College of Fine Arts News Archive

April 2016

  • SFA’s Latin Lumberjacks to celebrate Cinco de Mayo

    SFA’s Latin Lumberjacks to celebrate Cinco de Mayo

    April 28, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Latin Lumberjacks ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with an outdoor concert from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, May 5, in the plaza outside the Baker Pattillo Student Center on the SFA campus.

    The Latin Lumberjacks is comprised of members of the Sound Recording Technology program within the SFA School of Music. Directed by Luigi Lazareno, music faculty member, the group will perform a variety of popular songs in salsa style.

    Cinco de Mayo, also known as the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, is celebrated in parts of Mexico and the United States as the date in 1862 of the Mexican army's victory over France during the Franco-Mexican War.

    The Cinco de Mayo program will feature colorful, happy salsa sounds that highlight the powerful rhythms of cha-cha-cha, bolero, guaguancó, son montuno, bachata and others performed with congas, bongos, maracas, claves and other Latin music instruments.

    A tribute to Michael Jackson is a highlight of the musical celebration, according to Lazareno.

    "Bring your dancing shoes," Lazareno advised those who plan to attend.

    The concert is free. For more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/.

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  • Meyer’s ‘In the Trees’ series to feature world premier of ‘LI’

    Meyer’s ‘In the Trees’ series to feature world premier of ‘LI’

    April 28, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present Dr. Brad Meyer performing “LI” in the Trees at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 7, in the Free Speech Area on the SFA campus.

    This concert will feature the world premiere of Meyer’s latest percussion ensemble composition, “LI,” which stands for “Lines of Inspiration.”

    “The composition is an abstract, semi-improvisation structure to help facilitate an atmosphere of interactive music and art,” said Meyer, professor of percussion studies at SFA.

    Approximately 25 performers will draw musical inspiration from different types of art, which will be created by Gaby Hijar, graduate student in the SFA School of Art.

    “Performers will improvise on the idea of different pieces of art – paintings, sculptures, etc. – for pre-determined times at various percussion stations,” Meyer explained.

    The performance will last a little over an hour, and will be located in the wooded area between the School of Music and the Baker Pattillo Student Center. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be moved to SFA’s Cole Concert Hall.

    Audience members are encouraged to bring folding chairs, picnic blankets, etc. and to also roam around the music installation to experience different vantage points, Meyer said.

    This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

    article ID 1069

  • Internationally renowned cellist Quint to perform at SFA

    Internationally renowned cellist Quint to perform at SFA

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    April 28, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present cellist Misha Quint performing with SFA music faculty and students in a concert at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus.

    Quint, an internationally renowned concert musician, will join SFA faculty members Jennifer Dalmas, violin, and Andrew Parr and Linda Parr, piano, for a chamber music concert. The program will feature two masterpieces from the piano trio repertoire, including Antonín Dvorak’s colorful “Dumky” trio and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s one-movement work “Trio élégiaque.”

    The concert will conclude with a cello ensemble piece featuring Quint performing with Evgeni Raychev, cello instructor at SFA, and his cello students.

    Quint is founder and music director of the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany, and Arcidosso, Tuscany, Italy, and the InterHarmony Concert Series at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. For more information about the artist, visit http://www.mishaquintcello.com/

    The concert is sponsored by the School of Music orchestra program and the Cello Club. Admission is free. For more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

    article ID 1068

  • SFA’s Choral Masterworks Series to present ‘An American Requiem’

    SFA’s Choral Masterworks Series to present ‘An American Requiem’

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    Erin Roth
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    Richard Novak
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    Casey Jones Parrish
    April 28, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present the annual Choral Masterworks Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    Under the direction of Dr. Tim King, director of choral studies at SFA, the A Cappella Choir, Choral Union, Women’s Chorus and the Orchestra of the Pines will perform “An American Requiem” by Richard Danielpour. Guest soloists will be SFA alumni Erin Roth, mezzo-soprano; Richard Novak, tenor; and Casey Jones Parrish, baritone.

    “An American Requiem” is being presented in commemoration of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, according to King.

    “This year marks the 15th year since the tragic events of 9/11,” he said. “We don’t do a masterwork in the fall, so we are taking this opportunity for remembrance.

    “The work began as a tribute to the American soldier and an examination of the insanity of war,” King explained. “During the early stages of composition, the tragic events of 9/11 occurred, hence the dedication reads: ‘to the memory of those who died in the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and in tribute to the American soldier – past, present and future.’”

    Even though “An American Requiem” is not a liturgical work, Danielpour uses the Roman Catholic Requiem liturgy as outline for the work, King explained.

    “However, he supplements the liturgical text with poetry from American poets Whitman, Emerson, Michael Harper, Hilda Doolittle (better known as H.D.), which makes this truly ‘An American Requiem,’” he said. “I believe this work will be recognized by music historians as one of the 21st century’s greatest American works. With a huge orchestra, massed choirs and accomplished soloists, the beauty and sheer power of the music rewards both the music critic and music lover.”

    Roth, who is from Lufkin and earned a Master of Music from SFA in 2007, serves as the alto section leader and soloist in residence with the Sanctuary Choir at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas and also regularly performs as a soloist and chorister with the Highland Park Chorale, a professional choral group. She resides in Plano with her husband, Chad.

    Novak holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in vocal performance from SFA, and he earned a doctoral degree in vocal performance from the University of North Texas. He is the music director at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in New Braunfels where he is also choir director and music teacher. He is an adjunct voice instructor at the University of the Incarnate Word. He resides in New Braunfels with his wife, Laura, and three children.

    Parrish is a native of Livingston now living in Houston where he serves as assistant choir director at Cook Middle School in Cy-Fair ISD. He is a member of the Houston Men’s Choir and a staff singer at the United Methodist Church-Downtown Houston. He earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and master’s degree in choral conducting at SFA.

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA’s Rockin’ Axes to perform music of the ’70s

    SFA’s Rockin’ Axes to perform music of the ’70s

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    April 25, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Rockin’ Axes at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “The Sounds of the ’70s, Part II” when the ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Directed by Andy Sperandeo, instructor in SFA School of Music’s Sound Recording Technology program, the Rockin’ Axes consists of SRT students who study influential, popular music of the 20th and 21st centuries, according to Sperandeo. The course work helps students to develop skills necessary to transcribe, rehearse, arrange and perform in an ensemble setting.

    “The Sounds of the ’70s, Part II” will feature the music of Michael Jackson, Styx, Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones, Earth Wind & Fire and more.

    “We did ‘The Sounds of the ‘70s, Part I’ last semester, but there was still so much great music from that era we didn’t cover that I wanted to carry the theme over to this semester,” Sperandeo said.

    Among the pieces to be performed are Jackson’s “Rock With You,” “Come Sail Away” by the progressive band Styx, and Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.”

    “Billy Joel was and still is one of the greatest singer/songwriters of our time,” Sperandeo said. “I think the students can learn a thing or two from his writing style and learn to appreciate what a great voice he has, as well.”

    The Rockin’ Axes will also perform “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones and “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind & Fire.

    “The Stones were one of the first super groups of the ’60s and’ 70s, so they had to be included in the set list,” Sperandeo said. “‘Wild Horses’ has been covered by so many artists over the years, showing its staying power and connectedness to so many generations.

    “Earth, Wind & Fire had it all – progressive, soulful, powerful horn section, soaring harmony vocals, catchy ‘poppy’/funk tunes,” he said. “We also would like to pay homage to the late great founder, Maurice White.”

    As guest artists on the program, the Contemporary Guitar Ensemble, also a product of the SRT program and directed by Sperandeo, will perform an arrangement of guitar great Jimi Hendrix.

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

    To receive news about the Rockin’ Axes and upcoming performances, “Like” their Facebook page at The Rockin’ Axes of SFA State University.

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  • SFA bands to present annual ‘Concert in the Park’

    SFA bands to present annual ‘Concert in the Park’

    April 25, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University bands will present the annual “Concert in the Park” at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1, on the lawn in front of the Wright Music Building.

    Performing will be the University Band and the Symphonic Band, both directed by Dr. James Dreiling, acting assistant director of bands at SFA; the Wind Symphony, directed by Dr. Tamey Anglley, acting associate director of bands; and the Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. David Campo, acting director of bands while Fred J. Allen is on spring sabbatical.

    The SFA University Band will open the concert with “Into the Clouds” by Richard Saucedo and guest conducted by graduate assistant Dwight Watson of Wylie. The second selection is conducted by graduate assistant Taylor Goodwin of Ennis and was inspired by the untimely death of gifted actor James Dean. “As Summer Was Just Beginning” was composed by Larry Daehn in 1994 and has become a popular ballad with bands across the nation. The University Band will conclude its portion of the concert with a march by Karl L. King. “Liberty Fleet” was composed in 1942 and is one of his lesser-known marches.

    The Symphonic Band will open its portion of the concert with “Albanian Dance” by Shelley Hanson followed by a medley of familiar tunes from the 1938 classic film “The Wizard of Oz,” including “Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The Symphonic Band will conclude with the classic march “Them Basses” by G.F. Huffine featuring the low brass and woodwinds sections.

    The Wind Symphony will perform Scott Joplin’s second published march “Combination March” written in 1896 for piano. “Combination March” was only Joplin’s second published march. Wind Symphony will finish with George Gershwin’s well-known “An American In Paris.”

    Concert in the Park will close with the Wind Ensemble performing highlights of the semester with selections from composers Steven Bryant, Léo Delibes, Darius Milhaud and Henry Fillmore. The performance will feature Bryant’s “In This Broad Earth,” Delibes’ stirring “March and Cortege of Bacchus,” first presented by the Wind Ensemble on their annual spring tour, and selections from Milhaud’s“ Suite Francaise” and Fillmore’s rousing march, “Rolling Thunder.”

    The “Concert in the Park” setting was created by SFA Director of Bands Emeritus Melvin B. Montgomery. Admission is free. Beginning at 1 p.m., Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, honorary band service fraternity and sorority, will sell $5 hamburger plates that include a burger, chips and drink.

    For more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • Wind Symphony to present ‘Tin Pan Alley’

    Wind Symphony to present ‘Tin Pan Alley’

    April 25, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Wind Symphony at Stephen F. Austin State University will present the program “Tin Pan Alley” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 2, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    The program will showcase music by early 20th century American composers, such as Scott Joplin and George Gershwin, according to Dr. Tamey Anglley, acting associate director of bands at SFA. The concert will also feature SFA School of Music faculty member Dr. Nathan Nabb, professor of saxophone.

    Joplin’s lesser-known “Combination March” will open the program. “This composition was only Joplin’s second published march,” Anglley said.

    Nabb will perform on L. Mark Lewis’ Concerto for Alto Saxophone, which he composed for saxophonist Kenneth Tse in 2009.

    Gershwin’s “Second Prelude,” which he referred to as “a sort of blues lullaby,” is the second in a set of three preludes that he wrote for piano in 1926, Anglley explained.

    The Wind Symphony will end the concert with one of Gershwin’s most well-known pieces, “An American In Paris.”

    “In 1928, Gershwin composed ‘An American In Paris’ as a tone poem for orchestra after a trip abroad that inspired him to work in earnest on a recent commission he had received from the New York Philharmonic,” Anglley said. “His idea for the new work solidified as he was shopping for Parisian taxi-horns to take back to the US, as he wanted to capture the tumult of Paris’ streets in music and create a concert work that didn’t center around the piano.”

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • SummerStage Festival offers pair of fun, lighthearted productions

    SummerStage Festival offers pair of fun, lighthearted productions

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    April 21, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The 2016 SummerStage Festival at Stephen F. Austin State University will entertain audiences of all ages with a pair of lighthearted productions.

    This year’s SummerStage Festival is slated for June 24 through July 16 in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus and features the School of Theatre’s presentations of the children’s musical “A Year With Frog and Toad” by Robert and Willie Reale and “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” a witty comedy by actor, screenwriter and stand-up comic Steve Martin.

    The SummerStage Festival was launched in 2014 as the School of Theatre sought to reach out to new audiences looking for a fun and easy-going way of spending warm-weather time with family and friends, according to Scott Shattuck, the school’s director.

    “The festival brings people together by bringing engaging stories to life,” Shattuck said. “Half the fun is the audience. It’s full of neighbors laughing together and greeting each other before and after the show and at intermission, families making memories, and friends chatting about the amusing experience they’ve shared.”

    Angela Bacarisse, the director of the smash hit “Spamalot” and the summer kids’ favorites “The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Musical” and “How I Became a Pirate,” now brings to SummerStage the only children’s show ever nominated for the coveted Tony Award for Broadway’s Best Musical. In “A Year With Frog and Toad,” based on the books by Arnold Lobel, the beloved suburban amphibians leap to tuneful life with irresistibly upbeat Frog lifting the spirits of his worrywart neighbor Toad.

    “I remember reading these books to my son when he was younger,” Bacarisse said. “We still have them on our bookshelf. I’m sure many parents and children will love seeing these characters brought to life.”

    Inga Meier will make her directorial debut on the Turner stage with “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” a hilarious play about an imagined meeting in 1904 between a would-be scientist called “Einstein” and an irresistible-but-unknown painter named “Picasso” in a Paris cafe called the Lapin Agile. Wit and whimsy fuels their talk of creativity and inspiration with the bistro’s unforgettable cast of regulars until a very different kind of genius mysteriously arrives from the future. This play is recommended for mature audiences, who are invited to call it “Picasso,” leaving out the unpronounceable locale in the title.

    “One of the compelling things to me about Steve Martin, whether as a playwright, novelist, actor or stand-up comedian playing a banjo with an arrow through his head, is his incredibly unique style of humor,” Meier said. “All bets are off. The rules of time and space and story don’t apply at all, and yet everything ties together in a delightfully magical way. He crafts worlds that are just so much fun to explore.”

    Performances of “A Year With Frog and Toad” are at 10 a.m. June 28 and July 13 and 15; at 2 p.m. June 24 and 27 and July 14 and 16; and at 6:30 p.m. June 25 and July 9 and 13. General admission tickets are $7.50.

    Performances of “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” are 7:30 p.m. nightly July 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15 and 16. General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/youth.

    For tickets or more information, visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. All performances are in W.M. Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

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  • Variety of SFA summer camps showcase university

    Variety of SFA summer camps showcase university

    April 21, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    For decades, the summer camps offered at Stephen F. Austin State University have provided education, athletic and artistic opportunities for youth. Additionally, the camps showcase the university to thousands of potential future Lumberjacks, bringing campers and their parents to Nacogdoches and the SFA campus.

    The College of Fine Arts considers the camps directed by faculty and students in the schools of Art, Music and Theatre at SFA to be among the college’s greatest recruiting tools for fine arts majors, according to Dr. A.C. “Buddy” Himes, dean.

    “Summer is a great time for high school and junior high school age students to move rapidly to the next level of their chosen area by working with our faculty in various summer camps,” Himes said. “Our camps challenge and engage students with an intensity that simply could never be achieved within the school programs of the students’ respective home towns.”
     
    Regardless of the discipline or camp, students come to SFA camps as “raw material,” Himes said. They are eager to learn, and in the span of a week, leave the camp having matured with a sense of pride and accomplishment. They then return to their respective schools and model these newly found qualities for their classmates, he said.

    “As one example, many times I have listened to the first rehearsal of one of the bands on Monday morning (the first day of camp), then come back to the concert of the exact same band on Friday (the last day of camp),” Himes said. “The progress that is made is absolutely astounding. This is what happens when you combine highly motivated students with dedicated faculty who are committed to teaching excellence in their respective disciplines.”

    For some, attendance at one of the camps begins an SFA experience that lasts a lifetime – from camper, to university student, to camp facilitator – forging friendships that continue through decades.

    SFA School of Music hosts several camps for students who want to improve their skills in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Three separate band camps are for high school students, middle school students and drum majors. One of the first of its kind, SFA’s annual All-State Choir Music Camp is designed for ninth through 12th grade students preparing for the TMEA All-State Choir auditions. The SFA strings camp welcomes middle and high school students for a one-week intensive study of the string orchestra literature working with nationally renowned faculty and SFA’s string students. SFA’s Piano in the Pines Summer Camp offers an intensive week of private lessons, master classes, ensemble work and performances and helps students in seventh through 12th grades jump start a new piano repertoire for the coming academic year.

    The Summer Art Academy is open to students going into kindergarten through sixth grades. Classes are arranged by age and include drawing, painting, sculpture and ceramics. An exhibition of student work culminates the two-week program.

    Entering its 50th year, the SFA High School Summer Theatre Workshop is the oldest program of its kind in Texas. The workshop consists of two weeks of concentrated instruction in acting, voice and movement, or scenery, costumes, make-up, sound, lighting and stage management for high school students.

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  • Program to feature music for clarinet, bassoon, piano

    Program to feature music for clarinet, bassoon, piano

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    Mary Druhan
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    Sue Barber
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    Luis Sanchez
    April 20, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Clarinetist Dr. Mary Druhan will perform in a trio concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, in the Music Recital Hall in the Wright Music Building on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.

    Druhan, associate professor of clarinet at Texas A&M University Commerce, will be joined by TAMU-Commerce colleague Dr. Luis Sanchez, piano, and Dr. Sue Barber, professor of bassoon at James Madison University, when they present works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Julius Fucik, Karl Goepfart and Mikhail Glinka.

    Among the works for clarinet, bassoon and piano to be performed are Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat major, op. 11, and Glinka’s Trio Pathétique in d minor, according to Dr. Christopher Ayer, professor of clarinet in the SFA School of Music.

    “The most well known of these works is the Glinka,” Ayer said, “which showcases all of the instruments in the trio and will be an instant audience favorite.”

    Druhan has enjoyed an active performing career in the United States, Germany, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Thailand and Puerto Rico. She became a member of the Dallas Wind Symphony in 2003 and has since also performed with the Dallas Festival of Modern Music, Triforia Winds, Shreveport Symphony, Shreveport Opera, East Texas Symphony, Plano Symphony and the Color of Sound chamber series.

    Barber serves as chair of the woodwind area at the James Madison University School of Music. She is a member of the resident faculty ensemble The Montpelier Wind Quintet. During the summer, she is a member of the artist/teaching faculty at the Brevard Music Festival in Brevard, North Carolina. She is an active freelance bassoonist, performing regularly with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Roanoke Symphony, Opera Roanoke, Opera on The James and the Williamsburg Sinfonia.

    For more than two decades, Sanchez has maintained an active career as soloist, collaborative artist and teacher. He has appeared in concerts in the United States, South America, Europe and Asia. Since 2011, he has presented lectures yearly at the Texas Music Teachers Association Convention, and he is a 2011 and 2013 TMTA Collegiate Teacher of Year nominee.

    While on the SFA campus, Druhan and Barber will present a master class for SFA clarinetists and bassoonists. Druhan will also present a separate workshop on coping with performance related injuries for all music students. She has suffered from and is undergoing treatment for a serious playing-related injury, which inspired her research into musician injury, prevention and recovery, Ayer said.

    Admission to the concert is free. For more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • College of Fine Arts awards first community-established endowed professorship

    College of Fine Arts awards first community-established endowed professorship

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    April 18, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts’ Dean’s Circle will bestow the first-ever community-established endowed professorship at SFA when the annual Dean’s Awards are presented at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 29, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    Dr. Charles R. Gavin, professor of horn and chamber music in the SFA School of Music, is the recipient of the inaugural Dean’s Circle Endowed Professorship award, which was created to recognize and honor those who “embody the qualities of the ideal professor that characterize all College of Fine Arts faculty members,” according to Dr. A.C. “Buddy” Himes, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

    “The award symbolizes the esteem in which all fine arts faculty are held as a result of the high level of artistry they bring to SFA, the impact their students have on the community as a result of their dedicated teaching, and the commitment they have to furthering their disciplines nationally,” Himes said. “When this award is presented to an individual, it is done so in recognition and on behalf of all fine arts faculty members.”

    Gavin said he felt “truly humbled” to be the first recipient of the endowed professorship.

    “All I have to do is walk the halls of the Wright Music Building and see so many colleagues deserving of the award,” Gavin said, “and the same holds true for the faculties of the School of Art and School of Theatre. SFA is fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated faculty in the College of Fine Arts.

    “Good students make teachers look good,” he continued, “and I have been so fortunate to have been blessed with terrific students over my entire career. It did not take me long to realize that the best school music education programs are in the state of Texas, so why should I leave this state with such amazing band and orchestra programs.

    “The success so many of my students have had and continue to enjoy is the greatest accomplishment of my career,” he said.

    Establishing and funding the professorship was “the realization of vision,” Himes said. The Dean’s Circle, which is an external support organization of community members founded in 2008, began raising funds for the endowment principal that same year. With support from the SFA Office of University Advancement, the endowment was finally completed in 2014.

    “This endowed professorship is absolutely unprecedented in the College of Fine Arts as its first-ever endowed professorship,” Himes said. “But what really makes it unique is that, while other colleges at SFA already have endowed professorships, this award is the first ever for any college that I know of resulting from the work of an external support advisory board of dedicated community volunteers.”

    Broad-based criteria made the award open to faculty of all ranks and of all fine arts disciplines, Himes said. Special emphasis was placed on candidates who demonstrated effectiveness at making their wealth of knowledge accessible to students of all levels; effectiveness in recruiting and retaining quality students; application of the concepts of cooperation, mutual support, teamwork and collaboration; and commitment to the mission of the institution.

    The recipient was selected by an objective and distinguished panel consisting of two senior faculty members from each discipline – art, music and theatre – and two Dean’s Circle representatives from the community.

    Over the three-year term of the award, the recipient will receive a total of $15,000 above his/her base salary. The award is intended to provide the resources for all manner of professional endeavors in which the recipient may choose to become involved, Himes said.

    Gavin said the award allows him to travel to important professional events in his field, such as the annual Symposium of the International Horn Society. It will also fund the purchase of new instruments, such as an alphorn and a natural horn.

    The next goal for the Dean’s Circle is to have at least one endowed professorship for each of the college’s disciplines in art, music and theatre. This first professorship was made generic to all disciplines until the other professorships are completed, Himes said.

    “This is a source of pride and accomplishment for the Dean’s Circle,” Himes said. “This organization draws people from the community closer to the life of the university, and it enhances the symbiotic relationship between the institution and the community.

    “This award can have the effect of enhancing the entire faculty inasmuch as the recipient is a role model for all faculty,” he added. “This award can become a source of inspiration and motivation to which all faculty may aspire.”

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  • Artist’s reception slated for Barnett exhibition

    Artist’s reception slated for Barnett exhibition

    April 15, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    An artist’s reception for Vera Barnett, whose works are showing in Stephen F. Austin State University art galleries, is scheduled for Thursday evening, April 21.

    Barnett’s exhibition, which features oil paintings, as well as examples of the artist’s plastic models used to make her paintings, is showing through May 6 in both the Griffith Gallery on the SFA campus and in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    The artist’s reception on April 21 will depart from the usual format, according to John Handley, director of galleries at SFA. Barnett will speak at 5 p.m. in Griffith Gallery, where the majority of her pieces are showing, followed by a wine-and-cheese reception at 6 p.m. in Cole Art Center, where Barnett’s work is also exhibited.

    “We want to extend a special thanks to Cheryl and Kevin Vogel of Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden in Dallas for organizing this exhibition,” Handley said. Visit the gallery at: http://www.valleyhouse.com.

    The exhibition is sponsored in part by Nacogdoches Junior Forum, SFA Friends of the Visual Arts and Texas Commission on the Arts. Admission is free.

    Griffith Gallery hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Cole Art Center hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For additional information, call (936) 468-1131.

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  • SFA’s Swingin’ Axes, Aces jazz bands to perform

    SFA’s Swingin’ Axes, Aces jazz bands to perform

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    April 15, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Saxophonist and vocalist David Caceres will join the Swingin’ Axes jazz band at Stephen F. Austin State University when the Axes and Swingin’ Aces perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 21, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    As a vocalist, Houston-based Caceres will perform Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady” and Michael Buble’s “Can’t Buy Me Love.” He will sing and play on All Jarreau’s “Roof Garden.”

    The Swingin’ Axes, directed by Dr. Deb Scott, professor of trombone and jazz studies in the SFA School of Music, will also perform “Berglike” by Chris Culver, “Blues and the Abscessed Tooth” by Matt Catingub, and “Point of Return” by Paul Ferguson.

    The Swingin’ Aces, directed by Dr. J.D. Salas, associate professor of tuba and euphonium studies at SFA, will perform “Basically Yours” by Thad Jones, “Time After Time” by Sammy Cahn and introduced by Frank Sinatra, and a version of The Beatles’ classic “Norwegian Wood” made famous by The Buddy Rich Big Band.

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • Guest pianist An to perform with Orchestra of the Pines

    Guest pianist An to perform with Orchestra of the Pines

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    April 13, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Orchestra of the Pines at Stephen F. Austin State University will present the program “Stories from Afar” when the ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 25, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The program features music by composers Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. A highlight of the program will be a return performance of guest artist Ning An, assistant professor of piano at California State University, Fullerton, visiting artist at Lee University and celebrated concert pianist who has performed in venues worldwide.

    “Our music for this concert conveys stories about Greek mythology, Christian piety and the distant Orient, all while spinning the spotlight on outstanding solos by members of the orchestra and our guest pianist, Ning An,” said Dr. Gene H. Moon, director of orchestras for the SFA School of Music.

    The orchestra will perform Wagner’s illustrious overture to the opera “Tannhäuser,” whose stories “speak of a knightly minstrel struggling between the temptations of the flesh and spiritual love,” Moon explained. Graduate student Jeff Leung from Hong Kong will guest conduct.

    An will join the orchestra in its performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major.

    “An’s last engagement with the SFA orchestra was six years ago in 2010 when he performed Sergei Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto,” Moon said. “It was an evening that has remained memorable for all those who attended and shared the stage with the artist.”

    The program concludes with the “sensational storytelling” of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” Op. 35, Moon said.

    “‘Scheherazade’ is one of the greatest orchestral works penned and continues to be widely programmed work,” he said. “It is a great undertaking for this orchestra. The last time the Orchestra of the Pines performed ‘Scheherazade,’ the orchestra’s personnel consisted of roughly 20 music students complemented with SFA music faculty and professional musicians from Dallas and Houston. Ten years later, we bring it back but with an orchestra whose personnel consists of all music students studying at SFA. We even have a few alumni returning to join in the festivities. It is really a hallmark moment in the orchestra’s history.”

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA Steel Band to present diverse program

    SFA Steel Band to present diverse program

    April 13, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University’s Steel Band will present a multifaceted program when the band, also known as Jacks of Steel, performs at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 24, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    “The concert will consist of a diverse variety of styles, including traditional, contemporary, pop songs and even some ska music,” said Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies for the SFA School of Music.

    The Steel Band will perform the fun ’80s tune “Take on Me” by A-Ha! and the Ernies’ “Inspector 8,” which is an energetic ska tune arranged by Brian Nozny. Ska is a modern style of vocalized Jamaican popular music, which emerged in the 1950s as a blend of African-Jamaican folk music, calypso and American rhythm and blues.

    The band will get the audience “grooving and moving,” Meyer said, with “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.

    Cole Concert Hall is located in the Tom and Peggy Wright Music Building, 2210 Alumni Drive. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

    Meyer described the Steel Band as “one of the most popular and requested ensembles in the School of Music.” With 16 members, the group uses a full set of steel pans, including three leads, two double tenors, two cellos and bass pans as well as a large rhythm section with drumset, electric bass and various Latin percussion. The group performs a wide variety of music, including traditional Caribbean music, pop, rock and Latin.

    “The nature of the ensemble allows for student members to develop skills in improvisation and music arranging,” Meyer said.

    Membership is open to both music and non-music majors with consent of the instructor. The band is available to perform at private local events. To reserve the group to perform, contact Meyer at meyerbe@sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA festival features new works by playwrights Heifner, Cariani, Miyagawa

    SFA festival features new works by playwrights Heifner, Cariani, Miyagawa

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    Jack Heifner
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    John Cariani
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    Chiori Miyagawa
    April 13, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    East Texans can be among the first to hear the newest works by three acclaimed playwrights during the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre’s 2016 Festival of New American Plays scheduled for Tuesday through Saturday, April 26 through 30, on the SFA campus.

    This biennial event showcases the work of some of the best playwrights in the nation in a five-day festival during which each selected play is presented twice in staged readings by SFA theatre students, according to Jack Heifner, SFA School of Theatre’s playwright-in-residence, director of the festival and one of the featured authors.

    “Since 1998, we have brought playwrights to our campus to see their new works,” Heifner said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our audiences to view ‘theatre in the making.’”

    This year’s festival features Heifner’s play “Bury Me In This,” along with “cul-de-sac” by John Cariani and “Julia & Ellie” by Chiori Miyagawa.

    “The Festival of New American Plays is one of the most distinctive and exciting aspects of our programming, and we’re so grateful to Jack Heifner for creating it at SFA,” said Scott Shattuck, director of the School of Theatre. “We always look forward to welcoming world-renowned writers and seeing our students participate in the development of their next major plays.”

    The festival will open with Heifner’s play “Bury Me In This,” which will be read at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30. Cariani’s “cul-de-sac” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28, and Saturday, April 30. Miyagawa’s “Julia & Ellie” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, and Friday, April 29. These plays are recommended for mature audiences.

    Heifner is best known for his play “Vanities,” which ran for five years in New York and became one of the longest running plays in off-Broadway history. He is also the author of “Patio/Porch,” “Natural Disasters,” “Running on Empty,” “Bargains,” “Boys’ Play,” “Home Fires,” “Heartbreak,” “Comfort and Joy” and more than 30 other plays produced in New York, Los Angeles and theatres around the world. Heifner has written the book to six musicals, including “Leader of the Pack” on Broadway and “Vanities – A New Musical,” which opened in New York in 2009. He has also written for television and film.

    Since 1997, Heifner has been playwright-in-residence at SFA where he teaches play, screen and television writing one semester each academic year. At SFA, he has directed “Home Fires,” “The Seagull,” “The Member of the Wedding,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Stage Door” and “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

    An actor and a playwright, Cariani has appeared on and off Broadway and in several films and television shows. He won an Outer Critics Circle Award and earned a Tony Award nomination his performance as Motel the Tailor in the 2004 revival of “Fiddler on the Roof” starring Alfred Molina. He received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for his work in “Something Rotten!” He’s been in movies with Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Ed Asner. He’s probably best known for his role as CSU Tech Julian Beck on NBC’s long-running drama, “Law & Order.” He played Professor Otto Bahnoff in the final season of CBS’ “Numbers,” and many people know him as reporter Michael Falk on IFC’s “The Onion News Network.” He’s guest-starred in many TV shows, including “Homeland,” “The Good Wife” and “The Blacklist.”

    As a playwright, Cariani is best known for his first play, “Almost, Maine,” which premiered at Portland (Maine) Stage Company in 2004 and opened off Broadway in 2006. It has since become one of the most frequently produced plays in the United States and has been translated into nearly 20 languages. Other plays include soon- to-be published “Last Gas” and “LOVE/SICK.”

    Miyagawa is a New York City-based playwright. Her plays have been produced by off-Broadway theaters, at renowned performance spaces in New York City and regionally. Twelve of her plays are collected in two books: “Thousand Years Waiting and Other Plays” and “America Dreaming and Other Plays.” She is a recipient of many fellowships, including a McKnight Playwriting Fellowship, a Van Lier Playwriting Fellowship, a Rockefeller Bellagio Fellowship in Italy, and a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard University. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, American Theater Magazine, Huffington Post and other publications.

    Among her plays and productions are “This Lingering Life,” “I Came to Look for You on Tuesday,” “Dream Acts,” “I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour,” “Thousand Years Waiting” and “Leaving Eden.”

    All performances of the festival will be in the Downstage Theatre of the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive. The festival is sponsored in part by Tipton-Ford-Lincoln. For more information, visit theatre.sfasu.edu.

    The festival is part of the SFA School of Theatre’s Mainstage Series. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students and youth. For tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

    You may also be interested in these related articles:

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  • SFA Friends of Music to present Extravaganza 29

    SFA Friends of Music to present Extravaganza 29

    April 12, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The SFA Friends of Music will accept reservations through noon Monday, April 18, for Extravaganza 29, Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music’s annual gala banquet. The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, in the Grand Ballroom of SFA’s Baker Pattillo Student Center.

    This year’s Extravaganza, “The Rising Stars of SFA,” celebrates the 29th anniversary of the gala and fundraiser, which features gourmet dining, performances by student soloists and ensembles, and the presentation of student awards in an exciting evening of music, according to Dr. Gary Wurtz, interim director of the SFA School of Music.

    “There is no better way to experience a cross section of what the SFA School of Music has to offer than at our annual Extravaganza,” Wurtz said. “While enjoying a good meal, those in attendance hear performances by the top choir, band, orchestra, jazz band, student recitalists, opera performers, and more. Our fantastic students provide both dinner music and a dance to end the evening. It is really a lot of fun!”

    Part music student awards ceremony, part formal dinner, and part musical potpourri, Extravaganza will feature jazz, harp, wind ensemble, choir, opera, string quartet and orchestra. Additional highlights include awarding the Outstanding Music Alumnus of the year and Outstanding Recitalists of the year.

    As is tradition with Extravaganza, the music faculty has selected an outstanding alumnus to honor, and this year’s recipient is George Faber of Tyler, director of visual and performing arts for Tyler ISD, as well as a very active and respected musician throughout East Texas. Faber has performed with such notables as Grammy Award-winning song writer and trumpet player Tom Browne, Ray Charles, Chubby Checker, Percy Sledge, Glen Campbell, Johnny Mathis, Lou Rawls, Bill Cosby, Charlie Daniels, The Statler Brothers, The Oakridge Boys, “Blue Lou” Marini of the Blues Brothers, Jon Faddis (director of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and former trumpet player with the Doc Severson Tonight Show Orchestra), Mark Mullins (trombonist for Harry Connick, Jr. and founder of the New Orleans-based group Bonerama), and many others.

    The Extravaganza 29 committee includes John and Melinda Rohrer, co-chairs, Habiba Awan, Caryl and Harold Hall, Carolyn King, Dee Allums, Gloria and Cecil Settle, Gloria Williams, MaryAnn and Farrar Bentley and Ed Cole.

    “The Extravaganza is a wonderful opportunity for our community to enjoy performances by the gifted students of the SFA School of Music,” said Melinda Rohrer. “It is a fun event with excellent food and beautiful music.”

    This year’s Friends of Music officers include Jackie Warthan, president; Caryl Hall, president-elect; Missy DeVine, secretary/treasurer; and Carrie Ventura, past president.

    Tickets are $40 for adults and $10 for students. Patron level tickets range in prices from $65 to $140, and donations will be accepted for the Friends of Music scholarship fund. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

    article ID 1054

  • Symphonic, University bands to present ‘Inspiration’ program

    Symphonic, University bands to present ‘Inspiration’ program

    April 12, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The University Band and the Symphonic Band at Stephen F. Austin State University will present the concert program “Inspiration” when the bands perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    The selected works to be performed were inspired by folk songs and dances, tragic life events and the dream of flight, according to Dr. James Dreiling, interim assistant director of bands at SFA.

    The University Band will open the concert with “Into the Clouds” by Richard Saucedo and guest conducted by graduate assistant Dwight Watson of Lavon.

    “This lively fanfare is filled with rhythmic energy and was inspired by the composer’s dream of flight,” Dreiling said.

    The University Band will also perform “Festivo” by Czech composer Vaclav Nelhybel and the popular ballad for band “As Summer Was Just Beginning” by Larry Daehn, who was inspired to write the piece following the untimely death of gifted actor James Dean. Graduate assistant Taylor Goodwin of Ennis will guest conduct.

    The University Band will conclude its portion of the concert with the march “Liberty Fleet” by Karl L. King.

    “Along with John Phillip Sousa and Henry Fillmore, King is known as one of the most prolific march composers, having composed more than 180 marches,” Dreiling said. “This march, composed in 1942, is one of his lesser-known marches and was inspired by a fleet of war ships used in World War I.”

    The Symphonic Band opens the second half of the concert with “Westport Overture” composed by SFA music faculty member Dr. David Campo, director of the Lumberjack Marching Band, who “has a growing reputation as a composer for wind bands,” Dreiling said. The Symphonic Band will also perform “Variations on a Korean Folk Song” by John Barnes Chance and “Heaven’s Light” composed by Steven Reineke.

    “This moving piece was commissioned by Evans High School in Evans, Georgia, after the death of high school band member Holly Spivey and her parents in a house fire,” Dreiling explained.

    The concert will conclude with the celebratory piece “Albanian Dance” by Shelley Hanson based on the popular Albanian folk tune “Shota,” which seeks to re-create the festive mood of a raucous village dance, Dreiling said.

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • By popular demand: Encore screenings of restored Nacogdoches 1938 film planned

    By popular demand: Encore screenings of restored Nacogdoches 1938 film planned

    April 8, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The success of the initial screening of “Found Footage: Rediscovering Nacogdoches” during the 2016 Nacogdoches Film Festival has led festival organizers and film producers to schedule subsequent viewings to meet public demand.

    “Found Footage” features scenes of Nacogdoches people and businesses in 1938 documented on film. The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and Humanities Texas, in association with the Charles and Lois Marie Bright Foundation, championed the effort to restore the forgotten 16mm film, labeled “Nacogdoches 1938.” Discovered at Nacogdoches High School in 1967 but forgotten until a few years ago, the film was digitally restored and viewed in 2014 for the first time in 70 years.

    Newly restored and accompanied by comments from today’s local citizens who grew up in the town during that by-gone era, “Found Footage” includes scenes from downtown businesses, including Novel Bright’s Grocery, College Grocery, Navarro Cox Wholesale Tires, Banita Laundry and Dry Cleaning and others, as well as school and university student activities.

    The next screenings of the film will be at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches. The film is approximately 30 minutes. Director Peyton Paulette and interviewer and producer Brad Maule will attend and be available for questions following the screening. William Arscott, Regents Professor in the SFA School of Art and filmmaking area advisor, is a co-producer.

    SFA graduate and filmmaker George Hooker’s eight-minute promotional film “Nacogdoches: The Oldest Town” will also be shown at the screenings.

    “Found Footage” was so popular that all of the first 100 DVDs made to sell during the festival were quickly purchased. Film organizers have ordered 500 new DVDs that will be for sale at the screenings.

    For more information, call The Cole Art Center at (936) 468-6557.

    article ID 1052

  • SFA to host Regional UIL One-Act Play Contest

    SFA to host Regional UIL One-Act Play Contest

    April 8, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The College of Liberal and Applied Arts and the School of Theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University are preparing to host the Region II Conference 5A UIL One-Act Play Contest Thursday, April 21, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    The One-Act Play Contest is a precursor to the UIL 2016 Regional Spring Meet for Region II Conference 5A that will take place on the SFA campus Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23. In addition to contests in journalism, speech and debate, STEM activities, and theatre and film, the UIL offers activities in several other subject areas, including business skills, language arts, social studies and essay contests.

    Six plays will be performed back-to-back beginning at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, and acting awards will be announced following the conclusion of the final play that evening. Two plays will advance to the state contest, according to Melissa McMillian-Cunningham, SFA School of Theatre faculty member who is overseeing the One-Act Play Contest.

    The state is divided into four regions, and each has schools in 1A to 6A size categories, with 6A being the largest. Competition begins at the zone level and continues through district, bi-district, area, region and state.

    “Usually, by the time a school’s play gets to region, it has advanced from three contests minimally,” Cunningham said. “By the time they get to region, we have 24 schools still in the game that will then get compressed down to eight for the state level – two from each region.”

    “Even to get to regional contest is super huge,” she said.

    Three adjudicators selected by the state UIL contest will independently rank each play. Each school will be critiqued.

    “It’s very focused on theater education,” Cunningham said of the process. “It’s not just about a contest. It’s about supporting theatre in the schools and helping high school students develop their artistic process. This allows students to hear different points of views about their work.’

    Schools competing are located in a region from north of Dallas to the East Texas area.

    For many smaller schools, UIL is one of the more important activities in theatre for the entire year, Cunningham explained.

    “The good thing about UIL is that it really encourages the development of theatre programs,” she said. “It gets communities involved with this process as students travel with their plays. It teaches high school students some skills in terms of flexibility, or moving from space to space during a contest, that they may not otherwise have experienced performing a play at home. They get to take their show on the road, which is exciting.

    “From my own personal experience, I feel like my initial success with one-act play as a high school director really awakened my administration to the attention that a quality theatre program could bring to our school district,” she said.

    As the schools tour and judges observe students, recruiting opportunities are plentiful, Cunningham said.

    “Hosting this event brings faculty members and administrators to our campus,” she said. “One of the great selling points of SFA is bringing people to this beautiful campus and town and allowing students from all these different schools to see what we do here. This heightens awareness of the possibility of these students coming here.”

    Another benefit for the university hosting the play contest is that it allows SFA theatre teacher certification students to be involved in the process, “so that as they are training to become theatre educators, they will have had this experience as a crew member, or working in the back stage area, that helps them understand the process from a different perspective than they had as a high school student,” Cunningham said. “This helps to prepare them to be a high school theatre teacher.”

    The contest also provides a great opportunity for SFA students and faculty to observe “this level of work,” she added.

    “I would encourage area high schools to come after school or perhaps to take a field trip to attend and see the work and learn from it, and to support these schools,” Cunningham said.

    Tickets to see all six plays are $10 and can be purchased in the lobby of Griffith Fine Arts Building the day of the contest.

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  • Percussionist Armstrong to perform at SFA

    Percussionist Armstrong to perform at SFA

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    April 8, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Percussion Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will welcome a guest artist when the group performs at 6 p.m. Monday, April 18, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Dr. Josh Armstrong, assistant professor of percussion and assistant director of bands at Delta State University, will perform on Ivan Trevino’s piece, “Flow,” which features a soloist who alternates between snare drum and marimba, accompanied by percussion trio, according to Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies for the SFA School of Music.

    Armstrong has performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, and he has appeared as a guest artist at multiple universities around the country. He has performed with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony, North Mississippi Symphony, Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, Lubbock Symphony Orchestra and Midland Symphony. He has appeared at numerous Days of Percussion including in Arizona, Iowa and Mississippi. He has also been a guest soloist with the Waterloo Municipal Band.

    The Percussion Ensemble will also premiere Elliot Cole’s “Amen,” which is a slow-motion walk through the “Amen Break,” a seven-second clip from a funk song from 1969 by The Winstons, Cole explains.

    “It has been called the most influential seven seconds in music,” the composer said. “DJs have used it as the drum break in innumerable tracks, spawning whole genres of dance music where it is an essential element.”

    Also on the program is the piece “Signals Intelligence,” which “explores the experience of hearing an electronic transmission in which order is clearly audible, but the information density is too high for any human to parse,” Meyer explains.

    “The experience is one of being made aware of that which is always just out of reach, just beyond comprehension,” he said.

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • College of Fine Arts lecturer receives 2016 Adjunct Teaching Excellence award

    College of Fine Arts lecturer receives 2016 Adjunct Teaching Excellence award

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    April 7, 2016—University Marketing Communications

    Stephen F. Austin State University’s Faculty Senate recently recognized the 2016 Adjunct Teaching Excellence recipients at its April meeting. Each honoree received a personalized axe handle.

    Recipients, pictured from left, are Elizabeth Gound, visiting instructor within the James I. Perkins College of Education; Herbert Midgley, lecturer within the College of Fine Arts; Dillon Wackerman, archivist in the Ralph W. Steen Library; and Dr. Walter Scalen, adjunct faculty member within the College of Liberal and Applied Arts.

    article ID 1058

  • SFA making opera accessible for students, audiences

    SFA making opera accessible for students, audiences

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    Playing lead roles in the SFA production of “The Bartered Bride” are, from left, Jasper graduate student Brenton Mattox, Greencastle, Pennsylvania, graduate student Justin Dunkle and Houston senior Amanda Sheriff in this scene from a recent rehearsal.

    April 5, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The elaborate opera houses in metropolitan cities aren’t the only places to experience the beautiful sounds and scenery of a full-scale opera production.

    Each spring, Stephen F. Austin State University voice students have the opportunity to perform in an opera on W.M. Turner Auditorium stage on campus, and East Texas audiences have the opportunity to see and hear “beautiful young people with beautiful voices perform,” according to Dr. Deborah Dalton, professor of voice at SFA and the opera’s director.

    The SFA College of Fine Arts, School of Music and School of Theatre will present “The Bartered Bride” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 7 through 9, in Turner Auditorium. Considered Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s most beloved and well-known comedic opera, “The Bartered Bride” will feature SFA’s outstanding student singers accompanied by an orchestra and staged with full set and costumes.

    “If you like musical theatre, and if you like a good comedy, you’ll like this opera,” Dalton said.

    “The Bartered Bride” takes place in a Bohemian village on festival day when a traveling circus troupe stops to entertain the villagers. Costumes are colorful European village attire, and the set is a village street with colorful houses lining the street.

    Prior to coming to the university, many SFA voice students had never experienced opera. But after four years of training, many of these same students have landed “major roles in major opera houses all over the world,” Dalton said. SFA provides opportunities for voice students to perform in full-scale operas that many universities of similar size do not.

    “We teach singers to sing really well; we build voices,” she said. “We have hardworking students, wonderful teachers and a tradition of excellence.”

    Voice students Amanda Sheriff and Brenton Mattox, who have lead roles in “The Bartered Bride,” had little experience with opera prior to attending SFA. Both students came to SFA with the notion that choral conducting would be their focus of study. But their vocal training in opera at SFA has given them other options.

    “I didn’t have a lot of experience with opera, other than seeing little snippets on YouTube,” Mattox said. “It wasn’t until my freshman year when I was in the chorus of ‘Susannah,’ and I thought ‘wow, this is amazing.’”

    Taking voice lessons, working on technique and learning the repertoire and vocal literature also spurred their interest in opera.

    “When I originally came to SFA, I was not anticipating being trained as a classical opera singer,” Sheriff said. “I expected we would take voice lessons to make us better choir singers. So when I was told we were going to start singing arias, I asked, ‘what’s an aria?’ I was familiar with a few solo and ensemble pieces in high school, but that was all the experience with opera that I had prior to coming to college.

    “Now, where we’re at with ‘Bartered Bride,’ and having the leads, that’s something I could not have imaged,” she said. “I think that’s a stigma that opera has with a lot of people … that opera is not attainable for everyone.”

    Justin Dunkle, a graduate voice student from Greencastle, Pennsylvania, agrees that opera is “a stigmatized genre,” he said.

    “It’s not only stigmatized, it’s misrepresented by the public media,” he said. “People think of a big fat lady with Viking horns. That’s one opera.

    “I hear people say they don’t like classical music or opera, yet, if you look at film scores and movies, classical singers play a huge part, whether in a chorus or a solo role,” Dunkle said. “I believe that if people just give opera a chance, they will be pleasantly surprised at how relatable opera is to the human experience. People have the misconception that opera is about really lofty or elitist topics. But the stories of opera are based on love, hate, greed, sadness, happiness, joy … so many things that are crucial to the human experience. And to put that together with costumes and lighting and fabulous sets and music, I can’t believe that someone would go to an opera for the first time and come out totally hating it. Everyone needs to experience opera.”

    Making their characters “easily understood and relatable” to the audience is important to the performers, Mattox said.

    “It makes it easier for the audience to be engaged in the performance, and audience engagement makes us want to be better performers,” he said.

    Sheriff, a senior from Houston, plays the character of Mařenka, who is in love with Jeník. But Mařenka’s parents have engaged marriage broker Kecal, played by Mattox, a graduate student from Jasper. Kecal’s job is to marry Mařenka off to the son of Tobias Micha, a wealthy landowner. The son turns out to be a bumbling, stuttering simpleton – Vasek. It seems that Mařenka’s father owes Micha a long-standing debt. When Kecal bribes Jeník to renounce his claim on Mařenka, all seems to be lost, until Jeník reveals that he is the long lost son of Micha from a previous marriage.

    “Mařenka is being forced into a marriage that she doesn’t want; she’s in love with another,” Sheriff explained. “She’s trying her hardest to be with her love while trying to respectfully defy her parents. That’s relatable to anyone. I try to put in my actual emotions and how I would react. Dr. Dalton’s blocking and instructions throughout allows us to easily become those characters.

    “And, it’s just beautiful music,” she added. “So you want to sing it.”

    Mattox describes his character as “over the top.”

    “He is a marriage broker who is trying to follow through with a contract that was signed when the two were children,” he said. “But he runs into complications, because Mařenka doesn’t want to do it (marry Vasek). But Kecal is good at what he does and does not fail. I enjoy being Kecal because he is charming and very engaging, and he uses that charm to get the job done.”

    Dunkle, who plays the lead character of Jeník, appreciates the cleverness of his character and his ability to be inventive and a little tricky.

    “There’s a lot of mystery to this character, but he is confident,” Dunkle said. “I see a lot of myself in Jeník. He loves deeply and passionately. The crux of the opera is when Jeník ‘sells’ Mařenka off, but it’s for his own gain. He knows what’s going on, but no one else does. I think that’s one of my favorite aspects of this character – to have insider knowledge.”

    While some student performers discovered their passion for opera only after coming to SFA, Dunkle said he began at an early age singing, performing and “wanting to be the center of attention,” he said.

    “And for me, opera seems to be the apex of what the human voice can do,” he said. “It’s the best of the best. That’s not to say that pop or jazz singers aren’t any less of musicians. But opera pushes the human voice to its utmost limits, and that, for me, was a goal that I had to chase. The more I experienced opera and the more I learned about the craft and classical singing, the more I found that it was the thing that fulfilled me the most.”

    “The Bartered Bride” is double cast, and different students play leading roles on alternating nights.

    Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407.

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    article ID 1050

  • SFA’s Trombone Choir to present all-jazz program

    SFA’s Trombone Choir to present all-jazz program

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    SFA’s Trombone Choir will perform an all-jazz concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    April 4, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Trombone Choir at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The concert will feature the choir performing an all-jazz program accompanied by rhythm section, according to Dr. Deb Scott, professor of trombone in the SFA School of Music and the choir’s director.

    A highlight of the program will be performances of “How High the Moon” and “A Time for Love,” both arranged by Dr. A.C. “Buddy” Himes, dean of the SFA College of Fine Arts. Other favorites on the program are “Kansas City” and “My Favorite Things,” both arranged by Tom Senff, along with Henry Mancini’s “Dreamsville,” Chuck Mandernach’s “Sonday Outing” and Dizzy Gillespie’s “Tanga,” arranged by Doug Hamilton.

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

    article ID 1047

  • SFA’s Children’s Performing Arts Series to present ‘Rumpelstiltskin’

    SFA’s Children’s Performing Arts Series to present ‘Rumpelstiltskin’

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    The Children’s Performing Arts Series at SFA will present “Rumpelstiltskin” at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 15, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    April 4, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and the Children’s Performing Arts Series will present two performances of “Rumpelstiltskin” on Friday, April 15.

    Presented by The Panto Company USA, “Rumpelstiltskin” targets children in prekindergarten through third grade, according to Diane J. Peterson, Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of the children’s series.

    “The Panto Company USA spins this classic tale into a golden show for children of all ages, filled with songs and amazing audience participation,” she said.

    The story is about Daisy, who can spin gold from straw. A greedy king locks her in a stable and demands that she turn all the straw into gold. Daisy appears doomed until a strange little man, Rumpelstiltskin, appears and promises to spin the straw into gold in return for her necklace. The king is delighted but locks her up again – wanting twice as much straw to spin. Will the magical Rumpelstiltskin return to help Daisy?

    A few tickets are still available for this nearly sold-out event, Peterson said. Performances are at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in W.M. Turner Auditorium. Tickets are $7.50 for individuals and $6 per person for groups of 20 or more.

    To order tickets, call 936.468.6407 or 888.240.ARTS. Visit the CPAS website at http://www.cpas.sfasu.edu for additional information.

    article ID 1046

  • SFA Wind Ensemble to perform compositions dedicated to light, shadow

    SFA Wind Ensemble to perform compositions dedicated to light, shadow

    April 4, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University Wind Ensemble will present the concert “Luminosity: Tributes to Light and Shadow” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    Featured on the concert will be the music of composers Steven Bryant, Darius Milhaud, Joseph Schwantner and Alexander Scriabin, who was famous for his study of the relationship between light, color and sound, according to Dr. David Campo, associate director of bands at SFA and the ensemble’s conductor.

    The concert will open with Bryant’s “In This Broad Earth,” a short, intense fanfare commissioned by Michigan State University. Bryant based the fanfare on Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of the Universal” from his collection “Leaves of Grass.”

    Later in his life, Scriabin’s compositions would reflect his obsession with the phenomenon known as synesthesia, Campo explained. His Prelude and Nocturne, Op. 9, which is on the program, highlights the contrasts of light and shadow inherent in the piano.

    “Scriabin composed this work for left hand alone at piano after he injured his right hand attempting to master Chopin on the instrument,” Campo said. Transcribed for band by Alfred Reed, Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 2 showcases the wind band’s sonic light and shadow.

    The first half of the concert concludes with Milhaud’s “Suite Francaise,” a statement by the composer of the darkness of war contrasted with the bright light of freedom and democracy, Campo said.

    The concert will conclude with Schwantner’s “Luminosity: Concerto for Wind Orchestra.”

    “SFA was part of the consortium that commissioned this seminal work from this modern master,” Campo said.

    Numerous distinctions and awards have marked Schwantner’s compositional career. In 1979, his orchestral composition “Aftertones of Infinity” won the Pulitzer Prize.

    “Schwantner has written several works for wind ensemble and is widely recognized as a modern American master of the genre,” Campo said. “Cast in three movements, ‘Luminosity’ is bookended by material that exploits the wind, brass and percussion sections, with a mini-concerto for solo clarinet at its center.”

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

    article ID 1045

  • SFA’s Contemporary Guitar Ensemble to perform Hendrix music

    SFA’s Contemporary Guitar Ensemble to perform Hendrix music

    press image
    SFA’s Contemporary Guitar Ensemble will perform the music of Jimi Hendrix in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus.

    April 4, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Contemporary Guitar Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform the music of American rock guitarist, singer and songwriter Jimi Hendrix in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The ensemble features students in the SFA School of Music’s Sound Recording Technology program and includes Gavan Maners of Rockwall, Nelson Privette of Winnsboro, Wesley Cortiaus of Friendswood and Kevin Montano of Pasadena on guitar, Austin Gehring of Missouri City on bass, Matthew Coronado of Irving on drums and Josiah Fling of Eagle Lake, vocals. Joining the ensemble as a guest artist is Lily Reyes of McKinney, vocals and percussion.

    The concert will consist of all Hendrix music arranged for guitar quartet accompanied by a rhythm section consisting of drums and bass and fronted by two vocalists, according to Andrew Sperandeo, guitar instructor in the SRT program.

    “Being a musician, especially for a guitar player, it is impossible to not to hear and see the influence of Jimi’s playing and persona in so many other great artists and in so many genres over the years,” Sperandeo said. “I deemed it pivotal that these young musicians get well acquainted as to why this is the case.”

    The program includes “Little Wing,” one of Hendrix’s most popular songs. It has become a standard, with interpretations, recorded by musicians in a variety of styles, Sperandeo said. It is ranked number 366 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

    “Crosstown Traffic” refers to Manhattan’s traffic between the east and west sides, infamously known for its thick congestion. “With its hard rock riff, the song is an example and mixture of blues and acid rock,” Sperandeo said.

    The concert also features “The Wind Cries Mary,” one of Sperandeo’s personal favorite tunes by Hendrix. “My buddies and I used to love covering this tune in our teenage years,” he said, “so of course, it was the first tune I arranged for this set.”

    The purpose for the guitar ensemble is to have guitar students experience the many different functions of their instrument, Sperandeo said. For example, many of the parts are written in horn section format similar to a big band where they play harmonized melodies, solis, etc. Students are also required to utilize different effects throughout the arrangements, “painting a certain sonic landscape,” he added.

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

    article ID 1043

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