College of Fine Arts News Archive

December 2014

  • SFA’s harpist Mitchell releases second holiday CD

    SFA’s harpist Mitchell releases second holiday CD

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    December 10, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    Albany Records has recently released “A Harp for Christmas, Vol. II,” the newest CD of Emily Mitchell, harp instructor in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music.

    The holiday CD features 21 carols arranged for solo harp by American flutist and composer Gary Schocker. Among the works are “‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime,” “Coventry Carol,” “Sleep of the Infant Jesus,” “Il est nĂ©, le dvin Enfant,” “Wexford Carol,” “Tuscendi dalle stelle,” “A la nanita nana,” “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “Carol of the Birds.” The CD can be ordered through Amazon.com.

    An acknowledged concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, Mitchell has performed around the globe, including in the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Israel and Canada. She has toured 48 states of the United States under the auspices of Community Concerts for Columbia Artists Management. Mitchell has been profiled on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee,” CNN, CNBC, Arts & Entertainment, the BBC, DRS-Swiss TV, the New York Times’ WQXR, Radio France, National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and in People Magazine.

    For 10 years, Mitchell was principal harpist for the Eos Orchestra in New York City. She also performed with the New York City Ballet and American Symphony Orchestras as well as the Broadway orchestras of “42nd Street,” “The Producers,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Light in the Piazza” and “Wicked.”

    She has been on the faculty of New York University and Purchase College and State University of New York, and she has taught master classes at the Royal College of Music in London, Eastman School of Music, Juilliard School and Madrid Conservatory.

    Schocker is best -known as the most-published composer for the flute, with more than 200 works in print, primarily with Theodore Presser. He is a world-renowned flutist himself, and studied both flute and piano first with his father and later at the Juilliard School in New York City where he currently lives.

    Vol. I of the duo’s holiday collection includes such Christmas standards as “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “What Child is This?” and “Deck the Halls.” It also includes “Still, Still, Still,” “Infant So Gentle” and “Cind Isus sa Nascut.”

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  • SFA’s Music Preparatory Division to host holiday open house

    SFA’s Music Preparatory Division to host holiday open house

    December 10, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    The Music Preparatory Division of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will host a holiday open house from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at the Music Prep House located at 3028 Raguet St.

    The event will serve as a scholarship fundraiser and will feature a silent auction, according to Pat Barnett, Music Prep division director. Among the silent auction items are musical instruments, such as a full size cello and three violins, along with a Moeck Flauto Dolce Rottenburgh alto recorder, a Moeck tenor recorder, a Schrieber tenor and two Kung soprano recorders, music books, bells for bell choir, and more.

    “Because our tuition was raised, students and families are finding it to be more difficult to afford the study of music,” Barnett said. “Our hope is to provide financial assistance to those who seek to study music.”

    Twenty-one students are currently benefiting from scholarships awarded this past August, she said.

    Bricks are still available for purchase in the “Pathway to Music” at the Prep House. Bricks are being sold for $100 on the pathway, $200 on the porch steps and $500 for corporate donors. The corporate donors will have two bricks engraved with words of support for the Music Preparatory Division’s scholarship fundraiser.

    “Buying a brick for someone makes a great Christmas gift, because you are giving the gift of music,” Barnett said.

    Those who want to purchase a brick are encouraged to download a “Pathway to Music” order form available on the Music Prep website at http://www.music.sfasu.edu/prep. For more information, call (936) 468-1291 or email musicprep@sfasu.edu.

    Prep students will showcase their musical talents by providing entertainment during the open house, and refreshments will be served.

    Music Prep offers musical training on any level of proficiency. Overall musicianship is stressed in addition to the study of an instrument. Private music lessons are offered in piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, harp, classical guitar, voice, percussion, French horn, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, composition, euphonium and flute. Also, Music Prep offers an orchestra – Piney Woods Youth Orchestra – as well as the SFA Children’s Chorus, the Piney Woods Chorale, an adult piano class, Music Theory Adventures classes and Kindermusik. Music Prep teaches all ages, from infants to 80 and beyond. Music therapy is also offered.

    Registrations for spring 2015 are being accepted now. Forms are available on the Music Prep website.

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  • SFA’s ‘Spamalot’ earns regional awards, nominations

    SFA’s ‘Spamalot’ earns regional awards, nominations

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    The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival has recognized Stephen F. Austin State University’s recent production of “Spamalot” with a number of awards and nominations.

    December 10, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    The recent production of Monty Python’s “Spamalot” presented by Stephen F. Austin State University’s schools of Theatre and Music has garnered a number of awards and nominations from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

    KCACTF is a national organization that celebrates the educational and creative process of university and college theatre. It promotes professional standards and provides students and faculty with opportunities to bridge the academic and professional worlds, according to Angela Bacarisse, professor of theatre at SFA who served as director and choreographer for “Spamalot.”

    “This brings regional and national attention to the school and the students,” Bacarisse said of the honors. “The students will be seen at regional auditions, and they could possibly advance on to national auditions. Just being nominated will be a great line on their resume. For all of us, myself included, it is an acknowledgement of excellence in our area.”

    KCACTF Region 6 (which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas) awards and nominations for “Spamalot” include:

    • Meritorious achievement for ensemble acting to exchange student Matt Kelly (King Arthur), Rosharon senior Thomas Elam (Patsy), Pearland senior Nnamdi Nwankwo (Sir Bedevere), Fort Worth senior Austin Davis (Sir Galahad), Sugar Land senior Daniel Miller (Sir Lancelot) and Allen sophomore Stuart Neef (Sir Robin).

    • Meritorious achievement to musical director Dr. Stephen Lias, SFA professor of composition, and the orchestra.

    • Meritorious achievement for costume design to guest designer Randon Pool.

    • Irene Ryan Scholarship nominees are Daniel Miller, Stuart Neef and Austin Davis.

    • Musical theatre initiative nominees are Lufkin junior Amy Miller-Martin, San Antonio senior Allison Day and Nnamdi Nwankwo.

    KCACTF has invited the musical number “His Name is Lancelot” to perform at the regional festival, which will be held Feb. 23 through 28 in San Antonio. KCACTF officials have “held” the entire show for consideration to be performed at the festival, which is a highly prestigious nomination, but one that the School of Theatre will have to respectfully decline, Bacarisse explained.

    “This means that they thought the show was good enough to bring it to a larger audience,” she said. “I have traveled a show all the way to the national performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. It was a great opportunity for the students to pack a show in a truck and perform it in a different theatre.

    “We gratefully thank KCACTF for this acknowledgment,” she said. “However, ‘Spamalot’ is just too big and involves far too many people, including the large cast, the orchestra and technicians, for us to be able to re-mount the production. So we are declining the nomination.”

    More than 2,200 people came to W.M. Turner Auditorium in November for the six-performance run of the musical by Eric Idle, John Du Prez and Neil Innes. Some returned to watch the show multiple times, bringing friends and family members to enjoy the humorous dialogue and clever songs.

    “We are grateful that the community embraced our efforts and came out to see the show,” Bacarisse said. “We do a lot of different types of theatre. Some may be your cup of tea, and some may not. But we strive with every production to put our best foot forward.

    “This was an ensemble effort,” she said. “There is a saying: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ I have been saying: ‘It takes a village to put on a show!’ It was really great how everyone pulled together to make this happen, and in such a joyous way.”

    The School of Theatre continues to solicit financial support for Bacarisse’s next major project, which will be directing two new plays that will travel to Edinburg, Scotland, next summer to be included in the 2015 International Collegiate Theatre Festival.

    During a two-week trip to Edinburgh in August, the School of Theatre will produce “Hate Mail” by SFA playwright-in-residence Jack Heifner and the student-written “Mom and Dad” by Nick Pinelli and Allison Day. Pinelli, The Woodlands senior, and Day wrote the play as an honors project for their class with Heifner.

    For information on the project, contact Bacarisse at abacarisse@sfasu.edu or (936) 468-1126. Tax-exempt donations can be made at http://www.sfasu.edu/giving by clicking on the “give online” tab and writing “Scotland trip” for special instructions.

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  • SFA to present children’s touring show ‘The Monster Who Ate My Peas’

    SFA to present children’s touring show ‘The Monster Who Ate My Peas’

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    “The Monster Who Ate My Peas” will be presented in two performances at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus as part of the SFA Children’s Performing Arts Series.

    December 3, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and the Children’s Performing Arts Series will present “The Monster Who Ate My Peas” in two performances at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    This musical, based on the book written by Danny Schnitzlein and illustrated by Matthew Faulkner, tells the funny story of a young boy who doesn’t want to eat his peas, according to Diane Peterson, SFA Fine Arts Box Office manager and coordinator of the children’s series.

    “When a monster appears underneath his kitchen table, the boy is ready to make a deal with the monster,” Peterson said. “If the monster eats his peas, the boy will give the monster any of his possessions. When the monster raises the stakes, will the boy face his own fears?”

    ArtsPower presents this touring production, which targets children in pre-kindergarten through third grade.

    Tickets are $6 for individuals and $5 per person for groups of 20 or more. For tickets or more information, call the Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.cpas.sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA’s Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition seeks participants

    SFA’s Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition seeks participants

    December 3, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    The application process for the prestigious George and Peggy Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition at Stephen F. Austin State University has begun, and among the first contestants accepted for the 2015 event is a talented cellist from New York studying in the pre-college division at Juilliard.

    Celebrating its eighth year, the Schmidbauer Competition holds the highest standards in artistry and performance. It is designed to attract young high school musicians ages 15 to 18 who are beginning to plan their future careers and are looking at schools that may be best suited toward helping them reach their goals. It is SFA’s goal to be that institution, according to Dr. Gene Moon, director of orchestral studies at SFA and of the competition.

    This year’s strings and piano competition is slated for Jan. 31 in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus and is open to any high school violinists, violists, cellists, double bassists and pianists. Applications are accepted worldwide. Past competitions have brought young musicians from South Korea, Russia, Finland and locations across the United States to Nacogdoches to compete.

    A valuable recruiting tool for SFA, the Schmidbauer Competition offers a unique performance opportunity for young musicians, offering prizes that include cash awards, scholarship incentives from the SFA School of Music and performance opportunities with orchestras.

    “Concerto performances with orchestras are very rare for a musician at any stage of their professional career, let alone a budding high school student,” Moon said. “Our hope is that eager young students will be attracted to such lucrative opportunities.”

    Cash awards are $750 for first, $500 for second and $250 for third. The remaining prize money will be awarded in the form of scholarships contingent upon successful admission to SFA’s School of Music. First prize also includes an appearance as a guest soloist with SFA’s prestigious Orchestra of the Pines.

    Several years ago, George and Peggy Schmidbauer, California residents who founded Cal-Tex Lumber Company in Nacogdoches more than 25 years ago, wanted to give a donation to SFA to foster and promote classical music. As a result, Moon was asked to formulate a competition.

    “The School of Music is forever indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Schmidbauer for their generosity and artistic leadership offered through our Schmidbauer Competition,” said Dr. Manny Brand, director of the School of Music. “Our music faculty is devoted to identifying and cultivating musically talented students, and the Schmidbauer Competition extends SFA’s role as one of the premier schools of music in Texas and the nation.”

    The Schmidbauer Competition continues to serve as one of the highest benchmarks in the competition circuit and is a catalyst for launching successful careers. Past winners have continued their careers to perform with professional artists and orchestras all over the world. As evidence to the caliber of musician the Schmidbauer Competition attracts, the 2011 winner, Ying Fu, won a position in the first violin section with the Cleveland Orchestra while studying at Rice University. Last year, Ying took a new position as associate concertmaster with the Philadelphia Orchestra, an orchestra regarded as one of the top five in the world, according to Moon.

    “Ying’s accomplishments are reflective of his personal hard work as well as the time he spent with master teachers throughout his career thus far,” Moon said. “Competitions such as the Schmidbauer have served as a catalyst to help further his career. Past winners of the Schmidbauer Competition have made similar strides and thus show a proven track record that those involved with it move on to greater career changes.

    “The Schmidbauer Competition attracts hard-working, charismatic musicians who remain on the forefront of the classical music industry, and it serves as a stimulus for continued growth in the field,” he said.

    Deadline for application is Jan. 2. For more information or to apply to the competition, contact Moon at (936) 468-3885 or moongh@sfasu.edu or visit http://www.schmidbauercompetition.org.

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