Menu Menu

News Archive

Monday, April 01, 2013 - OU to honor outstanding MTD students, alumni with MaTilDa Awards
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant

Andrew Dettloff earned the Distinguished Dance Student Award.
Oakland University’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance will present the 14th annual MaTilDa Awards banquet to honor outstanding contributions from MTD students, alumni and community partners.

This red carpet event will take place at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 15, at the Royal Park Hotel in downtown Rochester. The evening includes special performances, dinner, entertainment and more. The public is welcome. 
Tickets are $22 for students and $42 for all others. To purchase tickets, click here or call the MTD office at (248) 370-2030. The Royal Park Hotel is located at 600 East University Drive in Rochester.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. For additional information on the event, visit the website at

For more on Oakland University’s music, theatre and dance programs and performances, visit the MTD website at or Facebook page.

Distinguished alumni, musicians David Douglass and Ellen Hargis, dancer and choreographer Rodney Brown and well-known actor Richard Riehle are all being honored. The Judd Family Endowed Arts and Humanities Fund will receive the Distinguished Community Service Award for its support of arts and humanities programs that are accessible and enrich the community.

Constantine Novotny has earned the Outstanding Student in Voice Performance Award.
The 2013 student honorees are:

Erik Dewar
Distinguished Musicianship Award
Dewar is a double major in vocal music education and vocal performance. A student of John-Paul White, he has won multiple awards, including second place in the 2009 Michigan North American Teachers of Singing competition. He won the 2011 Stanley Hollingsworth European Study Award, which funded his trip to England where he attended the Dartington International Summer School for three weeks. In addition, Dewar has performed in the Oakland Chorale for the past nine semesters, as well as in Oakland’s opera productions, most notably playing the role of Ferrando in Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte.” Dewar has pursued various instrumental outlets, like OU’s Steel Band and the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, where he played cello for two seasons. He recently auditioned for the professional men’s a cappella ensemble Cantus after being selected as a finalist in their annual audition for new members. Upon finishing his student teaching assignment, Dewar will graduate with honors this spring.

Constantine Novotny
Outstanding Student in Voice Performance
Novotny is a senior vocal performance major. During his time at Oakland, he has been honored to sing the roles of Melchior in “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” Guglielmo in “Cosi fan tutte,” and Gianni Schicchi in “Gianni Schicchi,” among other opera workshop performances. This summer, Novotny will be attending the Bel Canto Institute in Florence, Italy, where he will study the music of the great Bel Canto composers and brush up on his Italian. He will graduate this spring and plans to pursue a graduate degree.

Joseph Walters
Outstanding Student in Piano Performance
A junior majoring in piano performance at OU, Walters is a student of Rebecca Happel. He won the 2012-2013 Oakland University Concerto Competition in piano. Last year, Walters was accepted into the final round of the Schlern International Music Competition as part of the Schlern International Music Festival in Italy. While there, he performed in solo and chamber music recitals and studied solo and chamber music with distinguished pianists. In 2010, he won first prize in the annual Rosamond P. Haeberle competition sponsored by the Tuesday Musicale of Greater Pontiac.

Piaras Kent
Outstanding Student in Instrumental Performance
Majoring in violin performance, Kent transferred to OU from Mott Community College in the fall of 2011. Before that, he was homeschooled out of Our Lady of Victory School in Post Falls, Idaho. Through high school, Kent attended the Flint Institute of Music and played in the Flint Youth Symphony, Flint Youth Philharmonia, the Dort Honors String Quartet, and also rehearsed and performed with the Flint Symphony Orchestra. While at the Flint Institute of Music, Kent won the Dort String Scholarship – a concerto competition – for performing Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto. He has assisted beginning string classes and summer camps for strings and piano. Recently, he has been performing in the Oakland Symphony and Oakland University Chamber Orchestra, and has won two MaTilDa Awards. He also plays viola and is an avid composer, having written several works for violin, viola, cello, piano, and other instruments, as well as full orchestral and chamber music.

Stephanie Perlaki earned the Outstanding Student in Instrumental Performance Award.
Stephanie Perlaki
Outstanding Student in Instrumental Performance
Perlaki is a senior majoring in instrumental music education and percussion performance with a minor in world music. She enjoys participating in the wide variety of ensembles Oakland offers, including the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Percussion Ensemble, African Ensemble and Steel Band. She had the opportunity to study abroad in Ghana, West Africa last summer and is thrilled to be collaborating with the theatre department to create music for the spring production of “Anansi.” She has also served as administrator of the Oakland University Cooperative Orchestra Library.

Stacey Jamison
Outstanding Student in Graduate Instrumental Performance
Jamison is completing her final semester as a graduate bassoon performance major. She moved to Michigan in 2004 after graduating from Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY) with a bachelor’s in music education and bassoon performance. Before her son Kieran came along, Jamison taught general music in the public schools for seven years. She has been playing in the Oakland Symphony for almost 10 years and plays woodwinds for multiple theatres in the area. She is also the bassoon instructor for the Oakland MTD Prep division.

Bridget Dennis
Outstanding Student in Music Education
Dennis is pursuing a Bachelor of Music Education in choral music. Involved in musical endeavors for most of her life, she debuted as the orphan Molly in the musical, “Annie” at age six. Since then, she has performed in many capacities. Some theatre highlights include stints as Carrie Pipperidge in “Carousel,” Miss Dorothy Brown in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Susanna in scenes from “Le Nozze di Figaro,” and Florinda in “Lost in the Woods.” As a musician, her experience has been focused on the Oakland University Chorus, Chorale, and Symphony Chorus, performing works such as Maurice Durufle’s “Requiem,” Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 2,” and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Dona Nobis Pacem.” As a director, she has conducted the Troy High School Treble Girls and assisted in directing the Troy Theatre Ensemble’s production of “Drood!” Most recently, she landed her first professional conducting position, directing the pit orchestra of Novi Civic Theatre’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Lea Lalla
Outstanding Student in Music Education
Lalla graduated in December 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in choral/general music education. She recently completed her student teaching at Rochester High School, where she taught four choral ensembles and a guitar ensemble, served as an after school vocal coach and assisted with the school’s musical production. During her time at Oakland, she was an active performer with the Oakland Chorale, Oakland Symphony Chorus, Jazz Singers and Gold Vibrations a cappella. She currently serves as a K-12 substitute teacher in the Rochester and Avondale school districts and continues to perform as a vocalist.

Matthew D. Dufresne
Outstanding Student in Jazz
Matthew D. Dufresne is the chairperson of the Music Department at Holly Academy, where he also serves as general music teacher and band director. Since joining Holly Academy in 2005, he has grown the instrumental music department from seven to 130 students and launched the Academy Art Ensemble – an inclusive twenty-five piece improvisatory-based ensemble. Dufresne is active as a woodwind specialist performing jazz, rock, and world music in a variety of ensembles around Southeastern Michigan, including the Afro-Pop Band Sunkwa led by Kofi Ameyaw and The JFQ Superband. He has recently been asked to join Michigan’s premier Indian music group, Sumkali, based in Ann Arbor. Additionally, Dufresne has performed multiple times at the Detroit Jazz Festival as a soloist with Regina Carter and the Oakland University Big Band and the UM-Flint Steelheads. He performed last year on saxophone with Andy Narrell and will perform on steel drum in an upcoming concert with Narrell at the Wharton Center in Lansing. His jazz quartet, Out to Lunch, opened the 2010 Flint Jazz Festival. Dufresne’s performing career includes time spent in Cleveland as a freelance musician performing with such groups as Robert Ocasio’s Latin Jazz Project, the salsa-merengue band Cowakhan, the funk band Mad Beats, and other Latin and jazz ensembles. Dufresne currently studies jazz saxophone and piano with Detroit jazz musicians Walter White, Scott Gwinnell, and Miles Brown. Dufresne has studied saxophone with Donald Sinta and improvisation with Ed Sarath at the University of Michigan. Dufresne’s awards include the 2013 MaTilDa from Oakland University for jazz and the University of Michigan-Flint’s highest distinction as recipient of the 2005 Maize and Blue Award for Distinguished Scholarship. Dufresne holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Michigan-Flint and will complete a master’s degree in music education from OU in late 2013.

Anna Wyatt earned the Gittlen Achievement Award in Acting.
Oakland University Guitar Ensemble
Chamber Music Award

Kyle Marker is a junior studying classical guitar performance at Oakland under Bret Hoag. He has been playing guitar since the age of 14, though he did not have any classical guitar lessons until coming to OU. He has performed with the Oakland University Guitar Quartet at functions such as the Meeting of the Minds and a faculty award ceremony. Prior to college, Kyle performed with the Oxford High School Orchestra for one year on violin.

Mark Chandler is in his fourth year at OU pursuing a bachelor’s in music. After completing his undergraduate degree, he plans to pursue a master’s in music therapy at Western Michigan University. A year ago, he became the first coordinator of the music therapy volunteer pilot program at Beaumont Hospital’s Troy campus in an effort to bring the comforting effects of music to the hospital environment. He is also a guitar instructor at Deborah’s Stage Door Center for the Performing Arts and teaches students how to play guitar and read music.

Curtis Godzisz is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in classical guitar performance. Most recently, he performed at the Meeting of the Minds conference hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Teaching and Learning Committee hosted by Oakland University. Studying under Bret Hoag, he has been a part of more than 30 concerts in the five years that he has been at OU. Godzisz has also been studying under Terry Herald for music composition and has had seven pieces performed live in the past two years. His piece "Rapids" was performed in conjunction with OU's Dance program and has had two guitar orchestra pieces –“Clockwork and “A Restless Mind” premiered in Varner Hall. Upon graduation he will be pursuing a master’s in music composition.

Lauren Wilson has been playing the guitar for six years and is a sophomore music performance major in the guitar studio. She loves studying guitar at Oakland with such a great and talented group of guitarists, musicians, and performers in the Music, Theatre and Dance department and looks forward to continuing her studies and furthering her musicianship.

David Vogel
Pat and Mercedes Nicosia Meadow Brook Estate Award
David Vogel is a senior who will graduate from Oakland with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre. He has appeared on OU's stage this year as Emmett in “Legally Blonde” and Michael Zideck in “Police Deaf Near Far,” along with multiple roles throughout his four years at OU. Last April, he debuted his first solo show, “Parental Advisory Required,” at the Orchid Nightclub in Ferndale as part of Oakland’s Nightclub Cabaret Class. He has also worked at the Barn Theatre in Augusta, Mich., appearing in “Sunset Boulevard,” “Chicago,” “Cinderella” and “Man of La Mancha.”

Jake Wood
Pat and Mercedes Nicosia Meadow Brook Estate Award
Wood is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre. His acting credits at Oakland include the role of Warner in “Legally Blonde,” Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing” (2013 Irene Ryan Scholarship Nominee), Forest Ranger in “Little Mary Sunshine,” Jeff Moss in “Bells Are Ringing” (2012 Irene Ryan Scholarship Finalist) and Harry in “Company.” This summer, Wood will be working professionally at Porthouse Theatre in Kent, Ohio, as Lt. Cable in “South Pacific,” the ensemble of Working, and “Perchik” in Fiddler on the Roof. 

Anna Wyatt
Gittlen Achievement Award in Acting
Wyatt is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting in Oakland University’s Theatre Department and will be graduating this spring. She has been in the following productions over the past four years: “Eclipsed,” “Bell’s Are Ringing,” “The Dining Room,” “Captain Louie,” Police Deaf Near Far” and “Dead Man’s Cell Phone.” After graduation, she plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue a film career.

Christopher J. Neville
Gittlen Achievement Award in Theatre Design & Technology
Neville is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre design and technology. While concentrating in costume design and properties design, Neville has also worked in scenic design, scenic painting, stage management, administrative management and technical positions. In addition to his training at OU, he was a production intern at Peninsula Players Theatre in Fish Creek, Wis. for the 2012 season and has worked in several theaters across the Detroit Metropolitan area. He is participating in the “Study Abroad in Greece” program through Oakland and will be moving to Chicago this fall.

Sam Rohloff
Gittlen Achievement Award in Musical Theatre
Rohloff is a senior in Oakland’s musical theatre program. In January 2012, he won “Best Partner,” accompanying fellow OU student Allie McCaw in the Irene Ryan Scholarship Competition during the American College Theatre Festival. He made his professional debut at the Round Barn Theatre in Nappanee, Ind. and was a part of Porthouse Theatre’s 2012 company, based in Kent, Ohio.

Laura Gist
Gittlen Theatre Award
Laura Gist is a junior at Oakland pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Design and Technology. Her emphasis is stage management and scenic painting. Her show credits include “Spring Awakening” (stage manager), “Grey Gardens” (properties master), “Captain Louie” (stage manager), “Bells Are Ringing” (properties master), and “Pageant Play” (stage manager).

Andrew Dettloff
Distinguished Dance Student Award
Andrew Dettloff will complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. He began his training at The Dance Studio Inc. in Romeo, Mich. under Sandy Michalski. In his time at the studio, he received scholarships to LA Dance Magic’s summer intensive “Final Cut.” He was then invited to be part of LA Dance Magic’s performance company, where he performed for three years under the direction of Jackie Sleight. Dettloff is currently part of Oakland University’s Reparatory Dance Company directed by Thayer Jonutz has performed works by Dusan Tynek, Meg Paul, Laurie Eisenhower, Alexandra Beller, Lindsey Dietz Marchant.

AJ Sharp
Maggie Allesee Choreography Award
Sharp is from Garden City, Mich. and started dancing at the age of 10. She was a part of the Oakland Dance Theatre and has been a member of the Oakland University Repertory Dance Company for the past two years. She has performed works by Alexandra Beller, Lindsey Dietz-Marchant, Thayer Jonutz, Meg Paul, Dusan Tynek, and Ali Woerner. Sharp has created several pieces of choreography while at OU, one of which was adjudicated at the 2013 American College Dance Festival. After graduation, she will be relocating to New York City to pursue her performance and choreography career.

Taylor Thompson
Maggie Allesee Choreography Award
Thompson is a pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance at OU who would like to pursue a professional dance career in the commercial dance world upon graduation. After spending the summer of 2011 in New York City as an intern at Broadway Dance Center she fell in love with the competitive atmosphere. She is currently a member of the Detroit Pistons Dance Team and has had many great opportunities to perform and choreograph alongside Busta Rhymes, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, Martha Reeves, MC Hammer, Jay Sean, Bobby Brown and Mary Wilson. Aside from tackling two jobs and being a full-time student, she finds her therapy through her choreography and has had some of her best memories choreographing for the Oakland Dance Theatre and Motor City Movement performances. After graduation she plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue dance opportunities that come her way.

Lindsay Chirio
Outstanding Dance Performance
Chirio is an apprentice with Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. She began her training at a young age as both a dancer and a gymnast. She trained at Big City Dance Center in Wixom, MI under the direction of Lisa Fruchey. She is a scholarship student at Oakland, where she will receive her Bachelor of Arts in dance. She has performed as a member of Oakland Dance Theatre and OU’s Repertory Dance Company and has had the honor of working with numerous choreographers, including Lauren Edson, Ron De Jesus, Daniel Gwirtzman, Luis Piedra, Rodney Brown, Laurie Eisenhower, Dusan Tynek and Meg Paul. She has studied with professional companies, such as Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company. In addition, she has trained and attended workshops with many commercial choreographers, such as Sonya Tayeh, Dennis Caspary, KC Combs, Mandy Moore and Pamela Boling. She is currently a teacher at Big City Dance Center and guest teaches at other studios throughout the Detroit Metro area. She plans to pursue her career in both performing and teaching.

Vivian Costello
Outstanding Dance Performance
Costello is a senior and will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. She has worked with many choreographers including Daniel Gwirtzman, Dusan Tyneck, Alexandra Beller, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, Greg Patterson, Laurie Eisenhower, Meg Paul, Ali Woerner, and Thayer Jonutz. She has also been an apprentice with Ali Woerner’s company Shifting Sol for two years.

Sarah Hannigan
Outstanding Student Service Award – Music
Sarah Hannigan is a sophomore majoring in music education, and her primary instrument is oboe. She is not only the head band librarian for OU’s wind bands, but is also assistant librarian for the Oakland University Cooperative Orchestral Library. She will become the library’s administrator next year and is looking forward to working on a project this summer to make it even more orderly and efficient.

Rachel Hull
Outstanding Student Service Award – Theatre
A junior pursing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre, Hull is president of Actors’N’Techies at OU. Her work includes performances in “The Women of Lockerbie,”” Grey Gardens,” “Police Deaf Near Far,” and “Dead Man’s Cell Phone.” Other credits include “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Carousel,” “Bye Bye BIrdie,” and “Don’t Dress for Dinner.”

Alexandra Plaskey
Outstanding Student Service Award – Dance
Plaskey will graduate from Oakland with degrees in dance and communication. She has performed in works by Laurie Eisenhower, Gregory Patterson, Deb Siegel, Ali Woerner and Thayer Jonutz, Alex Springer and Xan Burley, among others. After graduation, Plaskey will pursue her dreams of living and working as an artist in New York City.

Ashley Ault
MTD Award
Ault is a junior pursuing a double major in biology and musical theatre. She has experience in vocal competitions, musicals, opera and stage managing, and also serves as an Honors College Ambassador of the Arts. 

Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with nearly 20,000 students and more than 265 academic degree programs. To learn more about programs, events, and achievements at OU, visit the news site at and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.