News Archives: School of Music and Fine Arts

HPU pre-college music students earn top honors at state competition

BROWNWOOD – June 14, 2017 – Twenty students from Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music and Art Program recently participated in the Texas Federated Music Clubs State Competition at Texas State University in San Marcos. Many of the students who competed took home high honors.

One student, Sarah Reeves, received the All-State award, which is the highest award at the competition. Sarah received the All-State award in Vocal Solo/Musical Theatre.

The outstanding rating in Vocal Solo/Musical Theatre was given to Hannah Bessent, Christian Fijer, Mary McIver, Marti Millwee, Jordan Roberts and Kyla Tressler. The outstanding rating in Piano Solo went to Angie Calfa, Vic Cooper, Christian Fijer, Leila Gautier, Michael Morales, Sarah Reeves, Jordan Roberts and Carli Schoen.

Students who received the superior rating were Andrew Boren, Tony Calfa and Kamry Keese, all in Piano Solo.

“We are very proud of these students and their accomplishments,” said Diane Owens, director of the program and adjunct instructor in HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts. “A big ‘shout-out’ also goes to the teachers and parents who encourage and support these young musicians.”

The Pre-College Music and Art Program serves the Brownwood community by offering music and art lessons to children and adults. Enrollment for the fall semester will begin in mid-August. Classes begin on Labor Day and continue through mid-December.

For more information, contact Diane Owens at 325-649-8501 or dowens@hputx.edu, or contact Jill Holamon at 325-649-8500 or jholamon@hputx.edu.

Community Band to present spring concert at HPU

BROWNWOOD – April 28, 2017 – The Central Texas Community Band will present its spring concert on Thursday, May 4, at Howard Payne University’s Mims Auditorium. The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. and is free to the public.

The band is comprised of area musicians and meets on Monday evenings each spring for rehearsal. Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands at HPU, directs the band.

“The program will include music that will undoubtedly suit everyone’s musical tastes,” said Ash.

Selections include “Semper Fidelis” march by John Phillip Sousa, “Malaguena” by Ernesto Lecuona, selections from “The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber, an exciting Israeli folk dance suite and more.

“It is always exciting to get community members from all over central Texas together to bring a musical offering to the community at large,” said Ash. “We have musicians from age 13 to those who are retired. I hope everyone will make an effort to come and support this musical community project.”

For more information, contact the HPU School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

HPU Student Speaker Bureau wins individual, team awards at national championship

SSB Team PhotoBROWNWOOD – April 27, 2017 – Student Speaker Bureau, Howard Payne University’s speech and debate team, competed at the 20th annual National Christian College Forensics Association Invitational National Championships, held in March at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. The team won numerous awards for their performances in both individual events and debate.

Freshmen Erin Haley, communication major from Mason, and Brooklyn Britton, theatre major from Brownwood, were awarded novice national champions in dramatic duo interpretation.

“I am thrilled that Erin and Brooklyn won the title of novice national champions for their outstanding performance,” said Dr. Julie Welker, Student Speaker Bureau team coach and chair of the Department of Communication. “These two young ladies have worked all year to perfect this piece, and it certainly paid off for them.”

Senior Gabby McWhirter, theatre major from Brownwood, and junior Reagan Grisham, communication major from Arlington, won fifth place overall in open dramatic duo.

“This is the first time in several years that we have had duo competitors do so well,” said Dr. Welker. “It was exciting to have them place in both novice and open divisions.”

In parliamentary debate, the HPU team won third place overall debate sweepstakes.

The junior varsity team of Christopher Freeland, sophomore biochemistry major from Bangs, and Tyler Olin, sophomore social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Howe, advanced to the final round. The team lost on a 2-1 decision to Colorado Christian University. Olin was named fourth top junior varsity speaker, and Freeland was named seventh top junior varsity speaker.

The junior varsity parliamentary debate teams of Morgan Ashmore, communication major from Brock, and Reagan Grisham, junior communication major from Arlington, advanced to semifinals.

The novice parliamentary debate team of Madi Neal, freshman communication and social science jurisprudence major from Chandler, and Isabelle Stahrfisher, freshman communication major from Fort Worth, advanced to the semifinals round.

Other students competing in the tournament were Braxton Clark, senior social science global studies major from Southlake; Aimee Orozco, junior communication major from Shepherd; Isaac Sommers, senior social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Boerne; and Haylee Williams, freshman communication major from Bellville. Sidni Carruthers, instructor of communication, assists with the team.

This year, 23 universities from across the nation participated in NCCFI. All schools are members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. More than 250 students competed in the tournament.

“Having nine of 13 HPU students advance or win some type of speaker award is success by any measure,” said Dr. Welker. “We were competing against some of the best debate and individual events schools in Christian higher education. Our HPU students did a fabulous job!”

While in Phoenix, the team traveled to the Grand Canyon National Park for sightseeing.

“These trips are about more than just competing,” said Dr. Welker. “We want our students to have a well-rounded education through travel and experience the culture of each city we visit. While competition is our primary focus, getting out and about and networking with alumni is an important part, too.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2017 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau includes, from left, Dr. Julie Welker, Morgan Ashmore, Braxton Clark, Aimee Orozco, Isabella Stahrfisher, Madison Neal, Christopher Freeland, Gabi McWhirter, Erin Haley, Brooklyn Britton, Isaac Sommers, Andrea Balderas, Haylee Williams, Reagan Grisham, Tyler Olin and Ms. Sidni Carruthers.

HPU Symphonic Band to present “American Music Spectacular” on Thursday

BROWNWOOD – April 25, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Symphonic Band will present its 22nd annual “American Music Spectacular” on Thursday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. The concert will take place in the university’s Mims Auditorium and is free to the public. Donations will be accepted at the door on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Project.

The band will feature music by composers who have helped to shape the American musical landscape. Selections include “Circus Bee” by Henry Filmore, “Armed Forces Salute” by Bob Lowden, “Bandancing” by Jack Stamp and “American Patrol” by Frank Meacham. The band will also perform a special piece titled “Duty, Honor, Country” by Harold L. Walters which is a narrated tribute honoring our American military heroes. The Concert Choir will join the band to present Bach’s “Who Puts His Trust in God Most Just.” The Symphonic Band is under the direction of Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands. The Concert Choir is under the direction of Dr. Christopher Rosborough, assistant professor of music.

“This evening of Americana has become a true tradition within the central Texas area,” said Ash. “We will celebrate the American spirit and those who have fought and struggled to help win our freedom and democracy. You won’t want to miss this amazing night of music celebrating America and her heroes.”

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2017 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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HPU and BHS choirs to join for spring concert Tuesday

BROWNWOOD – April 21, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Concert Choir and University Singers will join with Brownwood High School’s A Cappella Choir to present a combined spring concert titled “In Paradisum” on Tuesday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. The concert will take place at First Baptist Church in Brownwood and is free to the public.

The HPU choirs are under the direction of Dr. Christopher Rosborough, assistant professor of music. The BHS A Cappella Choir is under the direction of Cindy Franklin, BHS choir director and BISD Choral & Elementary Program director.

The concert is based on “The Eternal” featuring Gabriel Faure’s “Requiem” and several timeless hymns from the sacred harp tradition. Personnel performers for the concert are organist Dean Kiesling, music teacher at Northwest Elementary and organist at First United Methodist Church; pianist Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and tenured professor of music; pianist HPU sophomore Abraham Cooper; soprano soloist Dr. Celeste Church, dean of institutional research and effectiveness and associate professor of music; and baritone soloist Dr. Iwao Asakura, assistant professor of music at Tarleton State University.

“While we celebrate the liturgical season of Easter, this concert comes just in time to commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus,” said Dr. Rosborough. “This collaborative event allows the community to come together and present something truly special. It is my hope that this spurs even more musical interest in the community in years to come.”

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

Works of HPU art faculty exhibited at United States Air Force Academy

Harmon exhibit photoBROWNWOOD – April 19, 2017 – The recent paintings of Howard Payne University art faculty David and Susan Harmon are on exhibition at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, through April 26. Titled “Painterly Expressions of an Artistic Couple,” the exhibition is located in the Permanent Professors Art Gallery on the third floor of the Academy’s Fairchild Hall.

Though the painters have entirely different approaches to their art, the exhibition displays unity and a holistic environment in a single venue.

Two large canvases by Susan Harmon, HPU adjunct art faculty member, cover more than 17 feet on each side of the gallery walls and zig-zag high and low because the canvas pieces were sewn together in irregular sections. Just the shapes themselves are interesting, but with color the walls pop and attract passersby into the gallery to see more.

Once inside, viewers experience smaller works created by David Harmon, professor of art and chair of HPU’s Department of Art. Eighteen square panels spiral and rotate with abstract thick slashes of blue tones. The pieces hang in a variety of heights to exaggerate the overall effect.

David Harmon earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at Pennsylvania State University. Susan Harmon earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Georgia Southern University. Both have participated in long lists of juried, invitational and solo exhibits, including many international venues. Each has a solid reputation based on many excellent conference presentations as well as notable residencies, special events and publications.

“The exhibit not only highlights painterly expressions of an artistic couple, but emphasizes two professional career paths woven together to facilitate a strong collaborative project,” said Pam Aloisa, professor of art and gallery director at the United States Air Force Academy.

For more information, contact Aloisa at 719-322-8244 or by e-mail at pam.aloisa@usafa.edu.

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Cutline: Paintings by HPU art faculty David and Susan Harmon are on exhibition at the United States Air Force Academy through April 26.

HPU’s Atkinson to present senior recital Thursday

Alex AtkinsonBROWNWOOD – April 18, 2017 – Howard Payne University senior George Alexander Atkinson of Haslet will present a senior recital on Thursday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel. The program is free of charge and the public is encouraged to attend.

Atkinson is a music education major from the studio of Stephen Goacher, professor of music.

“We are happy to present Alex Atkinson to our audience in a program of musical variety and unique possibilities in sound,” said Goacher.

Atkinson’s recital program will consist of two compositions for the saxophone composed 200 years apart. The first is a sonata composed near 1730 by George Frederick Handel. Atkinson will perform the sonata on the rarely heard baritone saxophone. In the 1850s, the French composer and theorist Hector Berlioz wrote that the baritone saxophone is the most noble of all instruments, perched on the edge of silence. Atkinson will give his audience the rare opportunity to hear the baritone saxophone demonstrated in the manner Berlioz was speaking. The recital will also include a 20th century sonata for the alto saxophone by the American composer Lawson Lunde.

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.

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Cutline: HPU senior Alex Atkinson will present a recital on Thursday, April 20.

HPU’s Horton to present senior recital Thursday

Josiah Horton 2016Howard Payne University senior Josiah Horton of Lockhart will present a vocal recital on Thursday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel. The recital is free and is open to the public.

Horton is a church music-vocal major and English minor. He is from the studio of Dr. Greg Church, professor of music.

“This program has been one of my favorites to build with a student,” said Dr. Church. “The music comes from several different musical periods and is quite challenging. It requires great musicality and sensitivity by both the singer and the pianist to be performed well.”

Recital selections include pieces from George Frederick Handel, Hugo Wolf, Erik Satie and Kurt Weill. Horton will also perform “Four Burns Songs” by Benjamin Brittain and “O wie ängstlich” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Accompanying Horton on the piano is Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and tenured professor of music.

“Mr. Horton and Dr. Wallace have put a significant amount of work into this recital,” said Dr. Church. “This will be a wonderful evening of music performed by two highly talented musicians.”

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

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Cutline: HPU senior Josiah Horton will present a vocal recital on Thursday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel.

HPU Pre-College Music students compete in festival

Pre-College Music & Art Program LogoBROWNWOOD – April 13, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music students recently competed in the District 8-4 Junior Festival in conjunction with the National Federation of Music Clubs. The festival was hosted on the HPU campus with 26 of HPU’s Pre-College Music students participating.

Students entered in the Competitive category who earned a Superior rating at the festival are entitled to advance to the state competition at Texas State University in San Marcos on May 20. Of the 26 HPU Pre-College Music students competing, all earned the Superior rating. Those students were Hannah Bessent, Andrew Boren, Michelle Cabrera, Angie Calfa (2), Tony Calfa, Vic Cooper, Christian Fijer, Kirsten Fijer, Leila Gautier, Christopher Ivy, Kyle Ivy, Kamry Keese (2), Mary McIver, Marti Milwee, Michael Morales, Sydney Neel, Aishwarya Nigalye, Sarah Reeves (2), Jordan Roberts (2), Carli Schoen, Cate Smith, Ava Sparks-Hansen (2) and Kyla Tressler. Of these students, 24 will participate at the state level. Participating in the Non-Competitive category and receiving a Superior rating were Christopher Ivy and Evan Smith.

The Pre-College Music and Art Program serves the Brownwood community by offering music and art lessons to children and adults. HPU Pre-College Music students competing in this junior festival ranged in age from 5 to 17 years of age.

“Our congratulations go out to these students and their teachers for their accomplishments,” said Diane Owens, director of the HPU Pre-College Music and Art Program. “We also send our best wishes to those who will compete at Texas State University in May.”

For more information about the Federated Music Clubs, or to inquire about the Pre-College Music and Art program at HPU, contact Owens at 325-649-8501 or dowens@hputx.edu.

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HPU theatre students’ college careers to culminate in one-act plays

hpu theatre seniors for webBROWNWOOD – April 13, 2017 – Three senior Howard Payne University theatre students are spending the final weeks of the spring 2017 semester preparing for the one-act plays that will signify the completion of their time at HPU. The Student-Directed One-Act Plays, capstone projects for all HPU theatre students, will take place April 21-23 at the HPU theatre.

Gabrielle McWhirter of Crosbyton is directing “Going to a Place Where You Already Are.” Show times are April 21 at 7 p.m. and April 23 at 3:30 p.m. “I Hate Hamlet,” directed by Isaac Howell of Georgetown, will take place April 21 at 8:30 p.m. and April 22 at 7 p.m. Show times for “The Bald Soprano,” directed by Bryce McWhirter of Pflugerville, are April 22 at 8:30 p.m. and April 23 at 2 p.m. The plays are free of charge and the public is encouraged to attend.

“I’m so proud of each of their accomplishments,” said Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, chair of HPU’s Department of Theatre and professor of theatre. “The students have been hard at work on their plays and I’m excited to see the final results.”

Through the process of directing the one-act plays, seniors transition from cast members alongside their classmates to roles of authority. They make important decisions each step of the way, such as choosing the play, mapping character’s physical movements on stage, dealing with technical elements such as lighting and scenery, and finding props.

“It’s been fun getting to know the cast on a different level as their director rather than as their cast mate,” said Gabrielle McWhirter. “I’ve been working with mostly freshmen, but they’re really talented so I think it’s going to be a good show.”

Bryce McWhirter said it’s exciting to see his show begin to take form on the stage.

“I have nothing but volumes of good things to say about the cast,” he said. “We’re always finding new ideas and new ways to approach the scenes in our rehearsals.”

As underclassmen, each of the three performed in senior students’ one-act plays.

“I had good experiences working with student-directors, and I wanted to make sure my cast had that same kind of good experience while also ensuring the show is good,” said Isaac Howell.

By their last semester at HPU, theatre students have received instruction in acting, lighting, set building, makeup artistry, diction and all the other components of successful theatrical productions.

“All of the courses they have taken up to this point play into what they’re doing here,” said Dr. Humfeld. “It’s a fun business, but there a lot of details that need to be addressed.”

Gabrielle McWhirter said she’s amazed by Dr. Humfeld and the level of expertise she brings to HPU’s Department of Theatre.

“She thinks of everything so fast,” she said. “When I was reading my script, I thought, ‘How am I going to get ice cream onstage without it melting?’ Just like that, Dr. Humfeld said, ‘Mashed potatoes.’ I would never have thought of that.”

Dr. Humfeld, who is in her 31st year of teaching at HPU, said she encourages students to “be sponges” and absorb everything they can in life.

“You never know when some little tidbit you learn is going to help you in a show,” she said.

For more information about the plays, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

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Cutline: Three HPU seniors majoring in theatre will present Student-Directed One-Act Plays. Left to right: Isaac Howell, Gabrielle McWhirter and Bryce McWhirter.