College of Fine Arts News Archive

February 2016

  • Guest artists to perform with SFA’s Orchestra of the Pines

    Guest artists to perform with SFA’s Orchestra of the Pines

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    February 26, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    This year’s Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition winner Ethan Le will be among the guest artists who perform when the Orchestra of the Pines presents “Vim and Virtuosity” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 7, in Cole Concert Hall on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

    “The evening is a potpourri of music selections – a melting pot of variable delights,” said Dr. Gene H. Moon, director of orchestras at SFA. “We have two guest artists joining us, both of whom are full of vim and virtuosity.”

    Le, a senior at Cinco Ranch High School in Katy, will perform the first movement of Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major. Le made his orchestral debut at the age of 14 with the Houston Civic Symphony as its winner of the Young Artist Concerto Competition Junior String Division. In that same year, he also won the Clear Lake Symphony Youth Concerto Competition, Junior String Division, and performed with the orchestra. Le won first place at the 2014 Clear Lake Symphony Youth Concerto Competition and at the 2015 Houston Civic Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition.

    Also performing with the orchestra will be John Ma, violin professor at the University of Macau, Hong Kong. As a musical exchange, Moon will travel to Hong Kong to join Ma and two of his students in a collaborative performance.

    With the Orchestra of the Pines, Ma, who is an active violinist with symphonies and orchestras throughout Hong Kong and China, will perform “Estaciones Portenas,” or “Four Seasons,” by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla.

    Also on the program is a performance of this year’s winning entry in the orchestra’s annual composition competition. SFA “prides itself in having a thriving composition studio” led by Dr. Stephen Lias, professor of composition in the School of Music, according to Moon.

    “I have always championed new music and strive to introduce my orchestras to such contemporaries,” Moon said “This year, we have a unique ‘first time,’ not only in the work being performed, but also by the composer, who is our first freshman winner.”

    Freshman composition major and talented pianist Jesse Edwards composed “Shipwreck,” a full orchestra work inspired by the painting “A Shipwreck Off a Rocky Coast” (c. 1760) by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, a French painter made famous for his renditions of landscapes and battles. Edwards has had works premiered in concerts, theaters and films.

    The program is bookended by two popular concert works. Jeff Leung, SFA graduate conductor from Hong Kong, will open the program by taking the orchestra through Felix Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides Overture,” a work that “helped establish the genre of the concert overture,” Moon explained. The program ends with the “Dance Bacchanale” from “Samson and Delilah,” an opera by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns.

    “The sultry melodies and driving rhythmic forces are sure to give the audience the ride of their lives,” Moon said.

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

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  • Concert to feature program based on works of female composers, poets

    Concert to feature program based on works of female composers, poets

    February 26, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Choral Union and Women’s Choir will present “In Praise of Women” when the ensembles perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, in Cole Concert Hall in the Wright Music Building on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

    The concert program is based on works by female composers and poets, and on female centered themes, according to Dr. Tod W. Fish, assistant professor and associate director of choral activities in the SFA School of Music.

    “Female composers are grossly under-performed, in particular, those from earlier time periods,” Fish said. “This concert will display the works of female composers and poets from five different historical periods.”

    The concert features a collaboration with SFA music faculty members Christina Guenther, flute; Staci Spring, bassoon; and Scott LaGraff, Chris Turner and Gennard Lombardozzi, voice. Graduate student violinists will also perform.

    The Women’s Choir will perform “The Snow” by Edward Elgar. “It is a mainstay in the treble repertoire,” Fish said. “It features a virtuosic violin duet and the text by his wife, Alice, a poet and novelist.

    The Choral Union will perform Domine ad adiuvandum by the early Baroque composer Isabella Leonarda, who Fish describes as “a fairly unknown composer to modern audiences.”

    “But she was quite popular during her lifetime,” he said. “This piece shows influence of (Claudio) Monteverdi and is accompanied by two C instruments and basso continuo.”

    The Choral Union will also perform Lili Boulanger’s “Pour les Funérailles d’un Soldat,” a highly dramatic work that will feature LaGraff, Turner and Lombardozzi as soloists and in a vocal trio.

    Graduate conducting students Elaina Nordin of Angleton will conduct the Women’s Choir, and Andrew Trites of Overland Park, Kansas, and Robert Boren of Gun Barrel City will conduct the Choral Union men and women, respectively. The graduate conductors will each interpret three selections by contemporary female composers, Fish said.

    The recital 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 School of Theatre presents ‘Clybourne Park’ through Saturday

    SFA School of Theatre presents ‘Clybourne Park’ through Saturday

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    February 26, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The School of Theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “Clybourne Park” by Bruce Norris at 7:30 nightly through Saturday, Feb. 27, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. Among the student performers in this 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama are, from left, Jonee Lewis as Francine, Karen Rush as Bev and Bobby Britton as Russ. Single tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/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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  • Acclaimed double bassist Bradetich to perform at SFA

    Acclaimed double bassist Bradetich to perform at SFA

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    February 25, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Jeff Bradetich, regarded as one of the leading performers and teachers of double bass in the United States, will present a guest recital at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 3, in Cole Concert Hall on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.

    Regents professor of double bass at the University of North Texas, Bradetich is an active lecturer and clinician. His concert is designed to “showcase the incredible sound and expressive palette of the bass as a solo instrument,” according to Carlos Gaviria, SFA School of Music faculty member.

    “The instrument featured in this concert was made in 1767 by the famous Italian maker Guadagnini and is one of the best instruments in the world,” Bradetich said.

    Performing as guest artists with Bradetich will be Gaviria, double bass; Janice Fehlauer of Houston, piano; and SFA music student Ben Mitchell of Flower Mound, double bass.

    A highlight of the concert will be a performance of Sonata No. 2 for double bass and piano, originally for cello, by Ludwig von Beethoven.

    “The 2nd Beethoven cello sonata was performed by the leading bass player of the day with Beethoven at the piano, and he gave his blessing to perform the work on bass,” Bradetich said.

    The other major work to be performed is Concierto para Contrabajo and Orquesta (concerto for double bass and orchestra) by Andrés Martin of Argentina.

    “This is one of the finest new works for bass and captures the majestic spirit and vivid colors of the Hispanic culture,” Bradetich said.

    Gaviria will be featured in a duo for two basses and piano, “A Day of Change” by Doc Solomon, written in memory of the 9/11 attacks on New York City. “This is a very beautiful and heart-felt work,” he said.

    Proclaimed by the New York Times as "the master of his instrument," Bradetich has won many major solo competitions, recorded six solo albums of music for double bass and piano and has been featured on radio and television throughout North and South America and Europe including CBS, CNN, BBC and NPR.

    “Mr. Bradetich has performed more than 600 concerts on five continents, and he is looking forward to sharing the beautiful sounds of the bass with the people of Nacogdoches,” Gaviria said.

    The recital is a joint 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.

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  • First Friday Film Series features ‘The Salt of the Earth’

    First Friday Film Series features ‘The Salt of the Earth’

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    February 25, 2016—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 “The Salt of the Earth” at 7 p.m. Friday, March 4, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    “The Salt of the Earth” reveals the life and work of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, who for the past 40 years has traveled through the continents witnessing major events of history – international conflicts, starvation and exodus. This film by his son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, and Wim Wenders, chronicles his quest to discover pristine territories, wild fauna and flora and grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project as a tribute to the planet’s beauty, according to information at http://www.imdb.com.

    The film runs 110 minutes and is rated PG-13 for thematic material involving disturbing images of violence and human suffering and for nudity.

    This screening is part of the School of Art’s monthly First Friday Film Series and is sponsored in part by the Nacogdoches Film Festival, William Arscott, The Liberty Bell, Nacogdoches Junior Forum, Karon Gillespie, Mike Mollot, Main Street Nacogdoches, David Kulhavy, John and Kristen Heath, Brad Maule, Galleria Z, Jill Carrington, Jean Stephens and Jim and Mary Neal.

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

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  • SFA to present student-directed ‘A Dollar’

    SFA to present student-directed ‘A Dollar’

    February 25, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre will present the student-directed “A Dollar” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 4, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5, in the Downstage Theatre on the SFA campus.

    Directed by senior theatre major Greg Albright of Palestine, playwright David Pinski’s “A Dollar” is about a troupe of traveling players who are tired and penniless and end up arguing over a dollar they find.

    “The players, trekking from one town to the next, reach a crossroads at the end of the day and realize they won’t be sleeping in a town that night,” Albright explains. “Cold, exhausted, hungry and completely broke, they despair. In an attempt to cope with their situation, they begin to dance and sing. They then find a dollar lying on the ground, after which chaos and hilarity ensue.”

    The cast features Jacksonville sophomore James Burns as The Comedian; Lufkin sophomore Jacob Carr as The Villain; Wichita Falls sophomore Travis Brasher as The Tragedian; Carthage junior Zachary Barlow as The Old Man; Waco freshman Marian Midgett as The Heroine; Rockwall senior Victoria Carew as The Ingénue; Austin sophomore Abigail Junk as The Old Woman; and Houston sophomore John Singleton as The Stranger.

    The production staff includes Ashley Mouton, Groves junior, as stage manager; Bekki Stewart, exchange student from Essex, England, scenic designer; TJ Davis, Beaumont junior, costume designer; Emily Rohrman, Grand Saline senior, costume co-designer; Travis Wilson, Katy sophomore, lighting designer; Bruce Moran, Kingwood junior, sound designer; and Gabriel Penaloza-Hernandez, Austin sophomore, hair and makeup designer.

    Albright has appeared in several School of Theatre productions, including “Spamalot” and “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and in the SummerStage Festival production of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” as Emperor Plumptoe. He is currently cast as the character Dad in “Bury Me in This,” a new play written by SFA’s playwright-in-residence Jack Heifner that is a part of the School of Theatre’s biennial Festival of New American Plays. Albright has also been in several student productions, including “Void as Man One” and “Stay Carl Stay.” He is the president of Improv Strikes Back, SFA’s improvisational theatre troupe. He plans to pursue his practicum for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree during the upcoming fall and spring semesters.

    “A Dollar” is recommended for mature audiences. Faculty production advisor is Scott Shattuck.

    The Downstage Theatre is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive.

    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.

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  • SFA jazz bands promise exciting program of music

    SFA jazz bands promise exciting program of music

    February 25, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Swingin’ Axes and Swingin’ Aces jazz bands at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and other jazz greats at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 4, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    “It’s an exciting semester for jazz at SFA,” said Dr. Deb Scott, professor of trombone and interim director of the Swingin’ Axes for the spring. Dr. J.D. Salas, associate professor of tuba and euphonium, is interim director of the Swingin’ Aces this semester. Scott and Salas assumed new roles this semester with the reassignment of Dr. Gary Wurtz as interim director of the SFA School of Music.

    “Both jazz bands are sounding great and have really exciting new music planned,” Scott said.

    The Aces will perform “Just Friends” by John Klenner, arranged by Joe Jackson; “Basic-ally Yours” by Thad Jones; “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” by Antonio Carlos Jobim, arranged by Mark Taylor; “C-Jam Blues” by Duke Ellington, arranged by Dave Wolpe; and “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans” by Louis Alter, arranged by Les Hooper.

    The Axes’ program features “Moanin’” by Charles Mingus, arranged by Sy Johnson; “Count Me In” by Count Basie, arranged by Billy Byers; “Point No Point” by Dan Gailey, jazz director at the University of Kansas; “Wrygly” by Maria Schneider; “Got a Grip” by Chris Culver; and “Point of Return” by Paul Ferguson, a fast Latin number composed for the Paul Ferguson big band.

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

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  • Artist’s talk, musical performance added feature of Jones exhibition

    Artist’s talk, musical performance added feature of Jones exhibition

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    February 25, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House will host an artist’s talk and musical performance starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 6, in conjunction with the exhibition “East Texas Impressions: The Art of Charles D. Jones,” which is currently showing at the downtown gallery.

    The comprehensive catalogue of this exhibition will be available for purchase, and Jones will be available to sign following the 2 p.m. artist talk.

    As an “added value” event of the Nacogdoches Music Festival, slated for March 3 through 6 in downtown Nacogdoches, the afternoon’s festivities will also feature Jones and the musical group Camino Real, which includes Jon Hall, Craig Smith, Mark McClain and Robbie Roach, performing old-time string band music, Irish tunes and a variety of other songs. Joining them for some special songs will be Michelle Smith, Tim Chauvin, Cele Knight, John Guedry and Paul Driver. Admission is free.

    “East Texas Impressions: The Art of Charles D. Jones” features drawings, prints and paintings of the professor emeritus in the School of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University who now serves as director and master printer for the LaNana Creek Press in SFA’s College of Fine Arts. Woodcuts, intaglio and book arts are also featured in this retrospective of Jones’ work, which is curated by David Lewis, professor of art history at SFA.

    The Jones exhibition and the Refined jewelry and metalwork exhibition, both of which are sponsored in part by the Nacogdoches Junior Forum and SFA Friends of the Visual Arts, have been extended to run through March 19.

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

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  • Oasis Quartet to perform at SFA

    Oasis Quartet to perform at SFA

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    The Oasis Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    February 19, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Oasis Quartet will present a diverse program of works for saxophone when they perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, in Cole Concert Hall on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.

    “The music on this program represents some of our favorite works for saxophone quartet and actually features two new pieces written for Oasis Quartet,” said Dr. Nathan Nabb, professor of saxophone in the SFA School of Music and quartet member. Other members include James Bunte, Dave Camwell and James Romain.

    “We put a great deal of thought into our programs and always plan to present an exciting blend of original works for the instrument as well as transcriptions from varying periods and styles,” Nabb said. “This approach leads to a diverse program with something for every listener and allows us to show the flexibility of the instrument and ensemble.”

    “Scallywag” is a new work Stephen Lias, professor of composition at SFA, wrote for Oasis last spring. Oasis premiered it this past November during the ensemble’s fall tour of the Midwest.

    “This is a challenging work that blends elements of jazz and funk with more traditional ‘classical’ saxophone techniques,” Nabb said. “Steve has collaborated with Oasis on various projects for over five years now, and he certainly knows the strengths of the group. The result is a really fun and energetic concert opener.”

    Also on the program is “Recitation Book” by David Maslanka, which is a work that became popular in the saxophone quartet repertoire in the early 2000s, according to Nabb.

    “Like much of Maslanka’s music, this work draws from various musical periods, including madrigals, chorales and chant,” he said. “The fifth movement, ‘Fanfare and Variations on Durch Adam’s Fall,’ is a powerful and virtuosic closer to the piece and stands alone as a work unto itself in this program.”

    Also featured will be a piece by Dutch composer and saxophonist Guillermo Lago, founding member of the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet, and another piece written specifically for Oasis by Richard Lavenda, professor of composition and theory at Rice University.

    Each member of Oasis is a concert artist in his own right, and they appear regionally, nationally and internationally as chamber musicians, clinicians, orchestral musicians, solo recitalists and adjudicators. They can be heard on the Teal Creek, Centaur, Innova, Amp Recordings, and Mark Custom labels, and in performances with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, as well as a number of regional orchestras.

    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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  • Coming to SFA: ArcAttack most electrifying science show on tour

    Coming to SFA: ArcAttack most electrifying science show on tour

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    The Children’s Performing Arts Series at SFA will present ArcAttack Science Show at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 4, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    February 19, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and the Children’s Performing Arts Series will present two performances of ArcAttack Science Show on Friday, March 4.

    Described as “the most electrifying science show on tour,” ArcAttack was seen in the fifth season of “America’s Got Talent.” A highlight of an ArcAttack show is the use of two custom-built singing Tesla coils that have been modified to play musical notes.

    “Students will explore concepts such as electricity, voltage and current, magnetism, robotics, and lightning through demonstrations and experiments with ArcAttack’s signature Tesla coils, capable of throwing electrical arcs up to 12 feet long,” explains Diane J. Peterson, Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of the children’s series.

    The ArcAttack crew and their trusty robot take classrooms on an interactive journey of discovery where students will learn the science behind the amazing display they see on stage. To view a video of the performance, visit http://www.arcattack.com/

    This show targets students in third through 12th grades.

    Performances are at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in W.M. Turner Auditorium. Tickets are $7.50 for individuals and $6 per person for groups of 20 or more.

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

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  • SFA faculty recital program to showcase different composition techniques

    SFA faculty recital program to showcase different composition techniques

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    SFA music faculty members will present “Gen, Jen and Friends” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, in Cole Concert Hall on the SA campus. The performance features, from left, Jennifer Dalmas, violin; Evgeni Raychev, cello; Geneva Fung, piano; Gary Wurtz, trumpet; and Christopher Ayer, clarinet.

    February 19, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present “Gen, Jen and Friends,” a concert of 20th century trio music composed for violin, piano and another instrument, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Joining pianist Geneva Fung, staff accompanist in the School of Music, will be colleagues Jennifer Dalmas, violin; Christopher Ayer, clarinet; Evgeni Raychev, cello; and Gary Wurtz, trumpet.

    Featured on the program are Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano by Gian Carlo Menotti; Space Jump for Violin, Cello and Piano, Op. 46 by Fazil Say; and Trio for Trumpet, Violin and Piano by Eric Ewazen.

    “Different composers of different nationalities have different perspectives and aesthetics of sound and timber with instrumentation combinations,” Fung said. “I would like to show the different characters and composition techniques through these compositions.”

    Italian composer Menotti’s Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano was commissioned by The Verdehr Trio, which was formed at Michigan State University. The ensemble premiered the first and second movements at the Spoleto Festival in July 1996, and Menotti promised that the third movement would be ready in time for a concert at Michigan State University, which was to take place in September of that year, Fung said.

    “However, administrative duties at Spoleto kept Menotti from completing the piece until the week of the Michigan State premiere,” she said. “He was determined to finish it. In fact, he literally finished the third movement at noon on the very day of the concert.”

    A free-fall jump from 39 kilometers above Earth by Austria’s extreme sportsman Felix Baumgartner in 2012 inspired Turkish-American composer Say’s Space Jump for Violin, Cello and Piano, Op. 46, according to Fung.

    “In his musical illustration of this revelatory voyage from space to Earth, Say depicts each phase of the jump, from takeoff to safe landing,” Fung said. “Say’s intense fascination with this event prompted a work containing every emotion he experienced as a spectator.”

    In Trio for Trumpet, Violin and Piano, Ewazen “uses the trumpet heroically and dramatically, but at the same time lyrically,” Fung explained. “Each of the four movements in this composition demonstrates different timbre and color of the uncommon instrumental combination.”

    The recital is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music and is a feature of the Cole Performing Arts Series.

    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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  • ‘Clybourne Park’ highlights continued need for improving race relations

    ‘Clybourne Park’ highlights continued need for improving race relations

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    SFA theatre student Robert Malbrough, left, standing in as the character of Karl Linder, rehearses with fellow actors Terrance Simon and Jonee Lewis in a scene from “Clybourne Park.” The School of Theatre will present the Bruce Norris play at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 23 through 27, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. Photo courtesy of The Pine Log.

    February 19, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    In spite of the best and most sincere efforts of many Americans, the state of race relations in the U.S. today needs great improvement. The negative effects of urban poverty, particularly on the African American population, continue to plague the nation.

    Those observations by Dr. Dianne E. Dentice, associate professor of anthropology, geography and sociology at Stephen F. Austin State University, show us that the racial themes addressed in the upcoming SFA School of Theatre’s production of “Clybourne Park,” despite improvements, are as timely today as they were at the height of the Civil Rights movement.

    “The overall state of race relations in the U.S. is slowly improving, but we still have a long way to go,” Dentice said. “Poverty, urban decay, job and wage stagnation, and education inequality continue to have devastating consequences for young African Americans, especially males.”

    The School of Theatre will present “Clybourne Park” by Bruce Norris at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 23 through 27, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for drama, “Clybourne Park” was written in response to the classic “A Raisin In the Sun.” In “Raisin,” an African American family in 1959 Chicago is moving to a white neighborhood, Clybourne Park. The first act of the newer play is set on the same day as one scene in “Raisin,” in the house that the family is buying. The second act is set in the same house 50 years later, with the tables turned – a white family now seeks to buy the house from a black family.

    One of the main issues in “Clybourne Park” is the effect that an influx of new residents from a different racial group has on a community and, in particular, on its economics. The play highlights the concern a white homeowner (Mr. Linder) has in 1959 that new African American homeowners will lower his property value and the fears of the African American residents 50 years later who are concerned about an influx of white families and the resulting gentrification.

    “Unfortunately (in my opinion), Mr. Lindner’s concerns/opinions about neighborhood integration have not gone away,” Dentice said. “Even though things have gotten somewhat better over the last 50 years, surveys of the American public reveal that African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and gay men are seen as less competent than their white counterparts. One fact cannot be disputed, and that is that African Americans are still the most segregated minority group in the United States.

    “Gentrification continues to be a reality – especially in urban areas like Philadelphia,” she said. “It does not always affect only African Americans, however. In cities like San Francisco, middle class white professionals are being displaced by newly minted high tech millionaires. The reality of the situation is that progress is not going to be halted by cities that are struggling to meet their budgets. Poor and working families will continue to be locked out of housing opportunities because they just cannot afford the increased rent that comes with structural improvements initiated by new owners.”

    For student actor Terrance Simon, junior theatre major from Houston, the issues addressed in “Clybourne Park” “hit pretty close to home,” he said.

    “The conflicts are all too real,” Simon said. “I personally live in a neighborhood that is being gentrified, and I have seen childhood friends have to move out of their homes.”

    Another theme in the play addresses “racial anxiety,” or the way the characters communicate sensitively yet directly about race, culture and gentrification. Dentice said many of her students are not fully aware of the history of the civil rights movement and the struggle people went through during those years.

    “Even though the content of my classes is often uncomfortable for students of all races and ethnicities, they have to become aware that prejudice, stereotyping and discriminatory practices are still a reality in our society and others,” she said. “It is my responsibility, however, to present the material and discuss how things have changed but still remain the same with regard to racial profiling and mass incarceration of African Americans.

    “I think that Americans would like to believe that racial strife is a thing of the past,” Dentice continued. “Some Americans think that there is nothing else to be done and our society is post-racial. A really inconvenient fact is that our country has the highest prison population rates in the world. The majority of prisoners are poor males, many of whom are black.”

    The U.S. represents 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prison population, according to Dentice.

    “It is a costly system that is largely ineffective with high recidivism rates across the board,” she said. “Until we begin to deal with all the variables that cause crime – poverty, decaying inner city schools, high dropout rates and lack of opportunity for minority youth – we will continue to have racial disparities in the criminal justice system that are largely an American phenomenon.”

    Simon believes that the play demonstrates “the need for Americans, who live in possibly the most privileged country in the world, to sit down and have true heart-to-heart conversations and stop shunning the subject.”

    “With that being said, Bruce Norris has written some brilliant dialogue in this dark comedy,” Simon said. “There is nothing better than going to the theater and getting your own interpretation, and I hope people leave wanting to speak more intellectually on the subject.”

    “I think one of the lessons you can take from this play is how to consider social issues from all sides,” said fellow actor Jonee Lewis of Allen, “and how to go about it in a way where you raise awareness and are heard without spewing ignorance. As far as the race discussion, I believe that we have made some progress. I also think that the discussion of race relations will always be uncomfortable, but not impossible.”

    Can heightened discussion about race, or even movies or plays like “Clybourne Park,” help to improve race relations?

    “I think that the arts can provide positive avenues for open debates about race and other social issues, such as mass incarceration and poverty,” Dentice said. “Plays like ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ and ‘Clybourne Park’ represent different perspectives that were overlooked for many years prior to the Civil Rights movement. Writers like James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry and Toni Morrison, among others, not only gave us great literature and play writing, but they also made us think about who we are as a country and what is important to move us forward. They are some of the giants – in my opinion.

    “The challenge for our contemporary society is to continue elevating the discussion surrounding race relations in post-Obama America and be really careful not to fall victim to cliché and innuendo.”

    Audiences of “Clybourne Park” will not only learn more about race relations, but they will also see examples of “why we as Americans have failed at this subject,” Simon said.

    “I believe that Bruce Norris couldn't have written more realistic people,” he said. “Every single character in this show fails to achieve their goal, and I believe this happens because we all have our minds set on what we believe, and no one wants to actually sit down and listen to what the other is saying.”

    Zach Hanks, assistant professor of theatre at SFA and the play’s director, agrees with the premise that plays like “Clybourne Park” are important to perform to keep the discussion on race relations moving forward.

    "Pointing out a flaw in another person's thinking is usually far less persuasive than showing it to them,” Hanks said. “This is why plays like ‘Clybourne Park’ aren’t just important, but are profoundly necessary.”

    “Hard data, incontrovertible facts and ironclad arguments not only fail to change people’s minds, they often make those people dig in and double down on the positions they already hold,” Hanks said. “However, show an audience an injustice, make them sit helplessly and bear witness to the pain it causes human beings, and you can effortlessly make people change their minds and clamor to change their world, because you did it by way of their hearts."

    “Clybourne Park” features mature themes, suggestive dialogue, and very coarse language, including some profanity, which may not be suitable for younger audiences. Cigarette smoking is simulated in the production. In other media, this show might be rated “R” or “TV-MA.”

    Single tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu. Tipton-Ford-Lincoln is an annual sponsor of the School of Theatre’s Mainstage Series.

    You may also be interested in these related articles:

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  • Nacogdoches Film Fest to showcase works of SFA graduates

    Nacogdoches Film Fest to showcase works of SFA graduates

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    Derek Wayne Johnson
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    Brandon Polanco
    February 16, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Two Stephen F. Austin State University graduates will have their works showcased at the fifth annual Nacogdoches Film Festival, a celebration of the art and entertainment of film in all its forms.

    Tickets are now on sale for the festival, which is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 25 through 27, in downtown Nacogdoches, on the SFA campus and other venues in town.

    This year’s event includes a star-studded lineup of featured guests, including New York Times best-selling author and the brains behind the hit TV series, “True Blood,” Charlaine Harris.

    Festival events also include project viewings and a short film competition, various panels including Q-and-A sessions with featured guests, a “Best True Blood Costume” contest and more, according to information at http://www.nacogdochesfilmfestival.org.

    Brandon Polanco and Derek Wayne Johnson, both graduates of SFA, are among the filmmakers whose works will be shown. Polanco’s short film projects “Alchemy,” “Vicky & Jonny” and “Writer’s Block” will be shown beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, located at 329 E. Main St. A question-and-answer session with Polanco will follow at 8 p.m.

    A Brooklyn-based filmmaker from Austin, Polanco earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre at SFA in 2009. He was among the Rose Bruford Exchange students in the School of Theatre, and while on the exchange he also studied at RESAD (Spain’s Royal Dramatic Academy) in Madrid. His short film “Writer’s Block” starring Bryan Cranston of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” fame won widespread acclaim in 2013-14 and was shown at the 2014 Nacogdoches Film Festival. Polanco’s film “Vicky & Jonny” was accepted last year into the world-renowned Cannes International Film Festival as part of the Short Film Corner. Polanco is co-owner of the production company 3 of A Kind Productions.

    Johnson’s documentary about the Oscar-winning director of “Rocky” (1976) and “The Karate Kid” (1984) entitled “John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs” (2016) will show from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Theater on the SFA campus. It will be followed by a Q&A session with Johnson.

    The documentary examines the life, career and films of the legendary director and features exclusive never-before-seen interviews with Sylvester Stallone, Ralph Macchio, Martin Scorsese, Burt Reynolds, Jerry Weintraub, Talia Shire and many more, according to the festival website.

    Johnson is an award-winning film director/writer/producer and owner of AJ16 Entertainment, a production company specializing in feature films and documentaries. After film school at SFA, he got his start by acting in Hollywood films and TV as well as directing independent features in Texas and Louisiana, eventually making his way to California.

    Among the festival panelists are Herbert Midgley, an instructor of music technology in the SFA School of Music who is also an active filmmaker. Midgley has worked as a director, unit production manager, assistant director, cameraman, editor, sound designer, sound mixer, boom, grip, production assistant, screenwriter and composer. He has worked on nine feature films, more than 30 short films, and has made many art films. In 2014, Midgley premiered his sci-fi feature film, “The Rise Of The Robots,” in film festivals across the United States.

    A portion of the festival proceeds will fund filmmaking projects within the SFA School of Art.

    For a full list of featured guests, event specifics and ticket information, visit http://www.nacogdochesfilmfestival.org.

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  • Piney Woods Camerata to perform works from Baroque Period

    Piney Woods Camerata to perform works from Baroque Period

    February 16, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Piney Woods Camerata at Stephen F. Austin State University will present music from the Baroque Period when the ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The ensemble is comprised of SFA School of Music string faculty and students with Geneva Fung, staff accompanist, as harpsichordist. The program will feature the works of composers Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel and Frederick the Great.

    Handel’s Concerto Grosso in C major HWV 318 is one of the best-known works on this program.

    “Handel composed this piece as interlude music for one of his larger choral works called ‘Alexander’s Feast,’” said Dr. Jennifer Dalmas, associate professor of violin at SFA and founding member of the Camerata, “but it was immediately popular on its own as well.” Dalmas and her graduate student Leonard Chow will be featured in this work.

    Two pieces by Vivaldi will be performed, including a concerto for two cellos that was originally composed for cello and bassoon.

    “This concerto is unusual in its form, with surprising tempo and mood changes throughout each of the three movements,” Dalmas said. Music faculty member Evgeni Raychev and his graduate student Manab Naskar will perform the solos in this double concerto.

    Frederick the Great was the ruler of Prussia from 1740 to 1786, and he was also a flutist and composer, writing four symphonies and more than 100 sonatas. The Camerata will perform his Symphony in A major.

    The recital is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music and is a feature of the Cole Performing Arts Series.

    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. This same program will be presented at Panola College in Carthage earlier that day.

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  • SFA Bassoon Ensemble to perform program of classical, jazz, popular music

    SFA Bassoon Ensemble to perform program of classical, jazz, popular music

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    Guest bassoonist, Jeff Womack
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    Keith Lloyd
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    February 16, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Bassoon Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will present a concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The program will feature arrangements of classical, Latin, jazz and popular music, according to Staci Spring, bassoon and musicology instructor in the SFA School of Music.

    Joining the ensemble will be guest bassoonist Dr. Jeff Womack, associate professor of music at Angelo State University. He will perform with the ensemble and also perform solos with piano and on contrabassoon. Keith Lloyd, SFA music faculty member, will accompany the ensemble on percussion, and graduate student Milton Fernandez will accompany Womack on piano.

    The SFA Bassoon Ensemble will perform “March to the Scaffold” from Hector Berlioz’s famous “Symphonie Fantastique,” as well as popular tunes such as “House of the Rising Sun” and John Williams’ “Cantina” from the “Star Wars” soundtrack.

    Womack will perform a solo feature with the ensemble entitled “Bassoon Rawk.”

    “This entertaining piece is written for 10 bassoons, and gives the soloist a chance to explore the gospel/blues style,” Spring said.

    Womack will also perform a transcription of Gioachino Rossini’s “Cavatina from La Gazza Ladra,” arranged for bassoon and piano by Frédéric Berr.

    “This delightful piece perfectly suits the charming, lyrical and technical capabilities of the bassoon,” Spring said.

    Spring established the SFA Bassoon Ensemble in 2013. The group consists of music majors and non-majors, as well as faculty members, and they have performed several concerts on and off campus. The group was recently selected to perform a music showcase concert at the 2016 Texas Music Educators Association Conference in San Antonio, and this concert at SFA will feature selections from their TMEA program.

    “I am excited to see how the bassoon studio and the ensemble have grown over the past few years,” Spring said. “We started very small, and now the ensemble regularly includes eight to 10 players. With the addition of our guest and the percussion, the visual impact will be quite impressive. It will be a very entertaining performance!”

    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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  • Recital to feature music composed in honor of national parks

    Recital to feature music composed in honor of national parks

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    February 16, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen Lias, professor of composition at Stephen F. Austin State University, will present “Encounters: Music Inspired by Our National Parks” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The recital showcases the musical compositions of Lias and will be performed by guest artists Scott LaGraff, baritone; Gary Wurtz, trumpet; Christina Guenther, flute; Jennifer Keeney, flute; Carly Hood, saxophone; Deb Scott, trombone; and Ron Petti, piano.

    The recital is presented as part of the centennial celebration in 2016 of the National Park Service.

    “This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service,” Lias said. “As part of our national celebration, I recently released a CD of park-inspired chamber works titled ‘Encounters: Music Inspired by Our National Parks.’ Three of the pieces from that CD are included on this recital.”

    “River Runner” was the first piece Lias composed about a national park. It recounts a paddle trip on the Rio Grande through Big Bend’s Santa Elena Canyon.

    “Starting with the frenzy and excitement of setting out, it moves through the somber landscape and then concludes with the terror of ‘Rockslide Rapids,’” Lias said. “The audience can be assured that the performance is entirely authentic, since the trombonist was there for the adventure as well.”

    “Range of Light” is the most recent of the pieces on the program, and employs a different approach, the composer said. Rather than going into the park and writing about his experiences, Lias used four of Ansel Adams’ iconic photos of Yosemite as his inspiration – composing one movement about each of them. Lias will display the images for the audience during the recital.

    As an added treat, those in attendance will see the first public showing of a new “Art & Inspiration” short film produced by Denali National Park. This six-minute movie features Lias along with other artists – painters, writers and photographers – who have been inspired by Denali National Park. Special permission was obtained from the National Park Service to premiere the film at this recital.

    Lias’ park-inspired pieces have been performed across the country, and upcoming performances are scheduled with the Shreveport, Anchorage, and Fairbanks symphonies, as well as an NEA-funded commission from the Boulder Philharmonic for a new orchestral work to be premiered in 2017 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

    There will be a reception in the lobby following the concert. Audience members are encouraged to stay and greet the composer and performers. CDs will also be available for sale. A portion of all CD sales will go to the National Park Foundation.

    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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  • Parrs to perform music of Brahms

    Parrs to perform music of Brahms

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    Andrew Parr
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    Linda Parr
    February 16, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Dr. Andrew Parr, professor of piano at Stephen F. Austin State University, will present an all-Brahms program when he performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Joining him on the program will be his wife and guest pianist, Linda Parr. The major work to be performed is Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83. Linda, who is a piano instructor in the SFA Music Preparatory Division, will perform the orchestra portion of the work.

    “The Brahms 2nd piano concerto is a monumental four-movement work of 50 minutes duration,” Andrew Parr said. “I have wanted to play this piece ever since I was in college, but never had the opportunity or the time to devote to learning it. I finally realized that I might never play it if I were to wait for an invitation from an orchestra to program it with me.

    “Since Brahms was known to arrange some of his major works, such as the famous Quintet in F Minor for Piano and Strings, for the two-piano medium, I thought this approach could also work for the concerto,” Parr added. “While the unique French horn opening to the first movement or the beautiful cello solo that begins the slow movement cannot really be matched on a second piano, most of the work balances and sounds surprisingly effective in the two-piano format.”

    The recital is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music and is a feature of the Cole Performing Arts Series.

    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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  • Iktus+ Combo to perform at SFA

    Iktus+ Combo to perform at SFA

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    February 11, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The New York City-based Iktus+ Combo will perform a guest recital at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, in Cole Concert Hall on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

    An ensemble of saxophone, electric guitar, piano and percussion, Iktus+ Combo is described as “a slick combination of classical music and straight up rock-n-roll,” according to Dr. Brad Meyer, professor of percussion studies in the SFA School of Music.

    “Iktus+ Combo is smart, gritty, elegant, head-bopping – a chamber group of today – comfortable in electric and acoustic worlds,” Meyer said.

    In 2012, Iktus presented compelling debut concerts at New York City’s Galapagos Art Space and Brooklyn College. Since then, the group continues to perform locally while touring beyond the five boroughs to schools across the nation, including the University of Kentucky and University of Tennessee.

    While repertoire for the full quartet is abundant, this flexible ensemble breaks down into smaller groupings, featuring duos of acoustic guitar/piano and saxophone/percussion, Meyer said. The performers, each highly skilled in their craft, hold performance degrees from top programs across the country, he added.

    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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  • Photographer Orton to discuss unique Upshaw family photo project

    Photographer Orton to discuss unique Upshaw family photo project

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    Richard Orton
    February 10, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Texas photographer Richard Orton will discuss his book “The Upshaws of County Line: An American Family” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House.

    The presentation takes place during the fourth annual Nacogdoches Main Street Wine Swirl, which is a wine-and-food pairing event that showcases Texas wineries and local restaurants inside the doors of downtown Nacogdoches businesses.

    Although tickets must be purchased in advance to participate in the Wine Swirl, admission to Orton’s talk is free, according to Alisa Steed, events coordinator for the art galleries of Stephen F. Austin State University. Orton’s talk is also presented in observance of Black History Month and is an official Nacogdoches 300 Tricentennial event.

    “We are excited to present this event free to our community in honor of Black History Month and as special added value for Wine Swirl participants,” Steed said. “Richard’s enthusiasm and commitment to this project are contagious and highlight an important segment of Nacogdoches County history. Many members of the Upshaw family are expected to attend and participate in the presentation.”

    In the late 1980s, Orton became acquainted with the Upshaw family, which had lived for decades in the northwest Nacogdoches County community of County Line. He began a project of documenting the community’s history through photographs and oral histories that resulted in the eventual publication of his book, “The Upshaws of County Line: An American Family” by the University of North Texas Press in 2014 after 25 years of preparation.

    Three brothers, Guss, Felix and Jim Upshaw, and their families established County Line in the 1870s. What stimulated Orton’s curiosity about County Line was how quickly emancipated slaves were able to own their own land, and, as a result, had the opportunity to live relatively autonomous, self-sufficient lives while raising their families in the time of Jim Crow.

    “That is why I wanted to make photographs there and collect their oral history,” Orton explained. “I was most fortunate to be allowed to do that.

    “The story I tell in my book and presentation is personal and universal,” he said. “It’s about the strength of family and community and the resilience of humankind. Because I am white, and the community is black, it speaks directly to the potential for black/white relationships. In County Line, I am on cultural turf not my own, which, in a different sense, is the common experience of black people in America.”

    Being in County Line, and being accepted there, gave Orton the opportunity to learn this family’s story, and in telling that story, it became part of Orton’s own, he said.

    “The story I tell is the story of a white man given the opportunity to ‘integrate’ into a historical African American community (so to speak),” Orton said.

    He does that through images captured through the camera lens and through the words of people born and raised there. His presentation provides an opportunity for diverse audiences “to recognize their commonalities and engage in positive dialogue about race,” he said.

    Orton, who is a native of Nacogdoches and returned to East Texas in 2007 after living and working in Austin for 36 years, is active on the boards of the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts and the African American Heritage Project.

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

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  • SFA theatre students to present Heifner’s ‘Porch’

    SFA theatre students to present Heifner’s ‘Porch’

    February 10, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre will present the student-directed “Porch” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, in the Downstage Theatre on the SFA campus.

    “Porch” is half of SFA Playwright-in-Residence Jack Heifner’s 1978 Broadway debut, “Patio/Porch,” two one-acts portraying conversations between women. In “Patio,” the women are disappointed sisters. In “Porch,” they are a domineering, aging mother and her fading daughter who are “locked in a dance of death,” according to Dominique Rider, Dallas junior theatre major and director of the play.

    “The two find themselves on their porch on a hot day in Texas, and the dance continues as it always has,” Rider said.

    The two-member cast features Dallas senior Celeste Galey as Dot and Maple Grove, Minnesota, freshman Marie Phillips as Lucille.

    The production staff includes Rebekah Webb, Dallas sophomore, stage manager; Danika Pettyjohn, Fort Worth junior, scenic designer; TJ Davis, Beaumont junior, costume designer; Brian Steele, Houston sophomore, lighting designer; Devin Bruton, Nacogdoches junior, sound designer; Victoria Medrano, Edinburg sophomore, hair and makeup designer; and Taylor Solice, Mesquite junior, properties designer.

    Rider was most recently seen in the title role in SFA’s Mainstage production of “Macbeth” last fall. After directing “Porch,” he will participate in SFA’s Festival of New American Plays in April.

    Faculty production advisor for “Porch” is Melissa McMillian-Cunningham.

    SFA’s playwright-in-residence since 1997, Heifner is the author of more than 30 plays and musicals produced in New York, Los Angeles and theatres around the world. He is best known for the play version of “Vanities,” which ran for five years in New York, is published by Samuel French, and became one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history.

    The Downstage Theatre is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive.

    Tickets are $4. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit theatre.sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA pianist to perform recital with his children

    SFA pianist to perform recital with his children

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    Mario Ajero, associate professor of piano pedagogy at Stephen F. Austin State University, will present a recital with his children, Olivia, 7, and Antonio, 11, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    February 8, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Mario Ajero, associate professor of piano pedagogy at Stephen F. Austin State University, will present a faculty recital at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The piano concert, which also features Ajero’s children, Antonio, 11, and Olivia, 7, is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music and is part of the Cole Performing Arts Series.

    Ajero has performed before SFA audiences with his son, who is an award-wining pianist, on several occasions.

    “Many people are familiar with my 11-year-old son Antonio due to his recent accomplishments,” Ajero said. “Not a lot of people realize his 7-year-old sister Olivia also plays piano and shows similar promise. I am looking forward to this opportunity to share the stage and piano with my two kids.”

    The program includes Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 81a as one of the featured works. It is sometimes known as the “Les Adieux” sonata, according to Ajero. The work was started in 1809 and depicts the departure of Beethoven’s patron Archduke Rudolf who fled Vienna due to the advancing Napoleon and his army upon the city.

    “The first movement is entitled ‘Das Lebewohl’ and is a musical farewell to the archduke,” Ajero said. “The opening motive imitates a distant horn call where Beethoven makes his intentions known by writing the word ‘Le-be-wohl’ over the three notes. The second movement, ‘Das Abwesenheit,’ expresses Beethoven’s feeling of loss and loneliness due to the departure of the Archduke. The third movement, ‘Das Wiedersehen,’ is a brilliant display of musical euphoria on Beethoven’s hope to see his friend once again some day.”

    Two pieces from “Estampes” by French impressionist composer Claude Debussy will also be on the program. The first piece, “Pagodes” demonstrates the heavy influence of Asian music on Debussy after he witnessed a Javanese gamelan group at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, Ajero explained.

    “His ability to bring this distinct Asian sound to the piano, especially in this piece, was quite revolutionary,” he said. “‘Jardins sous la pluie’ (Gardens in the Rain) is a toccata showpiece with a wide palette of chromatic, whole tone, major and minor keys and relentless rhythms to evoke the imagery of rain-soaked gardens. Within the work, Debussy incorporates French folk tunes for moments of respite, but the storm builds up again to a climax until the sun breaks through as the tonality shifts from minor to major at the end.”

    The performance will also feature “Romance” by Sergei Rachmaninoff, which comes from two pieces for six hands at one piano and was composed in 1891 for three sisters who were cousins of the composer.

    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 theatre students to perform in ‘Clybourne Park’

    SFA theatre students to perform in ‘Clybourne Park’

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    February 8, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The School of Theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “Clybourne Park” by Bruce Norris at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 23 through 27, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for drama, “Clybourne Park” was written in response to the classic “A Raisin In the Sun.” Passionate, balanced, funny and as timely as today’s headlines, “Clybourne Park” is a play for every American to see and to ponder, according to Zach Hanks, assistant professor of theatre at SFA and the play’s director.

    “I saw ‘Clybourne Park’ at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis a few years ago, and the experience was everything I go to the theatre to do – I laughed, I ached, and I thought deeply about myself, my attitudes and my culture,” Hanks said. “The themes around racism, discrimination and privilege are as timely now as they ever were. We’re in a post-Civil Rights Movement era, but grappling with the new versions of the same old injustices and conflicts.

    “This play shows us that the more things change – from ‘the Greatest Generation’ in Act I to the ‘Generation X’ characters in Act II – the more things stay the same,” he said.

    The School of Theatre produced the classic “A Raisin in the Sun” to enthusiastic audience response in 2010. In “Raisin,” an African American family in 1959 Chicago is moving to a white neighborhood, Clybourne Park. The first act of the newer play is set on the same day as one scene in “Raisin,” in the house that the family is buying. The second act is set in the same house 50 years later, with the tables turned – a white family now seeks to buy the house from a black family.

    “But many painful issues are still unresolved,” Hanks said.

    “Clybourne Park” features mature themes, suggestive dialogue, and very coarse language, including some profanity, which may not be suitable for younger audiences. Cigarette smoking is simulated in the production. In other media, this show might be rated “R” or “TV-MA.”

    “The strong language and mature themes make this a play for mature audiences, surely, but the social issues addressed are certainly ones we hope adult theatergoers may be inspired to discuss with their children the following day,” Hanks said.

    Single tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/youth. 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:

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