News Archives: School of Music and Fine Arts

HPU hosting juried student art exhibition through March 20

student juried art exhibitionBROWNWOOD – March 3, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Art is hosting “Best of 2016-2017: A Juried Student Exhibition” through March 20 in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery inside HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center. The exhibition features more than 50 works of art by 18 students.

Curating the exhibition were HPU art faculty members Julie Mize, adjunct instructor of photography; Susan Harmon, adjunct instructor of art; and David Harmon, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art. Featured artworks include mixed media, felt weavings, collages, ink on paper, screen prints, charcoals, ceramics and more.

Students who won awards for their art are Travis Adams, junior from Brownwood; Christy Ash, senior from Brownwood; Colby Compton, senior from Early; Lydia Conrad, junior from Brownwood; Kaeli Goodgion, junior from Comanche; Ally Henry, freshman from Canyon Lake; Cecily McIlwain, sophomore from Dayton; Drew McNeill, senior from Brownwood; and Corey Ross, freshman from Navasota.

Additional student artists featured in the show are Ryan Adams, junior from Brownwood; Keith Baker, freshman from Houston; Joy Hall, freshman from Fort Stockton; Caelob Hardman, sophomore from San Saba; Sheena Nalley, freshman from Rochelle; Amy Pitman, communications assistant/web editor and student from Zephyr; Tiffani San Miguel, senior from Burleson; Doris Walton, senior from Weesatche; and Trey Weidner, freshman from Cedar Park.

David Hill, assistant professor of art at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, served as juror for the exhibition. He called jurying an art exhibition a rewarding yet challenging task.

“How does one select any individual artwork over another, especially given the often subjective qualities and intensely personal act of making art?” he asked. “It can take courage for an artist to submit work to be judged in a competition, so I want to acknowledge that fact and congratulate all the students who have work included in the exhibit.”

In examining each artwork, Hill looked for evidence of technical skill and craftsmanship with the chosen media as well as an understanding of composition and the formal elements and principles of making art.

“Having narrowed down my selection, I then looked for artwork that resonated with me, whether it be with content, creativity or an exceptional use of materials,” he said. “I want to congratulate all the winners and encourage all of the students to continue to pursue their art.”

The gallery is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be closed for the university’s Spring Break, March 13-17. The Doakie Day Art Center is located on the HPU campus, on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood. All inquiries may be directed to Harmon at 325-649-8088 or


Cutline: HPU’s Department of Art is hosting “Best of 2016-2017: A Juried Student Exhibition” through March 20.

HPU theatre to premier play by alumnus and staff member Matthew Rutkowski

Salted With Fire poster for webBROWNWOOD – February 24, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre will open performances next week of “Salted With Fire,” a play by Matthew Rutkowski, alumnus and admission counselor for HPU’s El Paso Center. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2, through Saturday, March 4, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5. The HPU Theatre is located at 202 Whaley Street in Brownwood.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and free for all HPU faculty, staff and students with university ID. For tickets or more information, call the university box office at 325-649-8516. Additional performances will be held at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview on Tuesday, March 6, at 8:00 p.m. as part of the Christian University Theatre Festival.

Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, chair of the Department of Theatre and professor of theatre, directs the play and Nicholas Ewen, assistant professor of theatre, is the scenic and lighting designer. Both are excited about bringing the play to life on the HPU stage.

“It is a first-rate drama filled with great humor and genuine human tragedy,” said Dr. Humfeld. “Most importantly, it is a spellbinding exploration of the Christian soul in the light of personal sin, redemption and community interaction and interdependence.”

“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.

Ewen said the opportunity to present an excellent Christian drama by an HPU alumnus is a unique experience. Rutkowski was a student in Ewen’s 2010 online playwriting course.

“Matt is a very talented playwright and just reading the script touched my heart,” Ewen said. “I told Matt that I thought his play would be perfect for the HPU Theatre, but that it would help if there were a few more roles for our student actors.”

Rutkowski was thrilled with the prospect of expanding the cast and, after a few edits, both Ewen and Dr. Humfeld agreed the play was ready for production at HPU and as the university’s entry in the Christian University Theatre Festival (CUTF).

“Touring this show for CUTF is exactly the kind of work that we have been longing to do,” Ewen said. “This proves that there are great Christian plays out there and that HPU is committed to bringing performances that not only have quality and depth but also are a beautiful reflection of our faith and values.”

Dr. Adrial Gil, director of HPU’s El Paso Center and associate professor of business, said the faculty, staff and students of the El Paso Center are extremely proud of Rutkowski.

“He is a creative and passionate young man that is sharing his God-given talents with others,” Dr. Gil said. “We are grateful he is a part of our team!”

Matt Rutkowski for webRutkowski, who is involved in theatre in El Paso, shared insight into his experiences in writing “Salted With Fire.”

“Prayer has always been at the heart of every play I’ve written,” he said. “‘Salted With Fire’ began late one night as I asked the Lord if He wanted our El Paso theatre troupe to continue. We had just finished one production as I stumbled upon the works of George MacDonald. I instantly connected with his stories of faithfulness through the storms of life.”

Rutkowski began drafting the material for the play and praying for the Lord’s direction when he felt God leading him in framing the play differently than the book.

“Thus, the final script became less ‘based on’ and more ‘inspired by’ the original source,” he said.

Rutkowski additionally found guidance from his mentors at HPU.

“Professor Ewen and Dr. Humfeld have been such amazing people to work with and I so appreciate their vision,” he said. “They have directions I never would have considered. They see the staging in such a neat way. This is why I love theatre. It is alive and moving and constantly changing with the interpretation of others.”

Above all, Rutkowski said, he feels humbled to know there are people investing their hearts and valuable time in the production.

“The directors are devising the best means of transferring the words to the stage,” he said. “The crew is working out how to technically support the story. The actors are finding personal meaning and voice in the words.”

Dr. Humfeld said the play has sparked positive discussions in class and in rehearsal.

“Our students are really internalizing the play and analyzing in depth the meaning of every scene,” she said. “It is gratifying to see that level of interest and commitment to the production. They are doing an excellent job and I am so proud of them. I truly believe the audience members will be entertained and inspired by this production.”


Cutline: HPU’s Department of Theatre will open performances next week of “Salted With Fire,” a play by Matthew Rutkowski, alumnus and admission counselor for HPU’s El Paso Center.

HPU’s Symphonic Band to present spring concert

BROWNWOOD – February 22, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Symphonic Band will present its first concert of the spring semester on Tuesday, February 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

“The band will present an exciting program titled ‘Around the World in 60 Minutes,’” said Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands. “This concert will celebrate worldwide musical styles, and the band will exhibit different cultural flavors and experiences from western European countries, the Americas and beyond.”

Selections include “Four Scottish Dances” by Malcolm Arnold, “Irish Tune from County Derry” by Percy Grainger, “Wedding Dance” by Jacques Press, “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” by Richard Wagner, “La Fiesta Mexicana” by H. Owen Reed and many more.

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

“Bring a friend and come enjoy an evening of exciting music compliments of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts and the Symphonic Band,” said Ash. “You won’t want to miss it.”

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

HPU extends call for entries for “I-10 Two” contemporary juried-art exhibition

I-10 Two logoBROWNWOOD – February 22, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Art has extended a call for entries for its upcoming juried-art exhibition, “I-10 Two: A National Exhibition of Contemporary Two-Dimensional Art.” Artists may enter up to three pieces of art and entries will be accepted through March 20.

This exhibition is open to all living U.S. contemporary artists residing above and below Interstate 10, the southernmost transcontinental highway ranging from San Diego, California, through several states including Texas and onward to the east in Jacksonville, Florida. Submissions of all 2-d art forms in abstract, non-representational/non-objective and realist imagery will be considered.

The exhibition’s organizer, David Harmon, chair and professor of art, shared his thoughts on the event.

“HPU’s Department of Art is excited to provide this exhibition for a second time – this time in the spring semester,” Harmon said. “We hope to have a large variety of contemporary 2-d artwork entries from all over the area and around the country. This is a great opportunity for the university, those entering artwork and patrons who will visit the exhibit. Art is a wonderful thing.”

The exhibition will be held March 29 through May 5 at the Doakie Day Art Center, located on the HPU campus on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood. The gallery is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Please visit for further information including entry guidelines. Direct all inquiries to David Harmon at 325-649-8088 or


HPU to exhibit work of senior art student Colby Compton

Colby ComptonBROWNWOOD – January 20, 2017 – Howard Payne University will exhibit the artwork of Colby Compton, senior studio art major from Early. The exhibition is scheduled January 23 through February 17 in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery inside HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center.

Compton’s senior project has centered upon the completion of a body of consistent acrylic landscape paintings, evoking his interests in both fantasy and science fiction. He has studied the paintings of 19th-century artists such as Frederic Church and George Inness as well as several 20th century surrealist artists including Rene Magritte.

“A sense of mood, place and space are all revealed,” said David Harmon, professor of art and chair of HPU’s Department of Art. “Visual interest is achieved and maintained as a result of his use of a limited palette of colors, evident in his mysterious landscape paintings.”

Harmon said Compton is devoted to the formation of artistic concepts, craftsmanship, imagination and skills.

“This has resulted in consistent, original creative solutions in his overall HPU studio coursework,” he said.

The gallery is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Doakie Day Art Center is located on the HPU campus, on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood. All inquiries may be directed to Harmon at (325) 649-8088 or


Cutline: HPU senior Colby Compton is pictured with “Violet Eye,” one of the paintings from his upcoming exhibition.

HPU Concert Choir to perform on tour

BROWNWOOD – January 20, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Concert Choir will tour select schools and churches in Texas and Arkansas near the end of January. The choir will travel Friday, January 27, through Tuesday, January 31.

The concert tour is titled “Creator Created Creating: My Maker’s Bounding Line.” A variety of musical selections will be presented including works from Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation” which depict the days of creation. During each concert, many allegorical references will be made to Yahweh’s presence through light, water, trees, mankind and the vastness of the firmament, all of which speak to the unfathomable omnipotence of our Creator.

“We are excited for this year’s tour,” said Dr. Christopher Rosborough, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. “We look forward to sharing what HPU has to offer, connecting with alumni and friends and sharing music in honor of God’s creation. We hope to be a blessing to each audience we visit.”

This year’s Concert Choir tour will take the group to Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler, Marshall High School in Marshall, Meadows Baptist Church in Plano, Travis Academy of Fine Arts in Fort Worth and Granbury High School in Granbury. The group will also have the opportunity to travel to Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas. The choir will finish the tour with concerts at Brownwood High School and Early High School.

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

HPU University Singers to begin rehearsals

BROWNWOOD – January 12, 2017 – The University Singers, Howard Payne University’s community and collegiate choral opportunity, is welcoming new musical enthusiasts into its membership for the spring 2017 semester. Rehearsals are set to begin Monday, January 16, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. in the choral rehearsal hall in the university’s Davidson Music Complex.

The goal of the University Singers is to cultivate an ensemble of singers within the community and university who strive to offer a high level of artistry, while advocating for great choral music in Brownwood and its surrounding areas. Participants can expect to glean a balance of exposure to great choral literature, vocal instruction and a knowledge and execution of musical excellence.

This unique choral group presents two concerts per year, one at Christmastime and one in the spring. Highlighted works for the upcoming spring concert include the Gabriel Fauré “Requiem” and a collection of hymn arrangements based on the topic of eternity.

The choir is under the direction of Dr. Christopher Rosborough, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at HPU.

“The University Singers had a terrific semester of music-making this past fall,” said Dr. Rosborough. “I look forward to what the future of this ensemble will hold as we enter into this fantastic and timeless literature!”

Membership is not limited to Brownwood residents and HPU students. All are welcome to take part in this ensemble. If you are interested in joining, please contact Dr. Rosborough before the first rehearsal at 325-649-8503 or

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


HPU Pre-College Music and Art Program to begin spring semester

Pre-College Music & Art Program LogoBROWNWOOD – January 11, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music and Art Program is set to begin its spring semester lessons this month. Pre-college music lessons will begin the week of Monday, January 16, and pre-college art lessons will begin the week of January 23.

The program, presented by HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts, serves Brownwood and the surrounding communities by offering music and art lessons to children and adults. Music lessons, which will be 45 minutes in length each week for 14 weeks, include instruction in piano, voice, strings, guitar and band instruments. The program also offers Kindermusik for pre-school children. Art lessons, which will be one hour in length each week for 12 weeks, will feature beginning and intermediate drawing and painting. Instructors in the program include the HPU music and art faculty, experienced area teachers and student teachers.

Existing pre-college students will keep the same schedule assigned in the fall unless a change in day or time is requested. No new forms are required, but fees and first tuition payment are due at the first lesson. New students are encouraged to register for classes.

“We look forward to a rewarding semester and appreciate the opportunity of working with your children,” said Diane Owens, director of the program. “We encourage all who are interested to come be a part of this program. Classes are still available.”

For more information, contact Owens at or (325) 649-8501 or Jill Holamon at or (325) 649-8500.


Community Band to begin rehearsals at HPU

BROWNWOOD – December 13, 2016 –The Central Texas Community Band will begin rehearsals for the spring 2017 season on Monday, January 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the band hall of Howard Payne University’s Davidson Music Complex.

All musicians high school age and up are invited to bring their instruments and be a part of this community project. The band will rehearse varied literature to perform at its annual spring concert.

The band’s director is Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands at HPU, and several from the area will serve as guest conductors.

“It’s time to dust off that old clarinet or trombone and get back in the band,” said Ash.

For more information, contact Ash at 325-649-8502.


HPU’s Pre-College Music and Art program to host “Christmas at Heartland Mall”

BROWNWOOD – December 2, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Pre-College Music and Art program will host its 22nd annual “Christmas at Heartland Mall” celebration on Sunday, December 4, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Heartland Mall in Early.

“Students in the program will present some wonderful vocal and instrumental Christmas selections to family and friends,” said Diane Owens, director of the program and adjunct instructor in the School of Music and Fine Arts. “Please plan to join us for a musical Sunday afternoon at Heartland Mall.”

Additionally, the pre-college art students will have some of their recent work on exhibit for mall shoppers and other guests to see.

The event will be located at the main mall entrance near Sears.

The Pre-College Music and Art program serves the Brownwood community by offering music and art lessons to children and adults. For more information, contact Owens at (325) 649-8501 or