 31 degrees.

MSU Jazz Orchestra performs annual MLK concert, commemorating Dr. King’s Legacy

The Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra II performed its annual Martin Luther King Jr. concert at the Fairchild Theatre on Sunday. The concert, apart of MSU’s 43rd annual MLK celebration, featured music from the orchestra along with guest musicians and vocalists to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.

Special guest conductor Kristopher Johnson has been involved in the making of the annual MLK concerts since 2002, when he was a sophomore at MSU.

The theme of the concert was ‘Jazz: Spirituals, Prayer and Protest,’ a concept that was delivered by the musicians and vocalists through music and speech.

Jazz vocalist Tiffany Gridiron performed ‘If I Can Help Somebody’ by Alma Bazel Androzzo, a song she says MLK identified as one of his favorites and how he wanted his legacy to be remembered.

Jazz vocalist Lulu Fall performed ‘No One Even Cares,’ a song that she wrote with Johnson. Fall describes it as a glimpse into her experiences as a Black woman.

Fall said that although hearing about these hard subjects through music may be difficult for the audience, she hopes that the performance will help people understand the struggles discussed in the music.

Johnson, an alumni of MSU’s Jazz program, said his connection to the program and relationship with the other performers, particularly his former mentee Director Anthony Stanco, makes this concert a special experience for him.

‘The legislative arm of Michigan State University’: Dennis Denno begins trustee term

Coming in with 17 years of experience as a senior staffer in the Michigan legislature, trustee Dennis Denno began his eight-year term in, what he called, the “legislative arm of Michigan State University” on Jan. 1, 2023.

Denno said the Board of Trustees is the only position he has ever wanted to run for. With experience in politics, communications, polling and research, he said his diverse set of skills will allow him to ask the right questions as a trustee.

One goal Denno campaigned on was raising the minimum wage for all MSU employees to $15 an hour. He said this is still one of his top commitments to bring before the board. He also hopes to use his connections with the state legislature to secure state funding for the university.

The new board is set to begin the search for MSU’s next permanent president this spring, a responsibility Denno said he is optimistic about.

Denno graduated from MSU in 1992 from James Madison College. He was active in the Arab Student Organization and met his wife in a class they took together. He said he was drawn to MSU for its diversity of programs.

Beyond a degree, Denno said being a Spartan has taught him about leadership and inspired him to give back to the community.

A book for every month: Spartan book recommendations for 2023

Looking for some good books to add to your 2023 reading list? MSU Spartans have you covered. Students and staff recommended a variety of books for reading outside of your comfort zone, self-improvement, learning, and contributing to a New Year’s goal.

Here are a few books to keep you busy this year:

“The Ugly American” by Eugene Burdick. Recommended by history senior Anthony Barash, “The Ugly American” was first published in 1958 and highlights the arrogance of American politicians and leaders during the Cold War.

“Verity” by Colleen Hoover. Romance novel “Verity” follows a struggling writer, Lowen Ashleigh, who is finishing the work of bestselling author Verity Crawford. Tension emerges after Lowen discovers an unfinished autobiography filled with terrifying submissions, including Verity’s description of what really happened the day her daughter died.

“Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper. “Out of My Mind” is narrated by its protagonist, Melody, who has cerebral palsy and refuses to let that define her. She has a photographic memory and is smarter than many of her classmates who dismiss her as disabled.

“Educated” by Tara Westover. Westover illustrates her determination to immerse herself in diversity after a childhood spent isolated from the world in her memoir, “Educated.” Born to survivalists, Westover had to teach herself class material to be admitted into Brigham Young University. She struggles to forge her own path as she is caught between ending a long-loyal relationship with her family and going into the world to achieve her dreams.

To keep you busy reading all year long, more book recommendations can be found on The State News website.

Based on original reporting by Jaden Beard, Vivian Barrett and Ellie Young.