ESU Syracuse Branch

A Message from the Syracuse Branch President

Established in 1948, The Syracuse Branch of the English-Speaking Union is a very active group. Our programs reflect our members who are spirited, thoughtful and concerned about intercultural and international communications. They share a genuine interest in people and community affairs. The Syracuse Branch meets the second Saturday of each month - September through May - at a private club.

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News And Events

ProLiteracy Program Lecture

The Syracuse Chapter of the ESU opened its 2021-22 season with its first in-person gathering in over a year. Our speaker was  Kevin Morgan, who spoke about adult literacy and the ProLiteracy organization's mission to develop and promote adult literacy learning, content programs, and advocacy.  
Mr. Morgan was introduced by ESU member Dr. Kathleen Hinchman, whose 30-year career at Syracuse University focused on childhood and adolescent literacy.
 

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2021 Syracuse Branch National Shakespeare Competition

 
Meet our Syracuse branch Shakespeare Competition winner Anka Chiorini...if you can find her under her mask!  She's pictured above with our Shakespeare  Committee Co-chair Susan Jarosz, her Jamesville-DeWitt High School Principal Paul Gasparini, her teacher Matthew Phillips, and the plaque awarded her by our branch.  The plaque now includes her name and that of her school and will hang in the school for the coming year.  
 
This year was her second as a high school student and as a participant in ESU's Shakespeare Competition.  Her selections were a monologue by the character Pucelle from Henry VI, Part I, and Sonnet 134.  Her performance became especially significant in that her school had never before had a winner who was eligible to compete in the national ESU competition in NYC with students from throughout the country.  It was special, too, in that in this virtual world, her presentation was live, thanks to Zoom made possible by our own ESU member Dianne Emmick.
 
For many students, participating in the Shakespeare Competition would suffice as an extra effort for the year, especially if the year was during a pandemic that brought with it additional pressures and challenges.  But Anka goes for more, and this year turned to play-writing for Syracuse Stage's Young Playwrights. The result? Two of her efforts were chosen to be among the eight winners chosen from the 200 total plays submitted!  The eight winning plays were performed (via Zoom) by Syracuse University Drama Department students. 
 
And summer vacation?  Anka will be involved in a literature course offered by Mount Holyoke College for which she received a scholarship.  
Amazing!
 
(If you wish to view the winning Syracuse Stage plays, you can access them -- if you are a Facebook member --  by Googling "young playwrights 2021 Syracuse Stage").
 

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ESU Syracuse Branch Annual Meeting

May 8th, 2021 - The Syracuse Chapter has been able to resume in-person meetings following covid protocol.  We were happy to have our May annual meeting to enjoy each other's company and to give member approval of our slate of officers and committee chairs for 2021-2022.

We were fortunate to be entertained by Ernest Musquiz of Syracuse Symphoria, who presented his program "Mallet Keyboard Instruments in the Orchestra."  Mr. Musquiz joined the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, now "Symphoria," in 1974 and is now in his 47th consecutive year with that organization serving as percussionist and timpanist as well as directing the Youth Orchestra. His mallets fly with fantastic precision when he plays the keyboard instruments.

ESU member Alice Borning with our guest speaker Ernest Musquiz

 

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2021 Syracuse Branch Shakespeare Competition

The Syracuse Chapter held its Shakespeare Competition virtually this year with ten finalists who won their local competitions at Central New York School Districts.   Contestants are required to perform an excerpt of a monologue from a Shakespearean play along with one of the bard's sonnets.

Students participating, along with their school districts, were Lillyanna Whipple (Camden),  Bel Lazarsky (Cazenovia), Emilee Edick (CBA), Kalysta Donaghy-Robinson (Fabius-Pompey), Rachel Bouwens (Homer), Anka Chiorini (Jamesville-Dewitt), Andra Benson (Lansing), Arman Nizam (Manlius Pebble Hill) , Moira McAnich (Tully), and Alexandra Dubaniewicz (Westhill).

The first place winner was Anka Chiorini.  Anka will be competing in the national competition, normally held in New York City but this year held virtually. The national winner receives a trip to London to attend the British American Drama Academy Mid-Summer Conservatory Program.  Second place went to runner-up Emilee Edick and 3rd place to Lillyanna Whipple.  Honorable Mentions were given to Andra Benson and Rachel Bouwens.

Anka's and Emilee's performances are below.  Anka's monologue is from a speech by Pucelle (Joan of Arc) in Henry VI, Part 1, Act V, Scene iv, and her sonnet is Number 134.  Emilee's monologue is from Constance's speech in King John, Act III, scene iv, and she recites Sonnet 25.

 

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2020 Syracuse Branch Shakespeare Winner

E-SU, Syracuse Branch's 2020 Shakespeare Competition's winner Emilee Edick stands proud at her high school Christian Brothers Academy.  She holds our Branch's Shakespeare's winner plaque where her name and that of her school are engraved and join those of others in the past who share her honor.  By tradition, the plaque will hang in CBA for the school year.

Everyone notices Emilee's mask that adds much to the story of her participation and ultimate win.  Only a few days before our March 21 scheduled Shakespeare Competition did she and sixteen other students learn that area schools were closing.  So, too, was Syracuse Stage's Archbold Theatre, our venue for both our student workshop and competition.  Baldwinsville Library offered us space, but we realized quickly that we were headed for a virtual path.

 

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The English-Speaking Union

Syracuse Branch

Welcome to the ESU

The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

To find out more about our programs click here.