College of Fine Arts News Archive

March 2020

  • Former SFA music educators, alumnus inducted into state jazz hall of fame

    Former SFA music educators, alumnus inducted into state jazz hall of fame

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    Darrell Holt

    March 25, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    Among music industry professionals and educators in Texas and throughout the U.S., the name of Darrell Holt is synonymous with jazz excellence.

    The late Holt, former associate professor of music at Stephen F. Austin State University, is among the inductees in the inaugural class of the Texas Jazz Educators Association’s Hall of Fame. The announcement was made at last month’s Texas Music Educators Association convention in San Antonio where some of Holt’s former colleagues from SFA, former students and admirers from across the nation heard the news.

    Dr. Deb Scott, professor of trombone in the SFA School of Music, was among those who spoke during the induction ceremony that honored Holt’s legacy and included the announcement of six additional first-class inductees. Among those were two other people with strong jazz connections to SFA – music alumnus Wayne Dyess, ’70 and ’71, and a former director of the Swingin’ Axes jazz band and former chairman of the SFA music department, Gene Hall.

    Scott spoke of how Holt “left a lasting impression on our faculty and students,” she said.

    Laura Holt Treadaway, Holt’s widow, expressed great appreciation for the honor and the acknowledgement of Holt’s love of music.

    “What a wonderful honor this is for Darrell to be selected, along with these other amazing jazz musicians, to be inducted into the TJEA Hall of Fame,” she said. “Our family is so, so proud for him and so grateful to all those responsible for making his nomination possible. What a wonderful tribute to him, and we know he would have given all the glory to God for this honor and for his talent.”

    Holt taught various jazz courses, arranging and music theory at SFA from 1968 to 2000. According to his biography published by Northeastern Music Publications Incorporated, Holt was a nationally recognized jazz instrumental and vocal clinician during most of his life. Holt performed extensive work in recording studios as a conductor, arranger, composer and performer, having produced more than 40 albums. Among his Nashville studio work was for a CD for then young country music artist LeAnn Rimes. As a performer, Holt was an accomplished pianist, vocalist and trumpeter. He worked with such nationally recognized entertainers as Rich Little, Bob Hope and B.J. Thomas. Holt's works have been performed by the San Antonio, Dallas and Nashville symphonies, as well as the Symphony of Southeast Texas and the Kingwood Pops. He received numerous commissions, including a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. Holt passed away from heart complications in 2000. Donations to an SFA scholarship honoring Holt can be made at

    Dyess graduated with a Bachelor of Music from SFA, where he was selected as music alumnus of the year in 1990 and inducted into the School of Music Wall of Honor. He earned his Master of Music from The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and Doctor of Education from the University of Houston, having also completed additional graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin. Dyess was also the principal trombonist with the Symphony of Southeast Texas and performed regularly throughout the United States and internationally with several groups, including Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band and the Brass Band of Battle Creek (Michigan). From 1970 to 1974, Dyess was trombone soloist and section leader of the “World’s Finest” United States Navy Band. Dyess joined the music faculty at Lamar University in 1977. He was professor of trombone and director of jazz studies at Lamar University upon his death in 2013.

    A saxophonist, arranger and music educator, Hall graduated with an M.A. from North Texas State Teachers College (now the University of North Texas) in Denton, and after playing with a number of bands in Texas and working in radio, began teaching at his alma mater in 1947. He received his doctorate from New York University. Hall's North Texas State dance band was selected as the best in America among college groups by the American Federation of Musicians in 1959. Hall developed a jazz program at Michigan State University, where he had accepted a teaching position. He later served as chairman of the music department at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California, and at SFA. He was a principal mover in the formation in 1968 of the National Association of Jazz Educators and served as its first president. Hall received the Hall of Fame Award from the International Association of Jazz Educators in 1981. In 1992 he received the Down Beat Achievement Award for Jazz Education. Hall died in Denton in 1993. The Dr. M. E. "Gene" Hall Award, given at the annual North Texas Jazz Festival in Addison, was named in his honor.

    Others named to the inaugural class were John Murphy, Leon Breeden, Conrad Johnson and Edward Trongone.

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  • SFA faculty, staff and volunteers sew face masks amid health crisis, supply shortage

    SFA faculty, staff and volunteers sew face masks amid health crisis, supply shortage

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    Stephen F. Austin State University Professor of Theatre Angela Bacarisse works on a homemade hat she is constructing for medical professionals who are combating COVID-19 during a medical supply shortage.

    March 24, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    Standing outside a window of the School of Theatre costume shop at Stephen F. Austin State University, a Nacogdoches volunteer waited for a faculty member to hand her a package of elastic and cotton fabric. The items will be used to assemble surgical mask coverings to be used by local hospitals.

    Inside the shop, located on the bottom floor of SFA’s Griffith Fine Arts Building, Angela Bacarisse, Stephen F. Austin State University theatre professor, and shop supervisor Barbara Blackwell were safely distanced from each other as they sewed more mask coverings, as well as hats.

    Their work, along with the work of a small band of local seamstresses they have organized, is part of a grassroots effort in communities across the nation to help support local medical communities in combatting the spread of COVID-19.

    “We saw on the internet that everybody is doing this,” Bacarisse said, adding that hospitals in various parts of the country have solicited assistance online and through social media to construct the masks using a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-compliant pattern. “I wondered if there was really a need here, so I reached out to a representative from SFA’s Dewitt School of Nursing, who put me in contact with representatives from local hospitals, and they said ‘yes!’”

    Kristine Sutton, chief nursing officer at Nacogdoches Memorial Health, said she was thrilled the costume shop and seamstresses are banding together to make a difference for health care workers on the front lines of a scary and unpredictable situation.

    “The staff members are worried about protecting their patients and themselves to the highest degree possible, because they’re in such close proximity to patients and the virus is so contagious,” Sutton said. “We can’t take care of sick people if we’re not healthy. It’s really touching that these community members are using their own skills to be part of our team providing that front line of defense.”

    Bacarisse and Blackwell have been joined by faculty and staff from other SFA departments, community members and some costume shop alumni to assemble the items. They are using fabric from home, as well as stockpiled fabric from the costume shop, along with fabric donations from the public. Hospital officials will pick up the finished items.

    While a handmade mask does not offer the kind of protection that health care professionals really need, layering the handmade masks with reused surgical masks can provide another layer of protection. Using cotton fabric, the masks are assembled in such a way that N95 masks or respirators can slide inside. The do-it-yourself masks also can serve as a reminder to not touch the face.

    “I’ll be honest, when I first heard about the idea of home-sewn masks, I was skeptical because the masks we typically use are medical grade and disposable for infection control reasons,” Sutton said. “But these masks are going to be a great second-line barrier for our staff. We’ll protect our medical grade masks behind the sewn masks, and at the end of the day, we can take them off and throw them in the wash. Our staff will be so relieved to know that they’re guaranteed a clean start at the beginning of their next shift.”

    Bacarisse and Blackwell each said they have underlying health issues that put them at greater risk for contracting the virus, and they wanted to do their part to help during the public health crisis.

    “We want to support the medical community in any way we can, and we have the skills to do this,” Bacarisse said.

    Anyone interested in volunteering to help sew the masks and hats may contact Bacarisse at

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  • SFA College of Fine Arts cancels all performances through end of spring semester

    SFA College of Fine Arts cancels all performances through end of spring semester

    March 20, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    The College of Fine Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University has canceled all public performances scheduled for the remainder of the spring semester in response to SFA’s decision to cancel or postpone all on-campus programs, gatherings and events until further notice due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

    This includes all plays, concerts, recitals and art exhibitions and the final University Series and Children’s Performing Arts Series events for this season – the University Series presentation of “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” originally scheduled for April 16, and the children’s show “Cinderella,” scheduled for April 28.

    On Thursday, SFA President Dr. Scott Gordon announced the remainder of spring semester classes and all summer session classes will be offered online or in distance-education formats. Additionally, until further notice, all on-campus programs, gatherings and events will be canceled, postponed or moved online to a virtual setting. These include office or faculty meetings, student programs and community events, in addition to all athletic events and public performances.

    “We are still dying to present the marvelous cast of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’,’ and they are eager to perform for the SFA and Nacogdoches communities,” said Scott Shattuck, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and director of the University Series, “but obviously this spring isn’t the time. We’re in discussions about the possibility of a fall performance, but until we’re able to set a date certain, unfortunately we need to cancel the final series event of this season.”

    Diane Peterson, Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of SFA’s children’s series, said, “‘Cinderella’ has been added to next season’s children’s series and will be presented in spring 2021. We are excited that East Texas school children will have the opportunity to see this fun-filled production.”

    Refunds for advance purchase tickets are available on request through the event date printed on the ticket. Any ticket money not refunded will be used by the College of Fine Arts to defray expenses already incurred by the event. For details about advance ticket refunds, contact the Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    For official information about SFA’s cancellation of on-campus activities and the university’s response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, go to

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  • SFA: College of Fine Arts events canceled

    SFA: College of Fine Arts events canceled

    March 16, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    In response to the actions taken by Stephen F. Austin State University to restrict the possible spread of COVID-19, the College of Fine Arts has canceled all art, music and theatre events through April 5, and tickets already purchased for events scheduled during that time period can be refunded.

    On March 12, SFA President Dr. Scott Gordon announced that spring break would be extended an additional two days, and beginning March 18, all SFA classes will be held in an online or other distance-learning format until April 6. Additionally, all on-campus events scheduled through April 5 are cancelled or postponed. Students are asked to remain off campus until in-person classes resume.

    Although there are no confirmed cases of the virus on SFA’s campus, several cases have been confirmed in Texas. SFA followed the CDC recommendations for social distancing in making its decision to move to online class formats, according to information on the university website.

    The fine arts calendar at indicates the events that have been canceled thus far. But because of the uncertainty of COVID-19 and the evolving circumstances associated with a pandemic, further cancellation of events is possible, according to Dr. A.C. “Buddy” Himes, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

    “The College of Fine Arts wants to do its part to keep our campus and community safe,” Himes said. “Some of our fine arts events may be rescheduled, while others simply must be canceled due to time constraints and venue scheduling issues as we near the end of this semester. Please visit the CFA website at for updates to this ever-changing situation.”

    Refunds are available on request. Unrefunded purchases become donations to the respective events and programs. For details about advance ticket refunds or the possible rescheduling of certain events, contact the Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    For official information about SFA’s cancellation of on-campus activities, go to

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  • SFA School of Music to host Oboe Day events

    SFA School of Music to host Oboe Day events

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    Dr. Meridith Hite Estevez

    March 6, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will host Oboe Day Saturday, March 21, featuring a full day of events that culminate in a guest artist recital.

    Coordinated by Dr. Abby Yeakle Held, oboe faculty in the School of Music, with Dr. Meridith Hite Estevez, adjunct professor of oboe at the University of Delaware, as clinician, the free all-day event for collegiate and pre-college oboists will include high school and university master classes, a reed-making session, an Oboe Band performance by participants and a recital that showcases Estevez.

    Oboe Day is from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the recital beginning at 4 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall. Admission is free. Participants may register by email:

    Featured works on the recital are inspired by works of art. Estevez will perform selections from Gilles Silvestrini’s “Six Études pour Hautbois,” which was inspired by impressionist paintings and artists. The Silvestrini etudes consist of six movements for unaccompanied oboe that can stand alone, be played in sets, or even performed in entirety, Held explained.

    “The music for each movement was inspired by a different impressionist painting and musically depicts the imagery for the listener,” she said. “The Silvestrini is considered to be one of the most technically demanding works in the oboe’s repertoire.”

    The recital will also include a piece performed by Held and a piece performed by the Oboe Band, comprised of Oboe Day participants.

    Estevez has performed and taught throughout North and South America, Asia and Europe. Currently on faculty at the University of Delaware, she is an active freelancer and sought-after recitalist. Orchestrally, she is the English hornist for the Chamber Orchestra of New York, and has also performed with PhillyPOPS, OperaDelaware, New York City’s Metropolitan Opera and the American Symphony as well as innovative shows with cutting-edge groups like Experiential Orchestra. Her worldwide education includes Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Yale School of Music, Fulbright Scholar to Germany and The Juilliard School where she received her doctorate in oboe. As director of Lumina Arts Incubator, a ministry of Grace United Methodist Church in Wilmington, Delaware, Estevez works with artists of all disciplines who struggle with creative block and are interested in exploring the intersection between creativity and spirituality.

    Oboe Day is sponsored by David DeLoach.

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  • SFA School of Art to present ‘Italian Views’ photography exhibition

    SFA School of Art to present ‘Italian Views’ photography exhibition

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    March 4, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and SFA Art Galleries will present “Italian Views,” a photography exhibition, opening March 17 in Griffith Gallery and running through May 9. “Italian Views” features the photography of Christopher Talbot, director of the School of Art, and showcases images taken in Florence, Italy, in 2019, including this image, “Parade Bandstand.” A reception is planned for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in the gallery, which is located in Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus. Art exhibitions and receptions are sponsored by the Friends of the Visual Arts, Nacogdoches Junior Forum, William Arscott and The Flower Shop. Admission is free. Gallery hours are 12:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 12:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; and 6 to 7:30 p.m. before most performances in Turner Auditorium. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

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  • SFA’s Tomlinson to perform works by Cangelosi, Nozny, others

    SFA’s Tomlinson to perform works by Cangelosi, Nozny, others

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    Dr. Ben Tomlinson

    March 3, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will present faculty member Dr. Ben Tomlinson performing a percussion recital at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 16, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The program features a selection of music that spans many different percussion instruments and includes works by Casey Cangelosi, Pat Jacobs, Brian Nozny, J.S. Bach, Paul Lansky and Minoru Miki.

    Nozny’s “Thief” is written for marimba plus tuned metal pipes. The performer lays the pipes on the instruments and melds natural sounds (rosewood bars from marimba) with the artificial (tuned metal pipes), according to Tomlinson.

    “The combination is a beautiful and unique timbre not found in many other pieces of music,’ he said.

    “A Cool Gadget for Tambourine” by Cangelosi is for tambourine and pre-recorded audio playback. “Tambourine is not a percussion instrument we typically hear in a solo setting,” Tomlinson said. “The piece challenges the performer with a lot of imaginative extended techniques that really showcase the tambourine as a virtuosic instrument.”

    The second movement of “Marimba Spiritual” by Miki will close out the program and will feature SFA percussion students Mariah Taller of South Bend, Indiana, Davis Carr of Sugarland and Aaron Milam of Longview. Tomlinson describes “Marimba Spiritual” as a fast-paced, high-adrenaline piece of music that takes inspiration from Japanese taiko drumming.

    “It is one of the oldest pieces written for marimba soloist and percussion ensemble and is sure to be a crowd favorite,” he said.

    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

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  • SFA A Cappella Choir to perform Pizzetti, Gabrieli, Whitacre

    SFA A Cappella Choir to perform Pizzetti, Gabrieli, Whitacre

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    SFA’s A Cappella Choir performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

    March 3, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    The A Cappella Choir at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform Messa di Requiem by Ildebrando Pizzetti when the choral student ensemble presents a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

    Conducted by Dr. Michael Murphy, director of choral activities for the SFA School of Music, the choir will also perform “Angelus Domini á 8” by Giovanni Gabrieli, Vineam meam non custodivi by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and “Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine” by Eric Whitacre.

    For admission, audience members are asked to bring two non-perishable food items to benefit a local food bank. Monetary donations are also welcomed to help defray the costs associated with the choir’s tour in Italy June 1 through 13.

    Sacred Heart Catholic Church is located at 2508 Appleby Sand Road. For additional information, visit

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