College of Fine Arts News Archive

September 2017

  • Taylor 2 dancers conduct classes with SFA students, community studios

    Taylor 2 dancers conduct classes with SFA students, community studios

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    September 14, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    Taylor 2 dancer Amanda Stevenson applauds the work of Stephen F. Austin State University dance students during a master class the company conducted Wednesday on campus. Taylor 2 opens the College of Fine Arts' 2017-18 University Series with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for non-SFA students/youth. Tickets for SFA students are $3. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. Taylor 2 also conducted educational outreach classes with local dance studio students.

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  • Lumberjack Marching Band alumni to perform Saturday

    Lumberjack Marching Band alumni to perform Saturday

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    Plans are in place for the SFA Lumberjack Marching Band and Twirl-O-Jacks Reunion on Saturday, Sept. 16, with a pre-game show at 5:30 p.m. in Homer Bryce Stadium to feature band alumni and twirlers from several decades. Rehearsing for the performance are, from left, Brandon Beavers, Kristen Badders Conklin, Paige Pattillo-Brown, Chelsey Chandler Brewer and Candice Curbow. The SFA Lumberjacks will take on Incarnate Word at 6 p.m.

    September 13, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    Generations of Lumberjack Marching Band musicians and twirlers will take the field Saturday at Homer Bryce Stadium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus when they perform at 5:30 p.m. prior to the football game between the SFA Lumberjacks and Incarnate Word.

    The Lumberjack Marching Band and Twirl-O-Jacks Reunion will feature a fun day of "friendship and fellowship" among alumni band members, according to Paige Pattillo-Brown, former SFA feature twirler and an organizer of the reunion and the newly established Lumberjack Band Alumni Association.

    Last year, a reunion was held to celebrate the band's 90th anniversary and the Twirl-O-Jacks' 60th anniversary, but an official alumni organization did not exist at that time. Brown, along with Kristen Badders Conklin, assist each year in judging SFA twirling tryouts, and following last year's tryouts, the two volunteered to help plan another reunion for 2017. They soon found themselves creating a new organization, Brown said.

    There had been an SFA alumni band created years earlier by legendary East Texas band director Jim Hagood. Its purpose was to promote the band and provide scholarships, but the organization had become defunct, Brown said.

    "I was a member of that organization, joining it in 2000 when I graduated from SFA," Brown said. "But over the years, it ceased to exist. So we have had to create a new one from scratch. We created bylaws and contracts, so hopefully, we will now have a sustaining Lumberjack Band Alumni Association that will raise funds for the current band."

    Among the goals is to raise money to help feed band members who arrive on campus for three-a-day band practices weeks before SFA cafeterias open. Brown said the band alumni association hopes work with Dr. David Campo, director of The Lumberjack Marching Band, to identify other needs the alumni group can support.

    "Dr. Campo has grown the band to 370 members, and that's a lot of people to feed before the cafeterias open," Brown said. "Hopefully, over time, we will be able to raise and save money to give out scholarships, perhaps eventually full scholarships. Our numbers are such, that if people come back and participate, this is a true possibility."

    Approximately 115 band alumni have registered as participants in Saturday's reunion. Of those, 70 will perform in pre-game activities. Among them will be 87-year-old former SFA twirler Mary Jo Morris of New Braunfels, who was on the SFA twirling line in 1948 and 1949.

    "So far, the alumni band members who have registered represent a combined 280 years of service to the Lumberjack Band," Brown said.

    Kappa Kappa Psi, SFA's band service fraternity, will provide a hamburger-hotdog cookout lunch, alumni band association members will have a business meeting, and band alumni will participate in the SFA Alumni Association's tailgating activities at the alumni tent. The alumni band will also attend The Lumberjack Marching Band's performance at the Ag Pond prior to the pre-game show.

    Reunion registration is open through Friday, Sept. 15. Annual membership is $45; lifetime membership is $250. Online registration is at, or call the SFA Alumni Association at (936) 468-3407 for additional information.

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  • SFA School of Music donates items to C.E. King High School

    SFA School of Music donates items to C.E. King High School

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    Stephen F. Austin State University students, from left, Jacob Rivas of The Colony, Gregory Garcia of San Antonio and Kenny Waldrop of Abilene assisted with collecting donations for storm victims. Members of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a national music fraternity dedicated to advancing music and inspiring musicians in America, collected the donations.

    September 12, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music recently sponsored a hurricane relief project to benefit students at C.E. King High School.

    "The band directors, who are SFA alums, requested help, and we jumped right in," said Fred Allen, SFA director of bands. "It was a way for us to help a specific high school that we knew needed help."

    The two alums, Michael Murdock and Ronnie Ross, said flooding at the school had damaged equipment and requested color guard equipment, percussion equipment and reeds used with woodwind instruments.

    "We posted the list, and many of our students and faculty members responded with items that we could send them right away," Allen said.

    For more information about the SFA School of Music, visit

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  • SFA music faculty to present Pi Kappa Lambda Faculty Showcase

    SFA music faculty to present Pi Kappa Lambda Faculty Showcase

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    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. Thursday, Sept. 21, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    September 12, 2017—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. Thursday, Sept. 21, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The concert showcases the talents of the diverse School of Music performing faculty, according to Nita Hudson, instructor of voice and opera. All concert proceeds benefit the Pi Kappa Lambda scholarship the School of Music gives each year to the sophomore music major with the highest grade point average.

    "This is always a fun and exciting night for our music faculty," Hudson said. "Not only do we get to perform for the Nacogdoches community, but we also raise funds for music scholarships.

    "Twenty-four music faculty members will perform a wide variety of concert repertoire, ranging from a traditional vocal spiritual to a Mozart operatic duet," Hudson added.

    The program also features a barbershop quartet, a mellow brass quintet, a string quartet and saxophone and percussion performances. Traditional folk songs will be played on an Irish harp. An audience favorite, SFA piano professor Mario Ajero will perform a piano piece for six hands with his children, Antonio and Olivia.

    Other faculty performers include Debbie Berry, soprano; Jennifer Dalmas, violin; Charlotte Davis, soprano; Tod Fish, tenor; Charles Gavin, horn; Christina Guenther, flute; Nita Hudson, mezzo-soprano; Scott LaGraff, baritone; Brad Meyer, percussion; Emily Milius, soprano; Emily Mitchell, harp; Melissa Nabb, viola; Nathan Nabb, saxophone; Hyun Ji Oh, Andrew Parr, Ron Petti and James Pitts, piano; Evgeni Raychev, cello; J. D. Salas, tuba; Deb Scott, trombone; Chris Turner, baritone; Jacob Walburn, trumpet; and Gary Wurtz, trumpet.

    The recital is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music and is a feature of the 2017-18 Calliope Concert Series. Cole Concert Hall is located in the Wright Music Building at 2210 Alumni Drive.

    Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students. For tickets or more information, please visit or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.

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  • SFA band alumni honored at state convention

    SFA band alumni honored at state convention

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    Left to right: Corey Graves and George Little

    September 12, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    Two Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music alumni were recognized this past summer at the Texas Bandmasters Association convention in San Antonio.

    It was announced at the convention that Corey Graves, a 2007 summa cum laude graduate, was named "Young Bandmaster of the Year" by Phi Beta Mu Honorary Band Fraternity, and George Little, a 2002 graduate, was elected to serve on the TBA board of directors.

    "These two alumni are excellent representatives of SFA in everything they do," said Fred J. Allen, director of bands at SFA. "They are shining examples in our profession and even to our current students."

    Phi Beta Mu is a service organization whose goals are the promotion of school bands, school musicians and the furtherance of school bands in the eyes of the public. Graves, who currently teaches in Roma ISD, said he was "humbled" by the recognition.

    "Considering the incredible list of previous recipients, and the numerous music educators across the state of Texas who are making such an impact on the lives of their students and communities, it is quite humbling to be even put in the same category," he said. "I am grateful for the recognition of what the students and faculty of Roma ISD do daily."

    Graves earned a Master of Music in Euphonium Performance from The Ohio State University as a graduate fellow in 2008. He is in his 10th year of teaching and has been with the Roma ISD since 2010. Prior to moving to Roma Middle School, he taught two years with La Joya ISD.

    Graves is a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar and the Region XV Middle School Coordinator. Bands under his direction have consistently received superior sweepstakes ratings at UIL Concert and Sight-reading Contest and have also earned high levels of recognition on state, national and international stages.

    Mike Brashear, TBA executive director, welcomed Little to the organization's board, stating, "We look forward to his leadership and expertise as he represents the fine band programs from East Texas."

    "Being elected to the TBA board of directors is a very humbling and exciting experience," Little said. "I am thrilled to have the chance to serve with such an outstanding group of fellow directors. Professionally, I know that I will learn a lot during my years on the board, and I hope to be able to contribute to best of my ability."

    TBA board members start as sergeant-at-arms, then move up through the offices of secretary, treasurer, vice president, president-elect, president and past president. Board members serve on the board for seven years and oversee all activities of the TBA, including the annual TBA Convention/Clinic held in San Antonio at the end of July.

    Little is director of bands at Lufkin ISD. He is entering his 16th year of teaching and his second year at Lufkin. He taught for eight years at New Diana High School and six years at Henderson Middle School. His bands consistently earn top rankings in UIL and invitational competitions.

    Both Graves and Little credited SFA with preparing them to be successful as band directors and music educators.

    "SFA provided so many great opportunities for learning," Graves said. "I have always felt that the staff was giving of their time, even after graduation, to help propel their students to success. It is a great student-centered environment that I am proud to call my alma mater."

    "SFA is, in my opinion, one of the top music schools in the state," Little said. "There are many successful band directors that graduated from SFA. The faculty is very purposeful in what students learn as they progress through their degree plan. One thing about SFA that aids in the success of their future band directors is that professors are available for mentorship, even after you have graduated. The professional help network that Lumberjack Band alumni enjoy is second to none."

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  • Choreograph your evening with Taylor 2

    Choreograph your evening with Taylor 2

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    Choreograph your evening on Sept. 14 to include a 7:30 p.m. performance of Taylor 2 dance company in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus, an art exhibition opening and special dining discounts when you show your Taylor 2 tickets at select local eateries. Photo by Tom Caravaglia.

    September 8, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    As if attending the opening performance of the 2017-18 University Series at Stephen F. Austin State University isn't exciting enough, there are other events before and after the dance program to whet an appetite for good food and great entertainment.

    New York City-based dance company Taylor 2 opens the season at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. Taylor 2's performance is sponsored in part by Cataract, Glaucoma & Retina Consultants of East Texas/Benchmark Optical/Medical Arts Surgery Center.

    "This is dance for everyone: accessible, athletic, emotionally powerful and sexy - with a sense of humor, too," said Scott Shattuck, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and director of the University Series.

    "Today's audiences want choices that allow them to create their own unique night out," Shattuck continued. "We're inviting series-goers to 'choreograph' the rest of the evening with options for dining, enrichment and additional entertainment to design a stimulating, richly social multi-arts experience."

    The possibilities start with attending the opening reception of the annual SFA School of Art Faculty Exhibition at 6 p.m. in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches. Sponsored in part by the Friends of the Visual Arts and the Nacogdoches Junior Forum as well as the Texas Commission on the Arts, SFA art openings are free and typically feature hors d'oeuvres and beverages.

    "Be sure to leave the art reception in plenty of time to park and be comfortably seated for the dance performance in Turner Auditorium at 7:30," Shattuck said.

    As an "informance" prior to the Taylor 2 performance, Heather Samuelson, assistant professor and co-coordinator of dance in the SFA Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, 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 dancers and to honor the event's corporate sponsor.

    Showing in Griffith Gallery will be the new exhibition "Fragmentation: The Lithographs of Wayne Kimball."

    "During intermission, enjoy a refreshing glass of lemonade, compliments of the SFA College of Fine Arts," Shattuck said. "We're still working on another surprise treat for University Series patrons at the show."

    An additional pre-show option is dinner at Maklemore's Ale House and Bistro, where showing a Taylor 2 ticket to a server will get patrons a 10-percent discount on food only.

    After the Taylor 2 performance, audience members may also consider heading downtown to the newly renovated Nine Flags Bar and Grille for "Jazz on the Patio" until 10 p.m. at The Fredonia Hotel & Convention Center. Show your Taylor 2 ticket to get half off the price of an appetizer.

    Alternatively, Chilly Fillmore's in Nacogdoches will also offer 20 percent off the price of a frozen yogurt to customers showing a Taylor 2 ticket before they close at 10 p.m.

    "Make a night of it," Shattuck said. The discounts are valid only on the date of the show.

    Single event ticket prices for the University Series are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for non-SFA students/youth. Tickets for SFA students are $3. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit, stop by the Box Office in Room 211 of the Griffith Fine Arts Building, or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.

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  • SFA College of Fine Arts Dean's Circle to honor Van Horn, award recipients

    SFA College of Fine Arts Dean's Circle to honor Van Horn, award recipients

    September 8, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    Members of the Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts Dean's Circle will recognize former Nacogdoches Mayor Dr. Roger Van Horn for his contributions to the community at the annual Winners' Circle reception and fundraiser planned for 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, in The Old Tobacco Warehouse in downtown Nacogdoches.

    Van Horn will be honored for his service to the City of Nacogdoches, SFA, the College of Fine Arts and the Dean's Circle, according to Dr. A.C. "Buddy" Himes, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

    "Former Mayor Van Horn has continually promoted and supported the activities of the Dean's Circle and has served as emcee at our annual programs," Himes said. "We hope the community joins us at our Winners' Circle reception to publicly thank him for his service to Nacogdoches and SFA."

    The "Fall Festival of SFA Artists" also recognizes the 2017 Dean's Circle student award recipients. Sarah Jentsch, art major from Etoile, received the Cole Dean's Award in Art; Tyler Thormählen, music performance major from Kyle, received the Ledbetter Dean's Award in Music; Arjang Abrarpour, music education major from Katy, received the Sidnell Memorial Dean's Award in Music Education; and Margaret "Maggie" Strain, theatre major from Port Aransas, received the Schmidbauer Dean's Award in Theatre. The students were selected by the faculty of their respective schools on the basis of their potential to further develop their artistic goals and serve as role models, according to Himes. Student award recipients will perform and exhibit their work.

    The awards were established by the Dean's Circle, an external support organization of community members founded in 2008 and "dedicated, in part, to nurturing potential young artists within the College of Fine Arts," Himes said.

    The Dean's Circle will also recognize Dr. Charles Gavin, professor of horn and chamber music in the School of Music, and Dr. Gene H. Moon, director of orchestras at SFA, who have been awarded endowed professorships.

    A faculty showcase will highlight the artistic work of Neil Cox, printmaker and photographer in the School of Art; swordsmanship and stage combat techniques of Slade Billew, assistant professor in the School of Theatre; and Moon with SFA's Orchestra of the Pines.

    An auction featuring contributed items from local businesses will raise funds for Dean's Circle projects, including student awards and expanding endowed professorship opportunities. Among the auction items are a membership to Meadow Ridge Archery and Gun, tickets to the upcoming performance of Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker, and a studio recording session with the CFA's newly renovated recording studio.

    Event sponsors include Cal-Tex Lumber Company, Nacogdoches Medical Center, First Bank & Trust East Texas, The Daily Sentinel, Suzanne Warlick, Regions Bank, Nacogdoches Film Festival, Meadow Ridge Archery and Gun and CBH Insurance.

    Tickets for the event, which includes entertainment and hors d'oeuvres, are $100 per person/couple. Participation includes membership in the Dean's Circle. Responses are requested by Sept. 15. To RSVP by phone, call the Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

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  • Guest percussionist Hamilton to perform at SFA

    Guest percussionist Hamilton to perform at SFA

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    Sean Hamilton will perform a guest percussion recital at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    September 6, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    Percussionist and composer Sean Hamilton will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, in Cole Concert Hall on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus as part of the School of Music's Calliope Concert Series.

    The program is entitled "LOCI" and is comprised of a single evening-length composition for solo drum set and electronics. "LOCI" is one work from a series of pieces for this instrumentation that are written to explore the symbiotic possibilities of acoustic and electronic sound in an improvised setting, according to Hamilton, who began working on these pieces in 2015 and has performed them throughout the U.S. and in the United Kingdom.

    "Since its completion in July 2016, I have performed 'LOCI' approximately 40 times," Hamilton said. "In an average performance, audiences can expect a dynamic concert featuring combinations of intense and visceral drumming contrasted with soft and delicate percussion, static electronic ambient passages and noise-based textural passages.

    "In addition to the use of traditional sticks and mallets, they will also find a wide array of alternative playing techniques and methods of sound production," he added, "including moments when I may be producing sound with things such as a modified electric toothbrush, thin chains and aluminum foil, or by placing household objects (sheet metal, tin cans, nuts and bolts, etc.) on the drums in an effort to alter their natural sound."

    The SFA recital will be part of a large eight-week tour that will take Hamilton from Tampa, Florida, to the Pacific Northwest and back, with performances at a wide variety of venues, including Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, and Selectors Records in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    Hamilton has presented performances as an artist-in-residence with Leeds Improvised Music and Experimentation (LIME) in the United Kingdom and as a featured performer at the Orlando and Asheville Fringe Festivals, the Anxious Sound Series in New Orleans, and WKCR-FM New York's Afternoon New Music. He has given numerous lectures on improvisation and composition at universities throughout the U.S. and abroad. His original compositions include works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, electroacoustic mediums, and fixed media that have been performed in the U.S. and Europe.

    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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