Wednesday, April 20, 2005
MTD hosts sixth annual MaTilDa Awards
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance (MTD) honored its talented students during the sixth annual MaTilDa Awards held April 18 at the Marriott Centerpoint in Pontiac. The reception featured vocal, theatrical and dance performances from individual students, the OU Jazz Singers with the OU Jazz Band and an award presentation.
In total, 25 MTD students and alumni were honored for their talent and dedication to the department. The Matilda R. Wilson Fund also was recognized for the financial support it provides to MTD.
MTD faculty members select the MaTilDa Award winners based on overall performance of the student.
This year's winners are:
Distinguished Musicianship Award
- Dan Walshaw, a junior majoring in music composition, is active as a composer, conductor and classical guitarist. As a composer, he has studied with Associate Professor of Music Lettie Alston and former MTD chair Karl Boelter at Oakland and has had many of his works performed at the Composer’s Forum, including most recently his work “Shapes” for alto saxophone.
After his freshman year, his composition studies took him to Brevard Music Center, where he studied composition and orchestration with David Cutler, Claude Baker, Gunther Schuller and Bright Scheng. There he began studies in conducting with Jayce Ogren, and upon his return to Oakland, he continued his studies with Associate Professor of Music Michael Mitchell and later Associate Professor of Music Gregory Cunningham.
As a conductor, he has performed frequently at Oakland. This past winter, he was the assistant music director of “The Mikado” and most recently was the assistant music director on a recital featuring Stravinsky’s “Octet and Septet,” which was funded by Oakland University’s Undergraduate Student Research Scholar grant.
As a classical guitarist, Walshaw has performed a great deal of solo and chamber repertoire and has been on stage with nearly every ensemble at Oakland University.
Outstanding Students in Voice Performance
- Amy Blevins is pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at Oakland University, where she studies voice with Applied Music Instructor Jan Albright and sings in the Oakland Chorale. She is a multiple year winner of the university’s Oakland Symphony Young Artists Competition and has been a featured soloist in Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” J.S. Bach’s “Cantata # 140,” Vaughan Williams’ “In Windsor Forest” and Larsen’s “Missa Gaia: Mass for the Earth.” In addition to various opera workshop scenes, she portrayed the Queen of the Night in “The Magic Flute” with the Flint Institute of Music.
Blevins was a member of the Michigan Opera Theatre from 1996-1998 and currently is a performing member of the Saint Cecilia Society and has performed at the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey. This past October, she participated in the Detroit District Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and continues to be in demand as a soloist throughout the country and most recently in Denver, Colo. She also has toured with choral groups nationwide as well as through Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy.
Outstanding Student in Piano Performance
- Paul Abdullah, a sophomore in piano performance, studies under Professor of Music Flavio Varani and has appeared frequently in various capacities with a variety of ensembles on campus, including University Chorus, Chorale, Symphonic Band, the Oakland Symphony, various chamber ensembles and most recently as a soloist on the Composer’s Forum.
Abdullah accompanies widely, from instrumental studios to musical theater to ballet. This past winter he was a finalist in the David Daniels Young Artist competition.
Jennifer Scott Memorial Award
- Sara Young, a sophomore majoring in piano performance, studies under Applied Music Instructor Mary Siciliano and previously worked with Professor of Music Flavio Varani. She has been a member of the Piano Ensemble and Chamber Ensemble since fall of 2003, when she began her studies at Oakland.
In November 2004, Young performed her first full solo recital. This past January, she performed the first movement of Francis Poulenc’s piano concerto with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. In March, she was part of the Stravinsky Septet conducted by Daniel Walshaw, and in April, she took part in Russell Gillespie’s senior composition recital performing “Minimus III.”
Young was selected for the Hollingsworth Award this year and hopes to study abroad this summer at the International Piano Masterclass in Prague, Czech Republic.
Joyce Adelson Piano Ensemble Award
- Pamela Klueck, a piano performance major, studies with Applied Music Instructor Mary Siciliano and participates in the Piano Ensemble. Last December, she performed a full recital that included works for duet piano, such as Poulenc’s “Sonate,” for piano-four hands, and Mozart’s “Double Piano Concerto” K. 365.
Pamela plans to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in winter of 2007.
- Sara Young, see Jennifer Scott Memorial Award for biography.
Outstanding Student in Music Education
- Elizabeth Davis completed her bachelor’s degree in vocal/general music education this year and her student teaching at Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills. As part of the experience, she was able to travel with a group of students to New York City. She also was very involved with the school’s production of “Into The Woods,” where she helped run rehearsals and served as the piano accompanist for both rehearsals and performances.
While in college, Davis has been a member of the Oakland Chorale, University Chorus, Jazz Singers, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Steel Drum Ensemble and Pep Band. During the winter of 2004, she had the opportunity to play the piano for OU’s production of “Into The Woods.”
Davis now is pursuing her master’s degree in choral conducting and hopes to one day be a choral director at the university level. She also serves as the organist and director of choirs at First United Methodist Church in Trenton.
Outstanding Students in Instrumental Performance
- Eric Cates, a music performance major, is a member of the Symphonic Band and Jazz Band and studies at the studio of Associate Professor of Music Ken Kroesche.
A native of Odessa, Texas, Cates was a student at Abilene Christian University where he was selected for the 1994 Texas All-State Band. He also was a member of the Abilene Intercollegiate Orchestra, Abilene Christian University’s Symphonic Band and Jazz Band and performed with Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra.
Cates was chosen for the 2005 David Daniels Young Artists Concert with the Oakland Symphony and is a recipient of a departmental scholarship.
Outstanding Student in Composition
- Russell Gillespie entered the music program in the fall of 2000 and has been involved in theatre productions and several ensembles, including the Oakland Chorus and Chorale, Steel Band, African Ensemble and Jazz Singers. All of these influences were allowed to flourish through the guidance of his three composition professors, Special Lecturer of Music Phyllis White, former MTD chair Karl Boelter and Associate Professor of Music Lettie Alston. As a result, Gillespie’s music contains elements of musical theatre, African polyrhythms, jazzy harmonies and original lyrics.
Outstanding Student in Jazz
- Trisha Shandor has earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with a strong emphasis in both jazz studies and classical voice. She is a dramatic coloratura soprano who studies voice with Applied Music Instructor Jan Albright and vocal jazz improvisation and vocal jazz arranging with Special Instructor of Music Danny Jordan.
Shandor teaches voice privately in her home studio and at the Royal Oak Center for Performing Arts. She also works at the Michigan Opera Theatre as an interim administrator in community programs and has been recognized by her colleagues as one of the most versatile vocalists in metro Detroit.
Before attending Oakland University, Shandor made a successful living as a vocal impersonator and has performed in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Atlantic City, Branson, Orlando, Japan and on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. She has been invited to perform with the OU Jazz Band, popular Detroit vocalist Michael Brock, the Patterson Rhythm Pace Dance Ensemble and the OU Steel Band Ensemble “Pan Jumbies.”
Chamber Music Award
- Jesse Calcat will receive his Bachelor of Arts in Music in the spring of 2005. He is a multi-instrumentalist who has been performing with the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony and Oakland University Chamber Ensemble since 2000.
Calcat also is a piano accompanist, currently accompanying OU string students, and he has worked tirelessly as a chamber musician on violin, viola, cello and piano, arranging special versions of both classical and ethnic pieces and transcribing obscure Baroque pieces for instrumental ensembles.
Calcat received a full scholarship to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s Baroque Performance Institute where he will study Baroque viola, viola da gamba, and stylistic aspects of Baroque music. He plans to channel his passions for chamber performing and world music into becoming an ethnomusicologist, specializing in the chamber music of China and Southeast Asia.
Musical Theatre Award
- Tony Edgerton, a sophomore music theatre major, has performed in MTD’s “She Stoops to Conquer,” “Into the Woods,” “Stop Kiss” and “The White Rose.”
Edgerton’s other favorite roles include Valjean in “Les Miserables” and Joseph in ”Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” He recently was awarded a scholarship from the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance to continue his studies.
Gittlen Achievement Award
- Steve O’Brien, a senior in theatre performance, has performed in “She Stoops to Conquer,” “ Great Expectations” and “Picnic” and recently began to develop his ability to sing while in the Oakland University Chorus.
In the future, he plans to capitalize on opportunities locally while projecting beyond the Michigan market. Directing also has become an interest for O’Brien.
Gittlen Theatre Award
- Meghan Trudell has appeared in numerous productions at Oakland including “Anything Goes,” “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “Private Lives,” “She Stoops to Conquer,” “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls” and “The Yellow Boat.”
Trudell received an Irene Ryan nomination to attend the American College Theatre Festival for her role as Snoopy and again for her role as Mrs. Hardcastle in “She Stoops to Conquer.”
She recently was a hair and makeup designer for “The Mikado,” styling 26 wigs by herself, and was reelected as secretary of the student theatre organization, Actors ‘n’ Technicians. She also student directed “The Problem Solver” and recently was cast in the spring musical, “Opal.”
Theatre Production Award
- Jamie Clausius, a senior in theatre production, has managed several shows for OU including “Anything Goes,” “Starting Here, Starting Now,” Oakland Dance Theatre for the winter 2004 and fall 2005 semesters, “The Yellow Boat” and “The White Rose.” Her other design work includes lighting designer for “The Miss Firecracker Contest” as well as set designer for “Serengeti Tales.”
Jacob Decker Dance Award for Performance
- Angela Gary, a senior in dance and performing arts, began her dance training studying tap, jazz, ballet and modern at the age of 8. She attended Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts where she worked with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Opera House, Fox Theater, Fisher Theater and the historic Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Gary is the proud recipient of two Maggie Allesee summer study scholarships, allowing her to study at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. She was a member of the Oakland Repertory Dance Company, which is reserved for pre-professional Oakland dancers.
Gary’s company work includes the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble and most recently the Patterson Rhythm Pace Dance Company.
- Heather Lawrence, a senior in dance and performing arts, has performed in the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble’s “Snow Queen,” “Toy Castle” and will dance in EDE’s “Laugh Tracks” this spring. She also has performed in the Oakland Dance Theatre, including Choreographer’s Forum in 2003, Airborne in 2002 and Rhythm & Beats in 2001.
She has performed in the Arts at Noon concerts and was a member of the Oakland University Dance Team from 2001-2003 and competed with the team at the College Dance Team Nationals in Orlando, Fla.
Maggie Allesee Dance Award for Choreography
- Alexis DeCapua, a senior majoring in dance and performing arts with a minor in studio art, has performed with both the Oakland Dance Theatre and Oakland Repertory Dance Company. Her work also was performed at the American College Dance Festival in 2004.
As an instructor and choreographer for many local dance studios, DeCapua has received an innovative choreography award from the National Dance Association and an outstanding choreography award from the Starpower Talent Corporation.
This summer, DeCapua will be studying dance on scholarship with members of the Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Company in Evanston, Ill.
- Alexandra Toth, a senior majoring in dance and performing arts, has danced with the Oakland Dance Theatre and is currently part of the OU Repertory Dance Company. She also performed with Patterson Rhythm Pace Dance Company and Powerful Image Production as a dancer at Casino Windsor. She has choreographed for Juliana’s, Oakland Dance Theatre and her senior recital in 2004.
Toth currently teaches and choreographs at the Community House Ballet and Jazz School in Birmingham.
Distinguished Dance Student Award for Academic Achievement in Dance
- Marius Iliescu holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts and Acting from Hyperion University, Bucharest, Romania, and this spring he is preparing to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Performing Arts from Oakland University.
Illiescu has performed internationally with various theatre companies and after graduating from Oakland University he intends to employ both words and movement to rediscover the human nature and expand its infinite possibilities of artistic expression.
- Salathiel Palland, a sophomore majoring in music education with a minor in theatre, has been very active in campus activities. She co-founded the Black Collegiate Arts Association and is vice-president and incoming president of the Oakland branch of CMENC. She also is involved with the University Chorus, Oakland Jazz Singers and the video club and was in the production of “Serengeti Tales.”
In addition to her school activities, Palland is a featured soloist in the community, a deacon and youth leader at her church.
Outstanding Student Service Award
· Rob Arbaugh, a senior theatre performance major, has been seen in a number of shows at Oakland including “I’m Not Stupid,” “A Winters Tale,” “Serengeti Tales,” “The Laramie Project” and “The Mikado.” He also will be appearing in two upcoming plays, “Proof” and ”Opal.”
Along with acting, Arbaugh has directed at OU as well, including “The Yellow Boat,” “English Made Simple” and will be directing “Godspell” later this summer.
On top of all that, Arbaugh juggles jobs in the Publicity Office, Recital Hall and Studio Theatre and is vice president of the student theatre organization, Actors ‘n’ Technicians, and will be president next year.