News Archives: School of Music and Fine Arts

HPU’s Pre-College Music students earn state honors

BROWNWOOD – July 7, 2015 – Twenty-eight students from Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music and Art program participated in the Texas Federation of Music Clubs (TFMC) State Competition recently, with many taking high honors. The program, part of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts, serves the Brownwood community by offering music and art lessons to children and adults.

The competition was held at Texas State University in San Marcos. Listed are the participants in the state competition and their ratings:

Vocal Solo/Musical Theatre
All State: Alex Fowler
Outstanding: Hannah Bessent, Angie Calfa, Kirsten Fijer, Kamry Keese, Mary McIver, Addison Miller, Sydney Neel, Shayna Oliver, Sarah Reeves, Drew Reynolds, Jordan Roberts and Ava Sparks-Hansen

Vocal Solo/Art Song
Outstanding: Addison Miller

Piano Solo
Outstanding: James Bautista, Michelle Cabrera, Becca Church, Vic Cooper, Christian Fijer, Alex Fowler, Kyle Ivy, Addison Miller, Michael Morales, Hannah Parson, Sarah Reeves, Natalee Rose, Cate Smith, Carter Wheeless and Trina Wheeless
Superior: Andrew Boren, Raya Hakim, Kamry Keese and Jordan Roberts

Forty-five students from the Pre-College program participated in the District 4A Junior Festival, held on the HPU campus in March. Of those students, 40 earned a “Superior” rating, making them eligible to compete in the TFMC Competition.

HPU’s Pre-College Music and Art Program, directed by Diane Owens, offers Kindermusik classes to pre-school children and lessons in art, musical instruments and voice to school-aged students 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 Owens at (325) 649-8501 or or Jill Holamon at (325) 649-8500 or

The Texas Federation of Music Clubs operates in conjunction with the National Federation of Music Clubs. The NFMC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to music education and the promotion of creative and performing arts in America. Since its founding in 1898, the NFMC has grown into one of the world’s largest music organizations with club and individual members of all ages. The NFMC is charted by the Congress of the United States and is the only music organization member of the United Nations.

Dedicated to finding and fostering young musical talent, the NFMC conducts annual Junior Festivals with more than 120,000 participants. The NFMC offers more than three quarters of a million dollars in awards through state and national competitions. Federation members work to create a dynamic musical and cultural environment in their communities through education and sponsorship of musical events.


HPU hosts Congressional Art Competition

congressman conaway and hpu faculty for webBROWNWOOD – May 15, 2015 – Howard Payne University recently hosted the Congressional Art Competition for the 11th Congressional District of Texas. Congressman Mike Conaway and high school students from across the district were on campus for the event.

According to, hundreds of thousands of high school students from around the country have participated in the Congressional Art Competition since it began in 1982. A winning entry from each congressional district is displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol.

“HPU was honored to host this event,” said Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts. “The students are all very talented and we were proud to display their artwork in our Doakie Day Art Center.”

The 2015 winning entries will be posted online at


Photo cutline: Congressman Mike Conaway (right), U.S. Representative for Texas’s 11th congressional district, was recently at HPU for the Congressional Art Competition. He is pictured with Dr. Richard Fiese (left), dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts, and David Harmon, professor and chair of HPU’s Department of Art. Photo by Chandler Condra, HPU senior.

HPU concert raises more than $700 for Wounded Warrior Project

American Music Spectacular for webBROWNWOOD – May 8, 2015 – Howard Payne University recently hosted the 20th Annual American Music Spectacular, a musical tribute to the United States, its armed forces and the many who serve as first responders in our communities. In lieu of ticket sales, HPU’s Department of Music accepted donations on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Project. More than $700 was raised for the national charity, an organization that offers resources and support for injured service members.

During the concert, the band performed a special piece titled “Armed Forces Salute,” honoring the men and women of our armed forces.

“I was really pleased we were able to contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project and we were honored to recognize the men and women who serve us on a daily basis,” said Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands.


Photo cutline: Band and audience members watch as the Color Guard posts the American and Texan flags prior to the 20th Annual American Music Spectacular. Photo by Kevin Holamon ’14.

HPU to celebrate armed forces with 20th annual American Music Spectacular

BROWNWOOD – April 24, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Music will present the 20th annual American Music Spectacular on Thursday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. at HPU’s Mims Auditorium. There is no charge for admission; however, donations will be collected on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Project, a national charity that offers resources and support for injured service members.

“This evening of Americana has become a true tradition within the Central Texas area,” said Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands.

The band will perform music from composers who have helped to shape the American musical landscape. The selections include “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” “American Overture,” “The Fire of Eternal Glory” and many more.

“We will celebrate the American spirit and those who have fought and struggled to help win our freedom and democracy,” said Ash.

The band will also perform a special piece titled “Armed Forces Salute,” during which the men and women of our armed forces will be honored.

“We will have many special guests from our armed services as well as leadership from many of the area’s first-responder organizations,” he said. “We will recognize these men and women who serve us on a daily basis.”

A reception will follow the concert.

“You won’t want to miss this amazing night of music celebrating America and her heroes,” said Ash.

HPU’s Concert Choir announces final performances of spring semester

BROWNWOOD – April 23, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Concert Choir will complete the spring 2015 semester with performances in Brownwood and Fort Worth.

The Concert Choir will be joined at HPU’s Mims Auditorium on Saturday, April 25, by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Master Chorale for a performance of Johannes Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem), which will be sung in English. Southwestern’s Master Chorale is conducted by Dr. John Simons. The performance, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will be conducted by Dr. Monte Garrett, HPU professor of music and director of choral activities.

The following Tuesday, April 28, the Concert Choir will travel to Fort Worth to join the Master Chorale in an additional performance of Requiem with the Fort Worth Symphony. The concert will be held at Southwestern’s Truett Auditorium and begins at 7:30 p.m.

“Our choir has had a terrific semester of performances and we’re honored to end our season by joining the Master Chorale and the Fort Worth Symphony,” said Dr. Garrett.

Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.

HPU band sorority to host brisket fundraiser

BROWNWOOD – April 21, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, a national honorary band sorority, will host a brisket dinner at Brownwood’s Coggin Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. Suggested donations are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and children ages 12 and under. Proceeds will benefit the HPU band program.

The meal will include sliced brisket, potato salad, beans and desserts.

“There will also be music and we encourage people to bring their lawn chairs or use the tables provided in the park,” said Olivia Belsher, the group’s historian/alumni secretary.

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

HPU exhibiting works of Pam Chadwick Aloisa through April 29

Pam Aloisa artwork for webBROWNWOOD – April 20, 2015 – Howard Payne University is exhibiting paintings by Pam Chadwick Aloisa, gallery director and professor of art history and art at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. The show, housed in HPU’s Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery located inside the Doakie Day Art Center, will run through Wednesday, April 29.

Titled “First Person Passages,” the exhibit discloses strong personal narratives, some fictional and enhanced, revealing underlying truths about life, work, relationships and the world around us.

“‘Passage’ can refer to a pathway, a safe retreat, a transition, a moving experience, a farewell or a major life change,” said the artist. “It can also mean a way toward a destination or a psychological state of moving on. The ‘First Person Passages’ exhibit features human-interest stories of my life that also operate as metaphors for the myriad meanings of the word ‘passage’.”

Aloisa’s paintings have won national and regional awards since 1986. She completed a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees while on active duty in the Air Force, studying under renowned artists Leon Golub, Judith Brodsky and Ida Lorentzen.

“Ms. Aloisa’s paintings reveal her varied interests in time and interaction with people,” said David Harmon, chair of HPU’s Department of Art. “Time is a fleeting phenomenon we all experience as we engage our lives. Preserving memory is what she does best in these works of expressionism.”

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 show, 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.


Photo cutline: The works of Pam Chadwick Aloisa, including this painting titled “Grandmother Worked With Her Hands,” are on display through April 29 at HPU’s Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery.

HPU music students, faculty perform in New Braunfels

Brauntex Marquee for webBROWNWOOD – April 17, 2015 – The Brauntex Performing Arts Theater in New Braunfels recently played host to students and faculty from Howard Payne University’s flagship campus in Brownwood. More than 150 guests from the community enjoyed Monday evening’s concert titled “A Joyful Heart.”

Performers included the HPU Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Stephen Goacher, professor of music; the Symphonic Band under the direction of Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands; and the Heritage Singers under the direction of Dr. Monte Garrett, professor of music and director of choral activities. Additional performers included Dr. Celeste Church, associate professor of music; Dr. Greg Church, associate professor of music; Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU’s first lady; Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music; and Hannah Strebeck, senior music education major and recipient of the prestigious Clara Freshour Nelson Scholarship.

HPU has maintained a presence in New Braunfels since 2012, offering degrees for undergraduate and graduate students as well as coursework for dual-credit students. The university is planning a permanent campus in New Braunfels as part of the Veramendi development project.

Symphonic Band for webFor more information about Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center, visit or call (830) 629-2366.


Photo cutlines:

The Brauntex Performing Arts Theater marquee announces the HPU concert.

HPU’s Symphonic Band was among the evening’s performers.

HPU’s speech and debate team ends season with awards in D.C., Oklahoma and Colorado

ssb spring 2015 season for webBROWNWOOD – April 16, 2015 – From Washington, D.C., to Denver, Colorado, HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team has had a winning competition circuit this spring.

HPU’s debate team received an invitation to compete in the American Enterprise Institute Capitalism and Values Tournament, held recently in Washington, D.C. The debate team of Adam Jones, junior communication and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Irving, and Braxton Clark, freshman communication and political science major from Southlake, advanced to the semifinal round in the tournament.

“I am incredibly proud of this team and their accomplishment at this tournament,” said Dr. Julie Welker, SSB coach and chair of the Department of Communication. “They competed against some of the best teams in the nation.”

Jones said that the trip to D.C. and the tournament really impacted his life.

“Being able to travel to a place so rich in history and debate about issues that matter with students who share my beliefs was a fantastic experience that I will not soon forget,” he said.

While Jones and Clark were in D.C., the rest of the team competed in the Sweetheart Swing held at Oklahoma University in Norman, Oklahoma. The team of Kaleigh Tankersley, senior communication major from Iraan, and Marcos Corley, senior criminal justice major from Corpus Christi, advanced to semifinals in this tournament.

“The OU tournament is very competitive,” said Dr. Welker. “We meet teams from all across the Midwest, one of the toughest parliamentary debate circuits in the U.S.”

Team captain Tankersley said that she always enjoys attending the OU tournament.

“We had the opportunity to compete against some great universities and put all of our hard work to the test, and we came out on top,” she said.

Dr. Welker added that she was very impressed with this team of seniors.

“They have both been on the team their entire time at HPU and their experience paid off at this tournament,” she said.

In individual speaking events at the tournament, Tankersley advanced to finals in impromptu speaking.

The team’s final tournament of the year was the National Christian College Forensics Association national tournament, held at Colorado Christian University.

The team won second place Debate Sweeps, Division II, and third place overall Individual Events Sweeps, Division III. The divisions are based on the number of entries per school.

“This year we only took four students to compete at nationals,” said Dr. Welker. “Despite our low numbers, HPU’s speech and debate team remained strong and walked away with very impressive awards. These awards show that even with a small team we are extremely competitive.”

In individual events, Braxton Clark placed second in extemporaneous speaking and fifth in impromptu speaking.

Senior Ashley Moon, communication major from Waxahachie, in her first year of competitive speech and debate, was named the National Christian College Forensics Invitational novice national champion in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) style debate. Moon also placed sixth in novice impromptu speaking.

“I invited Ashley to join the team this semester, knowing that she was an articulate speaker,” said Dr. Welker. “She has proven herself to be an outstanding speaker and debater. Winning novice national champion in IPDA debate is outstanding!”

Moon said that debating at the tournament was an amazing experience.

“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to debate and speak about religious issues because they are relevant to my life. The debates were challenging and stimulating,” she said.

Moon is the first IPDA debate national champion HPU has ever had.

Freshman Luis Rodriguez Ortiz, an English and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Brownsville, also competed on the team.

HPU speech and debate continues to expand its competitive endeavors, competing in three debate formats. They compete in the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA), which is the largest intercollegiate debate association in the United States. Member schools engage in two-on-two debate, with the resolutions or topics changing for each round of competition.

They also compete in the International Public Debate Association, which is one of the fastest-growing interscholastic debate associations in the nation. IPDA debate is one-on-one debate, in which the resolutions or topics change for each round of competition.

The team also competes in the World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC) style debate, also known as British parliamentary debate. The Student Speaker Bureau travels to Oxford, England, each fall to compete in the third largest debate tournament in the world.
In each style of debate, students will compete in a minimum of five to six preliminary rounds of debate. Topics range from domestic, world, political, value and fact debates.

“I can’t say enough about this group of students,” said Dr. Welker. “Intercollegiate is a highly competitive arena. Students don’t just study one issue or one topic all year – they must be well-versed in a wide scope of topics and be prepared to discuss any one of those topics with minimal preparation. They are truly an outstanding group of students.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently completed a successful season. Back row, left to right: Luis Rodriguez Ortiz, Braxton Clark, Marcos Corley and Adam Jones. Front row, left to right: Dr. Julie Welker, Ashley Moon and Kaleigh Tankersley.

HPU Pre-College Music students participate in District 8-4 Junior Festival

BROWNWOOD – April 7, 2015 – The District 8-4 Junior Festival of the Texas Federation of Music Clubs, in conjunction with the National Federation of Music Clubs, recently held its local competition at Howard Payne University. Of the 45 students from HPU’s Pre-College Music Program participating, 37 will advance to the state competition in San Marcos on May 21.

Students who will advance include James Bautista, piano; Hannah Bessent, voice; Andrew Boren, piano; Dakota Busby, piano; Angie Calfa, voice; Michelle Cabrera, piano; Becca Church, piano; Vic Cooper, piano; Christian Fijer, piano; Kirsten Fijer, voice; Alex Fowler, piano and voice; Raya Hakim, piano; Kyle Ivy, piano; Kamry Keese, piano and voice; Mary McIver, voice; Kylee Medina, piano; Addison Miller, piano and voice; Michael Morales, piano; Sydney Neel, voice; Aishwarya Nigalye, piano; Shayna Oliver, voice; Hannah Parson, piano; Sarah Reeves, piano and voice; Drew Reynolds, voice; Jordan Roberts, piano and voice; Natalie Rose, piano; Cate Smith, piano; Ava Sparks-Hansen, piano and voice; Sydney Stewart, piano; Carter Wheeless, piano; Trina Wheeless, piano; and Sam Woods, piano.

Other participants in the non-competitive category were Nathan Bull, Tony Calfa and Rawnie Hakim.

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

For further information about the Federated Music Clubs or to inquire about the Pre-College Music Program at Howard Payne University, please contact Owens at (325) 649-8501 or