To celebrate Shakespeare’s 457th birthday, students, faculty, and alumni, from around the country read Sonnets at the Savard Welcome Center and over zoom.
If you were to guess what Professor Gary Bouchard’s pride and joy is, you may think to predict it to be his doctorate degree, his children, or his position as a professor at Saint Anselm College. Alas, you would be wrong: it would have to be the Shakespeare Sonnet Reading Marathon, held every year on April 23rd. This year, Shakespeare’s 457th birthday and the 33rd year of the marathon, was no exception.
The Savard Welcome Center came alive last Friday as 162 individuals, including 37 alums from 28 different classes, many current students, faculty, and friends of the college gathered to read the 154 sonnets written by William Shakespeare. As Professor Bouchard puts it, “what has become so beautifully clear with each passing year is that people from across many years and miles have come to count on this annual spring ritual at the College as a day when they can connect with Saint Anselm, Shakespeare, professors, and one another in a really special way.” Professor Bouchard is certainly not wrong when he points out that the event spans many years, as this year saw readings from alums that graduated as long ago as 1968 as well as current freshman at the college.
Along with every other event over the past year, Covid-19 restrictions have made it difficult, or at least different. However, Professor Bouchard has chosen to look on the bright side. With the help of “the wizards in I.T.” as he calls them, the event was able to accept videos of readers or allow them to attend virtually, along with the many readers that attended in person; this opened up the event to people “from far away who would never be able to participate” otherwise. Even with these upsides, it still just simply was not the same as usual, but Professor Bouchard is hopeful: “Like everything else in our lives, the Shakespeare Palooza has become a hugless and cakeless event, and I hope that doesn’t continue!” We hope so too, Professor.