College of Fine Arts News Archive

April 2015

  • Choral Masterworks Concert to feature Brahms’ Requiem

    Choral Masterworks Concert to feature Brahms’ Requiem

    press image
    SFA’s combined choirs and orchestra will perform “Ein deutsches Requiem” (A German Requiem) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 8, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    April 28, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present the final performance of the 2014-2015 University Series featuring the Choral Masterworks Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 8, 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 “Ein deutsches Requiem” (A German Requiem) by Johannes Brahms. Guest soloists will be School of Music faculty members Debbie Berry, soprano, and Chris Turner, baritone.

    According to King, The Brahms’ Requiem, as it is affectionately called, stands firmly as one of the true masterworks in music’s entire repertoire.

    “Unlike previous Requiems (mass for the dead), this work is not a liturgical work, but rather a statement of encouragement for the living,” King said. “With a complete absence of over-romanticizing, Brahms succeeds in expressing comfort, suggesting the joys of paradise, showing his faith in the righteousness of God, and filling the whole work with a tone of contentment.”

    Although the work will be sung in German, surtitles will be provided.

    Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $7.50 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 864

  • SFA Wind Ensemble to present ‘Chiaroscuro’

    SFA Wind Ensemble to present ‘Chiaroscuro’

    April 28, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Wind Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “Chiaroscuro” at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 3, in the Grand Ballroom of the Baker Pattillo Student Center.

    The concert title, “Chiaroscuro,” is a term used in drawing and painting, according to Fred J. Allen, director of bands at SFA and conductor of the ensemble.

    “It refers to the contrast between light and shadow,” he said.

    The major work of the concert is “Wine-Dark Sea” by American composer John Mackey.

    “This is Mackey’s first symphony for band,” Allen said. “It draws inspiration from Homer’s ancient tale ‘The Odyssey.’”

    David Campo, associate director of bands, will conduct “From a Dark Millennium” by another American composer, Joseph Schwantner.

    Allen went on to say, “Both of these pieces deal with the juxtaposition of light and darkness. They even have references to it in their titles.”

    The concert is a presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music. 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 863

  • Spring in the Park slated for May 3

    Spring in the Park slated for May 3

    April 28, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University’s Beta Phi cast of Alpha Psi Omega national theatre honor society will host Spring in the Park, a community-wide afternoon of family fun, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 3, in Pioneer Park.

    The annual fundraiser will feature face painting, carnival games, a kickball tournament, field day events and a pie in the face booth. Individual event tickets are $1, or a $15 unlimited games wristband will be available for purchase.

    Proceeds from the event will go to help fund scholarships for incoming freshmen in SFA’s School of Theatre.

    Pioneer Park is located at 501 Lenwood St. For more information, email questions to apobetaphi@gmail.com.

    article ID 862

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

    SFA bands to present annual ‘Concert in the Park’

    April 23, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University bands will present the annual “Concert in the Park” at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 3, on the lawn in front of the Wright Music Building.

    Performing will be the University Band, directed by graduate students Lucas Halley and Dwight Watson; the Symphonic Band, directed by Dr. Tamey Anglley assistant director of bands at SFA; and the Wind Symphony, directed by Dr. David W. Campo, associate director of bands. The Wind Ensemble, directed by Fred J. Allen, director of bands at SFA, will perform later that day at 5 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Baker Pattillo Student Center.

    The University Band will perform “Kirkpatrick Fanfare” by Andrew Boysen Jr., as well as other selections, while the Symphonic Band will play “Overture for Winds” by Charles Carter, “The Liberty Bell” by John Philip Sousa and “Feuerfest” by Josef Strauss, son of famed Viennese composer Johann Strauss. The Wind Symphony will close the concert with “Army of the Nile” by Kenneth Alford and selected movements from “Suite of Old American Dances” by Robert Russell Bennett.

    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.

    article ID 861

  • Rockin’ Axes to present ‘The Fathers of Rock and Roll’

    Rockin’ Axes to present ‘The Fathers of Rock and Roll’

    press image
    SFA’s Rockin’ Axes will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 1, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    April 23, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Rockin’ Axes at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “The Fathers of Rock and Roll” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 1, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The Rockin’ Axes, a product of the Sound Recording Technology program at SFA, will perform the music of rock and roll legends Elvis Presley, Ray Charles and Ritchie Valens, among others.

    “The Fathers of Rock and Roll” was selected as this semester’s concert theme so that students could learn about the origins of rock, specifically in terms of stylistic traits, forms and arranging ideas typically used in the 1950s and ’60s, according to Andrew Sperandeo, SRT instructor and director of the Rockin’ Axes.

    Among the tunes to be performed are Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” Charles’ “What’d I Say” and Valens’ “La Bamba.”

    “This semester’s concert will have a wonderful blend of styles, genres and timbres stemming from the original, recorded versions of these tunes with the integration of modern sounds to show the relationship between the two,” Sperandeo said. “There is truly something for everyone from young to not so young.”

    In studying “Jailhouse Rock,” it was important for students to be exposed to Presley’s sound, “especially since most have never listened to his music before performing in this ensemble,” Sperandeo said.

    “Elvis was one of the first cross genre artists of his time,” he added, “encompassing blues, rock, gospel, bluegrass and country, and his music has influenced many artists over the past 60 years.”

    The students studied how race and the turbulent times of the 1950s and ’60s influenced the music of that era.

    “Focusing on primarily the positive side, we looked at how artists like Ray Charles were able to cross racial boundaries through their music,” Sperandeo said.

    For similar reasons, Sperandeo wanted students to be aware of the cross cultural influence of Latin artists and their songs, such as in Valens’ “La Bamba.”

    “This song topped all the charts, yet the original was sung in Spanish,” he said. “You do not even really see that happening today. This is another prime example of how music can truly be colorblind.”

    This concert is a presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music. 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 860

  • ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ to show at Cole Art Center

    ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ to show at Cole Art Center

    April 23, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and the Friends of the Visual Arts will present a free, one-night screening of “Finding Vivian Maier” at 7 p.m. Friday, May 1, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    “Finding Vivian Maier” is the critically acclaimed 2013 documentary about a mysterious nanny who secretly took more than 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers and discovered decades later. Maier is now considered to be among the 20th century’s greatest photographers, according to information at findingvivianmaier.com. Her strange, riveting life and art are revealed through never before seen photographs, films and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her in this film directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel.

    The film, which runs 83 minutes, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 87th Academy Awards.

    This screening is part of the School of Art’s monthly Friday Night Film Series and is sponsored in part by the Nacogdoches Junior Forum, The Liberty Bell, Main Street Nacogdoches, Bill Arscott, Jill Carrington, Karon Gillespie, John Heath, David Kulhavy and Brad Maule.

    The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

    article ID 859

  • August: Osage County; Veteran actors share knowledge with, learn lessons from younger colleagues

    August: Osage County; Veteran actors share knowledge with, learn lessons from younger colleagues

    press image
    Brad Maule, Rhonda Plymate Simmons and SFA theatre student Anais Saenz rehearse a scene from “August: Osage County” to be performed April 28 through May 2 in Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    April 23, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    It’s not surprising that SFA student actors are learning from their veteran counterparts performing in the upcoming play “August: Osage County.” But what has been refreshing for Brad Maule and Rhonda Plymate Simmons is what they are learning from the theatre students.

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre will present Tracy Letts’ rollicking tale at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, April 28 through May 2, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. A 2 p.m. Saturday matinee is also scheduled.

    “I truly enjoy working with the students,” said Maule, who is probably best known for his role as Dr. Tony Jones on “General Hospital.” “In fact, they tease me because I always show up early to rehearsal, but I’m learning, or remembering I guess, a lot about the incredible discipline it takes to get a show up and running. These students have the same high standards as I’ve witnessed in many professional theatre companies.”

    Directed by Scott Shattuck, director of the SFA School of Theatre, “August: Osage County” focuses on what happens to the Weston family when their patriarch, Beverly Weston, played by Maule, disappears and they hurriedly assemble at the rural Oklahoma home of his hilariously caustic, pill-popping wife, Violet, played by Simmons. Their outrageous conflicts and lies collide to launch the corrosive comedy that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and became the basis for the hit movie starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.

    “It’s a great big play,” Shattuck said. “Not only is the set enormous, but there are 11 scenes, two meals served onstage, three physical altercations among the characters, countless props, dozens of costumes, evocative lighting, classic blues-rock music and a hideaway bed. But helping the actors explore the authenticity in the script at the same time they make the story clear, vivid and fast-paced for the audience is probably the biggest challenge.”

    But the actors – younger and older – quickly formed bonds that allowed them to rely on each other to rise to these challenges.

    “Brad and Rhonda are great to work with,” said Heather Abbot, assistant director and dramaturg for the play. “Brad is eager to explore the script. He is always excited to come to rehearsal and focus on the work. You never know what to expect from his performance, but it is always engaging and truthful.

    “Rhonda brings an exciting presence to the room,” Abbott said. “She is never afraid to jump in at full force, even in some of the more challenging scenes. By the time the lights go down in the final scene, I am always moved by her fearlessness and phenomenal portrayal of a tempestuous woman. They are both very professional, and I learn a lot just by watching them work.”

    Student Anais Saenz plays the role of Johnna, the housekeeper, and acts alongside Maule on stage. She describes the experience as “great, because he is so easy-going and personable.”

    “The connection he has with his role seems so intimate, which makes reacting to and caring for Beverly that much easier and brings me closer to Johnna,” she said.

    Acting alongside Maule and Simmons “raises the bar” for student performers, said Allison Day, who plays the character Barbara Fordham, the Westons’ daughter.

    “Rhonda has this energy to which you can’t help but react,” Day said. “I was a little apprehensive about working so closely with someone I didn’t know, but working with Rhonda feels so natural for me. I think this must be attributed to how well she is playing the role.”

    Having made a living in theatre for more than 25 years before moving to Nacogdoches to raise a family, Simmons said she jumped at the chance to play the role of Violet Weston and return to the Turner Stage where she was cast in a number of memorable roles, including that of Mama Rose in “Gypsy,” when she was a theatre graduate student at SFA.

    Simmons said she was excited to be a part of the process of teaching today’s theatre students what to expect in the real world of professional theatre. “These kids are being given a realistic idea,” she said.

    Simmons said she faced her own challenges in this role and production.

    “Because of the depth of the writing, it is challenging to give the playwright his due,” she said of Letts’ writing. “I would like to think if Tracy Letts saw this production, he would be proud of us capturing the essence of what he was trying to do because we were respectful of the text.”

    Through her interaction with the students, Simmons said she is reminded of the value of innocence and a fresh approach to material. Using words like “fabulous” and “exhilarating,” Simmons said she is being reminded of “that youthful spirit of finding a character.”

    “I never tire of sitting on the sidelines watching the students discover that,” she said. “What I am enjoying most internally is being given the chance to develop a character that is memorable.”

    Even though she and Maule differ in age from the rest of the cast, there is a “spirit of ensemble,” Simmons said.

    “That’s not always a given,” she said. “You can be in a cast where there is no ensemble feeling. It’s just a bunch of egos. But from day one, I have felt a tremendous sense of ensemble here. I have felt welcomed and very much a part of it.”

    Despite a perception by some that today’s college student is out of touch and somewhat cynical, Maule said he has found the theatre students to be “courteous, kind, funny and, most of all, dedicated to their craft. Maybe it’s unique to the fine arts, but I prefer to think that through these unique experiences, SFA is creating a more hopeful generation.”

    Since coming to Nacogdoches, Maule has continued to act in films, television, commercials, and some local theatrical productions. But the main difference between those experiences and the production of “August” is the amount of material that must be studied and memorized, he said.

    “This is big play full of challenging ideas and equally challenging dialogue; it rests somewhere between a Greek tragedy and a full-blown southern soap opera,” he said.
    “My days of learning lots of lines of dialogue are long gone, and I had some trepidation about doing another role with lots of words. But after I read the part, there was no way I wasn’t going to do the play. The role of Beverly (played by Sam Shepard in the Oscar-nominated film) is complex, smart, tragic, funny and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Who wouldn’t want this?”

    Maule said today’s theatre students remind him “of a time long ago when I was a student here at SFA on the exact same stage with my own dreams. I hope they know how talented they are and how much I respect them.”

    “August: Osage County” is sponsored in part by Tipton Ford Lincoln. The play is recommended for mature audiences.

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

    You may also be interested in the following related article:

    article ID 858

  • SFA Wind Symphony to perform Boysen’s powerful composition

    SFA Wind Symphony to perform Boysen’s powerful composition

    April 23, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University’s Wind Symphony will perform Andrew Boysen’s monumental Symphony No. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, in the Grand Ballroom of the Baker Pattillo Student Center.

    Commissioned by Andrew Mast, director of bands at Lawrence University, the 2010 composition “is indeed grand in scale and scope,” said Dr. David Campo, associate director of bands at SFA and the symphony’s conductor.

    Boysen and Mast are long-time close acquaintances, and when Mast asked his friend to write a piece for the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, Boysen said he knew he was trusted to “write whatever I wanted without expectation or pressure.”

    “The symphony is presented in one continuous structure that includes the traditional four movements of a symphony, connected by three transition sections,” Boysen writes. “Each time the tonal center shifts, it is treated as a mode change rather than a key change, allowing each of the sections of the symphony to have their own character.

    “The symphony is really about transformation and emergence from darkness into light,” he said. “The opening notes of the introduction begin mysteriously at the very bottom of the ensemble in the contrabassoon and ascend in a sort of primal scream, eventually leading into a threatening, angry and aggressive first movement.”

    He describes the final movement as “triumphant, but not in an overtly happy way; instead, it is a triumph of strength and celebration that brings the symphony to a powerful close.”

    Boysen is a professor in the music department at the University of New Hampshire where he conducts the wind symphony and teaches conducting and composition. Under his leadership, the UNH wind symphony has released six recordings and has been invited to perform at regional conventions of the College Band Directors National Association and National Association for Music Education. He maintains an active schedule as a composer, receiving commissions from festival, university and high school concert bands across the United States.

    The concert is a presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music. 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 857

  • Florida artist wins first in Texas National; SFA student earns honorable mention

    Florida artist wins first in Texas National; SFA student earns honorable mention

    press image
    First place at Texas National 2015 went to Jason John of Jacksonville, Fla., for “Carrier,” 2014.
    press image
    Second place at Texas National 2015 went to Sherman Finch of Cypress, Texas, for “Be Sure of Your Target and What’s Around It,” 2014.
    press image
    First place at Texas National 2015 went to Jason John of Jacksonville, Fla., for “Carrier,” 2014.
    April 17, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Jacksonville, Fla., artist Jason John won first place in the 2015 Texas National Competition and Exhibition at Stephen F. Austin State University.

    Commenting on the high quality of work entered in the 21st Texas National event, Juror Zhi Lin selected an unprecedented 10 works of art as honorable mentions.

    “Mr. Lin had a very difficult time choosing the winners this year,” said John Handley, director of art galleries at SFA, “which is why we had an unprecedented number of honorable mentions – 10 in all. Normally there are maybe four honorable mentions, but Mr. Lin could not get the number below 10.”

    Lin selected John’s “Carrier,” 2014, for first place honors, calling the painting of a young woman “stunning,” and commenting on the “exceptional rendering of her delicate hands,” Handley said.

    Second place went to Cypress, Texas, artist Sherman Finch for “Be Sure of Your Target and What’s Around It,” 2014, and third place went to Lake Charles, La., artist Kenneth Baskin for “Crucible Series #15,” 2013.

    An honorable mention went to SFA student Arley Morales of Nacogdoches for “Fearless,” 2014. Another honorable mention went to retired SFA art professor Robert Kinsell of Fort Davis for “Chili Fiction,” 2014.

    The other honorable mention entries were by Margaret McCartney, “Refrigerator from Bianca’s House,” 2014, Houston; Jon Mahnke, “Yell,” 2014, Saint Paul, Minn.; Justin Nguyen, “Grandmother from Vietnam,” 2013, Garland; Amanda Sweet, “A History of Water,” 2014, Seattle, Wash.; Kathy Liao, “Red Hat,” 2014, Saint Joseph, Mo.; Karen Ferrer, “Lichen Fade,” 2013, Arlington; Leslie Magdaleno, “One Eyed Monster,” 2014, Houston; Clifford Blanchard, “Sleepwalker,” 2013, Morristown, N.J.

    The SFA School of Art’s annual juried competition and exhibition attracts entrants from across the United States, providing artists an opportunity to have their work juried by highly acclaimed artists and critics, such as Lin. The exhibition includes photography, painting, sculpture and mixed media pieces.

    Texas National 2015 and an exhibition of Lin’s work, “Chinaman’s Chance: The first transcontinental railroad” run through June 13 at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, located at 329 E. Main St. in downtown Nacogdoches. These exhibitions are features of the SFA College of Fine Arts’ University Series.

    For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

    You may also be interested in the following related article:

    article ID 856

  • SFA College of Fine Arts Dean’s Awards recognizes recipients’ potential

    SFA College of Fine Arts Dean’s Awards recognizes recipients’ potential

    press image
    Megan Eve Henderson
    press image
    Amanda J. Sheriff
    press image
    Kaylea A. Fleming
    press image
    Shelby K. Gilliland
    April 17, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts will recognize four students during the presentation of the annual Dean’s Awards at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 24, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    Megan Eve Henderson, Round Rock junior art major; Amanda J. Sheriff, Houston junior music education major; Kaylea A. Fleming, Kingwood junior music education major; and Shelby K. Gilliland, Frisco junior theatre major, were selected by the faculty of their respective schools on the basis of their potential to further develop their artistic goals and serve as role models, according to Dr. A.C. “Buddy” Himes, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

    The Dean’s Awards not only recognize the recipients for what they have already accomplished, but the awards are also designed to inspire them to reach deep from within to aspire to a higher level of excellence, Himes explained. The awards were established by the Dean’s Circle, an external support organization of community members founded in 2008 and “dedicated, in part, to nurturing potential young artists within the College of Fine Arts,” Himes said.

    Henderson, who will receive the Ed and Gwen Cole Dean’s Award in Art, is working toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She came to SFA in the spring of 2013 to study graphic design with a focus on illustration. She has begun exploring the creation of modern, visual interpretations for traditional oral storytelling and folklore. By combining digital illustration with conventional printmaking techniques, she opened up a new arena in the exploration of her voice as an artist. Holding a position in the School of Art office has allowed Henderson to connect with her professors in a more direct way, giving her new mentors in her development as an artist. She also works as a tutor for the art history department, allowing her to help guide incoming art students. Her involvement in the School of Art has been incredibly rewarding, and she hopes to continue the relationships she has begun within the school following graduation.

    Sheriff, who will receive the Jack and Naioma Ledbetter Dean’s Award in Music, has been a member of ensembles such as Choral Union, A Cappella Choir and the exclusive Madrigal Singers. She has been cast in SFA opera since 2013 and was given the lead soprano role in the 2014 production of “Gianni Schicchi” and the 2015 production of “The Most Happy Fella.” Throughout her semesters at SFA, Sheriff has competed at the National Association of Teachers of Singing, placing fourth as a sophomore and second as a junior. Sheriff also was a guest soloist for her high school, Cypress Falls High, at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference in 2015. She has been recognized on the Dean’s List since 2013, made the President’s List in fall of 2014, is a third-year recipient of a voice scholarship through SFA and received the Charles Burklin Alumni Scholarship. Sheriff is a choir member at First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches, under the direction of Dr. Tod Fish since 2013. She was an active member of Student Activities Association in 2014 and will tour Italy with the A Cappella Choir in May.

    Fleming, who will receive the Dr. Robert Sidnell Memorial Dean’s Award in Music Education, is a member of the A Cappella Choir, a former member of the Women’s Choir and has participated in graduate choral conducting recitals. She appeared in SFA’s productions of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in 2012, “Street Scene” in 2013, “Suor Angelica” in 2014, and the 2014 Opera Scenes program. She is a member of the School of Honors and has held a place on the President’s List and received an Academic Excellence scholarship every semester while at SFA. She is the recipient of the 2012 Ron Anderson Vocal Scholarship, the 2014 Pi Kappa Lambda sophomore scholarship, and a Vera Dugas Memorial Scholarship. She is also a finalist in the 2015 Undergraduate Research Conference for work in musicology. She is an active member of the Wesley Foundation, serving as worship chair on the student council, leading freshmen groups, serving in the Forge mentorship program, and volunteering at various service and fellowship events. She appeared in SFA’s production of “The Most Happy Fella” in April and will travel to Italy with the A Cappella Choir in May.

    Gilliland, who will receive the George and Peggy Schmidbauer Dean’s Award in Theatre, is earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in acting and directing and a minor in marketing. Her Mainstage credits include “Stage Door,” “Blood Wedding,” and during SFA’s SummerStage Festival, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” She has appeared in the student-directed productions of “Miracle at Blaise,” “The Interrogation,” “Blood Relations,” and most recently, “God of Carnage.” She is also a member of Improv Strikes Back. Gilliland was the props master for the student-directed production of “Brainpeople” and for the SummerStage production of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” She is currently props assistant for “August: Osage County.” She also served as the publicist for the radio show “Phoenix on the Sword” and was the head of publicity for the 2013-2014 term. In addition, Gilliland is co-historian of the Beta Phi cast of Alpha Psi Omega and will serve as president next year. She received the Service Award from the School of Theatre last year. This summer, she will intern at the Rover Dramawerks Theatre in Plano and at the Circle Arts Theatre in New Braunfels.

    Each student will be awarded $2,000 to be used to further artistic endeavors.

    article ID 855

  • Yapp exhibition features plein air landscapes in oil

    Yapp exhibition features plein air landscapes in oil

    press image
    This painting by David Yapp, “Mt. Tamalpais from King Mountain,” is among the works in the exhibition “David Yapp: California Landscapes,” showing April 16 through June 13 at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House.

    April 17, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art presents an exhibition of the work of artist David Yapp showing April 16 through June 13 in the Reception Gallery at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    “David Yapp: California Landscapes” features plein air (painted outdoors) landscape and seascape paintings.

    “This exhibition includes landscape paintings using oils, featuring sweeping views of the California coast in heavy impasto paint with fine brushwork,” said John Handley, director of galleries for SFA. “I personally met this artist five years ago and have been closely watching how his paintings have developed over time.”

    Growing up in rural southern England, Yapp spent his youth exploring and observing nature and the changing scenery, seasons and weather patterns in his home county of Wiltshire.

    “The landscapes and towns of the county are rich in history and have fed the artistic hearts and minds of artists such as Sir John Constable and J.M.W. Turner and writers such as Thomas Hardy and George Herbert,” Yapp said.

    Since moving to California in 2001, Yapp predominantly paints plein air, directly on location, working in oils. He uses a combination of palette knives and brushes. The paint is applied using thin passages of color and thick impasto. Often this is further worked into with a scraffito technique, which means scratching back the paint to reveal the tinted ground of the canvas beneath, Yapp explained. This may then have further paint applied to create a multi-layered relief to the painting.

    “The application of the paint in this way enables me to create a sense of depth and movement within the painting and to capture what is to me the essence of a particular landscape and my emotional response to it,” he said.

    An artist’s reception for “David Yapp: California Landscapes” is planned for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at the art center. The exhibition is sponsored in part by the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts, Nacogdoches Junior Forum and Hampton Inn. All exhibitions, gallery talks and receptions are free.

    For more information, call (936) 468-1131. The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St.

    article ID 854

  • Heifner to conduct beginner workshop in playwriting

    Heifner to conduct beginner workshop in playwriting

    press image
    Broadway playwright Jack Heifner

    April 15, 2015—

    The Beta Phi cast of Alpha Psi Omega national theatre honors society at Stephen F. Austin State University will host a playwriting workshop with SFA’s playwright-in-residence, Jack Heifner.

    The workshop is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 26, in Room 303 of the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus. Cost is $25 for community members and $10 for students attending any college or university.

    Led by Broadway playwright Heifner, the workshop is an introductory course designed for those who have little or no playwriting experience.

    Seating is limited to 30, and payment will be taken at the door in cash or check form. Participants should rsvp to apobetaphi@gmail.com to reserve a seat.

    article ID 853

  • SFA School of Theatre to present ‘August: Osage County’; Production to feature stage veterans Simmons, Maule

    SFA School of Theatre to present ‘August: Osage County’; Production to feature stage veterans Simmons, Maule

    press image
    Veteran stage actors Brad Maule and Rhonda Plymate Simmons rehearse a scene from “August: Osage County” by Tracy Letts to be presented by the SFA School of Theatre April 28 through May 2.

    April 15, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    When the Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Theatre present “August: Osage County,” some familiar professional actors will be seen on stage appearing alongside SFA’s talented student performers.

    Directed by Scott Shattuck and featuring Nacogdoches residents Rhonda Plymate Simmons and Brad Maule, “August: Osage County” focuses on what happens to the Weston family when their patriarch disappears and they hurriedly assemble at the rural Oklahoma home of his hilariously caustic, pill-popping wife. Their outrageous conflicts and lies collide to launch the corrosive comedy that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and became the basis for the hit movie starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.

    “August: Osage County” by Tracy Letts will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, April 28 through May 2, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. A 2 p.m. Saturday matinee is also scheduled.

    When Shattuck, who is director of the SFA School of Theatre, saw “August: Osage County” in its Broadway production, he thought it was the best new American play he had encountered in a long time.

    “I knew immediately that our audiences would love the soapy story, the delightfully outrageous characters and the painfully hilarious satire of family life in today's America,” he said.

    In the ensuing years, Shattuck began talking with long-time SFA’s Friends of Theatre president Rhonda Plymate Simmons, who had a successful career as a professional actor before she moved to Nacogdoches and earned her master’s degree in theatre at SFA, about her desire to return to the stage in one last great role.

    “One night as we were chatting, it all came together in both of our minds,” he said. “Rhonda had seen the play and loved it as much as I had, and I wanted to direct it. It has a great ensemble with opportunities for lots of students, including excellent roles for women, but it probably wouldn't work well without a strong, mature female actor in a key role.

    “Rhonda said, ‘What about…?’ And I said, ‘I think that's the one,’” he said.

    One problem that remained was finding an equally strong, mature male actor to play the husband of Simmons’s character.

    “But I lucked out,” Shattuck said. “When I asked Brad Maule, he immediately said yes.”

    Maule, best known for his 22 years on ABC’s “General Hospital” playing the role of Dr. Tony Jones, teaches acting and filmmaking at SFA and hosts a morning radio talk show and syndicated TV entertainment shows.

    In the play, after Maule’s character, a distinguished but aging poet, disappears one August day, his sharp-tongued wife, who is suffering from cancer and has become addicted to her prescription pain medications, calls her three daughters, her sister and their male partners together to await word of his fate at their otherwise nearly empty house. As her drug-fueled candor becomes increasingly raw, the family's secrets begin to crumble, and the last of the tenuous emotional bonds that had held them together come unglued, Shattuck explained.

    “As wild as the story gets, what's most unnerving about the play is how realistic it is,” Shattuck said. “These people are smart and witty, isolated and tormented, but they're definitely three-dimensional, detailed and all-too-recognizable. For better or worse, most of us will recognize the squirm-inducing undercurrents of a picturesque family gathering.

    “So I've asked the actors to go for a very authentic, conversational style – even those whose characters are quite flamboyant,” he said. “That seems to make the humor cut all the more deeply.”

    Shattuck warns that the language and adult situations make this play unsuitable for children and those who may be sensitive to profanity, obscenity, and drug and alcohol abuse. But adults who are up for a “spectacularly entertaining roller-coaster ride into the acidic guts of 21st century life” will not be disappointed.

    “I'd love for our audiences to leave with some of the same excitement I felt when I first saw the play,” he said, adding he hopes patrons experience “that amazement at the power of dramatic storytelling to involve and enthrall and shock us, even without an all-singing-all-dancing chorus or twirling laser lights.

    “I hope we'll make some jaws drop the way mine did,” he said.

    “August: Osage County” is sponsored in part by Tipton Ford Lincoln. The play is recommended for mature audiences.

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

    You may also be interested in the following related article:

    article ID 852

  • SFA’s University and Symphonic bands to perform concert

    SFA’s University and Symphonic bands to perform concert

    April 10, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University Symphonic Band and University Band present their last concert of the semester at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, in Cole Concert Hall.

    A presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music, “Classics to Modern” features music ranging from Baroque to contemporary, according to Dr. David Campo, associate director of bands at SFA.

    The University Band, directed by Campo and graduate conductors Lucas Halley of Lockhart and Dwight Watson of Lavon, will begin the concert with Andrew Boysen’s “Kirkpatrick Fanfare.”

    “This is an exciting work featuring driving rhythms and brilliant brass flourishes culminating in a powerful chorale setting of the Celtic favorite, ‘Danny Boy,’” Campo said.

    The University Band will also perform David Gilligham’s “Time’s Uncertain Wing,” which was commissioned to commemorate two young men whose lives were cut tragically short, and Frank Ticheli’s “Fortress,” which has an unusual and inherently unstable tonal language, giving the piece “a strong sense of foreboding, while the evocative rhythm lends an air of dominating strength,” Campo said. The University Band will conclude its portion of the concert with Brian Balmages’ “March Diabolique.”

    The SFA Symphonic Band, directed by Tamey Anglley, assistant director of bands at SFA, will begin the second half of the concert with “Overture for Winds” by American composer Charles Carter.

    The second piece features SFA flute professor Dr. Christina Guenther performing “Baroque Variations for Flute and Band” by Marin Marais. This specific setting is by SFA Director of Bands Fred J. Allen. Anglley explains that Marais performed on and composed for the viola da gamba, a forerunner of the modern cello. He wrote a set of variations for solo gamba using an old tune “Les Folies d’Espagne” and later transcribed it for flute.

    The Symphonic Band will also perform the multi-movement “Candide Suite” by Leonard Bernstein and transcribed by Clare Grundman.

    “The suite for concert band is made up of five numbers from the musical ‘Candide,’ which premiered on Broadway in 1956,” Anglley said. “‘Candide’ as a musical has since had many reincarnations, but the sections of this suite utilize musical numbers that have remained virtually unchanged from the original Broadway production.”

    The concert will conclude with John Philip Sousa’s “The Liberty Bell” march.

    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 851

  • SFA’s Trombone Choir to present varied program

    SFA’s Trombone Choir to present varied program

    April 10, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present a concert of the Trombone Choir at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 20, in Cole Concert Hall in the Wright Music Building on the SFA campus.

    The choir will perform a varied concert of traditional trombone choir pieces, according to Dr. Deb Scott, professor of trombone at SFA and the choir’s director.

    Among the works to be performed are Anton Bruckner’s Adagio from Symphony No. 7 arranged by the principal trombonist of the Chicago Symphony, Jay Friedman. Also on the program is “Marienlieder,” Op. 22 by Johannes Brahms, arranged by Ralph Sauer, the retired principal trombonist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    A performance of “Excruciare,” composed by a former SFA composition student, Nathaniel Gardner, will feature the choir’s bass trombonists.

    Among the other concert highlights will be Fort Worth senior Daniel Ramos, Kaufman senior Jordynn Conner, Dr. Deb Scott and Mesquite senior Samantha Williams performing excerpts from Hector Berlioz’ “Damnation of Faust” and “Suite” by Flor Peeters. The program also features Carthage freshman Jonah Stewart, Katy freshman Lizzie Pineiro, Palestine sophomore Gaven Hollingsworth and Kirbyville junior Nathan Wise performing “76 Trombones Minus 2” by Leonard Smith; and a trio with Kilgore senior John Wells, Kingwood freshman Ben Kelly and Houston senior Megan Massarello performing “Little Suite in F” by Walter Skolnik.

    The group will end the concert with jazz pieces, including “T-Bone Party” by Don Haddad and “Blue Skies” by Irving Berlin, arranged by Lennie Niehaus.

    Tickets for the concert, which is part of the Cole Performing Arts Series, 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 850

  • SFA Friends of Music to present Extravaganza 28

    SFA Friends of Music to present Extravaganza 28

    April 10, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The SFA Friends of Music will accept reservations through noon Friday, April 17, for Extravaganza 28, Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music’s annual gala banquet. The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, in the Grand Ballroom of SFA’s Baker Pattillo Student Center.

    This year’s Extravaganza, “An Evening with the Stars of SFA,” celebrates the 28th 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. Manny Brand, director of the SFA School of Music.

    “Extravaganza is the culminating musical event of the year,” Brand said. “No other concert has the musical variety and generates as much community and university excitement as Extravaganza.”

    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.

    This year’s Outstanding Music Alumna is Dr. Diana Allan, associate professor of music (voice) at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Allan received undergraduate degrees in performance and education from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kan., her Master of Arts degree from SFA, and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin. She has appeared with the San Antonio Symphony, Texas Bach Choir, San Antonio Choral Society, San Antonio Festival, Mid-Texas Symphony and Laredo Philharmonic. Most recently, Allan made her Brazilian debut in concert with the Banda Sinfonica of São Paolo, Brazil.

    Voice professor Dr. Tod Fish will serve as this year’s master of ceremonies assisted by Dr. A.C. “Buddy” Himes, dean of the College of Fine Arts, Dr. Richard Berry, SFA provost and vice president of academic affairs, and Brand. Live dance music will follow for everyone to enjoy.

    The Extravaganza 28 committee includes John and Melinda Rohrer, co-chairs, Habiba Awan, Caryl Hall, Ying Brand, Carolyn King, Nancy Niehaus, Gloria Settle, Lynn Teague, Shirley Watterston and Gloria Williams.

    "We are looking forward to the Extravaganza,” said Melinda Rohrer. “ We love SFA students and support their activities – from music to basketball.”

    This year’s Friends of Music officers include Carrie Ventura, president; Jackie Warthan, president-elect; Missy DeVine, secretary/treasurer; and Nancy Collins, 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 849

  • In the Trees concert series to feature ‘Inuksuit’

    In the Trees concert series to feature ‘Inuksuit’

    April 10, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The second annual In the Trees concert series at Stephen F. Austin State University will feature John Luther Adams’s monumental work, “Inuksuit.”

    The free concert will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 18, in the university’s Free Speech Area, which is located among the trees between the Wright Music Building and the student center. The annual outdoor series is directed by Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies at SFA.

    “Written for nine to 99 players, ‘Inuksuit’ is a piece that was created in order to explore a specific space, typically a large outdoor space,” Meyer said. “Players will perform on a myriad instruments, including conch shells, sirens, tom-toms, bass drums, cymbals, gongs, glockenspiels, triangles and megaphones.”

    Adams explains that his music has “always been rooted in the earth.” Over the past 35 years, he has composed works inspired by the outdoors, but heard indoors.

    “Recently, after hearing ‘Strange and Sacred Noise’ performed in the Anza-Borrego desert, the New England woods, and the tundra of the Alaska Range, I wanted to create a large-scale work conceived specifically to be performed outside,” Adams writes in his program notes.

    “Inuksuit” was inspired by the stone sentinels constructed over the centuries by the Inuit in the windswept expanses of the Arctic. The word “Inuksuit” translates literally “to act in the capacity of the human,” Adams said.

    “This work is haunted by the vision of the melting of the polar ice, the rising of the seas, and what may remain of humanity’s presence after the waters recede,” he said.

    “Inuksuit’ is a concert-length work for percussion, in which the performers are widely dispersed and move throughout a large, open area. The listeners, too, may move around freely and discover their own individual listening points.

    “This work is intended to expand our awareness of the never-ending music of the world in which we live, transforming seemingly empty space into a more fully experienced place,” Adams said.

    The performance at SFA will consist of about 30 performers, including 15 from SFA and 15 from regions across Texas. It will last a little over an hour, and spectators are encouraged to take pictures and walk around, Meyer said. If there is inclement weather, the performance will still take place (unless there is lightning), so Meyer encouraged participants to dress accordingly for the outdoors.

    “Inuksuit” has been performed in New York City’s Morningside Park and at the Park Avenue Armory, as well as many other outdoor venues throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia.

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

    article ID 848

  • Education through theatre becomes Fredonia Players’ new focus

    Education through theatre becomes Fredonia Players’ new focus

    press image
    SFA theatre students and members of the Fredonia Players Angelica Banda and Eric Gibson involve Christ Episcopal School students Seth Jones, bottom, and Nicholas Bacarisse, far right, in an interactive history lesson.

    April 10, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Fredonia Players, Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre’s outreach performance troupe, has changed its mission and is focused on education through theatre, according to Melissa McMillian-Cunningham, theatre teacher certification program coordinator at SFA.

    Evolving over the years from The Original Cast to The (New) Original Cast to the Fredonia Players, the student ensemble has now created a show that brings Texas history to life in a way that conforms to TEKS curriculum requirements. They designed the program especially to be performed for students in fourth and seventh grades.

    This latest educational outreach provides a win-win situation for both SFA and the schools and other audiences that will be seeing the work. This new focus of the Fredonia Players gives SFA theatre students who are preparing to be teachers an opportunity to work with children within a classroom environment.

    “Whether they are going to be professional actors or technicians, theatre students will likely become involved with a professional company that will have a branch dedicated to theatre for young adults,” Cunningham said. “This gives our students an opportunity to work with theatre enrichment, which most will find themselves involved in their future professions.”

    In addition to educational material that serves teachers’ needs, there is also the “pure enrichment” for younger students who get to see and participate in these productions, providing an idea of what SFA has to offer them in the future. This initiative also further enhances relationships between SFA, the community and area schools, Cunningham said.

    “And, it’s great that our name is Fredonia because of the Texas history locally related to the Fredonia Rebellion,” Cunningham said.

    Some of the sketches, monologues and songs in the show focus on individual Texas figures, such as Davy Crockett, Elisabet Ney, William Travis and Mollie Bailey.

    “Some may be relatively unknown names in Texas history, but they are covered by the TEKS in history education, or they may be interesting characters that are relatable to students,” she said.

    The presentations provide opportunity for students’ involvement, such as in square dancing, games and reading activities.

    “When a teacher or administrator asks us to come to their class or school, we put together something that will work for that particular venue,” Cunningham said.

    Sets are minimal, and performances can take place in small or large classrooms, gyms or auditoriums.

    “It’s very flexible,” Cunningham said.

    Dancing, singing, acting, reading and audience participation bring Texas history to life, she said, and the vision is to continue to add new components to the program over time, based on feedback from area schools.

    The presentations can also be done for civic clubs and other community organizations, Cunningham said. The Fredonia Players recently performed for the Nacogdoches Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. An original readers’ theatre piece was written for the performance, which featured content specifically relating to DAR’s goals and American history.

    “Given the opportunity and the time, we can devise a 15- to 20-minute piece specifically written for just about any organization,” she said.

    The Fredonia Players performed this semester at the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site and at Christ Episcopal School, and the troupe is looking for other performance opportunities.

    “Ideally, I’d like to see us not just work here locally, but eventually extend ourselves to larger areas and longer distances in the state of Texas,” she said. “Over time, I hope we will grow and improve in our work so that it becomes a larger outreach.”

    Two public performances are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, April 18, in the Music Recital Hall in the Wright Music Building. Admission is $7.50, with tickets available through the SFA Fine Arts Box Office.

    The Fredonia Players’ fee for performing before groups is dependent, in part, on length of travel, Cunningham said. For additional information, contact Cunningham at (936) 468-1227 or at mmcmillian@sfasu.edu.

    article ID 847

  • SFA to present student-directed ‘Springtime’

    SFA to present student-directed ‘Springtime’

    April 8, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre will present the student-directed “Springtime” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 17, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 18, in the Downstage Theatre on the SFA campus.

    Center Point senior Sloan Frierson directs this one-act play by Cuban-American avant garde playwright María Irene Fornés about the eternal story of love and betrayal. The cast includes Dallas sophomore Dominique Rider as Ray; Beaumont freshman Kate Shirley as Greta; and Lake Dallas sophomore Andrea Nelson as Rainbow.

    When Greta is diagnosed with tuberculosis, Rainbow does everything she can to take care of her, including breaking the law in order to afford Greta’s medicine, explains Frierson.

    “Caught up in petty theft, Rainbow gets dragged further into the underworld by a man named Ray, who becomes a fixture in the couple’s lives,” she said. “Ultimately, it is Ray who drives them apart.”

    The production staff includes Kara Bruntz, Charleston, S.C., sophomore, stage manager; Keenan Chiasson, Richmond sophomore, scenic designer; TJ Davis, Beaumont sophomore, costume designer; Monika Zimmermann, Singapore junior, lighting designer; Jennifer Bush, Edgewood senior, sound designer; Lane Davidson, Denton freshman, assistant sound designer; Caitlin Parker, Groves sophomore, choreographer; Sam Friedrich, Saudi Arabia junior, hair and makeup designer; and Tevia Loeser, Spring freshman, properties manager.

    Faculty production advisor for the play is Melissa McMillian-Cunningham.

    Frierson has directed in the Upstage and has performed in Mainstage productions of “Trojan Barbie,” “Stage Door,” “Three Sisters,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and she has performed in the Festival of New American Plays at SFA. She is a creative writing minor whose work will be published in this year’s edition of Humid.

    Tickets are $4. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.theatre.sfasu.edu. “Springtime” is recommended for mature audiences (teens or older).

    article ID 846

  • Acclaimed saxophonist Carrol to perform at SFA

    Acclaimed saxophonist Carrol to perform at SFA

    press image
    April 8, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Renowned saxophonist Shelley Carrol will appear with the Swingin’ Axes when the jazz ensemble and the Swingin’ Aces perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 17, in Cole Concert Hall on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.

    The Swingin’ Axes, directed by Dr. Gary Wurtz, professor of trumpet and jazz studies at SFA, will perform “Li’l Darlin,” “Double-O” and “Every Day I Have the Blues” from the Count Basie library, as well as Herbie Hancock’s “Driftin’” with Carrol as guest soloist. The Axes’ program will also feature Duke Ellington’s “Perdido,” “Stan Kenton’s “Pegasus” and Pat Metheny’s “The First Circle.”

    Hailing from a family of gospel singers and musicians in Houston, Carrol attended the High School of the Performing and Visual Arts and was a standout in the city’s Summer Jazz Workshop before earning a place in the Grammy-nominated One O’Clock Lab Band at the University of North Texas. As a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, he toured the U.S. and 30 foreign countries. Carrol was a finalist in the Texas Commission for the Arts “State Musician” recognition and was named the 2007 Sammons Center Jazz Artist of the Year. He is also a 2014 Dallas Observer nominee for Best Jazz Act and has been on tour with multi-platinum artist Sheryl Crow.

    Opening the concert will be the Swingin’ Aces, directed by Dr. Deb Scott, professor of trombone and jazz studies, performing a program of “big band classics,” including “Moonlight Serenade” by Glenn Miller and the energetic “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Louis Prima. Both will feature graduating senior music major Angel Duran on clarinet as well as junior psychology major Aaron Gentry on drums. Other classics will include John LaBarbera’s “Basie’s Buddy B,” as well as his famous Latin composition, “Tiger of San Pedro,” made popular by the great trombonist, Bill Watrous.

    Tickets for the concert, which is a presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music, 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 845

  • Hudson’s organizational skills keep opera productions on track

    Hudson’s organizational skills keep opera productions on track

    press image
    SFA voice instructor Nita Hudson helps Brownsville senior vocal performance major Guillermo Delgado
    press image
    SFA voice instructor Nita Hudson works with some of the cast members of “The Most Happy Fella” in perfecting one of the dance numbers for Frank Loesser’s musical comedy to be presented by SFA Opera Theater at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 9 through 11, in Turner Auditorium.
    April 8, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Nita Hudson has one of “those” kinds of minds. She’s organized, meticulous and detail-oriented. She thrives on planning and scheduling, which means her projects meet deadlines. No duty is too difficult; no responsibility is too great. She makes sure people are where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to be doing.

    That’s why she is slightly annoying (in a good way) and thoroughly endearing (in the best way) as assistant director, production stage manager and properties manager for Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music’s annual opera theater production.

    Hudson, who has taught voice, opera and vocal literature at SFA for 21 years, is working on her 49th opera production with SFA Opera Theater’s presentation of Frank Loesser’s “The Most Happy Fella.” The musical comedy will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 9 through 11, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    “She likes to be organized,” Debbie Dalton, associate professor of voice at SFA and director of the opera, said of her right-hand person, “and she does things so quickly. That’s the way her mind works.”

    In earlier years, Hudson was exposed through family members to Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-Step Program. She took what she observed and learned how to tweak the program concepts to help her organize, prioritize and meet deadlines, mostly by “taking one day at a time,” she said.

    “And I depend on God,” Hudson said, adding that praying about problems and for people, along with relying on daily devotionals, helps her get the day started and keeps her focused.

    A proud SFA alumna, Hudson jokingly said she sees herself as “one of God’s little secret agents,” working behind the scenes to “sprinkle a little joy here and a little motivation there.”

    “I just want to give back to SFA what SFA gave to me,” she said.

    Her organizational skills extend beyond the annual opera production and into her everyday performance as a School of Music faculty member.

    “Oh boy, what doesn’t she do?” Dalton said. Hudson organizes logistics for SFA’s vocal program, including scheduling rooms to be used for studio classes; compiling meeting, recital, touring and competition schedules for an all-inclusive vocal calendar; and scheduling accompanists for opera auditions and end-of-semester vocal juries. She assists the director of the School of Music in presenting the annual Friends of Music Extravaganza by coordinating the scholarship awards; directing the opera selection performed at the event; coordinating lighting; and staging ensembles, instruments and props for performances.

    Further evidence of Hudson’s multi-tasking talents can be seen in her ability to successfully manage two other jobs, including directing the adult choir at Christ Episcopal Church and working as a long-time medical records and transcriptions clerk at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital, where she jokingly describes herself as “the stage manager of medical records.” Hudson began working at Memorial in the mid-1980s as an undergraduate student at SFA. She has a Bachelor of Music degree with teacher certification and master’s in music, both from SFA. She taught at East Texas Baptist University for about 10 years while she also worked at SFA.

    Hudson has solely taken on the task of collecting all the props for “The Most Happy Fella,” because “she knows it will be done right,” Dalton said.

    In addition to all the duties she juggles with the opera production, Hudson, who had 17 years of dance training, also has taken on the job of choreographer for “The Most Happy Fella.”

    “With training as a singer and dancer, I know how to make the choreography easy to dance to while singing,” she said, “and I want to make their bodies look like what their voices sound like.”

    “I used to think she was bossy and wanted to control everything, and maybe some of that is true,” Dalton said with a laugh. “But having everything organized and under control gives her comfort, and it sure comforts me, because I don’t have to crowd my brain with those details.”

    Hudson’s desire to get things done quickly comes, in part, from simply wanting to help others, Dalton said.

    “She’s just kind and caring and passionate about everything she does,” Dalton said, “ … a big heart in a little bitty person.”

    This production, which is a presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music as part of the University Series “Connect,” is sponsored in part by Point A Media. Prior to Thursday’s opening night performance, Dalton will give a 7 p.m. informative talk in Griffith Gallery, located across the hall from Turner Auditorium.

    Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $7.50 for students. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

    Turner Auditorium is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive.

    You may also be interested in these related articles:

    article ID 844

  • SFA to screen ‘Mile... Mile & A Half’ at Cole Art Center

    SFA to screen ‘Mile... Mile & A Half’ at Cole Art Center

    April 8, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and the Friends of the Visual Arts will present a free, one-night screening of “Mile… Mile & A Half” at 7 p.m. Friday, April 17, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    A documentary film by The Muir Project, “Mile… Mile & A Half” is the story of five friends who leave their daily lives behind to hike California’s historic John Muir Trail, a 211-mile stretch from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney (the highest peak in the contiguous U.S.). Their goal, according to information at themuirproject.com, is to complete the journey in 25 days while capturing the sights and sounds they encounter along the way.

    The documentary is directed by Jason Fitzpatrick and Ric Serena. It is 87 minutes in length.

    This screening is part of the School of Art’s monthly Friday Night Film Series and is sponsored in part by the Nacogdoches Junior Forum, The Liberty Bell, Main Street Nacogdoches, Bill Arscott, Jill Carrington, Karon Gillespie, John Heath, David Kulhavy and Brad Maule.

    The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

    article ID 843

  • SFA Steel Band’s spring concert to feature popular sing-along tunes

    SFA Steel Band’s spring concert to feature popular sing-along tunes

    April 8, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The annual spring concert of Stephen F. Austin State University’s Steel Band will feature pop tunes from “then and now,” according to Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies at SFA.

    The concert, slated for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus, will include such popular songs as “Take on Me,” “Margaritaville,” “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Africa” and “Come on Eileen.”

    “The group will be playing songs that everyone can sing along with,” Meyer said. “I want the audience to be much more involved at this concert, so feel free to sing and dance along as the steel band performs some great hits from several decades ago to the present that every generation knows and loves.”

    The SFA Steel Band, also known as the Jacks of Steel, is a student ensemble comprised of about 20 music majors and non-music majors from SFA. The group performs throughout the East Texas region for both public and private events. For more information on booking the SFA Steel Band or small steel pan quartet for an upcoming party, conference, gathering, celebration or any other type of event, email Meyer at meyerbe@sfasu.edu for rates and availability.

    This concert is a feature of the Cole Performing Arts Series and is a presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music.

    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 842

  • SFA Wind Ensemble, A Cappella Choir to collaborate in concert

    SFA Wind Ensemble, A Cappella Choir to collaborate in concert

    April 8, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Two of the major performing ensembles at Stephen F. Austin State University will combine forces in a special concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Select members of the SFA Wind Ensemble and the A Cappella Choir will perform the Mass in E Minor by Anton Bruckner.

    “This is one of the few pieces where the orchestra supporting a choral work is made up entirely of brass and woodwinds,” said Fred J. Allen, director of bands at SFA. “Most choral pieces accompanied by instruments use strings, but this one does not.” Allen will conduct the work.

    Dr. Tim King, director of choral activities as SFA and of the A Cappella Choir, described the work as “heartfelt and beautiful.”

    “Bruckner, a dedicated church musician, knew the tradition of the mass,” King said. “The E minor Mass for orchestra winds and chorus had as its predecessor the Harmoniemesse by (Joseph) Haydn. However, Bruckner brought to mass what Haydn could not – the lush harmonic language of late 1800s.

    “The E minor Mass stands unparalleled in genre for winds and chorus,” he added.

    Though Bruckner was born in Austria, his style is often referred to as representing Austro-German Romanticism, according to Allen.

    A pair of short pieces by German composers will open the concert. These include March in F by Ludwig von Beethoven followed by Geschwindmarsch by Paul Hindemith. Hong Kong graduate student Jeff Leung will conduct the two pieces.

    “The Hindemith march is based on the melody of the Beethoven piece, linking these two works across 130 years,” said Allen. “Both marches are written for small groups of wind players.”

    Tickets for the concert, which is a presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music, 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 841

  • ‘The Most Happy Fella’ opens Thursday at SFA

    ‘The Most Happy Fella’ opens Thursday at SFA

    press image
    April 6, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The citizens of Napa Valley agree that Tony, played by Houston senior Cairee Mayfield, is “The Most Happy Fella” in a rehearsal of the musical by Frank Loesser. The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will present “The Most Happy Fella” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 9 through 11, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. For tickets or more information, 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:

    article ID 840

  • Tolan’s ‘Stay Carl Stay’ to be performed in SFA’s Downstage Theatre

    Tolan’s ‘Stay Carl Stay’ to be performed in SFA’s Downstage Theatre

    April 2, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Playwright Peter Tolan’s “Stay Carl Stay” is featured among the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre’s spring student productions.

    Directed by Brownsville senior theatre major Anna Goldberg, “Stay Carl Stay” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 10, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 11, in the Downstage Theatre in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

    In “Stay Carl Stay,” an introverted young woman, dominated and taken for granted by her boyfriend, adopts a dog on the advice of an eccentric therapist, Goldberg explains. Pandemonium ensues when Carl, the dog, who is far better behaved than the boyfriend, learns to dance and talk and wins his mistress’ heart, according to the play’s description at barnesandnoble.com.

    The cast includes Dallas junior Celeste Galey as Caroline; McAllen junior Pedro Dominguez as Carl; Palestine junior Greg Albright as Brian; Angelton junior Amber Holtz as Mary Sue; Amarillo senior Mary Collie as Dr. Weiss; and Wichita Falls freshman Travis Brasher as Bingo.

    The production staff includes Lauren Wijangco, Sugarland freshman, stage manager; Kindle Bonner, Hudson junior, scenic designer; Cloey Hammonds, Nacogdoches freshman, costume designer; Andrea Nelson, Lake Dallas sophomore, lighting designer; Bruce Moran, Lake Jackson sophomore, sound designer; Bianca Stein, Brenham senior, hair and makeup designer; and Angel Williams, Beaumont sophomore, properties manager.

    Faculty production advisor is Zach Hanks.

    Goldberg performed in SFA Playwright-in-Residence Jack Heifner’s “Entropy” during last year’s New American Play Festival at SFA. She was an intern last summer at Open Stage of Harrisburg working as an assistant teacher, co-writer/director and choreographer. She is a member of the School of Theatre’s Peer Mentor Council and SFA’s Phi Beta cast of Alpha Psi Omega.

    Tickets are $4. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit theatre.sfasu.edu “Stay Carl Stay” is recommended for mature audiences (teens or older).

    article ID 839

  • Texas National 2015 features esteemed Chinese artist Lin as juror

    Texas National 2015 features esteemed Chinese artist Lin as juror

    press image
    “Chinaman’s Chance: The first transcontinental railroad,” an exhibition of the work of Texas National 2015 juror Zhi Lin, will open with the 21st Texas National art competition and exhibition April 11 at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    April 2, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Chinese 2D artist Zhi Lin will serve as juror for the 21st Texas National, Stephen F. Austin State University’s acclaimed annual art competition and exhibition.

    The School of Art’s annual juried competition and exhibition attracts entrants from across the United States, providing artists an opportunity to have their work juried by highly acclaimed artists and critics, such as Lin. This year’s exhibition, which opens April 11 in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, includes 93 pieces of art by 82 different artist from 26 states.

    “As in past years, the Texas National will feature an assortment of art from a variety of artists across the nation,” said John Handley, director of SFA galleries. “This will include photography, painting, sculpture and mixed media pieces.”

    A number of Nacogdoches area artists and SFA students and alumni were selected to be in this year’s Texas National, according to Handley.

    A highlight of the April 11 opening of Texas National 2015 will be the simultaneous opening of an exhibition of Lin’s own works – “Chinaman’s Chance: The first transcontinental railroad.”

    Lin is a professor of painting and drawing at the School of Art at the University of Washington, in Seattle, Wash. He is an affiliate professor of the Jackson School of International Studies and holds the Floyd & Delores Jones Endowed Professorship in the Arts. He has had more than 20 solo shows and participated in more than 90 group exhibitions on both sides of the Atlantic and in China. His works are included in many museum collections in the United States, Great Britain and China.

    Lin is represented by Koplin Del Rio, Culver City, Calif. His work can be viewed at http://www.koplindelrio.com/content/zhi-lin

    A juror’s lecture is scheduled at 5 p.m. followed by a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Winners will be announced during the reception. Both shows run through June 13.

    Exhibitions and receptions are sponsored in part by the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts and Nacogdoches Junior Forum. Corporate sponsors for Texas National include the Hampton Inn and R&K Distributors, Inc. These exhibitions are features of the SFA College of Fine Arts’ University Series.

    The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

    You may also be interested in the following related article:

    article ID 838

  • Internationally acclaimed pianist Ruiz to perform at SFA

    Internationally acclaimed pianist Ruiz to perform at SFA

    press image
    April 2, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Steinway artist Sergio H. Ruiz will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 6, in Cole Concert Hall in the Wright Music Building on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.

    Ruiz, who is professor of music and chair of the music department at Georgia College and State University, is in high demand as a performer, adjudicator and clinician, according to Andrew Parr, professor of piano at SFA.

    Ruiz performs on Spanish-speaking radio broadcasts airing throughout South and Central America. Most recently, he performed concerts in Bolivia, Ecuador and México, and he has appeared live on Houston’s KUHF 88.7, “The Front Row.”

    His performance at SFA will feature works from Sonata in D Major, KV 576 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Funérailles (October 1849) by Franz Liszt; Berceuse, Op. 57 by Frédéric Chopin; and Sonata #1, Op. 22 (1952) by Alberto Ginastera.

    The concert is a presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music. 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 837

Connect with the University Series on Facebook