News Archives: School of Music and Fine Arts

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.

HPU brings home awards from Christian University Theatre Festival

Salted With Fire playBROWNWOOD – April 11, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre was honored recently for its achievements at the Christian University Theatre Festival held at Wayland Baptist University. The department performed “Salted With Fire,” a play by Matthew Rutkowski, alumnus and admission counselor for HPU’s El Paso Center.

HPU won Outstanding Achievement in Costuming and individual awards were given to Katie Cravey, freshman from Huntsville; Hailey Green, junior from Kennedale; and Isaac Howell, senior from Georgetown. Cravey and Howell were awarded for Outstanding Achievement in Acting while Green was named Outstanding Technical Crew Member. Cravey was also named the Outstanding Festival Performer, the festival’s highest award.

“The play was very well received,” said Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, chair of HPU’s Department of Theatre and professor of theatre. “We were also honored to have our playwright at the performance.”

“Salted With Fire” is inspired by the book of the same name by George MacDonald, associate of authors such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The play poses the question, “Why does God let bad things happen?”

“My hope is the audience leaves with the perspective of a good and loving God who walks with us through the difficult times,” Rutkowski said prior to the play’s debut.

Dr. Celeste Church, dean of institutional research and effectiveness and associate professor of music, attended a performance of “Salted With Fire” on the HPU campus.

“I found the play to be one that penetrates the heart,” she said. “There are so many layers of meaning in the play and the quiet, honest struggle and beauty of the characters brought tears to my eyes.”

The Christian University Theatre Festival was created more than 20 years ago by the theatre directors from HPU, Hardin-Simmons University and Wayland Baptist University as a means to come together to share their art and love of theatre in a Christian setting. The festival rotates among the campuses of Texas Christian universities each year.

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

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Cutline: HPU theatre students perform “Salted With Fire.”

HPU’s Emery to present senior recital Tuesday

Timothy EmeryHoward Payne University senior Timothy Emery of Brownwood will present a vocal recital on Tuesday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel. The recital is free and is open to the public.

Emery is a church music-vocal major and practical theology minor and will graduate in May. He is from the studio of Dr. Greg Church, associate professor of music.

“This recital is made up of vocal solo music from several different musical periods,” said Dr. Church. “The pieces come from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras as well as music written within the last twenty years.”

Recital selections include pieces from Franz Shubert, Henry Purcell, Richard Wagner, Gabriel Fauré and Stephano Donaudy. In addition, Emery will perform “Three Byron Songs” by David Ashley White and “Madamina! Il catalogo é questo” from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s famous opera “Don Giovanni.” Accompanying Emery on the piano is Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and tenured professor of music.

“Mr. Emery is singing very well and, though he has a powerful voice, sings with sensitivity,” said Dr. Church. “I believe this will be a very successful recital which everyone will enjoy.”

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

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Cutline: HPU senior Timothy Emery will present a vocal recital on Tuesday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel.

HPU Heritage Singers to present spring concert

BROWNWOOD – April 6, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Heritage Singers will present a spring concert on Tuesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Grace Chapel. The concert is free and is open to the public.

The concert is under the direction of Dr. Christopher Rosborough, assistant professor of music. Joseph Dunlap, instructor of music, will be the pianist for the concert.

The concert title, “Beloved thou hast brought me many flowers…,” comes from a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a prominent English poet of the Victorian Era. Selections include “flower songs” that allude to various stages of love, celebration and mourning. Within these selections, there is a sacred floral section dedicated to the “Rose of Sharon.”

“Flowers…we congratulate with them, show our compassion with them and place them on the biers of our loved ones,” said Dr. Rosborough. “They shed beauty in the darkness bringing color to the otherwise monochromatic. These pieces exemplify love, loss and life in Christ.”

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

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HPU to present Music Theatre Workshop on Thursday

Howard Payne University’s Music Theatre Workshop class will present a music theatre scenes program titled “Relationships: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” on Thursday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium. The informal program is free of charge and all scenes are family-friendly. The public is encouraged to attend.

While the Music Theatre Workshop class often supports the major HPU music theatre productions, the class this semester is focused on building stage skills for singers in a workshop setting. These scenes are offered in a less formal way and with minimal set pieces, props and costuming. Thursday’s performance will feature students practicing their skills in selected scenes from various Broadway favorites as well as operatic selections.

Students who will perform include freshman Caleb Bostick of Brownwood, junior Camila Cotter of Garden Ridge, freshman Taylor Davis of Alvin, freshman Josiah Hughes of Katy, sophomore Ryan Miles of Goldthwaite, freshman Sadie Perez of Brownwood, junior Brendyn Porter of Red Oak, freshman Andreahnna Rosenquist of Brownwood and junior Natalie Stephens of Alvarado.

Dr. Celeste Church, dean of institutional research and effectiveness and associate professor of music, directs the Music Theatre Workshop class. Joseph Dunlap, instructor of music, will accompany the class on the piano during the program.

“This is a talented group of young singers who are developing a new awareness of ways to communicate on stage,” said Dr. Church. “It will be an entertaining show and I know these students will enjoy sharing their work.”

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

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HPU’s Walling to present senior recital

Aaron WallingBROWNWOOD – March 27, 2017 – Howard Payne University senior Aaron Walling of Georgetown will present a recital on Thursday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. The recital will take place in the university’s Grace Chapel and is free to the public. All are encouraged to attend.

Walling will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a minor in music. After graduation, Walling plans to begin work toward his doctoral degree specializing in physical therapy at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.

Walling is a student of Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands. The recital includes a wide repertoire representative of different musical periods and styles. Walling will perform on trumpet, flugel horn and cornet. During the finale of the recital, a brass choir will join him.

“Although Aaron is not a music major, he has been a major component of what we have done in the instrumental music department for the past four years,” said Ash. “I am excited by his love for music and I hope that everyone will come out to support him as he finishes up his time at HPU.”

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

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Cutline: HPU senior Aaron Walling will present a recital on Thursday, March 30.

HPU’s TaShana Hooker to present senior recital this Thursday

TaShana Hooker March 2017BROWNWOOD – March 22, 2017 – Howard Payne University senior TaShana Hooker from Carrollton will present a recital on Thursday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. The recital will take place at Grace Chapel in the university’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center. The recital is free to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

Hooker is a music education major with a focus on the clarinet. She is from the studio of Stephen Goacher, professor of music, and will graduate in December 2017. Hooker was a recipient of the HPU Woman’s Club Yellow Rose Scholarship in the spring of 2015 and the Servant Leadership Award in the spring of 2016.

“I have enjoyed TaShana’s work in my clarinet studio for the past four years,” said Goacher. “A gifted musician, her playing displays depth and clarity. We look forward to presenting her in a senior recital.”

Hooker’s repertoire includes a clarinet sonata by Paul Hindemith and Victor Babin’s eight “Hillandale Waltzes.” Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and professor of music, will accompany Hooker on the piano.

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

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Cutline: HPU senior TaShana Hooker will present a senior recital on Thursday, March 23.

HPU Jazz Ensemble to present spring concert this Thursday

jazz ensemble for webBROWNWOOD – March 7, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Jazz Ensemble will present its spring concert Thursday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium. The concert is open to the public and free of charge.

A featured selection will be Artie Shaw’s arrangement of “Indian Love Song” with sophomore Katelyn Zimmer and senior Alex Atkinson. Zimmer, on clarinet, is a music education major from Shepherd, and Atkinson, vocalist, is a music education major from Haslet. Other selections include “Jitterbug Waltz” by Fats Waller, “Ah-That’s Freedom” by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band, “J&B” by Oliver Nelson and “Tickletoe” by Lester Young.

The HPU Jazz Ensemble has illustrious accomplishments including Outstanding Collegiate Band awards for seven years at the Temple Jazz Festival and performances at the North Texas Jazz Festival.

“We are pleased to present our students to the community in a celebration of the great American music, jazz,” said Stephen Goacher, professor of music and director of the ensemble.

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

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Cutline: HPU’s Jazz Ensemble will present a spring concert on Thursday, March 9. Pictured are two of the concert’s soloists, junior Alex Atkinson (left) and sophomore Katelyn Zimmer (center), and the ensemble’s director, Stephen Goacher, professor of music (far right).

HPU Student Speaker Bureau wins TIFA debate championship

SSB TIFA Spring 2017BROWNWOOD – March 3, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently won the debate championship at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association spring championship tournament, held at Blinn College in Bryan. Braxton Clark, senior social science global studies major from Southlake, and Isaac Sommers, senior social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Boerne, were the top parliamentary debate team at the tournament.

The HPU SSB team won second place overall in debate sweepstakes and second place overall sweepstakes, competing against 24 schools from Texas and Louisiana.

Clark was also named third place top speaker; Christopher Freeland, sophomore biochemistry and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Bangs, was fourth place top speaker; and Sommers was seventh place top speaker.

The debate team of Freeland and Tyler Olin, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Howe, were also quarterfinalists in parliamentary debate.

“These debaters have been working extremely hard in preparation for this tournament,” said Dr. Julie Welker, head of HPU’s Department of Communication and SSB coach. “TIFA is especially difficult, as we are the only private university competing in debate against much larger state schools. I’m always impressed with our outstanding students when they win so many awards against some of the best teams in the state.”

HPU beat teams from the University of North Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas State University and others to clench the championship.

The team also began competing in International Public Debate Association style debate last year. IPDA is a one-on-one debate style that provides an opportunity for individuals to develop advocacy skills in a forum that promotes appropriate and effective communication.

Both Clark and Sommers advance to IPDA quarterfinals, and Clark was named sixth place IPDA speaker.

Also competing at the tournament in debate were Morgan Ashmore, senior communication major from Weatherford; Reagan Grisham, junior communication major from Arlington; Gabrielle McWhirter, senior theatre major from Crosbyton; Madison Neal, freshman communication major from Chandler; Isabelle Stahrfisher, freshman communication major from Fort Worth; and Haylee Williams, sophomore communication major from Bellville. Competing in individual speaking events were Grisham, McWhirter and Neal, as well as Brooklyn Britton, freshman theatre major from Brownwood; Erin Haley, sophomore communication major from Mason; and Aimee Orozco, junior communication major from Shepherd.

Sidni Kirby, instructor of communication, is the assistant coach of the team.

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Cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently won the debate championship at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association spring championship tournament. Left to right: Sidni Kirby, Braxton Clark, Reagan Grisham, Isabelle Stahrfisher, Gabrielle McWhirter, Morgan Ashmore, Isaac Sommers, Madison Neal, Christopher Freeland, Haylee Williams, Tyler Olin, Brooklyn Britton, Erin Haley, Aimee Orozco and Dr. Julie Welker.