College of Fine Arts News Archive

September 2019

  • The Stray Cats’ Lee Rocker to perform at SFA

    The Stray Cats’ Lee Rocker to perform at SFA

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    The Stray Cats’ Lee Rocker and his band are headed to the SFA campus to perform hits like “Stray Cat Strut” and “Rock This Town,” plus lots of other songs he performed post-Stray Cats with music legends from Ringo Starr to The Rolling Stones. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in Turner Auditorium.

    September 30, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stray Cats’ Lee Rocker will bring his high-energy rockabilly show and signature upright bass to Nacogdoches to perform in the University Series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.

    Presented by the SFA College of Fine Arts, the 2019-20 University Series season brings another versatile and exciting lineup of touring shows that range from musical theatre and dance to superstar gospel music and the world’s foremost children’s chorus. Rocker’s classic rock concert is up next in the series.

    “What a thrill it was to realize that a charter member of the one-and-only Stray Cats was available to perform at SFA,” said Scott Shattuck, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and director of the series. “The band, whose sound fuses the roots-rock of Carl Perkins and Bill Haley with the wild punk of the ‘80s, recently got back together for a reunion tour, and on this solo tour Lee Rocker continues to play their biggest hits in versions that are as raucous as they are authentic.”

    Rocker made his mark singing, playing, standing on, spinning and rocking his giant upright bass as a founding (and current) member, along with Brian Setzer and Slim Jim Phantom, of the Grammy-nominated rockabilly group the Stray Cats, which sold more than 10 million albums and garnered 23 gold- and platinum-certified records worldwide. Rocker and his band are headed to Nacogdoches to perform Stray Cats hits like “Sexy and Seventeen,” “Stray Cat Strut” and “Rock This Town,” plus many other rock-era songs he has performed post-Stray Cats with music legends from Ringo Starr and George Harrison to John Fogerty and The Rolling Stones. The performance is sponsored in part by Lehmann Eye Center.

    Prior to the SFA performance, Dr. J.D. Salas, associate professor in the SFA School of Music and a professional jazz-blues bassist, will present an informative talk at 7 p.m. in Griffith Gallery. The gallery is located across the hall from Turner Auditorium, which is inside the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive. The audience is invited back to the gallery for a post-performance reception to meet the performers and recognize the corporate sponsor.

    Single event ticket prices for the University Series are $30 for adults, $24 for seniors, $15 for SFA faculty and staff and $12 for non-SFA students/youth. Tickets for SFA students are $3.

    For more information or to purchase tickets, visit finearts.sfasu.edu, stop by the Box Office in Room 211 of the Griffith Fine Arts Building, or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.

    Other upcoming University Series events include the beloved holiday story of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 10; the powerhouse Argentinian dancing of Che Malambo on March 3; and a boisterous celebration of the Harlem Renaissance in the musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’” on April 16.

    Two special Encore Events will feature the angelic-voiced musicians of the Vienna Boys Choir on Nov. 21 and the bluegrass Southern gospel of The Isaacs on Jan. 24. Encore Event tickets are $45 for Section A seating; $36 for Section B seating; and $27 for Section C seating. Discounts are available for seniors, students, children and SFA faculty and staff members.

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  • Swingin’ Axes, Aces to perform jazz benefit at LugNutz

    Swingin’ Axes, Aces to perform jazz benefit at LugNutz

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    The Swingin’ Axes, Swingin’ Aces and the Faculty Jazz Combo from Stephen F. Austin State University will perform a fundraiser concert from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at LugNutz Bar & Grill. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the School of Music jazz program.

    September 30, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    A fun evening of jazz featuring the Swingin’ Axes, Swingin’ Aces and the Faculty Jazz Combo from Stephen F. Austin State University will be presented from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at LugNutz Bar & Grill.

    If weather permits, the jazz bands will perform on the outdoor stage. In inclement weather, the concert will be moved indoors.

    The Axes, directed by Dr. Deb Scott, professor of trombone, will perform a variety of music including big band favorites from the 1940s and ’50s, such as Glenn Miller’s “American Patrol” and Count Basie’s “Fly Me to the Moon.” More modern jazz styles will include Gordon Goodwin’s energetic Latin-style “Mueva los Huesos” (Shake Your Bones) and Tower of Power’s funky “What Is Hip.”

    The Swingin’ Aces, directed by Dr. J.D. Salas, associate professor of tuba and euphonium studies at SFA, will perform several standards from the library of the Count Basie and Stan Kenton Jazz orchestras, including “Put It Right Here,” “Just Friends” and “My Romance.” They will also perform a fun jazz rendition of “Take Me Out to The Ballgame.”

    The jazz combo will play jazz standards arranged by former SFA music professor the late Darrell Holt. Salas, playing bass, and Scott, playing trombone, will join Dr. Jacob Walburn, associate professor of trumpet, and Dr. Gary Wurtz, director of the School of Music, on trumpet, adjunct professor Mike McGowan on piano, and assistant professor Dr. Brad Meyers on drums.

    Concert tickets may be purchased ahead of time at the SFA Fine Arts Box Office for $10. Tickets at the door will be $15. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu. Tickets do not include food or beverages.

    All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the School of Music jazz program.

    LugNutz is located at 5287 U.S. Highway 59 approximately five miles south of Loop 224, Nacogdoches. Drinks from the bar and food from LugNutz’ Spitfire Grill will be available for purchase.

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  • Guest flutist Sundberg to perform at SFA

    Guest flutist Sundberg to perform at SFA

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    Terri Sundberg

    September 26, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Terri Sundberg, professor of flute at the University of North Texas College of Music and a member of the Crested Butte Opera Orchestra and Crested Butte Festival Symphony Orchestra, will perform a guest recital at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in Cole Concert Hall on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

    Sundberg has served as faculty at several international music festivals, has presented masterclasses and performed solo and chamber recitals across the United States and abroad, including concerts in China, Korea, South Africa, Mexico, Austria, Ireland, England, France, Kosovo and the Philippines. She is a co-author of "Children After War: A Novel Approach to Promoting Resilience Through Music," which was recently highlighted in the Traumatology journal. She serves on the board of the Shropshire Music Foundation, whose mission is to foster ethnic tolerance, promote peace and improve the quality of life for children and adolescents of war-torn countries through the establishment of ongoing music education and performance programs.

    She will perform Aria by Eugène Bozza; Sonate pour flute et piano I Modéré II Lent III Allegro moderato by Philippe Gaubert; “Legacy” by Jennifer Higdon; Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 120, by Edwin York Bowen; “Nocturn” by Georges Barrère; and “Hypnosis” by Ian Clarke. She will be accompanied by Dr. Ron Petti, director of collaborative piano for the SFA School of Music.

    Sundberg’s recital is part of the SFA Friends of Music Concert Series.

    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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  • Behind-the-scenes work makes ‘The Wolves’ on-stage soccer look effortless

    Behind-the-scenes work makes ‘The Wolves’ on-stage soccer look effortless

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    Dallas sophomore Michael Nunez and Colleyville freshman Aubrie Smith, from left, run soccer drills with “The Wolves” cast members Jordyn Averitte, Baytown senior; Emmeline Sullivan, Nacogdoches junior; Kathleen McNamara, Irving senior; Maddy Moore, Mesquite freshman; and Britney Day, Lufkin sophomore. Sarah DeLappe’s play will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 1 through 5, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    September 26, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    When the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre presents Sarah DeLappe’s coming-of-age play “The Wolves” Oct. 1 through 5, two theatre majors will not only perform their countless duties as assistant stage managers, Dallas sophomore Michael Nunez and Colleyville freshman Aubrie Smith will also put their skills as soccer players to work.

    Directed by Professor Rick Jones, “The Wolves” follows the daily routines and conversations of nine girls on an elite-league soccer team. The high school-aged girls deal with the usual problems of growing up – forming relationships, struggling with adolescence and learning how to win and lose on the soccer field and in life. And while the student actors are telling a story on stage, they’re also playing soccer.

    “No one in the cast is really a soccer player, and they’ve got to look like they’re playing at an elite level,” Jones said. “We don’t see them in a game situation, but the drills and exercises have got to look as if the girls are legitimate contenders for athletic scholarships at big-name universities.”

    That’s where the soccer talents of Nunez and Smith come in to play. In addition to their stage management duties, the two are running practice drills that must convince the audience that the characters are legit soccer athletes.

    Smith started playing soccer at a young age, playing at a high-skill level through middle school. For “The Wolves,” she has been helping cast members with ball control, “so we don’t have balls running off stage into the audience.”

    Whereas the script doesn't call for an actual soccer game to happen on stage, the audience sees the pre-game warm-ups, including conditioning and passing drills, which Nunez and Smith have facilitated, teaching the actors how to pass and trap.

    “We’re focusing on doing things that are simple to do but look more complicated than they actually are,” Smith said, adding that the cast first worked on making passes “look tight and clean,” adding lines later.

    Nunez started playing soccer at age 3, playing either for a school soccer team or teams and clubs out of school. During off season, he played with friends at public fields. He spent four years playing indoor soccer, adding to the experience he brings for “The Wolves,” which is about indoor soccer.

    “The rules are completely different for indoor soccer; they have the same basics, but there are different rules and speeds,” Nunez said

    In addition to being a soccer consultant, Nunez believes his assistant stage manager’s responsibility includes that of safety officer, teaching soccer skills in a way so that cast members stay safe and won’t hurt themselves in the process.

    Nunez began studying technical theatre as a sophomore at Bryan Adams High School in Dallas. He also enjoys lighting design, although stage management is his career focus.

    “I like working with other people face to face, and building on something that was just an idea, turning it into something that people want to come see,” Nunez said.

    During rehearsals, the assistant stage managers are also making sure the rehearsal space is set up and props are where they need to be. During the first days "off book," they're prompting the actors, taking notes on lines that are missed, and passing those notes on to the actors. During the run of the show, they're in charge of backstage with one on stage left and the other on stage right. They handle cues, such as a live whistle and a ball rolling across the stage. But their primary responsibility is to make sure everything is under control, to solve problems if they arise, and in this particular play, to make the soccer playing look real.

    “Assistant stage managers are probably the most under-appreciated (by the public) people on a show,” Jones said.

    But Smith doesn’t mind. Working toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts in stage management, Smith came to SFA from a small school where she “did everything” when it came to theater.

    “I was stage manager, set designer, lighting designer and assistant director,” she said. “But I really like back stage in general as opposed to acting, mainly because I think it’s captivating that the audience has no idea, for the most part, what I’m doing to make the show happen.

    “And I don’t mind not getting the credit,” she added. “I think that adds to the interest, because it’s the unknown … nobody knows how much you’re actually doing.”

    “The Wolves” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 1 through 5, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. Single tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and non-SFA students 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 http://www.theatre.sfasu.edu. The play is recommended for mature audiences.

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  • ‘Lion’ featured in SFA’s Friday Night Film Series

    ‘Lion’ featured in SFA’s Friday Night Film Series

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    The Oscar-nominated “Lion” will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, in The Cole Art Center.

    September 26, 2019—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 documentary “Lion” at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    “Lion” is the story of 5-year-old Indian boy Saroo who, on a trip with his brother, finds himself alone and trapped in a moving decommissioned passenger train that takes him to Calcutta, 1,000 miles away from home. He survives many challenges living as a street child before being adopted by a loving, prosperous couple in Australia. For all his material good fortune, Saroo finds himself plagued by his memories of his lost family in his adulthood and tries to search for them, even as his guilt drives him to hide this quest from his adoptive parents and his girlfriend. Only when he has an epiphany does he realize not only the answers he needs, but also the steadfast love that he has always had with all his loved ones in both worlds.

    The film is directed by Garth Davis and adapted from the book “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley. The screenplay is by Luke Davies.

    The film was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Motion Picture of the Year; Best performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role; Best performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role; Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Achievement in Cinematography; and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures. Golden Globe nominees include Best Motion Picture – Drama; Best performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture; Best performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture; and Best Original Score – Motion Picture.

    “Lion” is rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sensuality.

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

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

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  • SFA Percussion Ensemble concert to feature student soloists

    SFA Percussion Ensemble concert to feature student soloists

    September 24, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Percussion Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will present its first fall concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Directed by Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies at SFA, the ensemble will perform works by Van Halen, Robert Oetomo, Caleb Pickering, James Campbell and Russell Wharton.

    A rock song written by the group Van Halen for their album “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge,” the song “Right Now” reflects on living for the moment and not being afraid of making a change, according to program notes for the concert.

    Oetomo’s arrangement of Harold Arlen’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz” will feature sophomore, Davis Carr on marimba. Of the piece, Oetomo says it was “created with the intention of having a combination of jazz influences (harmonies and quasi improvisation) and classical romantic influences (runs, ornaments and flourishes), yet maintaining the simplicity of the melody and harmony of the recording.”

    The ensemble will perform Pickering’s “21 Grams” and “Powder Keg.” Pickering states “21 Grams” refers to the “hypothesized ‘weight of the human soul’ as described by Dr. Duncan MacDougall in his 1907 medical experiments. MacDougall conducted experiments measuring the weight of his patients before, during and after their deaths. This work is abstractly programmatic in that it follows a general interpretation of seeing what lies beyond our existence on earth, both good and bad.” “Powder Keg” is a high-energy keyboard quartet scored for two vibraphones and two marimbas that is explosive in nature and shifts between rhythmic and harmonic stability and instability throughout, according to the composer.

    Campbell’s “Engine Room” refers to the percussion section of a traditional steel band. The engine room plays a crucial accompaniment role in Calypso and Soca, the traditional folk music of Trinidad and Tobago. The composer develops motives out of the rhythmic patterns that are typically used in the engine room, as well as other patterns found within the context of Caribbean music, according to a description at percussionmusiconline.com. This performance showcases sophomore, Alcira Sanchez, on multiple instruments.

    Graduate student, Mariah Taller, will be featured on snare drum on Wharton’s “Phylogenesis,” a work for solo percussion using two snare drums and audio. The title refers to the evolutionary history and development of an organism, and the musical development within this piece loosely mirrors that concepts, according to Wharton.

    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 Wind Ensemble to perform works by internationally acclaimed composer Syler

    SFA Wind Ensemble to perform works by internationally acclaimed composer Syler

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    James Syler, composer in residence at SFA
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    Jennifer Dalmas, viola soloist
    September 24, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Wind Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “An Evening with James Syler” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    Dr. David Campo, director of bands at SFA, conducts the Wind Ensemble. Syler serves as the School of Music’s composer in residence for the fall semester, working with student musicians as they perform his works. Included on this concert are three diverse pieces from the composer’s catalog, including “Gearbox,” “Congo Square” and “Love Among the Ruins.”

    Of “Gearbox,” Syler stated, “The initial idea for this work was in experimenting with interlocking rhythmic figures to create a mechanical-like fabric by using the technique of canon. By overlapping and displacing the rhythms on different beats, a gear-like sound emerged. This sound reminded me of an engine, driving, cars and all things mechanical. Gears churn, repeat and shift energy in a gearbox, or transmission, to move the machine forward, and so the title ‘Gearbox’ seemed appropriate. It is exuberant, joyful and celebratory music in memory of my father, Robert L. Syler, who was a lover of cars, driving and all things mechanical.”

    Found in the Treme´ neighborhood of New Orleans, just across Rampart Street north of the French Quarter, Congo Square has been a gathering place for enslaved people since the early 1800s. The Code Noir of the early 1700s made Sundays work free for all inhabitants of the colony including enslaved Africans. On these Sunday afternoons, the slaves would gather at Congo Square to commune, trade and, most importantly, make music. It was from these early beginnings that jazz music was born. Syler’s “Congo Square” features African drums juxtaposed on sounds from early jazz, creating a “musical gumbo” that reflects the diversity of musical styles that came together to create the signature sound of New Orleans.

    “This unique mix of African, Creole and Caribbean is what I’ve tried to internalize in the creation of ‘Congo Square,’” Syler said.

    “Love Among the Ruins for Wind Ensemble and Viola” will feature Dr. Jennifer Dalmas, professor of violin and viola at SFA, as viola soloist. The title is from the poem “Love Among the Ruins” by Robert Browning. The piece is not a concerto in the traditional sense, but rather a work that features the viola for its color, expressivity and voice within a narrative, Syler explained.

    “The subject in this work is love as a timeless force – its continuation in our lives beyond the grave, throughout time and space and amidst the personal loss, difficulties or ruins of our lives,” he said.

    Syler’s works have been heard throughout the world, including performances by Chinese Youth Choir; State Symphonic Band of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Lisbon Portugal Jazz Festival; Symphonic Wind Orchestra Mittelbaden of Germany; McGill University Wind Ensemble in Montreal, Canada; and more. Other notable performances include Symphony No. 1 “Blue” at Carnegie Hall, Bridge Chamber Music Festival, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, New York Choral Festival at Lincoln Center, Interlochen Arts Academy and more. He has completed more than 30 commissions in chamber, choral, orchestral and wind ensemble forms.

    Between 1998 and 2013, he owned and operated Ballerbach Music, a music publishing company specializing in contemporary music. Since 2001, Syler has been a lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio where he teaches composition.

    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 music faculty to present Pi Kappa Lambda scholarship concert

    SFA music faculty to present Pi Kappa Lambda scholarship concert

    September 20, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Faculty members of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will be the featured performers during the annual Pi Kappa Lambda Music Faculty Showcase at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The concert showcases the talents of the diverse School of Music performing faculty, according to Dr. Jamie Weaver, associate professor of music history at SFA and president of Pi Kappa Lambda honors society. Proceeds from the concert fund scholarships for deserving SFA music majors selected by the honors society.

    “I encourage everyone who loves music, who would like to learn more about music, or who is curious about music at SFA to attend this year’s Pi Kappa Lambda Faculty Showcase,” Weaver said. “Sponsored by the university music honors society, the concert features a wide variety of instruments, voices and musical styles in brief, audience-friendly performances.

    “Faculty members look forward to this concert every year because we have the chance to perform for each other as well as for our students and friends,” she added.

    This year’s program will again feature a performance by the SFA Faculty Brass Quintet, which features Deb Scott, trombone; Jake Walburn and Gary Wurtz, trumpet; Charles Gavin, horn; and JD Salas, tuba.

    Other faculty performers will be Christopher Ayer, clarinet; Debbie Berry, Nita Hudson, Richard Berry and Scott LaGraff, voice, with guest artist Kimberly LaGraff; Christina Guenther and Samantha Inman, flute; Abby Yeakle Held, oboe; Nathan Nabb, saxophone; and Mario Ajero, Mary Cooper, Thomas Nixon, Hyun Ji Oh and Ron Petti, piano.

    The recital is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music and is a feature of the 2019-20 Friends of Music Concert Series. Cole Concert Hall is located in the Wright Music Building at 2210 Alumni Drive.

    Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. For tickets or more information, visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.

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  • SFA to observe annual Octubafest featuring tuba, euphonium performances

    SFA to observe annual Octubafest featuring tuba, euphonium performances

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    A recital by J.D. Salas, associate professor of tuba and euphonium studies in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music, will open SFA’s 2019 Octubafest Celebration.

    September 20, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Dr. J.D. Salas, associate professor of tuba and euphonium studies in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music, will open SFA’s 2019 Octubafest Celebration with a recital at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus.

    Octubafest is a worldwide event celebrated by tuba and euphonium performers at universities around the world during the month of October, according to Salas. The observance is meant to showcase the versatility of the tuba and euphonium, instruments that primarily play a background part in many ensembles.

    “This will be the 14th Octubafest at SFA since my arrival here and will feature several performances by the SFA Tuba-Euphonium Studio throughout the month,” Salas said.

    Salas will collaborate with Dr. Thomas Nixon, SFA collaborative pianist, on the recital. Among the works to be showcased are “Libertango” by Astor Piazzolla.

    “This well-known work by the master of the tango has been performed by several instruments,” Salas said, “but it works well to showcase the technical capability of the tuba as well as its beautiful voice-like quality in the upper register.”

    The recital will also feature “Ten Blind Dates for Solo Tuba” by James Grant. The piece is the result of a consortium commissioning project involving Salas. “It is a ‘character piece’ illustrating the various emotions and experiences of a blind date,” he explained.

    “Landscape for Tuba” by Torbjorn Lundquist is large-scale work originally written for tuba and strings. “This version for tuba and piano runs the gamut of the tuba’s depth of character with beautiful lyrical sections contrasted with powerful interjections,” according to Salas.

    The recital is part of the School of Music’s Friends of Music Concert 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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  • SFA to present student-directed ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’

    SFA to present student-directed ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’

    September 20, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Playwright Brian Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa” will open the fall semester of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre’s student-directed plays.

    Directed by Longview senior Bethany Trauger, the full-length play will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in the Downstage Theatre on the SFA campus.

    “Dancing at Lughnasa” tells the story of the five unmarried Mundy sisters who live in a small cottage in Ireland. The action of the play is told through the memory of the illegitimate son of one of the sisters as he remembers the events that finally broke his family apart: the return of his missionary uncle from Uganda, the small radio that turns the house on its head with its music, and the sudden appearance of his father, a charming Welsh man who sweeps his mother off her feet. These small occurrences cause the cracks that destroy the foundation of the family.

    The cast includes Kingwood freshman Blayn Larson as Michael: Palestine senior Corie Mason as Kate; Nacogdoches junior Shyla Driver as Maggie; Edinburg sophomore Makayla Moreno as Agnes; Spring junior Johana Lenington as Rose; Winnsboro sophomore Sarah Anne Ramsey as Chris; Kerrville senior Richard Rogers as Gerry; and Houston senior Matthew Kilgore as Jack.

    The production staff includes Yanelly Vargas, Dallas junior, stage manager; Holden Guinn, Tyler senior, assistant director; Carson Cook, McKinney sophomore, scenic designer; Erinn St. Clair, Bastrop sophomore, costume designer; Mando Chavez, Corpus Christi junior; lighting designer; Myah Mallory, Victoria sophomore, sound designer; Kaitlyn McDearmont, Sulphur Springs junior, properties master; and Brendan Ryan, Cedar Park freshman, assistant properties master.

    Trauger has previously directed “Hanging On” and “Postponing the Heat Death of the Universe,” and she was assistant director for “Three One-Act Plays by Asian Authors.” She has also worked as dramaturg for “Oklahoma!” and “Three One-Act Plays by Asian Authors.”

    Faculty production advisor is Dr. Slade Billew.

    Tickets are $6. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit theatre.sfasu.edu. The Downstage Theatre is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive.

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  • DeLappe play ‘The Wolves’ provides excellent roles for women

    DeLappe play ‘The Wolves’ provides excellent roles for women

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    A finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “The Wolves” will be presented by the Stephen F. Austin State University's School of Theatre Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 1 through 5, at 7:30 each night.

    September 11, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Audiences who watch Sarah DeLappe’s “The Wolves” come to life on W.M. Turner Auditorium stage on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus in October will likely be reminded of some of the challenges they encountered trying to navigate the adolescent angst of high school years.

    A finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “The Wolves” will be presented by the SFA School of Theatre Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 1 through 5, at 7:30 each night. Directed by Professor Rick Jones, this coming-of-age play follows the daily routines and conversations of nine girls on a soccer team who deal with big problems and tiny battles in a portrait of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for kids who just want to score some goals.

    Jones said one of the reasons he selected the play to include in this year’s Mainstage Series is because it contains “excellent roles for women.”

    “I knew a lot of universities across the country were doing this play,” he said. “We ended up picking this play over others on my list because of the response of two students – both women – who were on the selection committee.

    “Literally every young woman I’ve talked to is excited about the play,” he added. “It seemed to me when I read the script that the characters in the play and their conversations were pretty accurate representations of real people – of real high school girls. But, I’ve never been a girl, and it’s been a very long time since high school. The women in the show have been there, and not that long ago. The play speaks to them, and I am confident that it will speak to others, as well.”

    Nine of the 10 characters are players in an elite indoor soccer league for high school girls; the remaining character is the mother of one of the players.

    “We watch them form bonds, struggle with adolescence, exult in winning, and cope with losing … and some of the losses are permanent,” Jones said. “The play is about determination and endurance; whatever happens, these girls are going to face challenges together, and they’ll ultimately triumph, regardless of what the scoreboard might say.”

    The play has something for everyone, but it will especially resonate with young women, Jones said. There is some potentially offensive language, and the characters discuss what most high school girls in the 21st century discuss: current events, sexual harassment, abortion, coping with menstruation. “So if that kind of thing bothers you, you might sit this one out,” he said. “But the play tells the truth, and that’s always a good thing.”

    Jones said the play is “sometimes harrowing, but uplifting.”

    “It’s all about figuring out what really matters,” he said, “and a little introspection in those terms could probably help us all.”

    Single tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and non-SFA students 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 http://www.theatre.sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA’s Guenther, Petti to perform ‘An Air of Mystery’ program

    SFA’s Guenther, Petti to perform ‘An Air of Mystery’ program

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    SFA School of Music faculty members Drs. Christina Guenther and Ron Petti will present the flute-piano program “An Air of Mystery” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus.

    September 11, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will present faculty members Dr. Christina Guenther, flute, and Dr. Ron Petti, piano, performing the program “An Air of Mystery” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The recital is part of the Friends of Music Concert Series and will feature works by Aaron Jay Kernis, David Maslanka, Jake Heggie and Samuel Zyman.

    “Air” by Kernis is songlike and melodic, and it is “the purest and sparest piece I’ve written in a few years,” the composer writes. It contains many hymn or chant-like elements, and though rooted in E-flat major, it “retains a kind of plaintive quality more reminiscent of minor or modal tonalities,” he added.

    Guenther met composer Maslanka in March 2004 when she was performing at a Society of Composers Inc. conference at which he was a featured composer.

    “We spoke briefly the day before I performed, but it was after my performance of a very challenging new work that he came up to me and said, ‘You’ve got the stuff!’” Guenther writes in her program notes. “What encouraging words for a young performer from one of the compositional legends of our time. Maslanka was a quiet, introspective man – tall, thin, unassuming, humble. We kept in touch and, in May 2004, he sent me his ‘Duo’ as a gift.

    “At the time, I was playing a lot of new music, and even though this piece was written three years before I was born, I felt like it was written for me,” Guenther said. “It was just my style – challenging, intense, passionate and insistent, and with some of my favorite extended techniques. Regrettably, I did not get to perform it during Maslanka’s lifetime; I had to find a pianist whose arm I could twist to learn it, and my husband is the lucky soul who (probably reluctantly) agreed.”

    Heggie’s “Soliloquy” for flute and piano is a setting by the composer of his song “Beyond” from “Pieces of 9/11: Memories from Houston,” which was written based on interviews with Houstonians and their stories regarding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    “Those of us who lived through the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks remember exactly where we were when we got the news,” Guenther writes. “I was in graduate school at Florida State University in Tallahassee taking care of flute studio-related business before attending Denise von Glahn’s 20th Century music history class. When the towers – and all the antennae on top of them – went down, so did communication to much of the northeast. I grew up 20 minutes outside New York City in a town from which many people commuted to NYC for work; my family still lived there. My mother later told me that she saw children – my siblings’ classmates – walking home from school that day with their parents – high school boys holding their fathers’ hands. Not all the kids in our town were so lucky – some lost a parent. We were fortunate – that was not one of the occasional days when my dad had a work meeting in Manhattan. Eventually, trying not to panic from so far away in Florida where we were helpless and, like the rest of the country, still didn’t really know what was going on, I was able to reach my dad on his cell phone.”

    Zyman, a New York-based Juilliard faculty member, is one of the leading Mexican composers on the international scene. His Sonata for Flute and Piano is regarded as a major repertoire piece and is frequently performed worldwide. It was chosen to be one of the required repertoire works for the semifinal round of the Young Artist Competition for outstanding flutists at the National Flute Association Convention in New York City in August 2009.

    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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  • SFA’s Cole Art Center to host show reception, gallery talk

    SFA’s Cole Art Center to host show reception, gallery talk

    September 10, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Two events will take place on Saturday, Sept. 21, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, Stephen F. Austin State University’s historic downtown art gallery.

    A reception for the exhibition “The Color of Grief” is at 3 p.m., followed by a gallery talk by Wesley Berg, assistant professor of drawing and painting in the School of Art, at 6 p.m.

    “The Color of Grief” features art created by children who attended a youth grief camp through Hospice in the Pines. The small paintings on canvas, created by children ages 4 through 16, express the feelings each experienced in the loss of a loved one.

    Berg will discuss his work in the exhibition “Shadow Plane: Works on Paper by Wesley Berg,” which is the featured faculty show in this year’s School of Art Faculty Exhibition. The faculty exhibition traditionally features a wide variety of artwork in ceramics, sculpture, photography, painting, prints, metal work and mixed media.

    “The Color of Grief” runs through Oct. 12, and the faculty show and Berg’s exhibition run through Oct. 13. The Cole Art Center hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

    Art exhibitions and receptions are free and are sponsored by William Arscott, the Flower Shop, Nacogdoches Junior Forum and the Friends of the Visual Arts. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

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    article ID 1760

  • SFA to host collaborative art-music exhibition

    SFA to host collaborative art-music exhibition

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    “Denali: Artists Respond to Music Inspired by Wilderness” shows Sept. 17 through Nov. 21 in Griffith Fine Arts Gallery, located on the SFA campus. A reception and performance is planned for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17.

    September 9, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The School of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University will host the exhibition “Denali: Artists Respond to Music Inspired by Wilderness” Sept. 17 through Nov. 21 in Griffith Fine Arts Gallery, located on the SFA campus.

    Two languages – music and visual art – combine to create works of art made in response to chamber music composed in Denali National Park. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Elements Artist Group and composers from the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival’s Composing in the Wilderness Program, directed by SFA composing professor Dr. Stephen Lias. The Elements Artists Group is made up of six artists anchored in Alaska: Charlotte Bird, Susan Campbell, Nancy Hausle-Johnson, Marybee Kaufman, Margo Klass and Ree Nancarrow.

    SFA senior composition student Corinna Hogan of Gatesville is among the collaborating composers. Other composers included Jesse Budel, Christian Dubeau, Aaron Keyt, Brent Lawrence, Libby Meyer, Christina Rusnak, Dawn Sonntag and Jennifer Wright.

    The idea for the project was originally sparked by a painting Elements artist Marybee Kaufman rendered while listening to music written by Christina Rusnak in 2012, according to Nancarrow.

    “Their successful collaboration resonated with other Elements artists who were eager to explore a new challenge – making visual art in response to music inspired by a place they all love, Denali National Park,” she said. Lias shared the proposal with his Composing in the Wilderness musicians, and they enthusiastically agreed to the project.

    In 2017, Lias led nine experienced composers into the backcountry of Denali National Park where they composed original chamber music inspired by their wilderness experiences and shared recordings of their compositions, musical scores, ideas and inspiration with the Elements artists. The artists worked in a variety of media including fiber art, ceramic tiles, painting, poetry, and artist books to create 18 works of visual art, each one a personal response to a musical composition.

    “This was an incredible experience that I feel inclined to repeat,” Hogan said. “I saw views no photo can adequately capture, discovered a love of hiking, made lasting friends from around the world, and wrote some of my best music. I recommend all composers do their best to be a part of Composing in the Wilderness.

    “Two years ago I never would have guessed I’d be part of such a unique and fruitful collaboration, but here we are,” she added of the collaboration with the Elements group. “This artwork gave me a surprising and exciting new lens through which to see my own work, which is a very thought-provoking and enjoyable experience. Plus, it’s gorgeous.”

    “Denali: Artists Respond to Music inspired by Wilderness” has been one of the most rewarding and inspiring exhibition collaborations in which Elements artists have participated, according to member Margo Klass.

    “Denali: Artists Respond to Music in the Wilderness” represents “a fruitful collaboration of visual artists and musicians,” Klass said. “Composers we worked with said, ‘We have often responded to visual art, but no artist has ever responded to our compositions.’”

    In experiencing the exhibition, a smart phone enables access to the music that inspired each artistic response. QR codes, posted throughout the exhibition, provide links to the music so that the music and art it inspired can be experienced at the same time. Binders of the musical scores and program notes are also on display as part of the exhibition. Catalogs of the exhibition include images, artist statements and biographies of artists and composers.

    Support of a Community Arts Development Grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts helped fund the project along with sponsorship by The National Park Service, Alaska Geographic, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and Composers in the Wilderness. For more information about the project, visit https://www.composinginthewilderness.com/elements.

    A reception with performance is planned for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, in the gallery. Griffith Gallery is located inside Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive.

    This exhibition and reception is sponsored in part by William Arscott, The Flower Shop and the Friends of the Visual Arts. Admission is free. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

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    article ID 1759

  • Tickets still available to The Second City performance at SFA

    Tickets still available to The Second City performance at SFA

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    September 4, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Tickets are still available to the University Series performance of the Chicago-based comedy-improv troupe The Second City at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus. Single event ticket prices are $30 for adults, $24 for seniors, $15 for SFA faculty and staff and $12 for non-SFA students/youth. Tickets for SFA students are $3. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit finearts.sfasu.edu, stop by the Fine Arts Box Office in Room 211 of the Griffith Fine Arts Building, or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. The University Series is presented by the College of Fine Arts. Photo: Tim Schmidt

    article ID 1758

  • ‘The Great Alone’ featured in SFA’s Friday Night Film Series

    ‘The Great Alone’ featured in SFA’s Friday Night Film Series

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    “The Great Alone” follows champion sled dog racer Lance Mackey on the Iditarod Trail. The award-winning documentary will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in The Cole Art Center.

    September 3, 2019—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 documentary “The Great Alone” at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    Written and directed by Greg Kohs, “The Great Alone” is an award-winning feature-length documentary film that captures the inspiring comeback story of champion sled dog racer Lance Mackey.

    Billed as “The Last Great Race on Earth,” the Iditarod Trail is the toughest dog sled race in the world. Snaking through more than 1,000 miles of the Arctic's harshest wilderness, the race is one of Alaska's proudest traditions, and Mackey is its greatest champion, according to the film description at imdb.com. He's a man with dog sled racing hard wired into his family, across generations. He’s battled homelessness, addiction and cancer, but he always returns to the sled.

    The film won best feature at the 2016 Big Water Film Festival, and Kohs won the grand jury prize as director at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2015. The film runs 80 minutes.

    This screening is part of the School of Art’s monthly Friday Film Series and is sponsored in part by William Arscott, Nacogdoches Film Festival, Karon Gillespie, Mike Mollot, David Kulhavy, John and Kristen Heath, Galleria Z, Jill Carrington, Jean Stephens, Jim and Mary Neal and Richard Orton.

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

    article ID 1757

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