College of Fine Arts News Archive

March 2019

  • SFA theatre students participate in prestigious regional festival

    SFA theatre students participate in prestigious regional festival

    March 11, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Students in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre earned prestigious honors and made impressive presentations at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for Region VI held recently in Abilene.

    Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas comprise KCACTF's Region VI, and students in junior colleges, colleges and universities competed against one another for awards.

    The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships provide recognition, honor and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation of Encino, California, has awarded scholarships to the outstanding student performers at each regional festival. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late American actress Irene Ryan who is best remembered for her portrayal of the lovable and feisty Granny Clampett in "The Beverly Hillbillies." All student actors in both participating and associate productions are eligible for consideration for these $500 regional scholarships.

    This year's Irene Ryan acting competition consisted of 162 teams (student actors are nominated based on their work in a theatrical production) vying for the first place spot. Earning first place allows the winner to go to Washington, D.C., to compete and represent the region against the rest of the nation, according to Cleo House Jr., director of the SFA School of Theatre.

    SFA submitted three teams of two, including sophomore theatre major Kaitlyn McDearmont of Sulpher Springs and her scene partner, junior theatre major Triston Haq of Baytown; sophomore theatre major Crayten Clendion of Cypress and her scene partner, junior theatre major Kiara Hawkins of Tyler; and senior theatre major Ga'Brielle Charlot of Houston and her scene partner, senior theatre major Alex Duty of Needville.

    Charlot and Duty advanced to the semifinals where the teams were whittled down from 162 to 32. The SFA representatives then advanced to the final round for further elimination.

    "Charlot and Duty won first runner up, just one team away from going to D.C.," House said. "This is an excellent opportunity for our students, as both Charlot and Duty will now be able to skip the prescreening process at the United Resident Theatre Association auditions in 2020 where they can audition for graduate schools and professional theatre companies."

    Copperas Cove senior theatre major Sarah Wiseman's "The Game" was chosen from more than 60 one-act plays to be one of six given a concert-style staged reading at the festival. Each play received a half-hour response from two professional playwrights and will be considered for nomination to the national festival in Washington, D.C.

    "This type of recognition by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival will assist Wiseman tremendously in application to graduate schools where she will be a candidate for an M.F.A. in playwriting," House said.

    The School of Theatre's devised theatre group, Speak Up, performed at the festival, as well. Additional student presentations were made in the area of lighting design by senior theatre major Mia Lindemann of Prosper and in stage management by junior theatre major Katie Irwin of Tyler.

    "This is SFA's second year participating in KCACTF and the second year we've had a student team make it to the finals in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition," House said.

    House and fellow theatre faculty member Dr. Slade Billew coached the Irene Ryan teams. Faculty member Jackie Rosenfeld is the chair of the National Playwriting Program.

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  • SFA School of Theatre raising funds for Nielsen scholarship

    SFA School of Theatre raising funds for Nielsen scholarship

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    The School of Theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University has begun a campaign to fund its scholarship created to honor the late Dr. Alan Nielsen (pictured), a former theatre professor and creator of SFA's cabaret troupe, The Original Cast.

    March 6, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The School of Theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University has begun a campaign to fund its scholarship created to honor the late Dr. Alan Nielsen, a former theatre professor and creator of SFA's cabaret troupe, The Original Cast.

    Nielsen passed away on March 26, 2018, in Nacogdoches. He was 72.

    During his career at SFA, Nielsen inspired hundreds of students to pursue careers in theatre arts. By building the scholarship fund to an endowment, future theatre students will benefit for years to come from Nielsen's devotion to theatre education, according to Cleo House Jr., director of the School of Theatre.

    "Dr. Nielsen is a legend," House said. "His influence on the School of Theatre is still felt and talked about to this day. We must do what we can to honor his memory and make sure that students who are representatives of what he stood for, which is being a well-rounded artist and scholar, are recruited and/or awarded."

    Nielsen was born on Jan. 26, 1946, in Oakland, Nebraska. As a young boy, his dream was to be a cartoon animator, but his talent for writing and directing musicals and composing music and lyrics soon emerged. He earned degrees from Concordia Teachers College, the University of Nebraska and City University of New York and went on to teach and become a puppeteer while he continued to perform, write and compose for performance venues such as EXIT (Experience in Theater), Nebraska Repertory Theater, the Chautauqua Tent Tour of Nebraska, NY Choral Society, the Minnesota Musical Workshop and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

    He began his 21-year career at SFA in 1990, directing more than 25 plays and creating the traveling musical troupe The Original Cast, for which he both composed and produced their shows.

    The Original Cast attracted many of the School of Theatre's best performers, and Nielsen's legacy lives on in the hearts and talents of the many students that he mentored, according to CC Conn, associate professor in the School of Theatre.

    "He touched many lives with his beautiful smile, big heart and unlimited creativity, and he inspired many young artists to go forward into careers as actors, directors, teachers and designers, spreading the love of theatre that he instilled into them," Conn said upon his passing last year. "His work as a teacher, advisor, mentor, director, actor, composer and puppeteer was unparalleled. He was greatly loved, and he is greatly missed."

    House hopes that the many SFA students who were mentored by Nielsen will use this scholarship opportunity to "give back" to their alma mater and honor a great educator.

    "It is one thing to reminisce on days gone by and another to take action to ensure that a legacy is not forgotten," House said. "I am hopeful that all those who feel like Dr. Nielsen had any influence on them will take up the charge to support creating an endowment in his honor."

    Gifts by check: Checks should be made payable to the SFASU Foundation. Please include a note or write on the memo section of the check Dr. Alan Nielsen Memorial Theatre Scholarship. Mail to: SFASU Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 6092, SFA Station, Nacogdoches, TX 75962-6092. Deliver to: SFA Office of Development, Austin Building, Room 303.

    Gifts online: Go to http://www.sfasu.edu/give. Under Step 1, click Select Other and type in Dr. Alan Nielsen Memorial Theatre Scholarship. Follow the next three steps to make a secure gift online.

    Gifts by phone: Call (936) 468-5406 and visit with the Development Office.

    Payroll deduction: Call (936) 468-5406 and visit with Sarah Sargent in the Development Office to prepare the payroll deduction paperwork.

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  • Hachidori Duo to present 'Musical Dialogues' in SFA concert

    Hachidori Duo to present 'Musical Dialogues' in SFA concert

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    The Hachidori Duo, featuring Jennifer Dalmas, violin, and Evgeni Raychev, cello, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, in Cole Concert Hall on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.

    March 5, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Hachidori Duo will present "Musical Dialogues" when the husband-wife duo performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, in Cole Concert Hall on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.

    The Hachidori Duo was founded in 1998 by Jennifer Dalmas, violin, and Evgeni Raychev, cello, while they were each pursuing doctoral degrees in music performance at Florida State University. Since 2003, both performers have taught in the SFA School of Music.

    "'Hachidori' is the Japanese word for hummingbird," Dalmas said. "These incredible and beautiful creatures open our eyes to the beauty of the natural world. It is our hope that the music we perform will open a new world for our audience, as well."

    The program title "Musical Dialogues" was selected because much of the music has a "conversational give-and-take" aspect, according to Dalmas. Selections include "Two Duets" by J.S. Bach; Sonatine pour Violon et Violoncelle by Arthur Honegger; Duo No. 1 by Bohuslav Martinu; and Sonata pour Violon et Violoncelle by Maurice Ravel.

    "The Bach arrangements are re-workings of some of Bach's works for keyboard," Dalmas said. "The contrapuntal writing, or writing with two equal voices in mind, works very well for string duo.

    "The Martinu and Honegger duos are lesser known works for violin and cello, but both are wonderfully written compositions that contain lyrical, melodic slower sections and exciting, virtuosic fast movements," she said.

    The Ravel sonata is the best-known work for violin and cello on the program and was written almost 100 years ago, in 1920.

    "It is arguably one of Ravel's finest works, in which he shifts his focus from harmony to melody, and to dialogue between two voices," Dalmas said.

    The Hachidori Duo has given recitals and master classes in various countries in Europe and Central America as well as the United States and has also performed several double concertos with orchestra. The duo was featured at the National ASTA convention in 2009. Dalmas and Raychev frequently perform as part of educational programs, such as "Music in the Schools." In 2015, they served as music faculty at the Interharmony International Music Festival in Arcidosso, Italy. As part of the Interharmony chamber music concert series, the duo performed in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2016.

    The SFA concert is a joint presentation of the 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 to screen Arscott's 'Hoorah' film

    SFA to screen Arscott's 'Hoorah' film

    March 5, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    A special screening of a film by William E. Arscott, filmmaking professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, will be at 7 p.m. Friday, March 8, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    "Hoorah" was filmed across portions of the southwestern United States between 1975 and 1976 on 16mm color film stock with a crew of SFA students. Described as a "poetic documentary," it examines the vanishing American Indian culture at that time and the rise of the "white face," according to Peyton Paulette, filmmaking adjunct faculty and chair of the Friends of the Visual Arts film committee.

    "This will be the first time this film has been screened for a public audience, and it's the first time the final finished film has been screened in color," Paulette said. "Previous screenings have been in black and white."

    Arscott is SFA's longest-tenured faculty member and the senior member of the art faculty. He began his nearly 56-year tenure with SFA in 1963 as an art instructor. He established SFA's cinematography program in 1980 and now primarily teaches filmmaking. He has worked in many artistic fields, including ceramics, painting, print making, sculpture and cinematography.

    He was named a Regents Professor in 1984 and the SFA Alumni Association's Distinguished Professor in 1986. The late Dr. Baker Pattillo, former SFA president, recognized Arscott in August 2013 for his 50 years of service to SFA, proclaiming Aug. 22, 2013, William E. Arscott Day at SFA.

    The screening of "Hoorah" is presented by the School of Art and Friends of the Visual Arts. Admission is free.

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

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  • SFA School of Theatre to present 'The Zoo Story' by Edward Albee

    SFA School of Theatre to present 'The Zoo Story' by Edward Albee

    March 4, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre will present Edward Albee's one-act play "The Zoo Story" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 8, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 9, in the Downstage Theatre on the SFA campus.

    Directed by Jackie Rosenfeld, a lecturer in the School of Theatre, "The Zoo Story" is about a conversation that occurs between two strangers in a New York City park. To escape his wife, two daughters and two parakeets, Peter sits on a bench in Central Park, reading and thinking, Rosenfeld explains. Jerry joins him, having just been to the zoo. He draws the unwilling Peter into conversation and extracts information from him. In return, Jerry supplies Peter with a curious medley of information about his wanderings in New York.

    "'The Zoo Story' is considered to be the first absurdist play written by an American playwright," Rosenfeld said.

    The two-person cast includes Wichita Falls senior Travis Brasher as Jerry and Las Vegas, Nevada, senior Shane Reynolds as Peter. Stage manager is Dallas freshman Michael Nunez.

    Originally from Abilene, Rosenfeld earned an M.F.A. in playwriting from Texas Tech University. She currently serves as the Region VI chair for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National Playwriting Program and co-coordinator for the Scholar Debut Panel with the Texas Educational Theatre Association. Her plays have been produced across the country including several performances in Manhattan. Her play "keepingabreast" was recently published as an audiobook by Blunder Woman Productions.

    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 theatre.sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA to host guest percussionist Shane Reeves in concert

    SFA to host guest percussionist Shane Reeves in concert

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    Shane Reeves

    March 1, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will present guest artist Shane Reeves in a percussion recital at 6 p.m. Monday, March 11, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Reeves is on the music faculty at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, and is the principal percussionist for the Florence Symphony Orchestra, principal timpanist for the Masterworks Choir, and drummer for the experimental rock group Yellodrama.

    He will perform works by Claude Debussy, Mark Applebaum, Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, Robert Stright, Dave Hollinden and Andy Akhio. He will also perform one of his own compositions, "Scavenger Mastermind." The piece is a multi-percussion solo that makes use of a variety of instruments including gongs, woodblocks, drums and castanets, along with non-conventional instruments such as a metal bowl and a wooden plank.

    "I wanted to create a piece that treated the setup as a single instrument rather than a conglomeration of instruments," Reeves writes of the music. "The piece is performed with four mallets throughout and is written as if the entire setup was some type of exotic marimba. This idea came out of my interest in mimicking electronic sounds with acoustic instruments."

    Other works on the program are Debussy's "La fille aux cheveux de lin" from Préludes Book I, Applebaum's Entre Funérailles II, Tchaikovsky's "October" from "The Seasons," Op. 37a, Stright's "Six Poems," Hollinden's "Of Wind and Water" and Akiho's "Macqueripe."

    A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Reeves has performed at many conferences and conventions and with a variety of musical ensembles such as the Central Florida Symphony, Fayetteville Symphony, Gainesville Chamber Orchestra, Palmetto Opera, South Carolina Philharmonic, Wilmington Symphony, J'Ouvert Steel Band, Pantasia Steel Band, Sunshine Steelers, Jacare Brazil and the Woyate West African Drum and Dance Ensemble. As a member of the Florence Symphony Orchestra, Reeves has shared the stage with Art Garfunkel, The Indigo Girls, Point of Grace and Cirque Musica.

    As a member of the University of South Carolina wind ensemble, Reeves participated in a recording of the music of Leonard Bernstein for the Naxos label and was the principal percussionist during the ensemble's concert tour of China. He has also given recitals and clinics at universities throughout the United States. As an educator, he has taught percussion at various middle schools and high schools in Alabama, Florida and South Carolina.

    Recital 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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