College of Fine Arts News Archive

September 2018

  • Prize-winning artist Birmingham to perform concert at SFA

    Prize-winning artist Birmingham to perform concert at SFA

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    From top to bottom: Dr. Danny Chapa, Hyun Ji Oh and Blake Birmingham

    September 28, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    "Young Talent" is the program theme when guest artist Blake Birmingham performs a euphonium recital at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, in Cole Concert Hall on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

    Featuring Birmingham performing pieces from the 2018 and 2019 Leonard Falcone Euphonium and Tuba Competition, the program will also showcase the talents of Hyun Ji Oh, piano accompanist at SFA, and Dr. Danny Chapa, low brass faculty in the School of Music.

    Birmingham is the winner of the 2018 Leonard Falcone Euphonium and Tuba Festival Solo Artist Division.

    "We are beyond excited to have Blake Birmingham perform a guest artist recital for our low brass studio this semester," Chapa said. "He recently won first place in the Solo Artist Division of the 2018 Leonard Falcone Euphonium and Tuba Festival, which is one of our most prestigious competitions named after one of the most influential figures in the euphonium world."

    The program selection "Frevo Para 8 Baixos by Arlindo dos 8 Baixos," arrangement by Caio César, will feature both Birmingham and Chapa on euphonium.

    "Mr. Birmingham programmed this piece after listening to an album by Fernando Deddos, a well-established Brazilian euphonium player," Chapa said. "Caio César's arrangement of 'Frevo Para 8 Baixos' is a light-hearted piece that highlights the virtuosic capabilities of the euphonium, as it was originally for accordion."

    Birmingham will perform Barbara York's "Prophesies," which is the piece to be used in the preliminary round of the 2019 Leonard Falcone Euphonium and Tuba Festival.

    "Who better to perform it than the recent winner of the competition?" Chapa said.

    The program also includes selections from "7 Popular Spanish Songs" by Manuel de Falla, arrangement by Thomas Ruedi.

    Birmingham is a freelance euphoniumist, trombonist, low brass educator and composer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. A graduate of the University of North Texas, Birmingham has performed with The University of North Texas Wind Symphony, The Lone Star Wind Orchestra, The University of North Texas Symphonic Band, The University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra and The Starlight Band. He has also recorded exclusively with The University of North Texas Wind Symphony, Lone Star Wind Orchestra and University of North Texas Symphonic Band.

    As an educator, Birmingham has taught low brass in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. As a soloist, Birmingham has performed throughout the United States, and also in France. He has appeared as a soloist with the Broken Arrow Wind Ensemble, the Tulsa Community College Concert Band, the Tulsa Community College Community Band, the Timber Creek High School Wind Symphony and the Blue Lake Festival Band. He has won numerous euphonium competitions and is a Besson performing artist.

    The concert is a joint presentation of the College of Fine Arts and School of Music. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/.

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  • SFA Wind Ensemble to present 'The Music of Viet Cuong'

    SFA Wind Ensemble to present 'The Music of Viet Cuong'

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    Composer Viet Cuong

    September 28, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University Wind Ensemble will perform its first concert of the semester when the student ensemble presents "The Music of Viet Cuong" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    Described as "alluring" and "wildly inventive" by The New York Times, composer Cuong's music has been performed on six continents, according to Dr. David Campo, director of SFA bands and the Wind Ensemble. Cuong is a visiting composer in the SFA School of Music.

    So Percussion, Alarm Will Sound, Sandbox Percussion, the PRISM Quartet, JACK Quartet, Gregory Oakes, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony and Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, among others, have performed his works.

    His music has been featured in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Aspen Music Festival, New Music Gathering, Boston GuitarFest, International Double Reed Society Conference, U.S. Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium and on American Public Radio's "Performance Today."

    "He also enjoys composing for the wind ensemble medium, and his works for winds have amassed more than 100 performances by conservatory and university ensembles worldwide," Campo said.

    The Wind Ensemble will perform Cuong's "Moth" and "Sound and Smoke."

    "Moth" was composed in 2013 and is a study in contrasts. Of the piece, Cuong says, "The moth to the flame narrative is a familiar one. We have all seen moths in the glow of flames or stadium lights. Scientists call this phenomenon "phototaxis," but I prefer to think of this attraction in much more romantic terms. 'Moth' seeks inspiration from the dualities between light and dark, beautiful and grotesque, reality and fantasy, and the ultimate decision to sacrifice sensibility for grace."

    Both the title and concept of "Sound and Smoke" were derived from a line from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's play 'Faust,' when Faust equates words to "mere sound and smoke" and declares that "feeling is everything," according to Cuong.

    "Each of the two movements has been given an abstract, parenthetical title to further incorporate Goethe's conjecture that words will never be able to fully express what feelings and, in this case, music can," he states of the work. "Therefore, these titles serve merely as starting points for personal interpretation and should not interfere with the music itself."

    The program also features Kevin Puts' "Millennium Canons," which was originally written for orchestra and transcribed for band by Mark Spede. "Millennium Canons" was commissioned by the Institute for American Music of the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester and was premiered by the Boston Pops Orchestra in June 2001 at Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.

    Closing the concert will be Charles Ives' "Country Band March." Composed in 1903, the work is a parody of the realities of performance by a country band, from the "out of tune" introduction to the pandemonium, which reigns at the close.

    "While the main march theme is probably of Ives' own creation," Campo said, "the march features an impressive list of quotations that includes 'Arkansas Traveler,' 'Battle Cry of Freedom,' 'British Grenadiers,' 'The Girl I Left Behind Me,' 'London Bridge,' 'Yankee Doodle' and 'Semper Fidelis,' to name a few."

    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 University Series presents dynamic new string ensemble Sybarite5

    SFA's University Series presents dynamic new string ensemble Sybarite5

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    The SYBARITE5 string quintet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus as part of the College of Fine Arts’ University Series.

    September 27, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The commanding performance style of SYBARITE5 string quintet comes to W.M. Turner Auditorium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus when the group performs in the College of Fine Arts' University Series.

    Known for its startlingly eclectic repertoire - from Piazzolla to Brubeck to Radiohead - SYBARITE5 comes to SFA Thursday, Oct. 18, for a 7:30 p.m. performance. The group is turning heads throughout the music world, according to Scott Shattuck, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and director of the series.

    "This is a sensationally exciting string ensemble," Shattuck said. "They've promised to play some classics for us, but you just can't hold them back from the tango, jazz, pop, art-rock and other contemporary music that they love."

    "Their rock star status...is well deserved," the Sarasota Herald Tribune stated about SYBARITE5. "Their classically honed technique mixed with grit and all out passionate attack transfixes the audience."

    Dubbed the "Millennial Kronos," SYBARITE5's debut album, "Disturb the Silence," quickly reached the top 10 on the Billboard charts. The group's follow-up album, "Everything in its Right Place," was released at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim. SYBARITE5 recently released its latest album, "Outliers," featuring all new works from American composers. It rapidly rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Classical chart.

    SYBARITE5 is the first group of its kind to win the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Comprised of Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violins; Angela Pickett, viola; Laura Metcalf, cello; and Louis Levitt, bass, the ensemble has taken audiences by storm all across the U.S., forever changing the perception of chamber music performance, Shattuck said.

    "Lovers of classical music will be thrilled, no doubt, but so will fans of other musical styles," Shattuck continued. "They're fierce, they're fun, they're hypnotic. I've simply never heard anything like them."

    Highlights of recent seasons have included performances in 43 states and counting, from the Library of Congress to Anchorage Concert Association, as well as concerts in SYBARITE5's home of New York City at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Apple Store and the 92nd Street Y. In addition to its own groundbreaking, portable music festival, Forward Festival, SYBARITE5 has appeared at Ravinia, Caramoor Center for the Arts, Wolf Trap Opera, Grand Teton Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Chautauqua Music Festival, Look and Listen Festival and many others. International appearances include Canada's Tuckamore Music Festival, the New Docta International Music Festival in Cordoba, Argentina, and the Osaka Festa in Japan.

    The SFA performance is sponsored in part by Cataract, Glaucoma, Cornea & Retina Consultants of East Texas/Benchmark Optical/Medical Arts Surgery Center.

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

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

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  • Behind the scenes of 'Sweat': Faculty, students commit long hours toward play's success

    Behind the scenes of 'Sweat': Faculty, students commit long hours toward play's success

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    Cleo House Jr., center, director of the SFA School of Theatre, works with Manvel senior Edwin “EJ” Villanueva, left, and Webster senior Tyler Canada, right, as they rehearse a scene from the School of Theatre's upcoming play, “Sweat” by Lynn Nottage, while Copperas Cove senior Sarah Wiseman looks on.

    September 25, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Working late night and weekend hours is predictable for theatre students for several weeks weeks leading up to presenting a play.

    But the tiring work is also rewarding for students in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre, especially when presenting a play like Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage's "Sweat."

    "A production like 'Sweat' rehearses for five days a week for three and a half hours a night, plus one weekend day for five hours, for about three and a half to four weeks before going to into tech and opening," explained Cleo House Jr., director of the School of theatre and the play's director. "This is the time commitment made by student actors, directors and stage managers."

    Nottage's "Sweat" won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play opens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, for a five-night run at SFA in what will be the play's Texas premiere. It's the story of working-class Pennsylvanians whose livelihoods are threatened by the sudden disappearance of long-held manufacturing jobs. Their story plays out in a local bar.

    From building scenery to designing the lighting, costumes and props for the play, students have a hands-on approach to every job behind the scenes, House said.

    "We have student light, projection, costume and props designers on this show," House said. "The time commitment varies for each, but the amount of collaboration and detail that goes into making believable and artistically viable choices is quite painstaking. Our students work closely with faculty advisers to make sure they stay on track."

    For Ernesto Dominguez, senior theatre student from Del Rio, research began last summer for designing costumes for "Sweat." Dominguez researched images of industrial steel workers wearing dark colors and learned about the area and time in which the play takes place in order to reflect the characters through their costumes. While the goal is to be finished with costumes by the first dress rehearsal, there are adjustments that are made up to opening night.

    "We look at how the actors are moving - are they bending down, are they on the ground wrestling - to try and give them something that doesn't restrict movement, especially to prevent tears or any wardrobe malfunctions," he said.

    Dominguez believes that authentically designed costumes help to define characters.

    "They give an audience a better understanding of who the characters are," he said. "Sometimes audiences aren't even aware that a costume may give them an impression about a character."

    When describing what happens behind the scenes of a theatre production, Richmond senior Daniel Hicks says, "it takes a village to put on a production." As Stan, the bartender in "Sweat," Hicks said knowledge of "bar culture" was important for his character development. Just the logistics alone can be overwhelming. But properly executing those can make the difference between an authentic "bar scene" that is believable and one that misses the mark.

    "You have to keep track of where glasses are and who is drinking what," he said. "You have to make sure you have the props you need to do bar business, like restocking nuts."

    Those are the little details. More important to him is the character work that goes behind becoming "a 51-year-old limping bartender in Reading, Pennsylvania."

    "The research alone takes a long time, and if you stop at any point, just because you think you are there, you've lost the battle," he said. "It's an art of dedication."

    Being a bartender himself, Hick found using bar etiquette an easy adaptation. But he also worked on his accent and the limp his character has. "Learning where the limp stems from and how my body should compensate for it has been a challenge," he said.

    Co-lighting designer Mia Lindemann, a senior theatre student from Prosper, said lighting provides a subtle way of helping to tell the play's story.

    "A saying I've heard is that people don't notice lighting or sound or anything tech-wise in a play unless it's bad," she said. "If the lighting is good, you're not going to question it; it happens seamlessly with the story and it helps reveal things about the characters. It's more of a feeling that is created with lighting and less of a noticeable thing."

    Lindemann researched bar images looking for a "homey, amber-lit bar with a feeling of camaraderie," for the early bar scenes. "We were going for a more blue-collar, working-class bar," she said.

    The play takes place in separate timeframes - in 2000 and in 2008. As such, the bar has a more homey feel in 2000, whereas in 2008, the bar scene gets a "cooler, more updated look," Lindemann said. "It becomes more modern and gets a little colder feeling, because it has changed; it's new, and it's a little more high-class than what it used to be."

    The positioning and movement of the characters on stage to tell the play's story and achieve the desired dramatic effect can be a meticulous process, especially when scenes that involve fighting or fast-paced movement come into play.

    "In rehearsal, I initially try to listen to what the script is telling me as it relates to blocking and staging," House said. "There's a certain rhythm to the script, and I'm trying to set the actors up in such a way that their impulses and my concept can merge.

    "Our play also has an intense fight scene," he added. "This requires significant work with our fight choreographer, Dr. Slade Billew. This is an interesting collaboration between myself, the actors and Billew, because while he's creating this event, it must still exist within the rules and storyline that we've established up to that point, in addition to being safe and repeatable for the actors."

    Change and adaptation on stage and behind the scenes are constants in live theatre, according to House.

    "Each actor brings a different level of experience, so as a director, you must navigate that," House said. "Not everyone has the same needs or works in the same way. It's a constant dance - give and take - that ultimately becomes a collaboration toward a singular directorial vision."

    "Sweat" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 2 through 6, in W.M. Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive, on the SFA campus. Because of its themes, "Sweat" is recommended for age 13 and up.

    Single tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for youth. Tickets for SFA students are $5. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.theatre.sfasu.edu/.

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  • SFA screening: 'Cuba and the Cameraman' shows country's journey since 1970s

    SFA screening: 'Cuba and the Cameraman' shows country's journey since 1970s

    September 25, 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 screening of the documentary "Cuba and the Cameraman" at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    The film, written and directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Jon Alpert, depicts life in Cuba through Alpert's lens for three struggling families over the course of 45 years. The journey takes viewers from the cautious optimism of the early 1970s to the harrowing 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2016 death of Fidel Castro, according to https://www.imdb.com.

    A reviewer for The Hollywood Reporter said "Cuba and the Cameraman" is "a warm and engaging primer on a complex and controversial subject." A columnist for the Houston Press wrote, "even under restrictions, he (Alpert) always finds something fascinating to show."

    The film is a Netflix Original and was first shown at the 74th Venice International Film Festival. It runs 113 minutes.

    This screening is part of the School of Art's monthly Friday Film Series and is sponsored in part by William Arscott, Nacogdoches Film Festival, Karon Gillespie, Mike Mollot, David Kulhavy, John and Kristen Heath, Galleria Z, Jill Carrington, Jean Stephens, Jim and Mary Neal, 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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  • Hristov, Hu to present violin, piano guest recital at SFA

    Hristov, Hu to present violin, piano guest recital at SFA

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    Miraslov Hristov and Chih-Long Hu

    September 25, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Guest artists Miraslov Hristov and Chih-Long Hu will present a violin and piano recital at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, in Cole Concert Hall at Stephen F. Austin State University.

    The performance is part of the SFA Friends of Music Concert Series and will showcase some of the great standard chamber works for violin and piano, including pieces from the Classical, Romantic, and 20th century periods, according to Jennifer Dalmas, associate professor of violin and viola in the SFA School of Music.

    The program includes Ludwig van Beethoven's Sonata for Piano and Violin, Op. 12, No. 1, which is the first sonata Beethoven wrote for violin, shortly after he arrived in Vienna, according to Dalmas.

    "Although this sonata adheres to the Classical style, Beethoven strives to give the instruments a more equal partnership than seen in other classical sonatas, and there is a dramatic intensity that foreshadows his later works," she explained.

    Cesar Franck's Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano is one of the most beloved of the genre and was composed as a wedding present for the great violinist Eugene Ysaye, Dalmas said.

    Maurice Ravel's fiery 'Tzigane' ("Gypsy") will end the program. "Originally written for violin and piano, this piece features virtuosic displays from both performers, and will be an exciting conclusion to an exciting program," Dalmas said.

    As associate professor of violin at the University of Tennessee School of Music, Hristov is founder and co-director of the University of Tennessee School of Music's Annual Violin Festival. He presents master classes and performs extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America. Recent teaching awards include the 2014 Tennessee Music Teachers Association Teacher of the Year, the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts Outstanding Teacher Award, and the University of Tennessee School of Music's Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award.

    Hu performs extensively in Asia, Europe and America appearing as a concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Named "Teacher of the Year" by the Tennessee Music Teachers Association, Hu is frequently invited to give lectures and master classes, as well as to judge international and national competitions. Hu is the artistic director of St. Andrews Piano Academy and Festival International (New Brunswick), as well as the New York International Piano Festival. Hu is Sandra G. Powell Endowed Professor of Piano at the University of Tennessee.

    Hristov will present a violin master class at 2 p.m. that day in the Music Recital Hall. Hu will present a piano master class at 2 p.m. in Cole Concert Hall. These are open to the public. Both venues are located in the Tom and Peggy Wright Music Building, 2210 Alumni Drive.

    Concert 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 College of Fine Arts' Dean's Circle celebrates 10 years

    SFA College of Fine Arts' Dean's Circle celebrates 10 years

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    Left to right: Clara Boyett, Amy Bennett and Shaun Roberts

    September 21, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Dean's Circle at Stephen F. Austin State University is celebrating a milestone this year, marking a decade of recognizing the accomplishments of students within the SFA College of Fine Arts.

    Established by Dr. A.C. "Buddy" Himes when he arrived at SFA as dean of the College of Fine Arts, the Dean's Circle is 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," according to Himes.

    The Dean's Awards not only recognize the recipients for what they have already accomplished, but the awards are also designed to inspire students to reach deep from within to aspire to a higher level of excellence, Himes explained. Monetary awards are presented to recipients to help them further their educational and professional pursuits within the fine arts.

    "Obviously, a $3,000 cash award is a huge benefit for any student to receive," Himes said. "But the real value is the affirmation that the recipient and his (or her) classmates sense. When art, music or theatre majors wonder what it takes to be successful in their respective discipline, they need only look to the Dean's Award recipient in their school as a role model."

    Former Dean's Award recipients continue to find successes in reaching their higher education goals and in establishing careers.

    Shaun Roberts, recipient of the first Dean's Award in Art presented in 2009, is now an assistant professor of art in the SFA School of Art where he is also area coordinator for painting. After graduating from SFA, he went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington in 2012, after which he was among only 50 students nationally awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant. Roberts' work has been in many juried, group and solo exhibitions across the nation, including exhibitions in the Art Museum of South East Texas in Baytown; First Street Gallery in New York City; the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta, Georgia; and the University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art in Hattisburg, among others.

    Amy Bennett, recipient of the first Dean's Award in Music in 2009, is in her ninth year in education as a band director in Lamar Consolidated ISD. Her bands have received multiple consecutive sweepstakes awards at the annual UIL Concert and Sight-reading Contest. She enjoys serving as a clinician and adjudicator as well as participating as a speaker and performer in education conferences throughout Texas. In 2014, Bennett completed her Master of Education in administration and supervision from the University of Houston-Victoria. She travels internationally with the music ambassador organization Star of Texas, continues to perform professionally around the Houston area and serves as an oboe instructor with Bocal Majority and SFA Band Camps.

    Clara Boyett, recipient of the Dean's Award in Music in 2014, is pursuing a D.M.A. in piano performance and pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma. She is an active teacher, with current positions including graduate teaching assistant at OU, adjunct piano instructor at Randall University, and piano instructor at Imagine Music and Arts. She previously held a graduate teaching assistantship at Baylor University and co-founded/directed the Austin Avenue Piano Lab, a group piano outreach program for musically underserved children in Waco.

    "These students represent only three examples of the many success stories that have come out of the work of the Dean's Circle over the last 10 years," Himes said. "These students, and their classmates, contribute so much through the College of Fine Arts to the quality of life in Nacogdoches. I hope the community will, in turn, help perpetuate the good work of the Dean's Circle by joining us for our 10th anniversary celebration."

    Student awards presented each spring are the Ed and Gwen Cole Dean's Award in Art, the Naioma Shannon Dean's Award in Music, the Dr. Robert Sidnell Dean's Award in Music Education, and the George and Peggy Schmidbauer Dean's Award in Theatre.

    Additionally, in 2014, the Dean's Circle completed the College of Fine Arts' first-ever endowed professorship, currently held by Dr. Charles Gavin in the School of Music.

    "While other colleges at SFA have endowed professorships, the Dean's Circle endowment is not only the first for the College of Fine Arts, it is also the first ever for any SFA college resulting from the efforts of an external support advisory board of dedicated community volunteers," Himes said.

    Dean's Circle members raise additional award monies each fall through the annual Winner's Circle. The Winner's Circle, which will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Dean's Circle, is at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Red House Winery, 108 E. Pilar St. in downtown Nacogdoches. For more information about the event or about joining the Dean's Circle, contact Himes at (936) 468-2801 or at himesac@sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA's Guenther, Petti to perform 'Poems and Dragons' program

    SFA's Guenther, Petti to perform 'Poems and Dragons' program

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    SFA music faculty members Christina Guenther and Ron Petti will present the recital “Poems and Dragons” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus as a feature of the Friends of Music Concert Series.

    September 20, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Christina Guenther and Ron Petti, faculty members in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music, will present the recital "Poems and Dragons" at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus as a feature of the SFA Friends of Music Concert Series.

    Guenther, professor of flute, and Petti, professor and director of accompanying at SFA, will present a program of music by Charles Griffes, Jennifer Higdon, Eric Ewazen and Howard Buss - all American composers.

    Griffes' "Poem," composed in 1918, is a one-movement flute concerto (to be accompanied by piano) that suggests Claude Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" as a reference point, according to Guenther. The initial ascending rumble (in the piano) sets the scene for the flute and generates most of the piece's melodic material, according to notes about the piece by Matthew Mugmon.

    Flutist Jan Vinci co-commissioned Higdon's "Flute Poetic" with Pola Baytelman, her colleague and Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Skidmore College, in celebration of Skidmore's new Arthur Zankel Music Center. In the throws of composing her first opera, Higdon, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, agreed to write an original first movement and an arrangement of two movements from her "String Poetic" for violin and piano, according to program notes. The work is a technical masterpiece requiring virtuosity of both players.

    Pianist-composer Ewazen wrote "Sonata No. 1 for Flute and Piano" as a gift for flutist Marya Martin, with whom he had collaborated over the years in premieres, performances and recordings. He designed the three movements in the tradition of the late 19th century instrumental sonatas. The work was premiered at the 2011 National Flute Association Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and features beautiful melodic lines as well as rhythmic drive.

    Concluding the program, "Dragon Flight" by Buss is described as "a colorful and engaging work that evokes a fantasy world in which a dragon awakens and takes flight." The audience will hear a dragon hissing and growling and the sound of soaring flight in the flute part, accompanied by a rhythmic and energetic ostinato in the piano, Guenther writes in the program notes.

    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's Orchestra of the Pines presents season opening concert

    SFA's Orchestra of the Pines presents season opening concert

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    Pierre-Alain Chevalier, left, and Casey Stringer

    September 19, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Orchestra of the Pines at Stephen F. Austin State University will present its season opening concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    Pierre-Alain Chevalier will debut as the orchestra's new music director, and he has selected a program that features works by Richard Wagner, Edward Gregson and Ludwig van Beethoven.

    Casey Stringer, one of last year's winners in SFA School of Music's concerto competition, will perform as tuba soloist on Gregson's Concerto for tuba and orchestra (1976). Stringer is a sophomore music education major at SFA. He participates in various ensembles, such as the SFA tuba-euphonium ensemble, the Wind Ensemble and the Orchestra of the Pines. Stringer was most recently named one of the winners of the Clara Freshour Nelson Scholarship, which is awarded each year to only seven students across the state of Texas.

    Other featured concert selections are Wagner's Prelude to "Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg" (1867) and Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 36 (1802).

    Chevalier has performed with orchestras across the country and was a winner of the International Conductors Workshop and Competition in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2016.

    He is music director of the Baytown Symphony Orchestra. An active orchestra clinician, he has served the communities of Baytown and Houston in the Goose Creek Memorial, Cypress-Fairbanks, Spring, Klein, Katy and Houston independent school districts.

    In concert, Chevalier has conducted the Symphony of Southeast Texas, Coeur D'Alene Symphony (Idaho), Rainier Symphony (Washington), the Gwinnett Symphony Chamber Orchestra (Georgia), the Bayou City Symphony (Texas), the Rose City Chamber Orchestra (Oregon), the Hartt Symphony Orchestra and Contemporary Players (Connecticut), the Moores School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras (Texas), Houston Community College's Southwest Choir, the Houston Cecelia Chamber Choir and Willamette University's Dramatic Vocal Arts Ensemble (Oregon). He's conducted musical theater and opera productions, as well as student choirs and instrumental ensembles in primary and secondary schools and colleges.

    Chevalier holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting from the Moores School of Music, a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from The Hartt School and a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Willamette University.

    Cole Concert Hall is located in the Tom and Peggy Wright Music Building, 2210 Alumni Drive.

    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 Percussion Ensemble to perform diverse concert selections

    SFA's Percussion Ensemble to perform diverse concert selections

    September 19, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

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

    The diverse program includes works by Dr. Brad Meyer, director of the SFA percussion studio and the Percussion Ensemble, Steve Reich, Jacob Druckman, Nick Werth, Joe Moore, Eric Sammut and Joseph Aiello.

    Of his own work from "B-Radicles," Meyer states "Marimbabira" is a combination of the two words "marimba" and "mbira" - "marimba" refers to the instrumentation of the piece, which utilizes four players performing on two 4.3-octave marimbas, and "mbira" alludes to the style of the composition. The mbira is a small instrument held in the hand that has small metal tines attached to a piece of wood; each tine is plucked to produce sound. Mbiras are native to Zimbabwe and are used in both secular and religious music.

    Moore's "Denkyem" uses the idea of adaptability throughout the piece "as the motivic material is passed from player to player, adapting to the instruments used and the ever-changing time signatures," Moore writes.

    Sammut performed his original composition "Four Rotations Pour Marimba" in the final round of the 1995 Leigh Howard Stevens International Marimba Competition. The performance of Rotations I and II from "Four Rotations" in the final round was one of the contributing factors of Sammut winning the competition. Junior performance major, Sophia Lee, will perform the solo.

    Aiello's "Classic African" will be performed by sophomore education major Briley Patterson. It is a timpani solo that incorporates rhythms common to African drumming ensembles such as 12/8 time signatures, according to Meyer.

    "The performer is challenged by having to keep different rhythmic ostinato (repeating patterns) going while playing melodic, solo passages at the same time, which creates the aural illusion of one performer becoming two independent players," Meyer writes in his program notes.

    Other program selections include Reich's "Nagoya Marimbas," which features repeating patterns played on both marimbas, one or more beats out of phase, creating a series of two-part unison canons. Druckman's "Reflections on the Nature of Water," performed by Master of Music candidate Spencer Jones, is a reflection of the "magical preludes" of composer Claude Debussy.

    Werth's "Boom Bap," is a new composition for six percussionists that pays homage to the evolution of hip hop.

    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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  • Award-winning jazz legend Branford Marsalis to perform at SFA

    Award-winning jazz legend Branford Marsalis to perform at SFA

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    The College of Fine Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “An Evening with Branford Marsalis” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. Photo: Palma Kolansky

    September 19, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    A sold-out auditorium is anticipated for "An Evening with Branford Marsalis" when the College of Fine Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University presents the jazz great in an Encore Event performance at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    NEA Jazz Master, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, Tony Award nominee and Hollywood star Branford Marsalis is a true jazz legend, and tickets for the special performance began selling quickly on the first day of sales in August, said Scott Shattuck, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and director of the CFA's University Series and Encore Events.

    "Branford Marsalis may be best known to many as leader of The Tonight Show Band, bantering with Jay Leno," Shattuck said. "But clearly he is one of the greatest and most versatile musicians in his own right, having soloed with some of the world's most revered symphony orchestras and pop superstars as well as fellow jazz icons."

    Corporate sponsor Elliott Electric Supply helped to make the performance possible.

    "We simply could not have attracted a star of this magnitude without the support of a music lover as generous as Bill Elliott and a company as deeply involved in its home community as Elliott Electric," Shattuck said.

    One of the most revered instrumentalists of his time and leader of one of the finest jazz quartets in the world today, Marsalis is a frequent soloist with classical ensembles. His most current quartet recording is "Four MFs Playin' Tunes."

    Growing up in a musical family in the rich environment of New Orleans, Branford took up the saxophone when he began working in local bands as a teenager. His first major jazz gig was alongside his brother, trumpet legend Wynton Marsalis, in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

    Branford formed his own group in 1986, and the Branford Marsalis Quartet has long been recognized as the standard by which other ensembles of its kind are measured.

    In addition to guest turns with a legion of giants including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins, he has excelled in duets with major pianists including his boyhood friend Harry Connick Jr.

    Broadway has also welcomed Marsalis's contributions. He provided music for stage productions starring Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson, garnering a Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination. Marsalis's screen credits include the original music for Spike Lee's "Mo' Better Blues" and acting roles in "School Daze" and "Throw Momma from the Train."

    Marsalis has toured with Sting, collaborated with the Grateful Dead and the Dave Matthews Band, served as musical director of "The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno" and hosted National Public Radio's widely syndicated "Jazz Set."

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

    Patrons will want to mark their calendars for another special Encore Event that features a full-on rock concert with The Purple Xperience on Friday, Nov. 30. Bringing the spirit and sounds of Prince direct from Minneapolis, The Purple Xperience is the most authentic Prince tribute show in the world. This performance is sponsored in part by Lehmann Eye Center.

    Encore Event tickets are $45 for Section A seating; $36 for Section B seating; and $27 for Section C seating. Discounts are available for seniors, students, children and SFA faculty and staff members.

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

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  • SFA music faculty to present Pi Kappa Lambda scholarship concert

    SFA music faculty to present Pi Kappa Lambda scholarship concert

    September 11, 2018—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. 20, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

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

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

    "Faculty members look forward to this concert every year because we have the chance to perform for each other as well as for our students and friends," she added. "Some musicians perform with their talented family members."

    For example, Mario Ajero, professor of piano pedagogy at SFA, will perform with his children, Nio and Olivia Ajero.

    "Many of our faculty artists collaborate in groups, and we all enjoy watching them perform together," Weaver said.

    This year's program will feature performances by a jazz trio, as well as the SFA Brass Quintet, which features Deb Scott, trombone; Jake Walburn and Gary Wurtz, trumpet; Charles Gavin, horn; and JD Salas, tuba.

    Other faculty performers will be Christopher Ayer and Vanessa Davis, clarinet; Debbie Berry, Nita Hudson and Scott LaGraff, voice, with guest artist Kimberly LaGraff; Jennifer Dalmas, violin; Christina Guenther, flute; Abby Yeakle Held, oboe; Bradley Meyer, percussion; Evgeni Raychev, cello; and Mary Cooper, Thomas Nixon, Hyun Ji Oh, Andrew Parr, Ronald Petti and James Pitts, piano.

    The recital is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music and is a feature of the 2018-19 Friends of Music Concert Series. Cole Concert Hall is located in the Wright Music Building at 2210 Alumni Drive.

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

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  • SFA theatre students to present 'Seascape with Sharks and Dancer'

    SFA theatre students to present 'Seascape with Sharks and Dancer'

    September 11, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Playwright Don Nigro's "Seascape with Sharks and Dancer" will open the fall semester of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre's student-directed plays.

    Directed by Center senior Avery Tindol, the full-length play will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, in the Downstage Theatre on the SFA campus.

    Set in a beach bungalow during 1978, the play is about a young man who saves a young woman from drowning. The play explores the relationship between the two from that point forward, according to Tindol. Soon, the woman finds herself trapped in the man's life and torn between her need for love and her belief that all human relationships eventually turn into nightmares, Tindol said.

    The two-person cast includes Austin senior Sarah Loveday as Tracy and Waxahachie freshman Adam Lamb as Ben.

    The production staff includes Michael Nunez, Dallas freshman, as stage manager; Gareth Phipps, Dallas junior, assistant director; Kathleen McNamara, Irving junior, scenic designer; Jordyn Averitte, Baytown junior, costume designer; Armando Chavez, Corpus Christi sophomore, lighting designer; Mia Lindemann, Prosper senior, sound designer; and Logan Jennings, Longview junior, properties master.

    Tindol is studying theatre and creative writing at SFA. His public directing credits at SFA are "Picnic on the Battlefield" by Fernando Arrabal and "Baby with the Bathwater" by Christopher Durang. His acting credits include Max in Jack Heifner's "Hot Flashes," Mr. Antrobus in "The Skin of Our Teeth," Carthage Kilbride in "By the Bog of Cats" and Banquo in "Macbeth."

    "Seascape with Sharks and Dancer" is recommended for mature audiences. Faculty production advisor is Dr. Rick Jones.

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

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  • SFA School of Theatre to present Pulitzer Prize-winning "Sweat"

    SFA School of Theatre to present Pulitzer Prize-winning "Sweat"

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    The SFA School of Theatre will present Lynn Nottage's “Sweat” in what will be the play's Texas premiere. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 2 through 6, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    September 11, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    A play that speaks to working class Americans with real-life issues opens the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre's Mainstage Series this fall.

    Lynn Nottage's "Sweat" won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play opens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, for a five-night run at SFA in what will be the play's Texas premiere.

    Using a backdrop of industry job cuts, downsizing and poverty, "Sweat" gives working class people a voice, according to Cleo House Jr., director of the SFA School of Theatre and of the play.

    "We selected this play because it speaks to real issues and real people," House said. "It speaks to working class people of all races.

    "The play is also highly entertaining and funny, all while tackling some serious economic issues for the average working class American," he added.

    "Sweat" is the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on a factory floor.

    "But when layoffs, promotions and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat," House said.

    Veteran entertainment journalist Jeremy Girard called the play "ferociously engrossing" stating, "no play in recent memory has shed more light on the crises and tribulations of America's great retrenched working middle class."

    Nottage is an American playwright whose work often deals with the lives of marginalized people. She is a professor of playwriting at Columbia University. SFA School of Theatre presented her play "Intimate Apparel" in 2017. Her play "Ruined" won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

    Because of its themes, "Sweat" is recommended for age 13 and up. House also recommends the play to anyone who is curious about people and their reactions to adversity.

    "The play really does look into how we as a community respond to an inevitable change that threatens our dreams and our plans," he said.

    The play bounces back and forth in the time periods in which it takes place - from 2000 to 2008.

    "To be able to clearly communicate time and place without making it about time and place is a delicate balance," House said.

    Student actors will be challenged to portray characters who are older than them and who have more life experiences, House said.

    "There's a certain sense of being grounded that comes with age," he said. "Getting young actors to find that takes time."

    House hopes audiences will be both entertained and engaged with "Sweat."

    "I hope they leave with a conversation on their lips," he said. "I hope that they ask themselves, 'What would I do?' if they found themselves in these characters' positions."

    "Sweat" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 2 through 6, in W.M. Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive, on the SFA campus.

    Single tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for youth. Tickets for SFA students are $5. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.theatre.sfasu.edu/.

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  • SFA's Music Prep to host Middle School Choir Camp

    SFA's Music Prep to host Middle School Choir Camp

    September 11, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    The Music Preparatory Division in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will host its annual fall Middle School All-Region Choir Camp from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, in the Wright Music Building on the SFA campus.

    The choir camp is designed to help East Texas area middle school students learn their UIL all-region competition music, according to Pat Barnett, director of the Music Preparatory Division.

    Dr. Michael Murphy, director of choral activities at SFA, is the combined conductor for the camp. Clinicians are Charlotte Davis, Music Prep faculty, soprano I; Amanda Sheriff, graduate student, soprano II; Jennifer Weems, NISD choir instructor, alto; Nita Hudson, lecturer of voice and opera, tenor; and Dr. Chris Turner, assistant professor of voice, bass.

    Accompanists are Linda Parr, Donna Dear, Nio Ajero, Kaden Harman and Mary Cooper, piano. The Music Preparatory Division's Advisory Board is in charge of arrangements. Nicole Stewart, Lufkin High School choir director, is the overall camp director.

    All participants should bring Region 21 All-Region music, pencil, water and a snack. Concessions will be available for purchase during scheduled breaks. The dining hall in the Baker Pattillo Student Center will be open and serving brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Cost per student is $20. Registration is accepted by calling (936) 468-1291 or by email at pbarnett@sfasu.edu.

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  • 'Endless Dusk: An Icelandic Exhibition' highlights SFA students' artwork

    'Endless Dusk: An Icelandic Exhibition' highlights SFA students' artwork

    September 5, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Stephen F. Austin State University art students who participated in a Maymester study abroad program in Iceland will present the course work they created in an exhibition to show Sept. 10 through 21 in the lower art building on the SFA campus.

    "Endless Dusk: An Icelandic Experience" will open with a reception at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, in the student galleries.

    This past May, 10 SFA art students traveled to the Baer Art Center in northern Iceland where they observed and explored the Icelandic landscape and responded by making creative work: drawing, painting, ceramics, photography and installation. Wesley Berg, assistant professor in the School of Art, and Lauren Selden, SFA professor of art, accompanied the students on the residency.

    SFA art exhibitions are free and open to the public. For information, contact the School of Art office at (936) 468-4804.

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  • Tickets available for Reduced Shakespeare Company's performance

    Tickets available for Reduced Shakespeare Company's performance

    September 5, 2018—Robbie Goodrich

    Tickets are still available to a performance of the Reduced Shakespeare Company in "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.

    Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, with additional material by Reed Martin, and directed by Martin and Austin Tichenor, the play became London's longest-running comedy and also enjoyed a successful New York run. The Nacogdoches performance, which is part of the SFA College of Fine Arts' University Series, is the first stop on a national tour that will take the RSC from California to Massachusetts.

    Prior to the performance, Dr. Elizabeth Tasker Davis, associate professor and coordinator of graduate studies in SFA's Department of English and Creative Writing, will present an informative talk on "Shakespeare's Women" 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.

    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. The play is recommended for mature audiences.

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

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