News Archives: School of Music and Fine Arts

HPU theatre producing “Inventing Montana”

Inventing Montana for webBROWNWOOD – February 25, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre is producing “Inventing Montana,” a play by Jeanne Murray Walker. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 25, through Saturday, February 27, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 28. The HPU Theatre is located at 202 Whaley Street in Brownwood.

A comedy, “Inventing Montana” tells the story of Montana Winfield, a university professor and Dickens scholar. A young lady comes to his home to bring him an unpublished Dickens manuscript hoping he will read it and authenticate it. As he reads the manuscript, the Dickens characters arrive and tell their story. Montana’s story alternates with scenes from the Dickens novel, invented by the playwright.

“The interspersing of the modern-day characters and the Dickens characters provides an intriguing evening’s entertainment,” said Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, professor of theatre and chair of the Department of Theatre.

Following the run in Brownwood, the theatre department will tour the show to the Christian University Theatre Festival, to be held this year at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview March 2-4.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and children. They are available for purchase on the evenings of the performances. Admission is free for HPU faculty, staff and students. For more information, call HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.


Photo cutline: Bryce McWhirter (Montana Winfield), sophomore from Pflugerville, and Hailey Green (Margaret), sophomore from Kennedale, rehearse a scene from “Inventing Montana.”

HPU debaters win big at home tournament

SSB at HPU for webBROWNWOOD – February 23, 2016 – Howard Payne University debaters Braxton Clark, junior from Southlake, and Isaac Sommers, junior from Boerne, won the open parliamentary debate division at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Spring Championship tournament held at Howard Payne University February 5-7. HPU hosted and competed against 22 teams from 16 colleges and universities.

Clark was named to the Texas All-State Forensics Squad, a prestigious group of students who are nominated by coaches and meet stringent criteria including win/loss records in speech and debate, grade-point average, community service and leadership.

Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, directs HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau (SSB) speech and debate team.

“Braxton has been a tremendous leader for SSB over the last two years,” she said. “His leadership has helped to grow our team as he has taken an active role in coaching the freshmen and sophomores.”

Clark also won sixth place top debate speaker and Sommers was named 10th place top debate speaker.

Students on the team also competed in individual events, including extemporaneous speaking (current events), impromptu speaking, prose, poetry, informative speaking and persuasive speaking. Also competing were team members Morgan Ashmore, senior from Weatherford; Andrea Balderas, junior from Lytle; Christopher Freeland, sophomore from Bangs; Reagan Grisham, sophomore from Arlington; and Aimee Orozco, sophomore from Shepherd.

“Our team did exceptionally well,” said Dr. Welker. “Braxton and Isaac fought hard to advance and their victory was well earned. I’m proud of the way our team performed and we are continuing to prepare for upcoming tournaments.”

Student Speaker Bureau hosted the three-day tournament on the HPU campus. Almost 200 competitors, judges and coaches were on campus for the weekend.

HPU will travel to Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, Calif., in March to compete in the National Christian College Forensics Association national championship tournament.


Photo cutline: HPU Student Speaker Bureau members that competed in a tournament on the HPU campus earlier this month included, from left, Isaac Sommers, Braxton Clark, Morgan Ashmore, Reagan Grisham, Andrea Balderas and Christopher Freeland. Not pictured is team member Aimee Orozco.

HPU’s symphonic band to present concert

BROWNWOOD – February 12, 2016 – The School of Music at Howard Payne University will present the symphonic band in its first concert of the spring semester on Thursday, February 25, at 7:30 p.m. in HPU’s Mims Auditorium.

The band will present a varied and exciting program, including selections from Gallop, from First Suite for Band, and El Camino Real-A Latin Fantasy, both by the legendary American composer, Alfred Reed. Other selections include Variations on a Korean Folk Song by John Barnes Chance; Undertow, by the new American composer for band, John Mackey, as well as selections from Les Miserables, arranged by Warren Barker.

“This is an exciting slate of music that our students have been working really hard to prepare,” said Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands. “There is sure to be music to delight the musical tastes of everyone in attendance.”

There is no charge for this concert and the public is encouraged to attend.

“Bring a friend and enjoy an evening of exciting music, compliments of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts and the symphonic band,” Ash added.

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

HPU’s Gabriella Glenn Guest to perform senior recital

Gabriella GuestBROWNWOOD – February 9, 2016 – Howard Payne University student Gabriella Glenn Guest will present a senior recital on Thursday, February 18, at 7:30 p.m. The recital will be in the university’s Grace Chapel. Guest, a mezzo-soprano, is a music major from Midlothian. She is a student of Dr. Celeste Church, dean of institutional research and effectiveness and associate professor of music at HPU.

“Gabi has been an eager and consistent student of voice throughout her years at HPU,” said Dr. Church. “She has a particular interest in modern compositions and her recital reflects that repertoire in fun and interesting ways.”

The recital is open to the public and there is no charge for admission. For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Gabriella Glenn Guest will perform a senior recital February 18 at 7:30 p.m.

HPU to exhibit works by artist Ruben Salinas

BROWNWOOD – January 18, 2016 – The artwork of Ruben Salinas, painter and digital design artist, will be on exhibit at Howard Payne University January 25 through March 5. The collection, titled “Aspects of Black and White,” will be exhibited in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery inside HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center.

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, and following the footsteps of his father, who worked as an illustrator and art director, Salinas studied communications and majored in advertising at Universidad Regiomontana. He moved to Houston in 1980 where he continued his education in visual communications at The Art Institute of Houston. He went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from Stephen F. Austin University. Salinas moved to Savannah, Ga., in 2005 to teach at Savannah College of Art and Design. Today, he continues work as a freelance illustrator and painter.

Salinas is the author of “The Spirit of Gesture,” a practical drawing guide for capturing the essence and energy of the subject, written for illustration, animation and concept development students and enthusiasts. He is also the founder of Art Studio Press, a graphic design, illustration, publishing and giclee printing studio.

“Mr. Salinas is a very talented illustrator and painter,” said David Harmon, professor of art and chair of HPU’s Department of Art. “We’re pleased to exhibit his work and invite the community to come take a look.”

HPU’s gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or by appointment. For more information about the exhibit, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500. The Doakie Day Art Center is located on the HPU campus, on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood.


Attached: Promotional poster for Ruben Salinas exhibit at Howard Payne University

Central Texas Community Band to begin rehearsals at HPU

BROWNWOOD – January 18, 2016 – It’s time to dust off that old clarinet or trombone and get back in the band! The Central Texas Community Concert Band will begin rehearsals for the spring 2016 season on Monday, January 25, at Howard Payne University.

The band will meet in HPU’s Davidson Music Complex beginning at 7:30 p.m. Corey Ash, director of bands at HPU, will lead the group along with several guest conductors from the area.

“Everyone is invited to be a part of this exciting group,” said Ash. “The band will perform varied literature for its annual spring concert. From high school students to those who are older but still have the desire to play, all are invited to come and be a part of this wonderful community project.”

For more information, contact Ash at (325) 649-8502 or


HPU’s Harmon exhibiting work at Lubbock gallery

BROWNWOOD – December 15, 2015 – A painting by David Harmon, chair of Howard Payne University’s Department of Art, was accepted to the group exhibition “White on White” at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in Lubbock. The exhibition is open now through January 23.

Each piece in the exhibition features monochromatic works from the many hues and shades of white. The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and is free to the public.

Harmon additionally presented a paper in New York City this fall at the National Conference on Liberal Arts and the Education of Artists. His paper was titled “Revealing Aesthetics in Art Appreciation.” The conference, held at the famous Warwick New York Hotel, was sponsored by the School of Visual Arts.

“Mr. Harmon’s commitment to his professional development is apparent in his accomplishments in and out of the classroom,” said Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts. “His passion for art is reflected in his works as well as in the works of his students.”


Photo cutline: David Harmon, chair of HPU’s Department of Art, is exhibiting a painting at a Lubbock gallery.

Early HPU artifact discovered in attic of Brownwood home

ellis and music faculty for webBROWNWOOD – December 14, 2015 – An item found in the attic of a Brownwood home was recently given a prominent new location at Howard Payne University. A 117-year-old Howard Payne diploma – the oldest known in existence – was discovered and donated to the university by Derek and Stephanie Kirbo of Brownwood.

The diploma was awarded to Miss Bessie Doswell Ramey in 1898 upon the completion of “the full course in Piano, Harmony, and History of Music.” The university, which was founded in 1889, granted its first degree in 1895.

“The diploma is in astonishingly good condition given its age,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. Dr. Ellis presented the diploma to representatives of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts during the university’s Recital Hour. The artifact is now on display in the university’s Davidson Music Complex.

The Ramey family was well known in the area, with ties to the Howard Payne founders and other pioneers. Bessie Ramey’s father, John James Ramey, died in 1895. His obituary reads, “Mr. Ramey’s name is inseparably connected with Howard Payne College, of Brownwood, and more than any one man, with the exception of Dr. John D. Robnett, the founder of the institution, supported the college at a time when it was in sore need of friends.”

Although little more is known about Bessie Ramey and her time at Howard Payne, Dr. Ellis emphasized the significance of the diploma’s discovery.

“The individuals who founded Howard Payne built it out of nothing near the very beginning of the establishment of Brownwood,” he said. “Early students like Bessie Ramey paved the way for future generations. We’re so thankful to the Kirbos and will cherish the diploma for many years to come.”


Photo cutline: A 117-year-old Howard Payne diploma found in a Brownwood attic now has a permanent home inside the university’s Davidson Music Complex. Left to right: Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands; Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and professor of music; Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; and Dr. Gregory Church, associate professor of music.

HPU brings home top speaker award, other accolades from recent debate tournament

clark_ssbBROWNWOOD – December 8, 2015 – HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently competed at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) Fall Championship tournament, held at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. Braxton Clark, junior social science global studies major from Southlake, was named top debate speaker at the tournament.

Clark and team member Ashley Moon, senior communication major from Waxahachie, won third place in parliamentary debate at the tournament. Additionally, HPU won 5th place overall sweepstakes in the tournament, competing against 23 schools from Texas and Louisiana.

Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, directs the team.

“I am so proud of how well our team competed at this tournament,” she said. “TIFA is always very competitive, so for our team to receive the top speaker award and the fifth place sweepstakes is quite an accomplishment.”

Also competing at the tournament were Morgan Ashmore, junior communication major from Weatherford; Andrea Balderas, sophomore biology major from Lytle; Christopher Freeland, freshman chemistry and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Brownwood; Reagan Grisham, sophomore theatre major from Arlington; and Luis Ortiz, junior English and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Brownsville.


Photo cutline: HPU Student Speaker Bureau member Braxton Clark was named the top debate speaker at a recent tournament.

HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau competes in Oxford, England

Oxford team photo 2015 for webBROWNWOOD – December 4, 2015 – Members of Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently competed in Oxford, England. The Oxford Inter-Varsity Debating Competition, hosted by the world-famous Oxford Union, is one of the largest and most prestigious debating competitions globally, hosting almost 200 teams from universities around the world.

Participating students included Morgan Ashmore, junior from Weatherford; Braxton Clark, sophomore from Southlake; Reagan Grisham, sophomore from Arlington; and Ashley Moon, senior from Waxahachie.

Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, directs the team.

“Students who compete in British Parliamentary debate have eight years of eligibility, so many of the competitors were graduate students, pursuing doctoral degrees, law degrees or other,” she said. “HPU students had the opportunity to debate students of all levels from all over the world.”

HPU competed in six rounds of debate with topics including religion in primary and secondary schools, U.S. immigration policy, penalty enhancements for hate crimes, FIFA World Cup in Russia, and abortion.

In Oxford, the team also visited Christ Church and the Bodleian Library. In London, the team visited the Houses of Parliament and watched a debate in the House of Commons. They also visited Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, The National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum.

“The trip to Oxford to debate with other students from all over the world is such an educational experience,” said Dr. Welker. “Not only do our students compete well, but they gain such a deeper understanding of how the world views Americans and American politics.”


Photo cutline: Members of HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently competed in Oxford, England. Left to right: Braxton Clark, Ashley Moon, Reagan Grisham, Morgan Ashmore and Dr. Julie Welker.