Advertisement

It's A Gray Area: The spirit that moves them at Vanguard

November 06, 2010|By James P. Gray

We have a real gem in our midst, which is Vanguard University of Southern California, and everyone should be aware and proud of it. As I hope you know, this four-year Christian university, which has an enrollment of 1,457 undergraduates and 703 postgraduates, is located on Fair Street and Newport Boulevard, and is just across from the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. And a gem? How about being named to the top five best baccalaureate small colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report for each of the last three years?

My association with Vanguard began when I was asked about five or six years ago by my now-friend Elizabeth Leonard to speak to her sociology class about drug policy. Since then, I have been back at least 10 times to speak to other classes and forums about various topics, one of which included a rabbi friend of mine talking about the Jewish faith. I have always found the students to be bright, inquisitive, questioning and engaging.

Advertisement

As a result of these talks, I noticed Vanguard's performing arts programs, beginning with the music program under James Melton. In a word: superb! The musicians and singers are as talented, well-instructed and sophisticated as any I have seen, and they have performed recently at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as in China, Europe, South Korea and Canada. But don't just take my word for it; you can hear them for yourself at their Christmas concerts either at the Performing Arts Center Nov. 30, or at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church on Dec. 3. Both concerts begin at 8 p.m., and I will be deeply surprised if you are not as impressed as I am.

My wife, Grace, and I have also mostly been blown away by Vanguard's drama department. We went first to see their performance of "Life Without Parole," which was written by VUSC Professor Warren Boody and is based upon Elizabeth Leonard's doctoral thesis, "Convicted Survivors." The story centers around women who were so abused by their husbands or boyfriends that they eventually resorted to violence and even murder to make it stop. Obviously, these women must be held accountable for their actions, and the play does not imply anything to the contrary, but it will impress you that the situation of abuse also must be heavily taken into consideration by both society and the court system.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|