Working in the Arts: MTD Alumni News, May 2016

Working in the Arts: MTD Alumni News, May 2016
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Audience members of all ages enjoy Regina Carter and the OU Jazz Quartet

If you missed the April campus visit of alumna and jazz great Regina Carter (BA ’85), you can see her appearance on Fox Channel 2 here.  This year Regina and the Oakland Jazz Quartet played two gigs, one at the Carr Center in Detroit, and another in Varner Recital Hall which was designed for children and was very well attended. In the audience were the youngest students on campus, those from the Lowry Center. Everyone is invited to our family events, including our upcoming children’s theatre show The Adventures of Pinocchio.  It’s inspiring to see young minds experiencing the performing arts live, and a lot of fun, and you don’t need to be accompanied by your own young people to enjoy it!

Alumna Cáitlín Burke (BM ’98) is touring with The Sound of Music and the company will be in Detroit for the “Broadway In Detroit” series at The Fisher Theatre from May 10 through May 22. Tickets are available here.

Jillian Hoffman (BFA ’15), a more recent alumna, has just embarked on her first national tour. She joined the company of Seussical the Musical in March. She was in rehearsal and out on tour very quickly. “Wow! A lot can happen in less than a week,” she wrote on Facebook. Jillian and company will be at the Ford Performing and Community Center in Dearborn on May 10 and 16.  They will give two performances at the  Macomb Center in Clinton Township on May 17 and a show at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor on May 9.

In April, Domonique Donte Evans (BFA ’11) announced he would be attending San Diego State University in the fall to pursue an MFA in Musical Theatre. “I'm very blessed and thankful for this opportunity,” he wrote. “I would like to think everyone who has supported me and helped guide me in my career.” Among those he thanked by name were OU faculty Fred Love, Alissa Hetzner, Alta Dantzler, and Thomas M. Suda.  

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Taylor Jayne Thompson (first left) with the Luma Theatre
company on the stage of the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, PA

Dance alumna Taylor Jayne Thompson (BFA ’13), who is based in Los Angeles, recently completed a short tour of East Coast venues with Luma Theatre. “This show is the most out of my comfort zone experience I have had in my dance career,” said Taylor, “because we wear masks that cover our entire faces and the entire show is done in the dark. It is very scary and liberating all in one. I have picked up some specialty skills with hula hoop, poi and a little taste of rhythmic gymnastics techniques as well. It makes me very happy that I get to learn and train in new styles.”

Taylor first worked with Luma on a season of the television show “Fake Off” which appears on Tru TV. She said, “We filmed in Atlanta for two months and it was a super fun creative experience” If you want to track down Taylor’s appearances look for her in season two.

Music education alumna Niki Rose (Barnes) (BM ’11) who won the MaTilDa Award for Outstanding Student Music Education in 2011, received another award as an Outstanding Person in Education at the Outstanding Person in Education (OPIE) Awards Banquet on April 15. Niki is the elementary music teacher at Hardy Elementary in the South Lyon School District. She said, “I strive to create an environment where students develop critical thinking skills through music. I am proud of creating the first 5th grade band in the district and bringing new musical experiences like keyboard lab and ukulele to my students.” In addition to teaching, Niki is a member of her district's curriculum team, a PTO Teacher Liaison, Oakland Schools Fine Art Council Member, a building representative for the SLEA, and works with the district's administration to plan professional development for the fine arts team.

Voice alumna Nicolette Book (BM ’14) has finished all the components of her graduate degree at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and is, she said, “Officially DONE!” And what’s next? “I have made it to St. Louis for my summer at OTSL.” Nicolette has been selected as a Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of St Louis, which is one of the most selective young artists programs in the country. In addition to performing in the season’s mainstage productions, Nicolette will appear in Center Stage, a one-night-only concert, accompanied by the members of the St. Louis Symphony. It will feature iconic moments from opera’s greatest hits, as well as cherished rarities. For more information visit the OTSL website.