College of Fine Arts News Archive

November 2014

  • ‘Spamalot’ opens Tuesday

    ‘Spamalot’ opens Tuesday

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    November 17, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    “Spamalot,” the Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of the classic film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” opens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, and runs nightly through Saturday, Nov. 22, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus. Rehearsing a scene from the musical, produced by the SFA Schools of Theatre and Music, are, from left, Thomas Elam, Rosharon senior, as Patsy; Matthew Kelley, exchange student, as King Arthur; and Austin Davis, Keller junior, as Sir Galahad. Tickets range from $7.50 to $20, with discounts available for seniors, SFA faculty/staff, students and youth. For tickets or more information, visit theatre.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.

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  • Faculty jazz combo to perform with SFA Wind Ensemble

    Faculty jazz combo to perform with SFA Wind Ensemble

    November 17, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    A jazz combo comprised of Stephen F. Austin State University music faculty will perform with the SFA Wind Ensemble in a concert titled “New Directions” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the university campus.

    The faculty combo includes Deb Scott, trombone; Larry Greer, guitar; J.D. Salas, bass; Brad Meyer, percussion; and James Pitts, piano. Tamey Anglley, assistant director of bands, will guest conduct the piece they will perform with the Wind Ensemble – “Electric Vortex” by Jennifer Bellor.

    “Jennifer Bellor composed the piece to simulate the idea of an electric vortex where the jazz combo is the center of the vortex from where all electricity emerges,” Anglley said.

    SFA is among eight schools across the country that commissioned this piece last spring, Anglley explained.

    “We will be performing the Texas premiere,” she said. “We would like to thank our student organizations Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma for their financial contribution towards this endeavor.”

    Bellor recently completed her doctorate at the Eastman School of Music and primarily composes for jazz big bands.

    “She is a new, young composer who has an interesting musical voice,” Anglley said.

    This concert, which is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music, is called “New Directions” because most of the compositions were written in the last 10 years, according to Fred J. Allen, director of bands at SFA and of the Wind Ensemble. The lone exception is “Ouverture” by French composer Germaine Tailleferre, performed in a transcription by John Paynter. Other pieces include “Crossing Parallels” by Kathryn Salfelder and “Tiger Tail March” by Louisiana composer Julie Giroux.

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

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  • Duet recital to feature violin, double bass

    Duet recital to feature violin, double bass

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    Martha Walvoord
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    Jack Unzicker
    November 13, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present the violin and double bass duet of Martha Walvoord and Jack Unzicker at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, in the Music Recital Hall in the Wright Music Building on the SFA campus.

    Walvoord and Unziker, both professors of music at the University of Texas, Arlington, are married, and each enjoys an active career as a soloist and chamber musician.

    Walvoord’s recent solo performances have taken her to China, Hong Kong, Spain, England, Costa Rica and across the U.S., including her performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto” with the Quingdao Symphony Orchestra.

    Unzicker is the principal double bassist of the newly formed Dallas Chamber Symphony and the Plano Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed as principal with the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, Dallas Wind Symphony and the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. He regularly performs with the Dallas Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Opera.

    Their SFA program will feature chamber works for the violin and double bass, an “interesting combination” in that the highest and lowest members of the string family are represented, according to Jennifer Dalmas, associate professor of violin at SFA.

    “The contrast in timbres and the sonority of these instruments together will create a really enjoyable concert experience,” Dalmas said.

    The most well known piece for this relatively obscure chamber music combination is a Suite for Violin and Double Bass by Reinhold Gliere, a composer of the Romantic era. Other works on the program are by more contemporary composers, and Walvoord transcribed two of the works for these instruments.

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

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  • Exhibition features beautiful spinning tools

    Exhibition features beautiful spinning tools

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    The exhibition “To Spin A Yarn, Distaffs: Folk Art and Material Culture,” now showing at The Cole Art Center, will be discussed in a gallery talk at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, followed by a reception. A spinning demonstration will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22.

    November 13, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    The exhibition “To Spin A Yarn, Distaffs: Folk Art and Material Culture” is showing through Jan. 10 in Reavley Gallery in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    According to the guest curator, Michael T. Ricker, the exhibition features spinning tools, which represent one aspect of the weaving tradition common to virtually all cultures.

    Ricker will discuss the exhibition in a gallery talk at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, followed by a reception. Historian Sarida Steed-Bradley will give a spinning demonstration at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22.

    The exhibition contains more than 60 19th- and 20th-century distaffs, originating from Russia and European countries from Scandinavia to the Balkans. Ricker describes them as “beautiful, but inherently simple, tools used for spinning fiber.” He provides an expanded discussion of distaffs in his book by the same title, “To Spin A Yarn, Distaffs: Folk Art and Material Culture,” published by SFA Press.

    “SFA Press published the beautiful full-color book last year, and so we brought the exhibition to the Cole Art Center,” said John Handley, director of SFA art galleries.

    In his book, Ricker writes, “In certain cultures, distaffs evolved over centuries from plain sticks to surprisingly ornate sculptures. They eventually became important cultural objects, with almost ritualistic significance.” He adds, “Despite their importance and wide proliferation, distaffs are rarely found today. Many did not survive years of hard use. Others were relegated to attics and barns, deteriorating both physically and within communal memory. Today, distaffs remain cultural touchstones and marvelous examples of the rural craftsman’s talent and creativity.”

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

    The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For information about this exhibition and others at The Cole Art Center, call (936) 468-1131.

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  • SFA jazz bands to perform music of Goodwin, Davis, Tomaro

    SFA jazz bands to perform music of Goodwin, Davis, Tomaro

    November 13, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    The music of Los Angeles-based jazz composers as well as jazz legends like Miles Davis will be featured when the Swingin’ Axes and Swingin’ Aces at Stephen F. Austin State University perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Pieces by John Clayton, Tom Kubis and multi-Grammy nominated composer Gordon Goodwin will be among the music performed by the Swingin’ Axes, directed by Gary Wurtz, professor of trumpet and jazz studies at SFA.

    “Because of the influence of the Hollywood recording industry, L.A. is the home to some of the best all-around musicians in the world,” Wurtz said. “With access to such a high level of talent, these gifted composers can comfortably write almost anything they want, knowing the local musicians are up to the challenge. For that reason, some of the most cutting-edge music comes to us out of the L.A. scene.”

    Goodwin’s “The Phat Pack,” “Horn of Puente,” “Backrow Politics” and “Hunting Wabbits” are on the Swingin’ Axes’ program, along with “Samba Dees Gotta Do It” by Kubis and Clayton’s “I Be Serious ‘Bout Dem Blues.”

    The Swingin’ Aces, directed by Deb Scott, professor of trombone and jazz studies at SFA, will perform Nightowl Suite, Movement 1 by Mike Tomaro, “Freddie Freeloader” by Miles Davis, “Caravan” by John Tizol and arranged by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band/Wynton Marsalis, and “After You’ve Gone” by Turner Layton and arranged by Mark Taylor. Also on the Swingin’ Aces’ program is “Tank” (opening theme to “Cowboy Bebop”) by Yoko Kanno and arranged by Eric Dannewitz.

    “The Aces are performing a wide variety of jazz styles,” Scott said, “including the fun Latin Dirty Dozen Brass Band sound of ‘Caravan,’ which features the bass line on tuba performed by freshman science major Aarron DeLuca from Kaufman. Senior music major from The Colony Josh Reyna, on alto saxophone, will be featured on the exciting swing theme, ‘Tank.’”

    The concert is a joint 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.

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  • SFA’s Orchestra of the Pines to present ‘Memorable Melodies’

    SFA’s Orchestra of the Pines to present ‘Memorable Melodies’

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    Flora Wall
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    Juwan Blanton
    November 13, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present the Orchestra of the Pines in concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The orchestra will present “Memorable Melodies,” a program that ranges from “the extremely familiar to the nearly obscure,” according to Gene H. Moon, director of orchestras at SFA.

    “Nonetheless, those who join us will leave with a number of memorable melodies to hum on the way home,” Moon said.

    Guest artists for the evening are senior voice student Flora Wall, soprano from Humble, and senior percussion student Juwan Blanton of Lufkin, who will play the snare drum.

    Among the most familiar pieces to be performed is Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which is known for its opening four-note motive, “fate knocking at the door.” Orchestra of the Pines last performed this famous work seven years ago, Moon said.

    “This is one of Beethoven’s most thrilling works, if not in the entire orchestral oeuvre,” Moon said.

    The orchestra will also perform Maurice Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte, whose opening melody played on the horn is “wistfully mesmerizing,” Moon said. Joining the guest soloists will be guest conductor and graduate conducting student, Jeff Leung from Hong Kong.

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

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  • ‘Spamalot’ features fun, challenging score for directors, cast, orchestra

    ‘Spamalot’ features fun, challenging score for directors, cast, orchestra

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    “Spamalot” cast members rehearsing one of the numbers in the musical by Eric Idle, John Du Prez and Neil Innes are, from left, Bobby Britton, Stuart Neef, Keenan Chaisson, Heather Abbott, Daniel Miller, Adrian Lopez and Amy Miller-Martin.

    November 7, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    Are there enough orchestra lights for everyone in the pit? When will the piano be tuned? Can the cast sing that note while jumping? How will the offstage singers see the conductor? How many timpani will fit in the pit? How long does it take for the feet of God to lift off?

    These are some of the questions spinning around in the mind of Dr. Stephen Lias, professor of composing at Stephen F. Austin State University and the music director of Monty Python’s “Spamalot” to be presented by the SFA Schools of Theatre and Music.

    “Spamalot,” the Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of the 1975 classic movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” takes the stage in W.M. Turner Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Nov. 18 through 22, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee performance. Angela Bacarisse, professor of theatre at SFA, is director and choreographer for the musical by Eric Idle, John Du Prez and Neil Innes.

    A seasoned director for many musical productions, Lias described such an undertaking as “an incredibly complex puzzle that requires a lot of people from different disciplines to all be working toward the same goal.”

    Prior to his work at SFA, Lias conducted the musicals "My Fair Lady," "Man of La Mancha," "Guys and Dolls" and "She Loves Me" at the Texas Shakespeare Festival. Since his arrival at SFA in 2000, he has served as musical director for "Cabaret," "Follies," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and "Little Shop of Horrors."

    “The thing I like best about the entire process is getting to work collaboratively with so many excellent colleagues in theatre and music,” Lias said. “Although my domain is music, this intersects with things such as sets, lighting, costumes, sound reinforcement, props, etc.”

    “I could not have undertaken this project without such an amazing partner as Dr. Lias,” Bacarisse said.

    Lias has been involved in “Spamalot” “right from the beginning,” he said, participating in auditions and attending every rehearsal with the cast.

    “In addition, I'm also responsible for hiring and rehearsing the pit orchestra,” Lias said. “The pit is made up mostly of students from the School of Music, but we are joined by three faculty members.”

    There are about 15 players covering all the standard parts of the orchestra – strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, piano and guitar.

    Lias describes “Spamalot” as “a pastiche of many other Broadway musicals,” making the score both very traditional, but also tongue-in-cheek.

    “In many places there are musical clichés used to push the sound just a little over the top,” he said. “It is a challenging score, but not as hard as many. I'd say it sits in the middle of the difficulty range for Broadway musicals. It is a very fun score to play and conduct!

    “I really enjoy the big dance numbers the best,” Lias said. "‘You Won't Succeed on Broadway’ and ‘Knights of the Round Table’ certainly give the orchestra a lot to do, and I'm sure they'll bring the house down.”

    Katy Rutherford, assistant director for “Spamalot,” and Anna Goldberg, dramaturg for the production, will present an informative talk about the musical at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, in Griffith Gallery, which is located across the hallway from Turner Auditorium.
    “Spamalot” is recommended for mature audiences. A content advisory is available at http://theatre.sfasu.edu.

    “Spamalot” is a feature of the SFA College of Fine Arts’ 2014-2015 University Series, “Connect,” and is among the School of Theatre’s Mainstage productions, which are sponsored in part by Tipton Ford Lincoln of Nacogdoches.

    Tickets range from $7.50 to $20, with discounts available for seniors, SFA faculty/staff, students and youth. For tickets or more information, visit http://theatre.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.

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  • SFA music faculty member Gaviria to present ‘Bass & Co.’

    SFA music faculty member Gaviria to present ‘Bass & Co.’

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    Carlos Gaviria

    November 3, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present music faculty member Carlos Gaviria in a chamber recital at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Gaviria will present “Bass & Co.” and will be joined by colleagues Jennifer Dalmas, violin; Evgeni Raychev, cello; Melissa Nabb, viola; Christina Gunether, flute; and Geneva Fung, piano.

    “‘Bass & Co.’ is a play on words to describe chamber music with the double bass, an instrument that is not commonly associated with chamber music,” Gaviria said. “The only piece that comes to mind when thinking of the double bass and chamber music is (Franz) Schubert’s ‘The Trout’ quintet. However, composers have experimented with the low register of the bass and produced a significant output.

    “My idea was to introduce to the audience pieces that are not as well-known but are true musical gems and feature the double bass nicely,” he said. “It will be a lot of fun.”

    Among the pieces to be performed are Piano Quintet in C minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams; Concertino for Viola, Flute and Double bass by Erwin Schulhoff; “Contrabajeando” by Astor Piazzolla; and “Appalachian Waltz” by Mark O’Connor.

    Of the Williams piece, Gaviria said the composition “features lush romantic harmonies and textures, typical of composers of the Romantic period, like (Johannes) Brahms, whom Vaughan Williams admired.” And Concertino for Viola, Flute and Double bass is an “unusual instrumental combination by the Czech composer that explores the timbric characteristics of the instruments while combining them with Czech folk dances,” he added.

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

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