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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Staff Bring Talents To UMass Boston’s Bookstore With Talented U

Ellen Flemming had the audience in stitches with a story about her visit to France.




There were storytellers, interior designers, and ballroom dancers. There were jewelry-makers and folk musicians. There were photographers and painters. There were no students. The group who presented their work in the University’s Talented U showcase were all UMass Boston staff, many of whom work at jobs which are completely unrelated to their art.

Talented U comes to the UMass Boston Bookstore each fall and spring. This time, it took place between December 3 and 7, with an opening on December 4. The show includes artwork which remains on display all week, as well as a series of lectures by people like storyteller Ellen Flemming and folk musician Chris Pahud.

Nathan Cooper, head of building maintenance, had his photographs on display for the show. He said his art helps him to relax. “I just enjoy it,” he said. “I work all day, and everybody has something else they love doing outside of that.” Displaying his work in the school bookstore gives Cooper the chance to show his art to students, and he “loves that opportunity.”

Chris Pahud, the musician who performed for the opening, is both a staff member working in classroom tech support and an alum. He came to UMass Boston when it first opened in 1974, and he hasn’t left since. “I’ve worked here since November 18, 1980,” he said.

Pahud went on, “I really love working here. I have no plans to retire soon. I could retire with full benefits in 2 years, but I’m not sure I will.”

When Pahud isn’t working for the university, he finds other ways to contribute. He explained, “I have been volunteering at the radio station [WUMB] since it could only broadcast as far as the McCormack Cafeteria, since there was a McCormack Cafeteria.”

Pahud’s warm, deep voice filled the room as he strummed his guitar and sang “Fifteen Tons.” The bookstore staff stopped to listen. “This is fantastic!” said Sue Higgs, a salesperson in the store. “I’m also looking forward to the cha cha demo.”

Higgs’ manager, Randal Cefalu, was also happy to have the Talented U staff in the store. “I want to do more events,” he said. “It’s difficult to get people to come to the bookstore, so the fact that that room is full is great.”

Both Cefalu and the Talented U staff hope to get more students to come to the next event. Pahud agreed. “I’m not really sure if any of the students I know are aware that I play.” That they don’t is a shame. He and the other staff who shared their talents are truly gifted, and the whole university community would benefit from checking out their work.