College of Fine Arts News Archive

August 2020

  • Lumberjack Marching Band directors fine tune plans to keep student musicians safe

    Lumberjack Marching Band directors fine tune plans to keep student musicians safe

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    Rehearsals are underway for SFA’s Lumberjack Marching Band color guard and drum line, and band rehearsals get underway when fall classes begin.

    August 21, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    As schools and universities carefully crafted their reopening plans amid the coronavirus pandemic, questions about health and safety for students and faculty were at the forefront. Right along with those were questions about sporting events and extracurricular activities.

    Although Stephen F. Austin State University currently does not have any home football games scheduled following the Southland Conference’s decision to postpone conference competition for the fall, the athletic department is working to amend that. SFA Athletics Director Ryan Ivey said in a recent press release that SFA will explore avenues for fall competition against other institutions looking to compete.

    The Lumberjack Marching Band will be ready if and when that happens.

    SFA band directors worked throughout the summer on more than designing marching routines; they are fine tuning plans to keep their student musicians safe. Directors opted to split the university band into two separate groups of equal instrumentation to better accommodate social distancing guidelines on the field and in the stands, according to Dr. Tamey Anglley, associate director of bands at SFA and director of the Lumberjack Marching Band.

    “We are requiring students to wear face masks anytime they aren’t playing their instruments and brass players to have bell covers for their instruments to help lower the aerosol emission from their bells,” Anglley said.
    Additionally, all drills on the field will be at six-step intervals, which means students will be 11.25 feet apart while performing.

    As the far-reaching effects of the pandemic began to become more apparent last spring, SFA band directors started researching best COVID-era practices for band instruction and performance. In May, the directors attended a virtual athletic band symposium sponsored by the College Band Directors National Association. The symposium featured presentations from the scientists who were leading the aerosol studies out of University of Colorado and Colorado State University and also clinics from various marching band directors around the country, Anglley explained.

    “At that time, no one knew football could or would be canceled or moved to the spring semester,” she said, “so we were mostly discussing the safety measures we needed to take for our students and the many details to think about with social distance protocols. Since then, I have been in communication with our regional CBDNA and Southland Conference athletic band directors where we discuss how everyone is planning this season.”

    As a result, fall rehearsal days, performances and game day times for the LMB will be alternated as needed, Anglley explained. If home football games can be scheduled, the band plans to perform, albeit in a limited fashion.

    “We went into this season knowing that we wouldn’t be performing at pregame or halftime, but we are still discussing with athletics the possibility of a postgame performance once all football personnel have vacated the field,” Anglley said.

    Color guard and drum line camps were conducted this week; leadership camp is Aug. 22; and split-band rehearsals are scheduled during regular class time once the fall semester starts.

    For many, performing in the Lumberjack Marching Band is a highlight of the SFA university experience – one that builds memories and fosters friendships that last a lifetime. The 2020 fall LMB season will be like none other before it, and directors are committed to making it memorable and safe.

    “The health and safety of the students is our utmost priority at SFA and in the Lumberjack Marching Band,” Anglley said. “We have and will continue to work diligently to provide a safe rehearsal and game day space for our students to have a fulfilling musical experience.”

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  • Ringing of Griffith carillon to commemorate 19th Amendment passage

    Ringing of Griffith carillon to commemorate 19th Amendment passage

    August 19, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    In celebration of the passage of the 19th Amendment, the bells of Griffith Fine Arts Building on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus will ring 19 times shortly after noon on Wednesday, Aug. 26, to commemorate the U.S. Constitution article that guaranteed women the right to vote.

    The 19th Amendment states the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. It was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, ratified on Aug. 18 then certified on Aug. 26 of 1920, formally adding it to the U.S. Constitution and providing suffrage to all citizens.

    Starting in fall 2018, a group of local interested people – Nineteenth Amendment Celebration, or NAC – began meeting to plan events for 2020 to commemorate the passage of the amendment, according to Dr. Dana Cooper, professor of history at SFA. The onset of COVID-19 changed those plans.

    “The Nineteenth Amendment Celebration group had such good intentions for 2020,” Cooper said. Among the events were readings, symposiums, exhibitions, living histories and more.

    According to Cooper, the fight for the right to vote was a long struggle that officially began in 1848 with the Seneca Falls convention, which was attended by some 300 men and women. During the conference, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments, which outlined the rationale for women's suffrage and was based upon the Declaration of Independence. Stanton's document was signed by 100 people, including 68 women and 32 men.

    “This is typically considered the formal beginning of the fight for suffrage in the United States,” Cooper said.

    Numerous battles ensued in the courts and at the state level, and many women attained suffrage in specific states before the amendment was ratified at the federal level. Texas voted to ratify the 19th Amendment on June 28, 1919, making it the first southern state to do so.

    “As one of the original events planned by NAC to commemorate this moment in history, the ringing of the bells on Aug. 26 will honor the long fight – by so many and for so long,” Cooper said. “Different people of different backgrounds, perspectives and races fought for decades to provide equality at the polls and the opportunity to partake in democracy, a process that is arguably more important than ever.”

    Plans are underway to move some of the planned commemoration events to Zoom so that the celebration can continue on campus and within the community, regardless of the restrictions imposed by social distancing, according to Dr. Linda Levitt, professor of communication studies at SFA.

    “We want to find ways to continue our celebration despite the need to change our context,” she said.

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  • Upshaw Family photo exhibition date extended through Saturday

    Upshaw Family photo exhibition date extended through Saturday

    August 18, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    A traveling exhibition of local photographer Richard Orton’s images of the Upshaw family of Nacogdoches County, currently showing in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, will be on display through Saturday, Aug. 22.

    The photographs, which have been featured in an exhibition that’s been traveling across Texas for the past three years, are the focus of Orton’s book, “The Upshaws of County Line: An American Family,” which is a documentation of the County Line community’s history through photographs and oral histories of the families who lived there.

    “The Upshaws of County Line: An American Family” is the winner of Ottis Locke Best Coffee Table Book Award from the East Texas Historical Association. The more than 50 duotone photographs and text convey the contemporary experience of growing up in a "freedom colony."

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cole Art Center patrons will be required to wear a mask, practice social distancing, comply with designated entrance and exit routes and follow all other CDC guidelines, including maximum capacity restrictions. Larger groups can be accommodated by appointment.

    The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. in downtown Nacogdoches. Gallery hours are 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

    For information, call the art center at (936) 468-6557.

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  • SFA’s Sound Recording Technology catches attention of industry leader Audinate

    SFA’s Sound Recording Technology catches attention of industry leader Audinate

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    SFA Sound Recording Technology Director James Adams, standing right, oversees students working via Dante networking on campus.

    August 18, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University’s Sound Recording Technology program has caught the eye of Audinate, the global leader of professional digital audio networking, for SRT’s cutting-edge use of Audinate’s Dante platform.

    Audinate showcased SFA’s use of Dante in a recent industry article touting the platform’s innovative capabilities. The article has been picked up and distributed by multiple media outlets and read by thousands of industry professionals.

    SRT director James Adams, assistant professor in SFA’s School of Music and director of the SRT program, has been integrating Audinate’s Dante across multiple studios and stages on the SFA campus for the past two years. Recruited out of Los Angeles to come to SFA in 2016, Adams said he reconnected in 2018 with West Coast studios he knew there, and that’s when the conversion began.

    “I was looking for a high-quality and cost-effective replacement to a piece of audio equipment in our studio,” Adams said. “Through my research and discussions with colleagues in the industry, I became aware of a product that satisfied my then-immediate needs while offering modular expansion abilities for the future: Focusrite Red Net equipment (a Dante enable product). That is how it all began. The Red Net products satisfied our needs at the time and opened up a world of possibilities that we were not aware of. Fast forward to today, and we are continuing to discover new, innovative ways to deliver instruction, operate productions and record music.”

    The Audinate article defined Dante as “the de facto standard for digital audio networking, and distributes hundreds of uncompressed, multi-channel digital audio via standard Ethernet networks, with near-zero latency and perfect synchronization.” Dante allows audio, control and all other data to coexist effectively on the same network.

    During the campus integration of Dante, Adams not only wanted to enhance university technology, he also wanted to heighten instructional offerings at SFA, a goal that was initially achieved through a large-scale test with one of the university’s major jazz productions.

    “The traditional workflow for the performance was your standard front-of-house endeavor,” Adams was quoted in the Audinate article. “It worked, but it wasn’t flexible, and it wouldn’t allow us to get additional technologies or students involved.” By converting to a Dante-backed audio-over-IP system, Adams was able to significantly alter the workflow so multiple students were actively engaging with the production – allowing for more hands-on educational components and a more robust digital production, the article explained.

    In addition to the publicity being a feather in SRT’s cap, the article is proving to be a great recruiting tool, said Adams, who has recently become a Dante Certification Instructor. Beginning in the spring, SRT will incorporate Dante certification into the curriculum and will begin certifying students. Knowing how to incorporate Dante capabilities into studios will give SFA SRT graduates an edge in the job market, Adams added.

    “Students already learn Dante to operate our studio, and now we will be able to get them formal certifications,” Adams said. “With this, students’ employment qualifications in our industry are further elevated. I hope that they can see our level of dedication to overcoming traditional technological barriers to deliver an elevated educational experience.”

    Student response to Dante has been enthusiastic, according to Adams.

    “They think it is magic, and to be honest, it is,” he said. “Proper operation of the technology requires specialized training. Once students make it over the initial phase of intimidation – there are a lot of buttons and it can be overwhelming when first wrapping your head around it – they all have the ‘Ah Ha!’ moment.”

    The Audinate article further demonstrates to prospective employers that SFA's SRT program is at the forefront of recording arts technology and education.

    “Knowledge of networked audio is growing in demand among employers in the music and production industries,” Adams said. “If potential employers read this article, they will learn that our students are gaining very advanced, in-depth experience with Dante operations and music production.”

    “This technology is being adopted throughout the music industry because of its cost efficiency, reliability, and flexible, ease of use,” he added. “Our students are being trained in the operations of Dante and similar technologies which further expands their marketable skills.”

    For more information about the Sound Recording Technology program at SFA, contact Adams at

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