College of Fine Arts News Archive

April 2018

  • College of Fine Arts' University Series seeks programming input

    College of Fine Arts' University Series seeks programming input

    April 20, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Do you like classical music? What about pop, rock, blues or jazz? Do you prefer an evening of modern dance or musical theatre? Is stand-up comedy more your style?

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts is seeking input in planning future programming for its University Series and Encore Events.

    A survey seeking suggestions for the kinds of national/international touring acts audiences would like to see in Turner Auditorium will help provide direction for future seasons.

    The 2018-19 University Series season is already in place. It includes the Reduced Shakespeare Company: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] on Sept. 11; the dynamic classical music ensemble SYBARITE5 on Oct. 18; five-time Grammy Award-winning Dailey & Vincent's Spirit of Christmas Tour on Dec. 11; the high energy Step Afrika! dance troupe on Jan. 25; and the contemporary high-octane Mexican string musicians the Villalobos Brothers on May 9. Encore Events include jazz great Branford Marsalis on Oct. 10 and The Purple Xperience, a Prince tribute, on Nov. 30. Some events are subject to change pending final scheduling.

    Scheduling for the 2019-20 season will soon be underway. Access the survey at the following address to make your voice heard and to provide the guidance needed to make it another season you and your friends won't want to miss. http://sfasu.edu/showsurvey

    For more information, contact Scott Shattuck, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and director of the University Series/Encore Events, at (936) 468-1336 or at shattucksh@sfasu.edu.

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  • Popular family favorite, comedy-drama highlight SummerStage Festival at SFA

    Popular family favorite, comedy-drama highlight SummerStage Festival at SFA

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    The SummerStage Festival at Stephen F. Austin State University will present a fun and funny children's musical and an emotionally powerful American play in its 2018 summer theatre season. Make plans early to enjoy this year's SummerStage Festival, which is slated for June 29 through July 19 with performances in W.M. Turner Auditorium and the Downstage Theatre. Both venues are in Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus. This year's plays are “Pinkalicious the Musical” and “Crimes of the Heart."

    April 20, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The SummerStage Festival at Stephen F. Austin State University will present a fun and funny children's musical and an emotionally powerful American play in its 2018 summer theatre season.

    Make plans early to enjoy this year's SummerStage Festival, which is slated for June 29 through July 19 with performances in W.M. Turner Auditorium and the Downstage Theatre. Both venues are in Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus. This year's plays are "Pinkalicious the Musical" and "Crimes of the Heart." The festival is sponsored in part by Tipton Ford Lincoln.

    Launched in 2014 to take the place of the traditional Summer Repertory Theatre season, SummerStage is designed to provide less formal, fun and easy-going live theatre experiences for East Texas audiences, according to Cleo House Jr., director of the SFA School of Theatre.

    "SummerStage is about deepening the School of Theatre's relationship with the community," House said. "It's about doing our part to keep the arts alive for Nacogdoches, even during the summer months when things tend to quiet down."

    "Pinkalicious the Musical" with book by Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann, music by John Gregor, and lyrics by John Gregor, Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann, is the story of Pinkalicious, a little girl who can't stop eating pink cupcakes despite warnings from her parents. Her pink indulgence lands her at the doctor's office with Pinkititis, an affliction that turns her pink from head to toe - a dream come true for this pink loving enthusiast. But when her hue goes too far, only Pinkalicious can figure out a way to get out of this predicament.

    "At face value, 'Pinkalicious' is a musical for young audiences that teaches moderation and self-control," said House, who is the play's director. "However, it also has a message about being true to what makes you unique and the importance of family."

    "Crimes of the Heart" by Beth Henley is about three sisters with very different personalities and lives who reunite when the youngest of them, Babe, has just shot her husband. The oldest sister, Lenny, takes care of their grandfather and is turning into an old maid, while Meg, who tries to make it in Hollywood as a singer/actress, has had a wild life filled with many men. Their reunion causes much joy, but also many tensions, according to the description at imdb.com.

    "A play about family, love and loss, 'Crimes of the Heart' is both funny and serious, as well as lighthearted and profound," said Dr. Inga Meier, assistant professor of theatre and the play's director.

    Winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, "Crimes of the Heart," in the end, is "the story of how people escape the past to seize the future," according dramatists.com.

    "Warm-hearted, irreverent, zany and brilliantly imaginative, the play teems with humanity and humor as it examines the plight of three young Mississippi sisters betrayed by their passions," the website states.

    "Pinkalicious the Musical" will be presented in Turner Auditorium at 10 a.m. June 29, July 10 and 19; at 2 p.m. July 7, 10 and 18; and at 6:30 p.m. June 30 and July 14. General admission tickets are $8. A pay-what-you-can performance is at 2 p.m. July 10.

    "Crimes of the Heart" will be presented in the Downstage Theatre at 7:30 p.m. July 5, 7, 12, 13, 17 18 and 19 and at 2 p.m. July 14. General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students/youth. A pay-what-you-can performance is at 2 p.m. July 14.

    For tickets or more information, visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/ or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.

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  • Modern jazz favorites showcased in Contemporary Ensemble concert

    Modern jazz favorites showcased in Contemporary Ensemble concert

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    The Contemporary Ensemble at SFA will perform a program of modern jazz at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus.

    April 18, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Contemporary Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will present a program of modern jazz when the group performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.
    "I chose this theme because jazz is some of my favorite music to play and to listen to," said Andrew Sperandeo, Sound Recording Technology and guitar instructor at SFA and director of the Contemporary Ensemble.
    The program will feature Jaco Pastorius' "Portrait of Tracy," a piece Sperandeo describes as "beautifully written." The solo bass instrumental showcases "the multifaceted talents of the late great Pastorius."
    "It has always been important to me as an educator to try to expose students to artists they would most likely never encounter in their own musical pursuits in order to broaden their perspectives as musicians," Sperandeo said. "Our arrangement of this piece has been expanded to include our full ensemble based on Brian Bromberg's arrangement."
    The ensemble will also perform "Are You Going With Me?" by Pat Metheny.
    "Growing up, Metheny was always one of my most favorite, well-rounded musicians, and he continues to be so," Sperandeo said. "Competent player, composer and arranger, his work has inspired me to pursue the development of these same skills."
    Sperandeo arranged this Metheny piece based on a "haunting recording" on the "Upojenie" collaborative album with Polish folk and jazz singer Anna Marie Jopek, on which Metheny played. "It has quickly become my favorite version of this tune," Sperandeo added.
    Also on the program, Chris Potter's "High Noon" contains a lot of "attitude and personality," Sperandeo said. "This medium groove tune, with dark changes and odd time signatures, is a lot of fun to play," he said.
    The concert will also feature music by Michael Brecker and Mike Stern and an original piece.
    The 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's Friday Film Series offers special screening of 'Jane'

    SFA's Friday Film Series offers special screening of 'Jane'

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    SFA's Friday Film Series offers a special screening of 'Jane.'

    April 18, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and the Friends of the Visual Arts will present a free, one-night special screening of the documentary "Jane" at 7 p.m. Friday, April 27, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    Drawing from more than 100 hours of never-before-seen footage that has been tucked away in the National Geographic archives for more than 50 years, award-winning director Brett Morgen tells the story of Jane Goodall, a woman whose chimpanzee research challenged the male-dominated scientific consensus of her time and revolutionized understanding of the natural world.

    Set to a rich orchestral score from legendary composer Philip Glass, the film offers an unprecedented, intimate portrait of Goodall, who was a trailblazer who defied the odds to become one of the world's most admired conservationists, according to information at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/jane-the-movie/.

    This screening is part of the School of Art's Friday Film Series and is sponsored in part by William Arscott, Nacogdoches Film Festival, Karon Gillespie, Mike Mollot, David Kulhavy, Brad Maule, John and Kristen Heath, Galleria Z, Jill Carrington, Jean Stephens, Jim and Mary Neal, Richard Orton, Nacogdoches Junior Forum and Main Street Nacogdoches.
    The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

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  • SFA College of Fine Arts Dean's Awards recognizes students' potential

    SFA College of Fine Arts Dean's Awards recognizes students' potential

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    Dan R. Casso, Madeline Castillo, Marilyn Chatary and Sidney Lowell

    April 18, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts will recognize four students during the presentation of the annual Dean's Awards at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    Madeline Castillo, art major from League City; Marilyn Chatary, music education major from Houston; Dan R. Casso, music education major from Amarillo; and Sidney Lowell, theatre major from Huffman, 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 Dr. A.C. "Buddy" Himes, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

    The Dean's Awards not only recognize the recipients for what they have already accomplished, but the awards are also designed to inspire them to reach deep from within to aspire for the ideal, Himes explained. 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.

    Castillo, who will receive the Ed and Gwen Cole Dean's Award in Art, is a sophomore from League City, Texas, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in metals and jewelry. Castillo enjoys volunteer work and is a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of America in which she achieved the highest honors of earning Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. She is a member of the SFA Girl Scout Alumnae Association. She participated in Art Day, the Art Alliance service initiative for high school students, as well as other Art Alliance activities. She has been on the Dean's List for the last three semesters and is a member of the School of Honors. She is working diligently towards her goal of graduating as a University Scholar. Castillo plans to participate in a study-abroad program next summer and continue her studies in a graduate program to further cultivate her passion for the arts.

    Chatary, who will receive the Naioma Shannon Dean's Award in Music, is a junior music education major from Houston, Texas. In her studies at SFA, she has been a member of the Wind Ensemble, Orchestra of the Pines, The Lumberjack Marching Band and Bassoon Ensemble. She represented these ensembles twice at the Texas Music Educators' Association convention in San Antonio. Additionally, she is the operations manager for The Lumberjack Marching Band and works in the band office as a student assistant. During the summer, Chatary is involved in the SFA Summer Band Camps, first working as a counselor and now as an office assistant. Chatary has been awarded various Alumni Association scholarships, the J.T. Cox Band Scholarship, Pi Kappa Lambda High Achieving Sophomore Scholarship, and two four-year scholarships for Academic Excellence in the School of Music. She has been on the President's List since her first semester at SFA.

    Casso, who will receive the Dr. Robert G. Sidnell Memorial Dean's Award in Music Education, is a junior music education major from Amarillo. In his time at SFA, Casso has served as principal trumpet in the Wind Ensemble and the Orchestra of the Pines. He has also served as the solo chair in the Swingin' Axes jazz band, a co-section leader in The Lumberjack Marching Band, a member of the Roarin' Buzzsaws Basketball Pep Band, and an original member of the Empyrean Trumpet Ensemble, which performed in the 2017 and 2018 National Trumpet Competitions and at the 2017 TMEA convention. In addition to the Sidnell Memorial Dean's Award, Casso has received the Hubert A. "Butch" Almany Band Scholarship, the Zach Brittain Jazz Scholarship, the Young Artist Music Scholarship and the SFA Academic Excellence Scholarship. These scholarships have assisted him in pursuing his dream of becoming a better musician and educator.

    Lowell, who will receive the George and Peggy Schmidbauer Dean's Award in Theatre, is a junior theatre major from Huffman. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in acting and directing. While at SFA, she has been involved in many theatre productions, including acting in "(Biedermann and) The Firebugs," "The Miracle Worker," "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," "Baby with the Bathwater" and "Pride and Politics." She has also worked on technical crews for several shows, including "The Skin of Our Teeth," "Twister" and "Intimate Apparel." She is a member of the devised group Speak Up. She is also a member of the Beta Phi cast of Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatre honor society. As a member of this organization, she is active in the community and has participated in service projects to help better both the theatre department and the outside community. Those endeavors included helping to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Harvey and working at social events for new students in the School of Theatre. Lowell has also remained on the President's List since her first semester at SFA.

    The awards are made possible because the Dean's Circle believes in investing in the future and is willing to contribute and raise the money needed to fund these $3,000 individual awards each year for a total of $12,000, Himes said. For more information about the Dean's Circle, contact Himes at himesac@sfasu.edu or at (936) 468-2801.

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  • SFA's Festival of New American Plays popular among theatre patrons

    SFA's Festival of New American Plays popular among theatre patrons

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    SFA theatre students Aubrey Moore, Abigail Junk and Haley Gibbs rehearse a scene from "Hot Flashes," SFA Playwright-In-Residence Jack Heifner's adaptation of Barbara Raskin's best-selling novel. "Hot Flashes," S. Denise O'Neal's "Sorry, Not Sorry" and Ted Swindley's "… And the Pursuit of Happiness 1994" will be presented as part of the School of Theatre's Festival of New American Plays April 24 through 28 in the Downstage Theatre.

    April 18, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Tickets are selling quickly for the biennial Festival of New American Plays at Stephen F. Austin State University.
    The popular staged-reading event, slated for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, April 24 through 28, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28, in the Downstage Theatre, almost always sells out for each performance, according to Jack Heifner, director of the festival and SFA's playwright-in-residence.

    "Many of our audience members share our excitement about new plays and return every two years," Heifner said. "Seeing three new works by three invited playwrights in one week is a unique theatrical experience. To our audiences, nothing is a thrilling as being in the theatre with the playwrights when they are seeing their plays for the first time."

    Presented by the SFA School of Theatre, the festival, in its 11th season, will present exciting new works by guest playwrights S. Denise O'Neal and Ted Swindley, as well as Heifner's adaptation of a best-selling novel by the late Barbara Raskin. The plays will be performed as "staged readings" that involve audiences and actors in the process of new play development.

    "Plays are meant to be performed, and the best way to see whether a new play works is to present it in front of a live audience," according to Heifner.

    The actors will perform with the script in their hands, relying on their talent and training to interpret the text without the advantage of a long rehearsal process, Heifner explained.

    "These readings have been designed to concentrate on the words of the writers and the talents of our young performers and designers," Heifner explains in his director's notes contained in the festival program. "We have included a minimal amount of scenery, costumes and lights to give the writers what they envisioned in their scripts.

    "We attempt to present the world of the play as closely as possible to what the author has written," he added. "The results may be a different type of theatre from what most audiences are accustomed to seeing. Our hope is that those who attend will find the event both adventurous and exciting."

    One of Heifner's goals when he started the festival in 1998 was to bring established writers to the university campus to work with theatre students. In the past, SFA has welcomed such famous American writers as Tina Howe, David Ives, Carol Hall, James McLure, Beth Henley, Gretchen Cryer, William M. Hoffman, Barbara LeBow, John Cariani, Staci Swedeen and Constance Congdon.

    "We have always asked our invited playwrights to send us any script they wished to hear and, in return, we have promised to give them our best interpretation of the text," Heifner said. "Another goal has been to give audiences in Nacogdoches the unique opportunity to see new plays while they are being created.

    "Our first 10 festivals were great successes," he said. "Now with this 11th festival, I hope the community will once again enjoy this celebration of new theatre in the making."This year's festival features "Hot Flashes," which is Heifner's adaptation of Raskin's best-selling novel, along with "Sorry, Not Sorry" by S. Denise O'Neal and "… And the Pursuit of Happiness 1994" by Ted Swindley.

    The festival opens with Heifner's "Hot Flashes," which will be read at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, April 24 and 27. O'Neal's "Sorry, Not Sorry" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28. Swindley's "… And the Pursuit of Happiness 1994" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, April 26 and 28.

    The Downstage Theatre is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive. For more information, visit theatre.sfasu.edu.

    Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students and youth. For tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA Friends of Music to honor Broadnax at Extravaganza gala

    SFA Friends of Music to honor Broadnax at Extravaganza gala

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    Dr. Wesley J. Broadnax, 2018 SFA Outstanding Music Alumnus

    April 17, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The SFA Friends of Music and School of Music will honor Dr. Wesley J. Broadnax at Extravaganza 31, Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music's annual gala banquet. The event is planned for 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, in the Grand Ballroom of SFA's Baker Pattillo Student Center.
    Broadnax, who is assistant professor and director of bands at Drexel University, will be recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Music Alumnus.
    This year's Extravaganza, "An Evening with the Stars of SFA," celebrates the 31st anniversary of the gala and fundraiser, which features gourmet dining, performances by student soloists and ensembles, and the presentation of student awards in an exciting evening of music, according to Dr. Gary Wurtz, director of the SFA School of Music.
    "There is no better way to experience a cross section of what the SFA School of Music has to offer than at our annual Extravaganza," Wurtz said. "While enjoying a good meal, those in attendance hear performances by the top choir, band, orchestra, jazz band, student recitalists, opera performers, and more. Our fantastic students provide both dinner music and a dance to end the evening. It is really a lot of fun!"
    Part music student awards ceremony, part formal dinner, and part musical potpourri, Extravaganza features jazz, wind ensemble, choir, opera, string quartet and orchestra. Additional highlights include awarding Outstanding Music Alumni and Outstanding Recitalists of the Year.
    As is tradition with Extravaganza, the music faculty has selected an outstanding music graduate to honor.
    "Dr. Broadnax is the ultimate East Texas success story," said Dr. Charles Gavin, professor of horn in the School of Music. "He came from a quite humble background in Marshall, Texas, and took advantage of every opportunity presented him. Many times, if the opportunity was not there, Wes found ways to create one. In addition to being a superb musician, Wes is one of the warmest people I have encountered."
    Prior to his work at Drexel, Broadnax served as director of bands/instrumental music education on the faculties of the University of Delaware, California State University East Bay and Michigan State University. He is also artistic director/conductor of the Mid-Atlantic Chamber Players and assistant conductor of the Newark Symphony Orchestra in Delaware.
    Broadnax graduated from SFA in 1993 with a Bachelor of Music Education and went on to receive both the master's and doctoral degrees in wind conducting from Michigan State University. While at MSU, he was a regular performer on bass trombone and euphonium. He was a member of the West Shore Symphony, Greater Lansing Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony and Midland Symphony, in addition to various chamber ensembles that included both the West Shore Symphony Brass Trio and Capitol Brass Quartet in Lansing. In California, he performed as bass trombonist with the Silicon Valley Symphony and Mission Chamber Orchestra.
    He maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator. He is a sought-after presenter at national conferences and has published articles on a variety of topics related to music education.
    The Extravaganza 31 committee includes John and Melinda Rohrer, co-chairs, Carolyn King, Caryl Hall, MaryAnn and Farrar Bentley, Kimberly LaGraff, Barb Stump, Shirley Watterston and Marinell Booth.
    This year's Friends of Music officers include Marinell Booth, president; Carolyn Andrews, president-elect; Missy DeVine, secretary/treasurer; and Caryl Hall, past president.
    "We want to invite everyone to come and celebrate this 31st Extravaganza with us," Melinda Roher said.
    Reservations and payments should be made by noon Friday, April 20.
    Tickets are $40 for adults and $10 for SFA students. Patron level tickets range in prices from $65 to $140, and donations will be accepted for the Friends of Music scholarship fund. 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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  • Orchestra of the Pines to perform music of Webern, Tchaikovsky

    Orchestra of the Pines to perform music of Webern, Tchaikovsky

    April 16, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Orchestra of the Pines at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform a program featuring great string repertoire at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Dr. Gene H. Moon, director of orchestras at SFA, said the concert will include "one very staple work in the string orchestra repertoire and another that is rather quite obscure."

    "As a university orchestra, we primarily focus on the performance art of orchestra repertoire that usually directs us towards full orchestra music, which includes the complement of woodwinds, brass and percussion," Moon said. "However, we never have the opportunity to truly pay homage to the great string orchestra literature. Therefore, we wanted to program a concert that is lighter in nature but offers a sampling of some great string repertoire."

    The program features a not-so-well-known work - a love song titled "Langsamer Satz" by Anton Webern, a 20th century composer known for his work in the 12-tone compositional technique.

    "While not the most melodic or tuneful, the 12-tone composition technique was designed to prove that all notes are create equal and thus each given the greatest harmonic and melodic sounds," Moon explained. "What usually results is a work that is, perhaps in my sole opinion, more mathematically intellectual than melodically memorable.

    "However, Webern did dabble in the tonal side of music," he said, explaining that "Langsamer Satz" translates to slow movement.

    "Webern, deeply in love, penned the work as an ode of to his beloved, remarking upon his words, 'To walk like this forever among the flowers, with my beloved beside me, to feel myself so utterly at one with the Universe, without a care, as free as a lark in the sky above - Oh, what splendor . . . Our love filled the air. We were two drunken souls . . . '"

    The program also features Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Serenade for Strings," which Moon described as a "dynamite opus" that is a staple in the string orchestra repertoire. Written in C major and in four movements, the serenade is a work that the composer expressed as "a heartfelt piece written from inner conviction."

    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 Symphonic Band, University Band to perform works of great composers

    SFA Symphonic Band, University Band to perform works of great composers

    April 13, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Symphonic Band and University Band at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform works by Henry Fillmore, Karl King, W. Francis McBeth and other great composers when the student ensembles perform at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 22, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.
    Among the works to be performed by the University Band will be "Three London Sketches" by Dr. David Campo, associate director of bands at SFA. Graduate student Brandon Beavers will conduct the piece, which was inspired by Campo's recent visit to some of his favorite attractions in London - Tower Bridge, Saint Paul's Cathedral and Trafalgar Square.
    University Band will open the concert with Roland Barrett's "Burn." Originally written as a brass and percussion fanfare for the prestigious Dallas Wind Symphony, "Burn" features "relentlessly driving rhythms, bold contemporary harmonies, and powerful moments of elevated dynamic impact," according to Campo, who is also director of the University Band.
    The second piece will be Brant Karrick's "Songs of Old Kentucky," also conducted by Beavers. "Songs of Old Kentucky" was written for the Kentucky Music Educators Association District IX All-District Band and was premiered in 2006, according to Campo.
    "The piece opens with a moving rendition of 'John Riley,' with 'Poor Wayfaring Stranger,' and closes with an exhilarating barn dance that is sure to get your toes tapping," Campo said.
    University Band will conclude its portion of the concert with Henry Fillmore's "The Klaxon." Written for the 1930 Cincinnati Automobile Show, this spectacular march has become a standard in band repertoires.
    Symphonic Band will open the second half of the concert with Francis McBeth's "Chant and Jubilo," conducted by graduate student Gary Jones. "Chant and Jubilo," a masterwork of the wind band literature, was composed in 1963 for the Four States Bandmasters Convention in Texarkana, according to Dr. Tamey Anglley, assistant director of bands at SFA and director of the Symphonic Band.
    "The melodic material in the 'Chant' is derived from a ninth-century Greek hymn, and the piece is in two connected movements," Anglley said.
    The second piece will be a beautiful setting of "Amazing Grace" by Frank Ticheli. This piece was commissioned originally in honor of John Harvey Whitwell by his son and former SFA Director of Bands John Whitwell. This performance by SFA's Symphonic Band will be dedicated to band members who passed away this year - Caleb Gibbs, Erin Valenta, Yessenia Ramirez and Gage Hollingsworth.
    The Symphonic Band will perform another Ticheli piece, "Vesuvius."
    "Based on the volcano Mount Vesuvius, Ticheli composed this piece as a wild and passionate dance that represents the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii," Anglley explained.
    Symphonic Band will conclude the concert with Karl King's "Rough Riders March." Written in 1943, "Rough Riders" was part of a set of marches written for school bands in the 1940s.
    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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  • Texas National opens Saturday

    Texas National opens Saturday

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    April 12, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University art students Jacob Moffett, left, and Weelynd McMullen install art work for this year's Texas National Juried Art Competition and Exhibition, which opens Saturday, April 14, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches. Juror Jed Perl will give a talk at 5 p.m., and winners will be announced during the reception, which is from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is free. For information, call (936) 468-1131.

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  • SFA Opera Theatre: 'The Magic Flute' features new, veteran voices

    SFA Opera Theatre: 'The Magic Flute' features new, veteran voices

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    Vocal performance graduate student Amanda Sheriff of Houston performs as Pamina alongside sophomore Greg Garcia of San Antonio as Papageno in the SFA Opera Theater production of Mozart's “The Magic Flute,” which opens Thursday for a three-night run in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    April 10, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Veteran voices heard during recent years in SFA's Opera Theater will share the stage with some of the university's younger voice performance students when Stephen F. Austin State University presents "The Magic Flute" April 12 through 14 in W.M. Turner Auditorium.

    Sophomores with their first leading roles and graduate students completing their master's degrees will showcase the depth and versatility of talent within the SFA School of Music when the students perform in W.A. Mozart's fairy tale for all ages.

    SFA Opera Theatre favorites Kelsey Quinn of San Antonio and Amanda Sheriff of Houston first appeared as freshmen in operas performed on Turner stage, and both are now completing their Master's of Music degrees in vocal performance. They share alternating roles as Pamina in "The Magic Flute."

    Evelyn Shaffer of Mont Belvieu and Emily Bulling of Katy came to SFA as freshmen music education majors and are now completing their master's degrees in choral conducting. Shaffer has a leading role of Third Lady, while Bulling portrays the Queen of the Night in "The Magic Flute."

    Performing alongside these seasoned vocalists are sophomores Greg Garcia of San Antonio as Papageno, Logan Ray of Lubbock as Sarastro, and Taryn Surrat of Houston as Papagena.

    "SFA is quite unique in that we train all of our voice majors with the same goal - to reach their highest potential as excellent singers," said Dr. Deborah Dalton, associate professor of voice at SFA and stage director of "The Magic Flute."

    "Most university voice programs only feature performance majors in leading roles," she said. "At SFA, the best singer, regardless of emphasis (music education/performance), wins the role."

    Although Bulling is a music educator, the Queen of Night is her first vocal stage role at SFA, and it's been a unique learning experience, she said.

    "I have learned so much about what it takes to put on a production and the outside time commitment that a role requires; it is so much more than 'parking and barking,' as I have thought," Bulling said. "There is so much planning that goes into every rehearsal, and if you come unprepared, it shows! This is something I will take into every choral rehearsal I will have - the need to take the time to go over how you want rehearsal to go and plan every step. I am so honored to get to work with so many friends in one of my favorite operas."

    In the opera, the Queen of the Night persuades Prince Tamino to rescue her daughter, Pamina, from captivity under the high priest, Sarastro. Tamino accepts the quest, but when he learns the high ideals of Sarastro's community, he seeks to join it. Separately, then together, Tamino and Pamina undergo severe trials of initiation, which end in triumph, with the Queen and her cohorts vanquished. The bird catcher, Papageno, who accompanies Tamino on his quest, fails the trials completely but is rewarded anyway with the hand of his "pretty bird," Papagena.

    As a newcomer to the SFA Opera Theatre stage, Ray said that one of the best lessons he is learning is "to know when to ask for help."

    "There are many students who are older and more experienced than me, and I have much to gain from listening to their advice and using it to better myself in my role," Ray said. "Getting to perform with the all of the older students is awesome. Not only are they amazing to watch and sing with, but knowing that I get to perform with them in their final roles gives me even more motivation to make it a great show for them."

    Making sure music and lines are memorized so that blocking goes smoothly is one lesson Garcia has learned in his first opera experience.

    "It's hard to block the scenes with music in our hands," he said. "It's truly and honor and a blessing to be working alongside such talented and amazing people. I always welcome criticism from them because I know it will make me better."

    Quinn said her definition of "busy" has changed over the years, especially when it comes to preparing for an opera production.

    "I think what I have really learned from SFA is that I can do this," she said. "It's hard work, and it's certainly a big commitment, but I've never gone into an opera feeling like I couldn't do it. After six years, I feel like if I can do this, I can do anything. I think that confidence and assuredness is what I will take with me as I go out into the real world. I have been taught well at every level, and I am prepared for whatever may come. That's a blessing that comes with a great faculty, and I have been incredibly lucky to be taught by some of the very best."

    Gaining confidence and being vulnerable are the two biggest lessons Sheriff has learned in her six years at SFA. Before coming to SFA, Sheriff said she had never even seen an opera, and now she is consistently cast in lead roles.

    "I just thought I was coming to college to learn how to sing better choral sounds and conduct," she said. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would pursue a masters in vocal performance and have dreams to perform opera on a professional level."

    Sheriff said she still struggles daily to build confidence in her performances. She says insecurity "comes with the territory."

    "I think that opera at SFA has taught me how to negate my self-doubt with positivity, consistency and vulnerability," she said. "To be completely vulnerable in a rehearsal or on stage takes confidence. You cannot give it your all on stage without allowing the audience to see your soul."

    Performing a variety of operatic roles, from reserved nun to comic relief, has challenged Shaffer to grow as a performer and individual during the past six years.

    "I have learned so much from my colleagues," Shaffer said. "Nothing can compare to seeing their transformations in just a semester, as I see them come alive during these performances."

    She said the lessons she will take from her experiences in SFA Opera Theater are innumerable.

    "As an educator, the most important thing that I have witnessed is a student's ability to thrive with the correct instruction and encouragement," Shaffer said. "Students can always surprise you as they grow up, and I hope to only aid them to become better than they ever expected from themselves, just as these wonderful SFA professors have done for me. I am truly grateful and cannot wait to see the finished product for this year."

    Tickets to "The Magic Flute" are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/ or call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

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  • SFA jazz concert to feature works by East Texas favorite Dotson

    SFA jazz concert to feature works by East Texas favorite Dotson

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    Guest artist Dennis Dotson will join the Stephen F. Austin State University Swingin’ Axes and Swingin’ Aces jazz bands in concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, in W.M. Turner Auditorium.

    April 9, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    A concert by the Swingin' Axes and Swingin' Aces jazz bands at Stephen F. Austin State University will feature tunes by jazz greats Chuck Mangione, Pat Metheny and Maynard Ferguson, along with works by guest artist Dennis Dotson, when the student ensembles perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, in W.M. Turner Auditorium.

    Highlighting the Axes' program are Dotson's "Close to Home" and "Civic Duty," according to Dr. Deb Scott, director of the Swingin' Axes. Dotson, a trumpet player, will perform these tunes and others with the Axes.

    "Dennis grew up in East Texas and is well-respected all over the world for his jazz playing," Scott said. "His mother recently passed away, but she came to many of the Axes' and Aces' concerts over the years."

    A professional trumpeter for more than 50 years, Dotson began his career playing in Houston while attending Sam Houston State University. He has played in house bands in Las Vegas and was a freelance musician in New York City and Houston. He has performed with Woody Herman and Buddy Rich bands as well as the bands of Carl Fontana, Bobby Shew, Tom Harrell and Kenny Wheeler. He is jazz trumpet instructor at The University of Texas at Austin and was formerly on the faculty at Houston Community College and the University of Houston.

    Dotson will also perform with the Axes Metheny's "Always and Forever," Mangione's "Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor" and "Give it One" by Maynard Ferguson and Alan Downey.

    "The Axes will perform 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,' which is a piece we will record this semester for the Sound Recording Technology's School of Music CD," Scott said. "It's a really fun arrangement." John DeBello's tune is arranged by Gordon Goodwin.

    A performance of "My Way" by J. Rebaux and C. Francois, with lyrics by Paul Anka and arrangement by Eric Burger, will feature Barry Martin on vocals.

    The Axes will also perform Jay Chattaway's "Superbone Meets the Badman" and Tom Kubis' "On Purple Porpoise Parkway."

    The Aces, directed by Dr. J.D. Salas, will perform an up tempo version of "The Song Is You" arranged by Mark Taylor, Sammy Nestico's "A Warm Breeze," and John Clayton's "I be serious 'bout dem blues."

    Scott said she is looking forward to returning to Turner Auditorium for this concert.

    "We haven't been there in a long time, so the students are excited about performing in that venue," she added.

    Turner Auditorium is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

    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 Steel Band to perform spring concert

    SFA's Steel Band to perform spring concert

    April 6, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Steel Band at Stephen F. Austin State University will play a number of favorites when the student ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Directed by Dr. Ben Tomlinson, adjunct professor of percussion at SFA, the Steel Band will perform such popular works as "Dus in deh Face," "Conga Line," "Soca Tatie," "Jump in the Line," "Soca Pressure," "Kiss the Girl," "Fiesta Latina," "Yellow Bird" and "Marianne."

    The concert is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music. Cole Concert Hall is located in the Tom and Peggy Wright Music Building, 2210 Alumni Drive.

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

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  • 'The Magic Flute' features beautiful voices, costumes

    'The Magic Flute' features beautiful voices, costumes

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    April 5, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The voices and costumes of SFA Opera Theater's production of "The Magic Flute" are equally stunning, and audiences won't want to miss either when the schools of Music and Theatre present the classic opera at 7:30 nightly Thursday through Saturday, April 12 through 14, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus. Magnolia senior Brittnee Simone as Papagena reveals her true youth and beauty to San Antonio sophomore Greg Garcia as Papageno in W.A. Mozart's fairy tale for all ages. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407.

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  • Percussionist Herring to perform with SFA student ensemble

    Percussionist Herring to perform with SFA student ensemble

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    Dr. Scott Herring, international performer and master pedagogue, will perform with the Stephen F. Austin State University Percussion Ensemble in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 16, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    April 5, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Percussion Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will welcome international performer and master pedagogue Dr. Scott Herring when he performs with students in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 16, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    "We are extremely excited and fortunate to have Dr. Herring, who has trained some of the finest percussion performers and music educators in the country, perform and give several clinics at SFA," according to Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies for the SFA School of Music.

    Herring, professor of percussion at the University of South Carolina, will be the marimba soloist on Michael Burritt's "Shadow Chasers."

    Of the work, Burritt wrote: "In his writing, the English author C.S. Lewis referred to our time on earth as the 'Shadow Lands.' Many implications can be drawn from this metaphor. I have always considered myself, and most people, to be someone who chases after the things of the Shadow Lands (a "Shadow Chaser") rather than those of a higher calling. I, too, often look for rewards here instead of in my relationship with God. This is a battle I will constantly fight."

    Herring frequently appears as a guest artist with university percussion ensembles across the U.S. He has performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and was a member of the Northwestern University Graduate Percussion Quartet, which performed in Germany and London. Herring also performs with USC saxophone professor Clifford Leaman as the RoseWind Duo. They have given numerous performances and clinics at universities across the country and have been invited to perform at many professional conferences. The duo has performed in France, Spain, Scotland and China. He is also member of the Shiraz Percussion Trio.

    The program also includes performances of "Ogoun Badagris" by Christopher Rouse; "Furious Angels" by Jeffrey Peyton; "Vespertine Formations" by Christopher Deane; and "Identity Crisis" by Michael Aukofer.

    "Ogoun Badagris" derives its inspiration from Haitian drumming patterns, particularly those of the Juba Dance, according to Rouse.

    "Furious Angels" is a "scherzo diabolique" for seven percussionists, the composer explains. The work explores the many permutations of the scherzo, particularly the momentum and rhythmic energy inherent in 6/8 time.

    Deane explains that "Vespertine Formations" was inspired by the chance observation of flock maneuvers performed by a huge number of birds over the University of North Texas campus on an October evening in 2001.

    "The wing motions of so many birds suggested the texture of constant 16th notes. As the brilliant orange sunset diminished to dusk, the birds settled into trees around campus. The fantastic choreography created by this flock of birds and the natural chronology of events guided the structure and form of this piece," Deane wrote.

    The concert is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music. Cole Concert Hall is located in the Tom and Peggy Wright Music Building, 2210 Alumni Drive.

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

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  • SFA Wind Ensemble to perform works of composers Mackey, Schwantner

    SFA Wind Ensemble to perform works of composers Mackey, Schwantner

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    The SFA Wind Ensemble will present “Eventide,” a program featuring works with a nighttime theme, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the university campus.

    April 5, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Works by composers John Mackey and Joseph Schwantner will be featured when the Wind Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University presents the program "Eventide" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    "The pieces on this concert share a nighttime theme," said Fred J. Allen, director of bands at SFA.

    The featured work is Mackey's "The Night Garden."

    "The Wind Ensemble has played quite a few compositions by American composer John Mackey," Allen said. "His pieces contain remarkable color in the orchestration."

    Also featured will be Schwantner's "In Evening's Stillness," which will be conducted by Dr. David Campo, associate director of bands.

    "This is the final piece in a trilogy of pieces Dr. Campo has conducted with the Wind Ensemble in the past few years," Allen said. "He previously led the band in performances of ' … and the mountains rising nowhere' and 'From a Dark Millennium,' the first two pieces in this set."

    The band will also perform pieces by Andrew Boss and Steve Danyew, both of whom are emerging American composers.

    The concert is a joint presentation of the College of Fine Arts and School of Music. Turner Auditorium is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive.

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

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  • SFA's children's series presents 'The Ugly Duckling'

    SFA's children's series presents 'The Ugly Duckling'

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    Two performances of “The Ugly Duckling” on Friday, April 27, will bring an exciting and educational conclusion to this year's Children's Performing Art Series at SFA.

    April 3, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Children's Performing Arts Series at Stephen F. Austin State University will celebrate a classic tale of friendship and self-confidence when Virginia Repertory Theatre presents "The Ugly Duckling" in two performances on Friday, April 27, on the SFA campus.

    Most children know the literary fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen of the swan who grows up "ugly" in a family of ducks, later to find his appearance changing as he discovers his true identity.

    "Virginia Rep unites the classic ugly duckling with other animal 'misfit' heroes from the folk traditions of other cultures who work together to earn their home on the King's estate and find the self-confidence that only friendship and accomplishment can provide," said Diane Peterson, Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of the children's series.

    This production of "The Ugly Duckling" is a musical written by Richard Giersch, based on Andersen's classic fable.

    "Join the Children's Performing Arts Series for this all singing, all dancing, all delightful musical," Peterson added.

    This production targets children in kindergarten through fifth grade. An online study guide at cpas.sfasu.edu assists teachers in incorporating classroom activities, including having students write their own fairy tales, into their curriculums. Other core instructional activities focus on elements of history, science and social sciences.

    Performances are at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in W.M. Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building. Tickets are $7.50 for individuals and $6 per person for groups of 20 or more.

    To order tickets, call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. Visit the CPAS website at http://www.cpas.sfasu.edu/ for additional information.

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  • SFA's Music Prep announces spring recital schedule

    SFA's Music Prep announces spring recital schedule

    April 3, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Music Preparatory Division in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will begin its spring recital schedule with a performance of The Celtic Harp Band at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 8, in Cole Concert Hall.

    The band features harp students of Emily Mitchell, harp instructor and SFA artist-in-residence. Cole Concert Hall is located in the Tom and Peggy Wright Music Building on the SFA campus.

    Piano students of Linda Parr will perform at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at First United Methodist Church, 201 E. Hospital St.

    Piano students of SFA music major instructors and students of Dr. Mario Ajero will perform at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5, in the Music Recital Hall in the Wright Music Building.

    The Piney Woods Youth Orchestra, directed by Dr. Evgeni Raychev, will perform at 7 p.m. Monday, May 7, in Cole Concert Hall.

    Violin students of Dr. Jennifer Dalmas and cello students of Raychev will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10, in the Music Recital Hall.

    The SFA Young Violinists, featuring students of Brenda Josephsen, will perform at 6 p.m. Friday, May 11, in the Music Recital Hall.

    On Saturday, May 12, piano students of Theresa Moon will perform at 2:30 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall, followed by a performance of "May Madness," a unique recital by Linda Parr's piano students demonstrating "having fun with families, friends and guests" through music, at 4 p.m. in Cole Concert Hall.

    The final spring recital will feature the piano students of Mary Cooper performing at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 13, in Cole Concert Hall.

    All recitals are free and open to the public.

    For a complete listing of classes and types of instruction available through the Music Preparatory Division, visit http://www.music.sfasu.edu/prep or contact Director Pat Barnett at (936) 468-1291.

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  • SFA festival to feature new works by playwrights Heifner, O'Neal, Swindley

    SFA festival to feature new works by playwrights Heifner, O'Neal, Swindley

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    Jack Heifner, S. Denise O'Neal and Ted Swindley

    April 3, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    East Texans can be among the first to hear the newest works by three acclaimed playwrights during the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre's 2018 Festival of New American Plays scheduled for Tuesday through Saturday, April 24 through 28, on the SFA campus.

    This biennial event showcases the work of some of the best playwrights in the nation in a five-day festival during which each selected play is presented twice in staged readings by SFA theatre students, according to Jack Heifner, SFA School of Theatre's playwright-in-residence, director of the festival and one of the featured authors.

    "Since 1998, we have brought playwrights to our campus to see their new works," Heifner said. "It's a wonderful opportunity for our audiences to view 'theatre in the making' and for students to work with professional playwrights."

    This year's festival features "Hot Flashes," which is Heifner's adaptation of the best selling novel by the same name by Barbara Raskin, along with "Sorry, Not Sorry" by S. Denise O'Neal and "… And the Pursuit of Happiness 1994" by Ted Swindley.

    "New plays are the life force of the American theatre, and we are fortunate that our students get to work on plays written by extremely talented professional artists," said Cleo House Jr., director of the SFA School of Theatre. "The School of Theatre is deeply enriched by having Playwright-in-Residence Jack Heifner on faculty each spring semester. He biennially coordinates the Festival of New American Plays, which is a point of pride for the School of Theatre. This event also further illustrates the kind of opportunities we create for our students that helps to bridge the gap between education and the professional world."

    Written in 1987, Raskin's "Hot Flashes" was on the New York Times Best Seller list for 20 weeks.

    "A producer approached me in 2013 to adapt the book for the stage," Heifner said. "After I spent a lot of work on the project, the producer died, and I was left with a play without the rights and without being paid. But I wanted to, at the very least, hear the adaptation read.

    "Last year, I approached the Raskin estate, and the family was wonderful about giving us the rights to do these readings in the festival," he said. "I am a great admirer of Ms. Raskin's work. The play examines women's friendships and the secrets we sometimes keep from those who think they know us best."

    A celebrated novelist, Raskin also wrote "The National Anthem," an unflattering look at Washington during the Watergate investigations, "Loose Ends" and "Out of Order." She sold her first short story when she was 12 to Seventeen magazine. She graduated from high school at 16 and from the University of Minnesota two-and-a-half years later. While she was working on her master's degree in English from the University of Chicago, she worked part time as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines. She finished her first novel when she was 21 and moved to Washington. She taught at Georgetown University in Washington, wrote Senate speeches and diversified into journalism. Barbara Raskin died in 1999 at the age of 63.

    In "Sorry, Not Sorry," O'Neal has written six one-act plays, which are "urban, funny and touching," Heifner said. "It will provide an interesting evening to watch actors play a variety of roles," he added.

    Swindley's play "… And the Pursuit of Happiness 1994" is a comedy about a football player who decides to become a debutante.

    "The play throws many of our ideas and prejudices up into the air as it explores gender roles, bigotry and talk show television," Heifner said.

    The festival opens with Heifner's "Hot Flashes," which will be read at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, April 24 and 27. O'Neal's "Sorry, Not Sorry" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28. Swindley's "… And the Pursuit of Happiness 1994" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, April 26 and 28.

    Heifner is the author of more than 30 plays and musicals produced in New York, Los Angeles and theaters around the world. He is best known for the play version of "Vanities," which ran for five years in New York and became one of the longest-running plays in Off-Broadway history. His musicals include "Leader of the Pack" on Broadway and "Vanities - A New Musical" in New York and London. He has also worked in television and film.

    Heifner has been playwright-in-residence at SFA since 1997. Each spring, he teaches playwriting and screenwriting and has directed many SFA shows. He founded The Festival of New American Plays in 1998, and over the years, the school has presented the new works of Beth Henley, James McLure, Carol Hall, David Ives, Tina Howe, Constance Congdon, John Cariani, Getchen Cryer, William M. Hoffman and many others. Heifner is a member of The Dramatists Guild, The Writers' Guild of America and Actors Equity Association, and he has been inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters and The Texas Playwriting Hall of Fame.

    Named a recipient of the Mary McCloud Bethune Award (National Council of Negro Women, 2015) and one of the "100 Creatives" of 2014 by the Houston Press, O'Neal has been a writer, director and producer for more than 20 years and has most recently become a published playwright. She is the executive director of Shabach Enterprise, a nonprofit theater company based in Houston, and the owner of Watch My Groove Enterprises LLC. Her most recent critically acclaimed productions include "Ms. Lily's Groove," "Just A Few Feet Away," "Bagel Anyone," "Fly In The Windshield" (which was Broadway World's Editor's Pick for Best New Play of 2013) and "In One Breath."

    In 2013, O'Neal founded the national play festival Fade To Black, which celebrates the new works of black playwrights. In 2014, she served as the assistant director for the Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Lynn Nottage's "Ruined" in its Houston regional premiere. She directed the production of "Intimate Apparel," also written by Nottage, in 2015. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild and a former board member of Scriptwriters/Houston, and she is active in the Houston theatre community.

    Swindley is internationally known as writer and director of the popular musical "Always…Patsy Cline." He is the founding artistic director of Stages Rep in Houston. He was also named to the Esquire Magazine's register of outstanding Americans in Arts and Letters. Swindley was the recipient of the Los Angeles Dramalogue Award for outstanding direction of "Carnal Knowledge" by Jules Feiffer. He is president of Ted Swindley Productions Inc., a theatrical licensing and consulting company, and continues his 40-year career writing plays and musicals, consulting and mentoring playwrights, as well as directing plays and musicals for theaters throughout the U.S. and abroad. For more information, go to http://www.tedswindleyproductions.com.

    All festival performances will be in the Downstage Theatre of the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive. For more information, visit theatre.sfasu.edu.

    The festival is part of the SFA School of Theatre's Mainstage Series. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students and youth. For tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/.

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  • College of Fine Arts to participate in King commemorative bell ringing

    College of Fine Arts to participate in King commemorative bell ringing

    April 2, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The College of Fine Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University will join the National Civil Rights Museum's MLK50 initiative Wednesday, April 4, by tolling the bells in Griffith Fine Arts Building in observance of the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    While many will be in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4 to attend events commemorating the contributions King made during his 39 years before his assassination at the Lorriane Motel in Memphis on the evening of April 4, 1968, other observances will take place across the nation. One of those is a unified tolling of bells at universities that have chapels or bell towers.

    King was assassinated at 6:01 p.m. Central Standard Time. Since the news rippled across the country, the bells will first ring at the National Civil Rights Museum at 6:01 p.m. CST. Bells will chime in the City of Memphis at 6:03 p.m. CST, at 6:05 p.m. CST nationally and 6:07 p.m. CST internationally.

    At 6:05 p.m. Wednesday, the bells in Griffith Fine Arts Building will toll 39 times to mark the years King was alive.

    "This is a simple, yet sincere way for us to acknowledge the loss of Dr. King, but more importantly, to recognize the significant contributions he made around the world," said Dr. A.C. "Buddy" Himes, dean of the SFA College of Fine Arts.

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