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Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - April News

If it’s spring, it must be MaTilDa Award time and we want to invite you to join us at our special awards dinner on Monday, April 15 at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester. There will be a cash bar at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The high point of the evening will be performances by some of our students and the presentation of the awards. This event is not just for the family and friends of the award winners. It is open to all and is the perfect excuse to get out some party clothes and have a good time. If you are an alumnus, why not contact a few old friends and use it as an unofficial reunion? Ticket information is available here.

Last month we promised you the names of this year’s student winners and here they are: Outstanding Students in Chamber Music, Mark Chandler, Curtis Godzisz, Kyle Marker, Lauren Wilson; Outstanding Student in Music Education, Bridget Dennis; Distinguished Musicianship, Erik Dewar; Outstanding Student in Jazz, Matthew Dufresne; Outstanding Student Service Award – Music, Sarah Hannigan; Graduate Instrumental Performance, Stacey Jamison; Outstanding Student in Instrumental Performance, Piaras Kent; Outstanding Student in Music Education, Lea Lalla;
Outstanding Student in Voice Performance, Constantine Novotny; Outstanding Student in Instrumental Performance, Stephanie Perlaki; Outstanding Student in Piano Performance, Joseph Walters; Gittlen Theatre Award, Laura Gist; Outstanding Student Service Award – Theatre, Rachel Hull; Gittlen Achievement Award in Theatre, Design and Technology, Christopher J Neville; Gittlen Achievement Award in Musical Theatre, Samuel Rohloff; Gittlen Achievement Award in Acting, Anna Wyatt; Pat and Mercedes Nicosia Meadow Brook Estate Award, Jake Wood; Pat and Mercedes Nicosia Meadow Brook Estate Award, David Vogel; Outstanding Dance Performance, Lindsay Chirio; Outstanding Dance Performance, Vivian Costello; Distinguished Dance Student Award, Andrew Dettloff;  Outstanding Student Service Award – Dance, Alexandra Plaskey; Maggie Allesee Choregraphy Award, AJ Sharp; Maggie Allesee Choregraphy Award, Taylor Thompson; MTD Award, Ashley Ault. We are immensely proud of each and every one of them.

Congratulations to Alan MacNair, who we are proud to have as conductor of the OU Chamber Orchestra. Alan has had a most distinguished career, which was recognized nationally on March 2 in Providence, RI, when he was given the Elizabeth Green Award for Outstanding School String Teacher in the U.S.A. by The American String Teachers Association (ASTA). Alan was recognized for his highly regarded work at Troy High School, at Smith Middle School, with the Michigan Music Conference, the MSU College of Music Alumni Board, ASTA, the Michigan String Teachers’ Association and, of course, here at Oakland, where he has led the Chamber Orchestra for three years. Alan says, “I find it extremely humbling to be honored for this award. I have had lots of help and support from colleagues, administrators and parents along the way. I have also been very lucky to have had outstanding students in my program throughout the years.” Read more about his honor in this OU news article.

And speaking of strings: Freshman violin performance major Emily Hudock, who recently won the Oakland University Concerto Competition and played at the David Daniels Young Artists Concert with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, has received another honor. This spring, Emily will receive the Irene Kinsey Stare Violin Award from the Tuesday Musicale of Detroit. Her violin instructor, Elizabeth Rowin, reports that Emily will play works by Beethoven and Massenet at the awards ceremony.

Whether playing as soloists or as ensembles, our student musicians continue to represent the university with an élan that makes us truly proud to teach and to know them. On Sunday, March 10, the Oakland University Brass Band performed at the Motor City Festival Bands, along with four other community bands from across the state. The grand concert finale was played by all five bands together, conducted by international tuba virtuoso and conductor, James Gourlay.

Music Education alumna Nikki Barnes, (B. Mus. ’10) now a “super busy music teacher,” was in attendance and was so delighted by the Brass Band’s performance that she wrote to department chair Jackie Wiggins. “I thought I would . . . tell you how proud I am of the OU Brass Band. . . I would say this performance was one of the strongest I heard all day . . . All the hard work this ensemble has put in surely shows. . . I feel so much pride that I came from Oakland University and feel like my degree is getting that much more valuable from the work this ensemble is doing. Not only do I feel proud to have had such a great education from OU MTD but I'm just as ecstatic to see fine ensembles perform in such a visible event. . . this group . . . is unique and sets us apart from other Universities . . . Kudos to Dr. Ken Kroesche and the OU Brass Band! I'm so proud to be a Golden Grizzly!”

Before the festival performance, Dr Kroesche and the other conductors were interviewed on WRCJ 90.9. That same week Associate Professor Gregory Patterson, director of our dance program, was interviewed on the Fox 2 live morning show, and students from the Oakland University Repertory Dance Company danced live in the studio. This performance was to promote the company’s appearance at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts, on the campus of the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield on Friday, March 8 as part of the “Michigan Five” event, designed to showcase the state’s outstanding college dancers. Greg Patterson coordinated the showcase.

One of our dance majors, Elizabeth Kalesavich, recently had an opportunity to work with Julien and Benoit Decaillon, guest filmmakers from France, who are currently Artists-in-Residence in Oakland's Cinema Studies Program. A dancer was needed for a film production workshop and Elizabeth took the opportunity to work with the crew in studio 109. Musical theatre major Garrett Markgraf was also involved. He played the role of a new Cinema Studies major. We look forward to seeing the finished film. For more information about OU’s Cinema Studies program visit their website.

Meanwhile on the big screen, we hear that alumna Allison Kochanski (B.F.A. '11) has some screen time in Oz the Great and Powerful, in which she makes an appearance as a Quadling. We don’t have much more information than that, but if you see the movie, be sure to look out for Allison. Many of you will remember her from her appearances in OU productions, especially her tour de force performance as the lead in Bells Are Ringing.

Allison was a musical theatre major and this year’s soon-to-be-graduates made a big impression at their showcase in New York. As of this writing, the 10 students graduating with a B.F.A. have had 59 call backs. Here are some of the highlights: Grace Griffin will soon audition for Christine in the UK international tour of Phantom of the Opera. Sam Rohloff, Emily Stys and Grace Griffin are being seen for the international tour of West Side Story. Joseph Feldmann just signed with The Mine Agency in NYC (a top boutique agency) and will be appearing at the Mason Street Warehouse (a professional Equity house) in Xanadu. Jake Wood and Sam Rohloff will be appearing at The Porthouse Theatre (a professional Equity house) in leading roles. The support of the Offices of the President and Provost make our annual New York City Senior Showcase possible, and we thank them on behalf of our students. Our “Proud Musical Theatre Professor,” Fred Love, offers his special thank you.

The theatre tech and design students have also been making the most of the opportunities that come their way. Last month 10 students attended the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Milwaukee, along with faculty members Jeremy Barnett, Michelle Hathaway and Leslie Littlell. The conference bills itself as the “entertainment and theatre industries' leading event for education, networking and resourcing of products and services.” We feel sure it was a great experience for all of them. Costume shop supervisor Michelle was especially looking forward to her professional development class in 19th century corset making.

Finally, we have news of a wonderful development in the Detroit jazz world. Mack Avenue Records has launched a new label, Detroit Music Factory, specifically designed to help promote and distribute the work of local jazz musicians. Two of the first CDs on the label feature the work of OU Music faculty members, pianist-composer Scott Gwinnell and drummer Sean Dobbins. Read more about this in the Detroit Free Press article by Mark Stryker.

Photos: Top right: MaTilDa winner Anna Wyatt. Photo by Rick Smith
Middle left: MaTilDa winner Andrew Dettloff. Photo by  Sam Paraventi
Middle right: MaTIlDa winner Constantine Novotny. Photo by Rick Smith
Middle left 2: MaTilDa winner Stephanie Perlaki. Photo by Dresden Photography
Lower right:
Elizabeth Making a Film by Andrea Eis