Friday, January 09, 2009

Featured in the Barometer!

We were visited last night by reporter Gail Cole and photographer Garett Kopp to do an information piece on the juggling club.

The article turned out really well, other than we actually meet Monday and Thursdays, rather than Tuesdays and Thursdays . . . heh heh. Perhaps we'll start meeting Tuesdays now too :-)

Here's the main article info:

Jugglers get hooked on the toss

Students and community members converge to toss some fun at McAlexander fieldhouse on Tuesdays and Thursdays

By: Gail Cole  Posted: 1/9/09

Avid jugglers and anyone looking to simply try something new can look no further than the OSU Juggling Club.

Each Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., students and community members meet in McAlexander Fieldhouse to practice their individual skills, work together and have fun.

Membership is open to anyone, and the club's casual membership brings in a small group of students with a variety of skills.

"When they're here, they have lots of things they can work on," said David Sallee, and instructor for the club. His wife Brenda is the faculty advisor.

"Once we get a student to the point where they are passing, throwing things at each other, they tend to come again and again."

Along with juggling, Sallee said the club has welcomed students who were interested in working on acrobatics and gymnastics. "It's becoming quite diverse," he said.The club works on juggling everything from small bean bags to bowling pin-like clubs to rings. The instructors bring props, but Sallee explained that jugglers eventually collect many of their own. "The more you get into juggling, the more props you wind up just accumulating," he said.

The club does work with torches or swords, but Sallee said that they are not very dangerous; swords are slightly dull, and torches use flammables that usually will not hurt a juggler.

"Chainsaws, we don't ever bring in," Sallee said.

According to Sallee and Crizzly, another instructor in the group, the only other juggling group in Corvallis is the Corvallis Unicycle and Juggling club. Since the OSU club meets twice a week, much more frequently than the Corvallis group's twice a month, the instructors give students a greater chance to practice.

No matter the student's skill level, the instructors said they work to be inclusive to all members. "Some people in the group don't know how to pass clubs, but we can still include them when we're passing clubs because we can do things called steals and replacements," Sallee said of juggling clubs with two or more people. "It's not a requirement that they know how to juggle clubs to do that, and it's just something fun to do.

"We try to make it as open as possible, and as instructors try to be as approachable as possible."

Though the instructors and members have fun, there's more to the club than just practice.The club, along with Corvallis unicycle group, One-Wheel Wonders, will host the Pacific Northwest Juggling Convention from March 27 to 29 at the McAlexander Fieldhouse. Juggling games and demonstrations from both jugglers and unicyclists will go on in McAlexander during the convention. Vendors of juggling equipment and clothing will also be at the event.

"Our goal is to have the Fieldhouse actually be open for 24-hour juggling," Sallee said.

The event designed for everyone from the inexperienced to the expert.

"Chances are they can come and not know how to juggle when they get here, but they'll know how to juggle when they leave," Sallee sad.

Matt Hall, a multiple gold medal winner within the International Juggling Association, will be one of several celebrity guests at the conference, who will help teach workshops.

"[The guests] bringing with them a lot of knowledge," Sallee said.

In addition to the activities, the convention will host a family-friendly show on March 28 featuring nationally-known jugglers, Juggling Club members and the Corvallis Unicycle and Juggling Club.

The Renegade Show, held late Friday night, March 27 in McAlexander, will feature amateur acts trying new juggling tricks, and can prove to be entertaining.

"We never know what's going to happen," Sallee said.

The convention and show will be free to the public.In 2007, the club held its first convention. Sallee and Crizzly estimated that 700 visitors attended the convention throughout the weekend, and over 650 people came to the convention's main show in Milam Auditorium.The club does smaller local events as well as the convention. They have appeared at the Family Study Center at Bates Hall, residence halls and have opened for Bard in the Quad Shakespeare plays in the MU Quad in the summer.

The club is an outlet for the hobby that many come to learn just because it seems interesting.

"It's something I just picked up for fun," said Mark Delcambre, a junior in civil engineering and club member. He said his juggling skills improved since being in the club, and he has performed with the club at various local events.

"I started 26 years ago. It was cheap entertainment, and everyone else thought it was hard," Crizzly said.Sallee also started juggling at a young age.

"I learned how to throw three [tennis balls] around in about five minutes," he said. "I just kind of got hooked on it."

Gail Cole, senior reporter


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