College of Fine Arts News Archive

February 2019

  • Caddo storytelling, children's activities planned at Cole Art Center

    Caddo storytelling, children's activities planned at Cole Art Center

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    In her traditional Caddo dress and Kiowa buckskin Kricket Rhoads-Connywerdy will tell Kiowa and Caddo stories beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, in Cole Art Center. Photo: The Oklahoman archives

    February 11, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    In conjunction with an exhibition of Caddo Nation artists showing through March 24 in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, SFA Art Galleries will host internationally renowned storyteller Kricket Rhoads-Connywerdy in a special programming event from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, in Cole Art Center.

    The program, which will include Caddo stories and children's activities, is a continuation of the celebration surrounding "Caddo Contemporary: Present and Relevant," an exhibition of ceramics, paintings, beadwork, stonework and drawings by seven living Caddo artists. The exhibition is a collaborative presentation of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and Art Galleries and the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in Alto.

    Rhoads-Connywerdy is an enrolled member of the Caddo and Kiowa tribes of Oklahoma. She has been telling Kiowa and Caddo stories in Oklahoma, across the United States and internationally for more than two decades.

    Dancing in her traditional Caddo dress and Kiowa buckskin, Rhoads-Connywerdy toured extensively with the legendary Charles Chibitty, the last Comanche code talker, and was Gulhei descendent princess (family princess) for 1999-2000. She has won awards for her lead movie roles, which included "The Legend of Billy Fail," "The Alamo," "Chasing the Wind," "Last of the Mohicans" and "UHF."

    She has an associate's degree from Tulsa Community College and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in Native American studies. She is the former executive director of the Historic Jacobson House Native Art Center and currently works with the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma's Kiowa Language and Culture Revitalization Program.

    Additionally, for the monthly Friday Film Series, the SFA School of Art and Friends of the Visual Arts will present the documentary "Koo-Hoot Kiwat: The Caddo Grass House" in a free screening at 7 p.m. Friday, March 1, at Cole Art Center. In the film, a Caddo tribal elder and his apprentice return to their ancestral homeland in East Texas to direct the construction of a traditional grass house.

    "Caddo Contemporary: Present and Relevant" is sponsored in part by William Arscott, The Flower Shop, Nacogdoches Junior Forum, Humanities Texas and Friends of the Visual Arts. Admission is free.

    SFA's historic downtown art gallery, Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For additional information, call (936) 468-1131.

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  • SFA to present Turner, Leonberger in vocal recital

    SFA to present Turner, Leonberger in vocal recital

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    Dr. Chris Turner
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    Dr. Garry Leonberger
    February 11, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will present a vocal faculty-guest recital featuring Dr. Chris Turner and Dr. Garry Leonberger at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Music Recital Hall on the university campus.

    Turner is assistant professor of voice at SFA, and Leonberger is a former SFA music faculty member who is now on the voice faculty at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Dr. Ron Petti, director of collaborative piano at SFA, will accompany.

    The tenor-baritone recital will feature "beloved standards from vocal literature in each of the genres," Turner explained. The program includes songs by Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725), Robert Schumann (1810-1856), Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) and Roger Quilter (1877-1953).

    "The Schumann songs will be selections from his song cycle 'Liederkreis' based on the poems of one his favorite poets - Joseph Eichendorff," Turner said. "Schumann credited his wife Clara for his inspiration, as he did for many of his song compositions, and said of these particular songs that they were his 'most Romantic music ever.' The theme is basically nature and seasons. It's a staple of German repertoire."

    Songs performed include the first five of the cycle - "In der Fremde," "Intermezzo," "Waldesgespräch," "Die Stille," and "Mondnacht."

    "Fauré is considered to be one of the greatest, mélodie composers of all time," Turner said. "The songs to be performed are all by the poet Paul-Armand Silvestre, who is considered one of the Parnassian poets who composed between the late romantic poets and the symbolists. They strove for exactitude and 'faultless workmanship' and wanted a certain level of emotional detachment to allow the 'art,' or song in this case, to speak for itself without undue influence."

    The Quilter songs on the program are among his most popular, Turner said.

    "Quilter was known for his beautiful melodies and rich harmonies, making him a favorite song composer among singers in English repertoire," he said. "He was a major influence on other composers as well." English composer Peter Warlock is quoted as saying "if it were not for the songs of Roger Quilter, there would have been no Peter Warlock."

    "Probably his most famous song, which has also been arranged for choir and is often performed in its own right, is his 'Go, Lovely Rose' from the poet Edmund Waller," Turner said. "It has been called one of his 'song masterpieces' and shows his 'fluid gift of melody.'"

    The Music Recital Hall is located in the Tom and Peggy Wright Music Building, 2210 Alumni Drive.

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

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  • SFA to present 'Three One-Act Plays by Asian Authors'

    SFA to present 'Three One-Act Plays by Asian Authors'

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    SFA to present 'Three One-Act Plays by Asian Authors'

    February 8, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    A unique opportunity to see multiple one-act plays by different authors presents itself when the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre performs "Three One-Act Plays by Asian Authors" Feb. 26 through March 2 in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    Rick Jones, professor of theatre at SFA, directs the show, which features one-acts by Rabindranath Tagore, Mishima Yukio and Gao Xingjian.

    "There are few opportunities to encounter work by non-Western playwrights," Jones said. "I'm pretty certain we've never had anything by an Asian playwright on our Mainstage - certainly not in the 18 years I've been here. So this represents an opportunity for local theatregoers to see something they haven't really encountered before, at least in Nacogdoches."

    Jones describes Tagore's "The Post Office" as a "sad but beautiful play" about a young boy, Amal, who is dying of an unspecified disease. He remains remarkably upbeat and curious about the wider world, however, and dreams about being a postman, or even receiving a letter.

    "He is teased by the bullying town headman, who pretends the illiterate boy has received a letter from the king, who is sending the Royal Physician to assist in Amal's recovery," Jones said. "But the Royal Physician really does show up…"
    Mishima's "The Lady Aoi" is an adaptation of a 14th-century Noh play, "Aoi no Uye," possibly by the greatest of Noh playwrights, Zeami Motokiyo, Jones explains. The Noh play, in turn, is derived from the 11th-century novel "The Tale of Genji" by Murasaki Shikibu.

    "In the original, Genji is a prince; in this adaptation, the equivalent role is Hikaru Wakabayashi, a successful businessman," Jones said. "His wife, Aoi, is ill, and the doctors are unable to find a cause. Hikaru's ex-lover, Yasuko Rokujo, shows up at the hospital and cheerfully claims that her spirit has left her body and is torturing Aoi."
    The two central characters in Gao's "Hiding from the Rain" are young women who, as the title suggests, seek shelter under a makeshift tent in a rainstorm.

    "As they discuss their jobs, their lives and their dreams, they are unaware of the presence of an old man on the other side of a barrier who silently hears every word," Jones said.

    In selecting a play to direct for this year's Mainstage Series, Jones said a course in Asian theatre he was scheduled to teach this spring was a consideration. School of Theatre Director Cleo House Jr. suggested Jones direct a show in the intercultural/world theatre category, "so we talked about the possibility of doing something Asian," he said.

    The course includes Indonesia, Vietnam and Korea, but the overwhelming majority of what is discussed is Indian, Japanese or Chinese. Jones said he started thinking about which to do and concluded, "what about all three?" He has previously taught "The Post Office" and "The Lady Aoi," and he liked the full-length plays he'd read by Gao.

    "I looked to see if Gao had written any one-acts," he said. "I found 'Hiding from the Rain' online, and thought the language, even in translation, was beautiful."

    He submitted the evening of three plays as one of his proposals for the season, and that was the one the Mainstage selection committee chose. Jones says it is important to note that two of the three playwrights, Tagore and Gao, are Nobel Prize-winning authors, and the third, Mishima, was a finalist.

    "It's also important that we not be perceived as trying to present 'authentic' Asian plays," he said. Jones has a doctoral minor in Asian theatre, and he taught courses Eastern civilizations for a year at the University of Kansas, but the distinction being made with these selections is that these are not "Asian plays," but "plays by Asian authors," he said.

    "All of these plays are modern in theatre history terms," he said. "The oldest, 'The Post Office,' was written in the early 20th century. We're not using any traditional forms - no dance drama, no masks, no exaggerated makeup. The idea is to look at these plays as stories with universal appeal rather than to try to suggest that our students can 'be Asian.'

    "These plays are about people, not Indian people or Japanese people or Chinese people. Gao even crafted his plays so there were never any blood relations between characters who were seldom identified further as more than young or old. This was intentional, so actors of whatever race or body type could play his roles."

    Jones believes that each of the stories is relatable to the audience, and each conveys a message of how people are more alike than they are different from one another.

    "These plays might have a couple of character names that don't sound familiar, but otherwise they're a romantic fantasy, a ghost story, and a slice of life, and very recognizable to Westerners in those terms," he said.

    "Three One-Act Plays by Asian Authors" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 26 through March 2, in W.M. Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive, on the SFA campus.

    Single tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for youth. Tickets for SFA students are $5. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit

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  • SFA establishes Tim King Choral Scholarship

    SFA establishes Tim King Choral Scholarship

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    Dr. Tim King

    February 7, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The School of Music at Stephen F. Austin State University has established a scholarship to honor Dr. Tim King, the former director of choral activities at SFA who retired in 2017.

    The Tim King Choral Scholarship is being unveiled this week to coincide with the annual convention of the Texas Music Educators Association Feb. 13 through 16 in San Antonio.

    "Creating a choral scholarship bearing Dr. Tim King's name honors the many years of service Tim gave to our great university - music which enriched our Nacogdoches community and the devotion he gave to his students," said Dr. Michael Murphy, associate professor of music and director of choral activities at SFA.

    King joined the SFA music faculty in 1983 and enjoyed a 30-plus year tenure with the university, positively influencing the careers of countless students. He directed the A Cappella Choir through numerous tours of Europe and conducted the student ensemble in performances in such prestigious venues as St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, San Marco (St. Mark's) Basilica and the Vatican.

    In the 2014-15 academic year, King was named Regents Professor, the highest honor SFA bestows upon members of the faculty and reserved for exemplary university role models.

    "SFA choral graduates are now conductors and music education leaders throughout Texas and the United States," King said. "What an honor to represent my former students through this endowed scholarship.

    "It goes without saying that this scholarship will inspire the next generation of SFA choral excellence," he added. "I sincerely want to thank Dr. Murphy for his leadership and to all contributors for their sponsorship."

    Helping to build the King scholarship fund to benefit future choral students is a great way of saying "thank you" to an educator who gave the Nacogdoches community countless performances of beautiful choral music, according to Murphy.

    "No doubt this scholarship, when fully funded, will help ensure future students realize a career in choral music," Murphy added.

    Contributions to the Tim King Choral Scholarship can be made by visiting

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  • SFA School of Theatre to present student-directed 'Crazy Eights'

    SFA School of Theatre to present student-directed 'Crazy Eights'

    February 7, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre will present David Lindsay-Abaire's one-act play "Crazy Eights" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Feb. 16, in the Downstage Theatre on the SFA campus.

    Directed by Needville senior Alex Duty, "Crazy Eights" is about an ex-con, Connie, who comes home late one night to find her parole officer waiting in her apartment with a torte and a long list of questions. The interrogation and courting dance that follows is complicated by the after-hours arrival of Connie's charming card-playing friend, Duty explains.

    The cast includes Richmond freshman Jordan Ellisse-Berezi as Connie; Baytown sophomore Triston Haq as Cliff; and McKinney freshman Carson Cook as Benny.

    Stage manager for the play is Carrollton sophomore Yanelly Vargas. Student production assistants are Prosper senior Mia Lindemann, scenic; Beaumont junior Sydney McKinley, lighting and sound; and Del Rio senior Ernesto Dominguez, costumes.

    Duty previously directed an Upstage Theatre production of "Transferring Kyle" and acted in Mainstage productions of "Sweat," Festival of New American Plays, "By the Bog of Cats" and "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." He aspires to not only act and direct professionally but to also become a successful playwright. His own play, "The Answer is in the Cube," will be performed in the Upstage Theatre on April 3.

    Faculty production advisor for "Crazy Eights" is Cleo House Jr., director of the School of Theatre. The play is recommended for mature audiences.

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

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  • SFA Percussion Ensemble to present TMEA concert preview

    SFA Percussion Ensemble to present TMEA concert preview

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    The SFA Percussion Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus.

    February 4, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Percussion Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Directed by Dr. Brad Meyer and Dr. Ben Tomlinson, the ensemble will present a preview of its showcase concert to be performed at the 2019 Texas Music Educators Association Convention on Feb. 14 in San Antonio.

    The preview concert features "Gandrung" by Bill Alves; "Ritmica No. 5" by Amadeo Roldán; "B-Radicles" by Brad Meyer; "Lost in Thought" by Andrew Patzig; and "Boom Bap" by Nick Werth.

    Ensemble members include Ethan Ainsworth, Hallsville; D'Angelo Brackeen, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Joseph Bankston, Giddings; Davis Carr, Sugar Land; Adreanna Casares, Somerville; Eli Garza, Friendswood; Rick Gonzalez, Harlingen; Sam Harrison, San Antonio; Jason House, Carrollton; Ashley Johnson, Allen; graduate assistant Spencer Jones, Alexandria, Louisiana; Sophie Lee, Kyle; Spencer Matthews, Alvarado; Briley Patterson, Elkhart; Emmie Schubert, Tomball; Kurt Swisher, Tyler; Addie Thornhill, Redwater; Matt Volker, Lumberton; and Austen White, Robinson.

    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

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