The Oberlin Review

Oberlin’s Early History Rooted in Religious Convictions

Nathan Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief

September 20, 2019

 Editor’s note: This column is part of a series that will focus on Oberlin’s history as a town and an institution. The series will be published regularly throughout the fall semester. In the winter of 1858, John Price, a formerly enslaved person, was captured by slave catchers traveling through Oberlin and taken to Wellington, ostensibly under the authority of the Fugitive Slave Law. A group of Oberlin residents followed Price and his captors, ultimately bringing him back to Oberlin after a prolonged standoff. Now known as the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue, the event is widely regarded as one of the key incidents precipitating the Civil War, and continues to hold an important place in Oberlin’s collective hist...

The Obertones strike poses during a rousing performance. Their show, The Great Finney Heist, included elements of theater and comedy not often found in a cappella performances.

Obertones, Koreo Pull Heist to Remember

April 24, 2015

Last Saturday night in Finney Chapel, the Obertones brought the audience to their feet with their talented vocals and slick footwork. For their annual spring a cappella concert, the Obertones collaborated with Koreo, Oberlin’s hip-hop dance troupe, in a performance titled The Great Finney Heist. The show included a skit in which the Obertones searched for the treasure that the late Charles G. Finney had hidden within the building. I arrived fully prepared for hijinks and excellent music. The...

Bill Orcutt fills Fairchild Chapel with resonant strumming. The prolific guitarist combined experimental techniques with more traditional, blues-based playing last Saturday.

Orcutt Peppers Compositions with Improvisation

April 17, 2015

Bill Orcutt has combined free improvisation, atonal harmonies and blues forms on the solo acoustic guitar for the past 10 years. Orcutt performed an improvised set in Fairchild Chapel last Saturday, where the San Francisco-based artist performed for nearly an hour but played only a handful of songs. Both a guitarist and a composer, Orcutt imbues his songs with uncanny beauty and occasional discordance. Beginning his career with the band Harry Pussy, Orcutt is not new to performing or writing music....

Historian Eugene D. Schmiel, author of Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era

Off the Cuff: Eugene D. Schmiel, Civil War historian and author

February 6, 2015

Eugene D. Schmiel first came to Oberlin in 1969 as a graduate student at the Ohio State University writing his dissertation about Jacob Dolson Cox, OC 1850, a Civil War general who left his papers to the College archives. Cox later became governor of Ohio and secretary of the interior. Schmeil worked in the Foreign Service for 24 years. He served in five different countries during his career before retiring five years ago. He has spent the last four years writing Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and ...

Feature Photo: OSteel Reclaims Finney Stage

Feature Photo: OSteel Reclaims Finney Stage

December 5, 2014

Joined by guest artist Leon Foster Thomas, OSteel performed on the stage of Finney Chapel for the first time in 13 years on Wednesday. OSteel continues to perform at various venues across the country in cities like Austin, New Orleans, Chicago and New York. The group celebrated its return to Finney with music composed by Thomas, a steel pan virtuoso as well as an accomplished composer and arranger. The Trinidad native received his bachelor of music from Florida Memorial University and his master’s...

Irwin Quotes Beckett, Demonstrates Versatility in Vaudeville

Anne Pride-Wilt, Arts Editor

May 2, 2014

“I want to show you now what happens when I put baggy pants on,” actor and clown Bill Irwin, OC ’73, told the Finney Chapel audience Sunday night. He’d taken the stage in an old-fashioned but safe ensemble of a white shirt and loose gray pants — the only thing unusual about his appearance was a brown fedora — but that would change over the course of the night. Once Irwin donned the baggy pants (and later, the even baggier pants), everything became fair game, from classic clowning to dramatic monologues to musical comedy. Toward the beginning of the show, Irwin, who spent the year after he graduated from Oberlin at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, declared that half of physical comedy...

Modern Hits, Golden Oldies Garner Standing Ovation at Obertones Show

Clara Shannon

May 2, 2014

Established in 1984, the Obertones are the oldest a cappella group on campus, and they seem comfortable with their standing. While their cockiness can be irritating, they are known for being stellar performers, and their exciting Finney Chapel concert last Saturday night only confirmed the validity of that assertion. The all-male a cappella ensemble gave an hour-and-a-half performance to a visibly entertained audience, and, in a move that distinguished them from similar groups on campus, also supplemented their show with skits and dancing. The 11 Obertones opened the show with each member ina different costume, joking that they would explain later. A sultry performance of D’Angelo’s “Me and Those Dreamin’...

Takács Quartet Recovers After Brief Faltering Start

Clara Shannon

April 18, 2014

The Takács String Quartet fits right in at Oberlin. The Budapest-founded and Boulder, CO-based ensemble has been acquiring awards — including the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance — since its founding in 1975, and is world-famous for its unique blend of drama, warmth and humor. As such, it’s no surprise that it was welcomed with open arms as part of the Artist Recital Series last Sunday. The quartet performed works by Shostakovich, Webern and Beethoven in an intense and satisfying program that overcame its early missteps for an uplifting conclusion. Although the quartet takes its name from original first violinist Gábor Takács-Nagy, the only founding members that remain in the ensemble...

Béla Fleck (left) and Chick Corea blended their unique instruments in a mesmerizing performance last Wednesday in Finney Chapel. It is the first time the duo has gone on tour since their Grammy-winning album release in 2007.

Corea, Fleck Blend Talents for Packed Reunion Concert

April 4, 2014

Two brilliant and virtuosic musicians reunited at Finney Chapel on Wednesday in one of the most unique duos in music. Chick Corea and Béla Fleck are together again for their first joint tour since the release of their Latin Grammy award-winning album The Enchantment in 2007. The duo has a combined total of 33 Grammys, but even this staggering number does not effectively communicate the extent of the pair’s chemistry, which bubbled across the stage and into every corner of the Chapel last Wednes...

Cooper Winner Li Returns for Triumphant Recital

Clara Shannon

March 7, 2014

Last Saturday night, an 18-year-old college first-year performed a solo concert as part of Oberlin’s Artist Recital Series. His age alone should indicate the virtuosic qualities of the concert, but when Harvard and New England Conservatory student and renowned concert pianist George Li took the stage, the mature, riveting performance that followed surpassed all expectations. Li was last in Oberlin only four years ago, when he nabbed first place at that year’s Thomas and Evon Cooper International Piano Competition. Although only 14 at the time, Li was not only featured as a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra — an achievement even professional musicians dream of — but also won prize money and a full four-year...

Lena Dunham Dispenses Life Advice in Finney Convocation

Anne Pride-Wilt, Arts Editor

February 14, 2014

As the most talked-about Oberlin alumna in recent years, Lena Dunham, OC ’08, returned to campus for a convocation in Finney Chapel last Saturday night like a conquering hero — a funny, humble, down-to-earth one. Dunham is well known for creating and starring in the Emmy-award-winning HBO series Girls, now in its third season, and her award-winning 2010 indie film Tiny Furniture, among other projects. While Oberlin students may sometimes tire of being compared to Lena Dunham or hearing her name dropped in conversation, Dunham’s warm, smart and surprisingly poignant convocation demonstrated that the association does Oberlin well.   The convocation was staged as a candid interview between Dunham and Pr...

Established 1874.