College of Fine Arts News Archive

November 2020

  • SFA’s A Cappella Choir to present virtual concert

    SFA’s A Cappella Choir to present virtual concert

    November 17, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    The A Cappella Choir at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, in a livestreamed concert.

    The program, titled “Eternal Companion,” will feature works by Felix Mendelssohn, Elaine Hagenberg, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Aleksandr Kopylow.

    Dr. Michael Murphy, director of choral activities in the SFA School of Music, is conductor. The program also features Dr. Ron Petti, collaborative piano; Dr. Evgeni Raychev, cello; James Held, baritone; and Greg Simmons of Tyler and David Zielke of Albany, Oregon, graduate student conductors.

    Obtain free access to the online concert by visiting music.sfasu.edu on the day of the performance. For more information about the School of Music, call (936) 468-4602.

    article ID 1951

  • SFA: Opera scenes to be performed in virtual concert

    SFA: Opera scenes to be performed in virtual concert

    November 13, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    Student vocalists at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “Magical, Mystical and Merry: An Evening of Opera Scenes” in a virtual concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, that can be accessed free of charge through livestreaming at music.sfasu.edu.

    Works by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, Giuseppe Verdi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Gian Carlo Menotti and other celebrated composers will be featured, according to Dr. Deborah Dalton, associate professor of voice and opera in the SFA School of Music.

    For voice students enrolled in opera and singing classes at SFA, performing during the COVID era has presented many new challenges, Dalton said. Scenes are usually chosen to fit the voices enrolled in the respective classes.

    “For this program, choosing scenes that could be staged while masked and observing social distancing proved to be much more of a challenge,” Dalton said. “These constraints actually opened up more creative possibilities and fun solutions, particularly with a love duet that had the singers separated by 10-to-12 feet!”

    Opera workshop class, directed by Dalton, will present scenes from standard operatic repertoire. Opera ensemble class, with Professor James Held directing, will perform favorites from musical theatre.

    Opera workshop scenes performed will be from “Falstaff,” “The Magic Flute,” “Der Freischütz,” “The Medium,” “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” The program also features ensemble-performed scenes from “The Sound of Music,” “Spamalot,” “The Most Happy Fella,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and the American opera “Susannah” by Carlisle Floyd.

    “‘Falstaff’ is the only comedic opera Verdi wrote and is considered his masterpiece,” Dalton said.

    SFA lecturer Nita Hudson will conduct several scenes. Bora Cho, graduate assistant in collaborative piano (accompanying), will provide the accompaniment for the entire program.

    “Bora has been a joy to work with throughout this unusual semester,” Dalton added.

    For more information about the School of Music, call (936) 468-4602.

    article ID 1950

  • Lessons from SFA’s Kennedy Auditorium: You can do theatre anywhere!

    Lessons from SFA’s Kennedy Auditorium: You can do theatre anywhere!

    press image
    Frisco junior Benjamin McElroy as Mike, and Glenn Heights freshman Kennedy Jordan as his driver, Sue, are among the cast members in the SFA School of Theatre’s presentation of “Rideshare/Overshare” running through Saturday, Nov. 14, in Kennedy Auditorium on the SFA campus. The play will also be livestreamed. Visit http://www.boxoffice.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 for ticketing or virtual access information.

    November 12, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    There are still some opportunities to see the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre’s presentation of Ian McWethy and Carrie McCrossen’s play “Rideshare/Overshare” at 7:30 nightly through Saturday, Nov. 14, in either an in-person performance in Kennedy Auditorium on the SFA campus or through virtual access.

    SFA theatre Professor Angela Bacarisse, the play’s director, describes the play as “just a nice story with some quirky folks inhabiting it.” Mike and Elaine, a young couple heading out to meet each other on a blind date, each decide independently to take an UBER to get to their destination, and then they find themselves paired with the weirdest drivers on the road.

    One reason that “Rideshare/Overshare” found its way into this year’s Mainstage Series is “because it can be produced very simply,” Bacarisse said. And “simply” is what was needed, because this year’s (and next year’s) “mainstage” for the School of Theatre will be Kennedy Auditorium. The College of Fine Arts and School of Theatre no longer have access to Turner Auditorium in Griffith Fine Arts Building because of a planned renovation/construction project that will take two years to complete. As a result, Kennedy Auditorium has become the main performance space for theatre students, and technical aspects need to be kept at a minimum because of facility limitations. The biggest lesson learned through facility limitations: you can do theatre anywhere!

    “I have worked on theatre in gyms, church basements, lecture halls, old gas stations and even circus tents,” Bacarisse said. “Kennedy Auditorium has its challenges, but at least we didn’t have to install the seating!”

    There are aspects of Kennedy that are similar to a high school auditorium, specifically the linoleum floor. But there are theatrical ways that you can make Kennedy into a theatre, Bacarisse said.

    “Those students who have experienced the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland with me know that you can do theatre anywhere,” she said. “Just hang up some black curtains and go. The major challenge is that there was no consideration made for the humanness of the people performing on ‘stage’ in Kennedy. There is no place to change your clothes in private, and there are no private restrooms for actors.

    “And there’s no place that isn’t on stage,” she added. “So we had to make it up. We created new ways of doing things, but they aren’t all that different from working off-Broadway, or doing theatre in a space that used to be a store-front. You create what you want it to be.”

    Lack of theatrical elements, floor, pipes, places to put lights and curtains … those are some of the physical challenges.

    “But you can bring those in, and you can have scenery that doesn’t have to fly out,” Bacarisse said. “When you have to work without technology that you are used to, you have to be more creative.”

    The students who are working on “Rideshare/Overshare” are going to be more prepared to work in places that Bacarisse describes as “non-traditional theatres.”

    “And that is great, because there is a lot of work that happens in non-traditional spaces,” she said. “Students will be more prepared for solving the challenges when they are faced with them. It does depend on what they had access to in their high school. If they were performing in what I call a ‘café-gymna-torium,’ then Kennedy won’t be that much different. But if they are coming from a school like those in Plano, they will be getting the low-budget side of theatre until we move into the new spaces.

    “But in reality, it is unusual to go straight from college to high-budget Broadway,” she said. “You have to work on a lot of low-budget shows first, and for the next two years, our students will master those challenges.”

    Because of social distancing requirements, seating in Kennedy Auditorium will be limited for each performance. Patrons are required to wear face coverings. Actors on stage will wear masks during live performances.

    General ticket prices are: adult, $15; senior (62+), $10; non-SFA student, $10; SFA faculty/staff, $7.50; youth, $7.50; SFA student, $5; virtual access, $15. Live virtual access is available for all performances. Purchase tickets/access at boxoffice.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407. For questions about the play, contact the School of Theatre at (936) 468-4003.

    article ID 1946

  • SFA to present virtual performance of portions of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

    SFA to present virtual performance of portions of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

    November 12, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    Graduate and undergraduate singers at Stephen F. Austin State University will present a virtual concert that will feature recitatives and arias from Part 1 of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.”

    Dr. Ron Petti, coordinator of collaborative piano at SFA will accompany soloists at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, in the free online concert that will be accessible at music.sfasu.edu on the day of the performance.

    Citing safety concerns related to COVID-19, Dr. Michael Murphy, director of choral activities, said that "the annual performance of movements from Handel's Messiah will look a little different this year.”

    “While there will be no choral movements performed, you can watch and hear a few of the many talented singers at SFA perform some of the most beloved and well-known movements from Handel's masterpiece, ‘Messiah,’” Murphy said. “The movements are taken from Part 1 of the work that tells of the prophecy and promise of the Messiah.”

    Graduate and undergraduate student soloists include Aaron Dominguez, Cole Jones, Isaiah Collazo, Emily Boyland, Victoria Cole, William Murphy, Sarah Thee, Gracie Palmore, Brianna Glaze and Emily LeBlanc.

    For more information about the School of Music, contact (936) 468-4602.

    article ID 1947

  • SFA BFA group exhibition now up for viewing: Five graduating students showcase artwork

    SFA BFA group exhibition now up for viewing: Five graduating students showcase artwork

    press image
    “8 Months” by graduating art student Joshua Mokry of Houston is included in an exhibition featuring the artwork of five graduating students in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art. The exhibition is showing now through Dec. 1 in the Art Building on the SFA campus.

    November 12, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    An exhibition showcasing the work of five graduating students in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art is showing now through Dec. 1 in the Art Building just off of Wilson Drive and adjacent to the SFA Mast Arboretum on campus.

    Works exhibited in the front gallery include solargraphs by Joshua Mokry of Houston; digital and watercolor tattoo flashes by Ericka Bates of Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia; paintings by Ethan Donart of Sugar Land; and paintings and projection artworks by Charles Oliveri of Lufkin The photography by Ariana Sessoms of Mansfield is exhibited in exit hall gallery.

    Artworks in The BFA Group Exhibition reflect a culmination of time spent and learned at SFA with the help and guidance of faculty in the art program. The show marks the students’ final exhibit as undergraduates and is one of the last steps for the School of Art class of 2020.

    One of the series, titled “8 Months,” showcases “solargraphs” which are long-duration images of the sun’s path captured by pinhole cameras made out of paint cans. As the paper in the cameras age, mold starts to grow over its surface. The artist, Joshua Mokry, said, “I wanted to create something during this pandemic about this pandemic. It’s an anxious and trying time for everyone, and I want to convey that feeling with this series. It’s about my time spent during the early stages of 2020 and that anxious growth that built up as the days passed by.”

    Social distancing of at least six feet apart by patrons will be required when viewing artwork. Admission is free.

    For more information about the SFA School of Art, call (936) 468-4804.

    article ID 1948

  • SFA art students collaborate with Boys and Girls Club to design online mural

    SFA art students collaborate with Boys and Girls Club to design online mural

    press image
    This colorful mural was created online by art education majors at SFA and student artist participants of the Boys and Girls Club of Deep East Texas. It will be displayed at the Judy B. McDonald Public Library in Nacogdoches.

    November 12, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    Art education students at Stephen F. Austin State University are continuing to explore new and innovative ways to teach art to members of the Boys and Girls Club of Deep East Texas.

    In another collaborative effort, the SFA School of Art, the Boys and Girls Club and the Community Arts Center of East Texas helped students create a colorful mural completely online.

    “In weekly Zoom meetings, art education students conducted one-on-one tutorial painting sessions with Boys and Girls Club participants in which each student painted a square of a graphed image,” explained Dr. Maggie Leysath, professor of art education at SFA.

    Boys and Girls Club children discussed the meaning of “intercultural harmony" and created images that reflected their ideas. Art education students took those ideas and created a central image of helping hands.

    “The final result is a collaborative image that highlights the individuals who created it,” Leysath said, “and, it was completely done from remote locations.

    “Well done, future art educators,” she added, “and a big, huge thank you to everyone at the Boys and Girls Club and the awesome Community Arts Center of East Texas.”

    The mural is being installed for viewing at the Judy B. McDonald Public Library in Nacogdoches.

    For more information about the School of Art, call (936) 468-4804 or visit art.sfasu.edu.

    article ID 1949

  • SFA’s Singin’ Axes present virtual concert featuring works by Brahms, Britten

    SFA’s Singin’ Axes present virtual concert featuring works by Brahms, Britten

    November 6, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    The Singin’ Axes at Stephen F. Austin State University will showcase the work of Johannes Brahms when the student ensemble presents the virtual concert “Rhapsody” at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

    Directed by Dr. Tod Fish, associate director of choral activities in the SFA School of Music, the Singin’ Axes will perform Brahms’ Opus 53, also known as “Alto Rhapsody.” Featured performer will be School of Music faculty member Nita Hudson as mezzo-soprano soloist.

    Also on the program is Benjamin Britten’s “The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard.”

    “These compositions go together because they both deal with the suffering that is caused by love,” said Fish, who described “Rhapsody” as a “deeply personal work for Brahms.” It is based on three verses from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1777 poem “Harzreise im Winter,” which Brahms stumbled across in 1868 (the same year Brahms wrote his German Requiem), in a time when the composer was conflicted in several aspects of his life.

    “During this time, Brahms was still mourning the death of his mother, who had passed away in 1865,” Fish said. “Some scholars believe that the ‘Rhapsody’ is an outpouring of grief that deals with unrequited love – first from his frustrating, confusing relationship with Clara Schumann and then, later, from her daughter, Julie. It is believed, by some, that Goethe’s text provided the words to articulate Brahms feelings at this time.” Schumann described it as “…neither more nor less than the expression of his (Brahms) heart’s anguish.”

    In Britten’s “The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard,” the composer appears to be in a completely different state of mind, as he is breaking away from a time of frustration and returns to England after living in America from 1939 to 1942.

    “This work was written, interestingly enough, by Britten for a friend a friend of his who was serving as the artistic director of a prisoner of war camp’s music festival in 1943,” Fish explained. “Britten had received a commission from the Koussevitsky Music Foundation to compose ‘Peter Grimes,’ the monumental work that solidified Britten’s status as one of the giants of 20th century composers.”

    The piece is out of the ballad madrigal tradition along the lines of Claudio Monteverdi’s “Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda.” The text deals with a bitter love triangle between Lord Brand and Lady Barnard and someone known as Little Musgrave.

    “The two lovers, Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard, find a trysting place that is soon discovered by Lord Barnard,” Fish said. “Soon after, a battle ensues between Barnard and Musgrave with Barnard, in a fit of rage slaying both lovers. Britten masterfully uses the piano accompaniment, which is masterfully played by our collaborative pianist, Dr. Thomas Nixon, to drive the drama of this underrated composition.”

    To access the live concert free of charge, visit music.sfasu.edu. For additional information, contact the School of Music at (936) 468-4602.

    article ID 1943

  • SFA’s Kantorei choirs to present virtual concert of sacred music

    SFA’s Kantorei choirs to present virtual concert of sacred music

    November 6, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    The Kantorei choirs at Stephen F. Austin State University will present a virtual concert titled “Sanctity” that will feature sacred music written for treble chorus at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

    The concert program will include “Messe Basse” by Gabriel Fauré; “Gloria” from Mass no. 6 by György Orbàn; and “Psalm 23” by the late, great Canadian composer Srul Irving Glick. Dr. Tod Fish, associate director of choral activities in the SFA School of Music, directs the choirs.

    “The styles featured for this performance are challenging for the groups due to their diversity,” Fish said. “The Glick ‘Psalm 23’ challenges the students as the composer sets the rhythm of the music to fit the text declamation. In the Fauré piece, the choir sings many lovely unison passages coupled with shimmering, soft dynamic levels. ‘Gloria’ is highly rhythmic with the mixing of symmetrical and asymmetrical meters to fit the text.

    “I am proud of the work the choir has put in to face the challenges of these quite different compositions,” he added.

    Grant Peterson, first-year graduate student in choral conducting from Wylie, will conduct the Orbàn work. Collaborative pianist for the concert is graduate student Greg Simmons from Tyler.

    To access the live concert free of charge, visit music.sfasu.edu. For additional information, contact the School of Music at (936) 468-4602.

    article ID 1944

  • SFA Symphony Orchestra to perform works by Tchaikovsky, Milhaud

    SFA Symphony Orchestra to perform works by Tchaikovsky, Milhaud

    November 6, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University Symphony Orchestra’s virtual performance on Wednesday, Nov. 18, will feature music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Darius Milhaud.

    Beginning at 7:30 p.m. and accessible through live streaming free of charge at music.sfasu.edu, the concert’s main feature is Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings,” according to Dr. Gregory Grabowski, the orchestra’s conductor.

    “The Tchaikovsky (piece) is one of the biggest standards of string repertoire,” Grabowski said.

    The concert also includes French composer Milhaud’s “La Creation du Monde.”

    “The Milhaud was composed in the 1920s and was very much influenced by early jazz,” Grabowski said. “Apparently, when he heard his first American jazz band perform in London, Milhaud was so captivated he went to New York City to visit Harlem, go to jazz clubs and mingle with jazz musicians.

    “Interestingly – and honestly accidentally – both pieces fit at home in the ballet,” Grabowski added. “The Milhaud was originally composed as a ballet, and George Balanchine (ballet choreographer) brought the Tchaikovsky into the ballet repertoire.”

    The program will also feature Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, arranged for chamber orchestra by Arnold Schoenberg.

    The concert will be live-streamed only with a rebroadcast at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 25 on the SFA Symphony Orchestra YouTube page. For additional information, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602.

    article ID 1945

  • SFA: Multiple characters, costumes challenge ‘Rideshare/Overshare’ actors, designer

    SFA: Multiple characters, costumes challenge ‘Rideshare/Overshare’ actors, designer

    press image
    Rehearsing a scene from the SFA School of Theatre’s presentation of “Rideshare/Overshare” are Frisco junior Benjamin McElroy in the role of Mike and Linn junior Makayla Moreno as Sasha.

    November 3, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    When the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre presents the play “Rideshare/Overshare,” audiences will see each cast member playing multiple characters that the theatre students have thoughtfully and carefully created.

    Each of these characters has a unique personality and an equally unique costume specifically designed to fit the wacky persona developed by the imaginative student actors.

    School of Theatre Professor Angela Bacarisse directs the play, which she describes as “just a nice story with some quirky folks inhabiting it.” The play will be presented at 7:30 nightly Tuesday through Saturday, Nov. 10 through 14, in Kennedy Auditorium on the SFA campus. It will also be livestreamed.

    By Ian McWethy and Carrie McCrossen, “Rideshare/Overshare” is a play about Mike and Elaine, a young couple heading out to meet each other on a blind date. They each decide independently to take an UBER to get there, and then they find themselves paired with the weirdest drivers on the road.

    Glenn Heights freshman Kennedy Jordan plays seven different roles, including understudy roles.

    “I created my characters by giving them back stories, their own personalities, and by making them as close to a real human as possible,” she said. “A distinct difference they have is their voices. Although some may have the same dialect, a slight change in tone or volume makes them a completely different person.”

    Alexis Hargy, a junior from Katy, plays five different characters, including her understudy role for main character Elaine. Hargy used her own life knowledge as a source to bring her characters to life.

    “I took my real life experiences and applied those thoughts, feelings and emotions to the characters on stage,” she said, adding she also determined her characters’ relationships with other characters in the play to help her further develop how she portrayed each role. “Some characters have accents and some don’t, which can really make certain characters more distinct than others.”

    With so many characters moving around in the actors’ heads, how do the students remember who they are currently playing on stage?

    “I keep them apart on stage by having different mannerism for each character,” Jordan said. “It can sometimes be a challenge to remember which character does what, and to hide my own mannerisms. With all of that being said, I love being able to play so many different characters in one show.”

    Hargy said her solution to keeping characters apart on stage is to “focus on getting my next character ready once I’m done with the one before it.”

    “Sometimes it can become challenging if you aren’t fully paying attention to each scene,” she said.

    Including understudy roles, Wylie senior Drake St. Pierre plays eight different characters.

    “I think the best characters are just extensions of yourself,” he said, “so with each character I’m just exaggerating some part of me. That sounds dumb, but it’s the only way I can think of how to go about it.”

    Costume changes help the actors remember who they are on stage. Baytown senior designer Jordyn Averitte has put her creative ideas in overdrive to make each costume and character stand out. Including the cast’s understudy roles, there are about 45 costumes needed for the play. Bacarisse provided character information for Averitte to help her brainstorm designs, and Averitte attended rehearsals to see how each actor performed their characters differently so she could adjust the costumes accordingly.

    “Since many of the characters appear only briefly, the actors may have different ways of performing that character between casts and therefore require a completely different costume, which is something I have not encountered before, but I do enjoy the variety,” Averitte said.

    Roles will be switched for the Wednesday and Thursday performances, allowing the actors to play some of the understudy roles they have worked so hard to prepare for, according to Bacarisse.

    “With the worry about COVID, we made sure that if anyone in the cast had to quarantine, that the ‘show would go on,’” she said. “Two actors at different times missed rehearsals for two weeks due to being in quarantine. I thought that since they put so much effort into the understudy roles, they should get a chance to perform as those characters.” Tuesday, Friday and Saturday performances will be presented as cast.

    Because of social distancing requirements, seating in Kennedy Auditorium will be limited for each performance. Patrons are required to wear face coverings. Actors on stage will wear masks during live performances.

    General ticket prices are: adult, $15; senior (62+), $10; non-SFA student, $10; SFA faculty/staff, $7.50; youth, $7.50; SFA student, $5; virtual access, $15. Live virtual access is available for all performances. Purchase tickets/access at boxoffice.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407. For questions about the play, contact the School of Theatre at (936) 468-4003.

    You may also be interested in these related articles:

    article ID 1942

Connect with the University Series on Facebook