Master of Theatre Studies scenic design class

Master of Theatre Studies program wraps up for far-flung participants

SOU recognized 11 students in the Oregon Center for the Arts’ Master of Theatre Studies graduate program last weekend for completion of their third and final year of coursework.

This year’s MoTs contingent was made up of almost 40 theatre teachers from U.S., Canadian and Korean middle schools, high schools and community colleges. The program, limited to a maximum of 20 new participants each year, is made up of first-, second- and third-year cohorts whose members stay in SOU residence halls and eat at The Hawk dining commons as they participate in the intensive skill-building program on all aspects of theatre production and design.

The 11 third-year students who completed the program this year were Stefanie McConnell of Lewis Center, Ohio; Steven Munoz of Montclair, New Jersey; Carlene O’Connor of Red Hook, New York; Sara Rideout of Portland; Emily Ruiz of Victorville, California; Scott Sackett: Orem, Utah; Kendra Schroeder of Surprise, Arizona; Meli Hickenbottom of Incheon, Yeonsu-gu, South Korea; Denis Houyoux of Woodberry Forest, Virginia; Alex Konen of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; and Leis Depeche of Rotterdam, New York.

Faculty and staff in SOU’s Theatre Program including Jonathan Spencer, who Zoomed in from Colorado, made congratulatory presentations to the graduates. SOU President Rick Bailey, Provost Sue Walsh and OCA Director David Humphrey also congratulated the graduates. A BBQ dinner followed the ceremony, whidh concluded with the graduates boxing up their projects and preparing to return to their home states armed with intensive skills, knowledge, and goals to improve their high school theatre programs.

Coursework for the MoTs degree is designed specifically for high school theatre teachers, with three summer sessions of 12 credits each and three elective classes of nine credits each which can be taken during pre-summer or post-summer sessions, or online during winter term. The program’s third year wraps up with a thesis project that consists of evidence of students’ work accompanied by a self-evaluation paper that describes their graduate school experience.

The concentrated curriculum includes lecture, discussion and practical hands-on work, with required classes in script analysis, costume, lighting, sound design and production. Stagecraft, scene painting, stage properties, management, drawing, watercolor, stage make up and creative conceptualization are also part of the hands-on experience.

More information about the program is available online.

New degrees in Music Industry and Production

SOU offers new degree in Music Industry and Production for 2022-23

(Ashland, Oregon) The Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University has launched its newest degrees – a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in Music Industry & Production Studies (MIPS).

“I am so thrilled to see MIPS take off,” said Derek Keller, Ph.D., assistant professor of music at SOU. “Imagine yourself as an ‘artist in residence,’ composing, producing, performing your own music and preparing for a career in the industry. The MIPS program is an incubator for musical creatives and entrepreneurs who seek an open, welcoming environment to prepare for a career in tomorrow’s music industry.”

The new degree program is a robust one that features course sequences in audio & music production, music theory, aural skills, piano proficiency, music industry, business, and economics. Certificates in Music Industry and Production, and Sound Design – and a micro-credential in Audio and Music Production – are also offered for individuals that do not wish to pursue the full degree.

“MIPS is a unique blend of academics, specialization in music and entrepreneurial development,” Keller said. “I want our graduates to be ready to meet the future with poise, critical thinking and cutting edge audio tools, and to be adaptable with both academic rigor and vocational skills. We also happen to be an AVID learning partner, one of only two in the state!”

AVID is the software developer of Pro Tools, the industry-standard audio/music production software, as well as Media Composer and Sibelius. Students put their developing knowledge and skills to work in the MIP Lab and the Control Room of the Music Recital Hall at SOU.

“Students produce their own and their colleagues’ music, manage and direct live events, and contribute to our social media outlets,” Keller said. “All of this leads to network building and work experience that is résumé worthy.”

The MIP program is already gaining attention both locally and within the music industry.

“I wish they had this curriculum when I was in school,” said Andy Osborn, Artists & Labels Operations Manager at, and a featured guest artist in one of the SOU Music Program’s music industry courses this year.

“It is so terrific that you are offering these new opportunities to students and providing the cutting-edge tools and training they need; I would love to help any way I can,” wrote Ryan Wines, CEO of Marmoset Music, an SOU Alum and member of the SOU Foundation Board.

MIP classes feature regular guest artists and presenters from all sectors of the music industry.

In MUSIX, MIPS’ flagship ensemble, students compose, rehearse, produce and perform their own music. This music is released and accessible through both public/live performance and regular media outlets.  MUSIX has already released two EPs, and will release its first full-length LP in fall 2022.

“Our next release event will be in Lithia Park,” Keller said. “MUSIX recent performances are available on the OCA YouTube page, on Spotify, Pandora, or Bandcamp, or follow MUSIX on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.”

“We want our students to have complete control over their creative work, learn the power of their copyright, create a network of professional colleagues and write, produce, teach, arrange compose for film/video/radio, work in merchandising/retail/promotions/social media, manage performance venues, etc. – the industry is vast,” Keller said. “You can land a successful career in music outside of pursuing rock stardom, or performing cover music.”

The new BA/BS in Music Industry & Production Studies is now available to prospective and current students. SOU features open enrollment with rolling admissions, which means that any student can enroll at any time and begin pursuing their degree path. To apply to SOU go to

To assist students, SOU’s Music Program offers over $160,000 in music scholarships, and many opportunities for work study and student employment. For more information on scholarships go to:

For more detailed information about the new degree programs, contact Keller at


Digital Cinema capstone project breaks new ground

Digital Cinema capstone project breaks barriers at SOU

Digital Cinema student Tabitha Wheeler is spearheading a capstone film project unlike anything seen before at SOU. The project is likely to catch the eyes of movie lovers in the Ashland community and beyond, following its successful crowdfunding campaign, backing from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a passionately committed cast and crew.

Wheeler, a senior at SOU, wrote and is director and head producer of the film, “The Lost Years of Shakespeare.” She developed the script in early 2021, with the story following a woman who finds herself entwined in a mystery surrounding the cryptic death of Shakespeare. The film is set mostly in Ashland, and features landmarks such as the Ashland Springs Hotel and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It features professionally choreographed sword fights, and ties in with real historical events.

Wheeler began her career at SOU as an athlete, playing soccer. Having a long time love for filmmaking, dating back to elementary school, she chose Digital Cinema as her area of study and quickly flourished in the program. She has taken a break from soccer over the past year, and has gone full speed into her capstone project.

She began an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in March, and met her goal by the middle of April. There was an outcry of support from the Rogue Valley community, and the project quickly caught the attention of the local film community. More than $7,000 was raised through crowdfunding, exceeding Wheeler’s original goal and setting records for Digital Cinema capstone budgets.

The film is currently in production, with plans to wrap up shooting in mid-June and to begin post-production work shortly after. Wheeler and her crew plan to have a finished product by November, and to submit the project to various film festivals. They’ve had multiple location shoots, including trips up to Portland and the Oregon Coast. A shoot inside the OSF’s Elizabethan Theater is planned for this summer.

The capstone for Digital Cinema usually takes the form of a long term film project, with a full, student-run crew. Students typically spend a whole year in pre-production and research before filming even begins. The Digital Cinema capstone is intended to allow students to show their specialized skills, and get experience working on a long-term film project.

SOU News sat down with Tabitha Wheeler in this podcast interview. Listen here and subscribe to SOU News podcast with Nash Bennett on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Spotify.

Story by Nash Bennett, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Duo combines organ and percussion in SOU concert

Organized Rhythm Duo to combine organ and percussion in SOU concert

The Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University together with the Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Guild of Organists present: “An Afternoon of Organ and Percussion” on Sunday, April 24, at the SOU Music Recital Hall.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. and the concert hall will begin shaking with the vibrations of pipes and percussion at 3 p.m., featuring the award-winning, and seldom paired combination of organ and percussion known as the Organized Rhythm Duo. This combination of instruments will be the first for the Rogue Valley.

The concert will be offered in-person and live-streamed from the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University:

The Organized Rhythm Duo has dazzled audiences for more than two decades. Founded in 2004, the duo is made up of Britain-born organist Clive Driskill-Smith and Oregonian Joseph Gramley, two top musicians in their fields. Driskill-Smith is wry and reserved – until he lets loose an astonishing array of effects at the organ’s keyboard, and Gramley gracefully complements with dance-like movements across a cadre of more than a dozen percussion instruments.

Together, they captivate audiences with their explosion of energy, sound and musicality, and fill the stage with a lyrical and powerful melding of thunderous and dulcet organ pipes with the arresting and delicate aspects of percussion instruments.

Trumpet and organ: it’s been done before. Flute and organ: it’s been done before. But the “symphonic-orchestral” pairing of organ and percussion remains a rarity, making Organized Rhythm the only full-time duo of its kind anywhere in the world.

The program will open with “Beaming Music,” by innovative 21st century composer Nico Muhly, and the audience will hear dozens of world drums, cymbals, multi-keyboard melodic percussion, orchestral percussion and timpani breaking through the full organ’s sound as satisfyingly as any trumpet; the duo has found balances in which even the soft bars of the marimba meld seamlessly with the organ’s softest registers.

Recognizable classics such as Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” Bizet’s “Aragonaise” (from Carmen), and Canfield’s “Pictures at a Klee Exhibition,” will round out the program which will conclude with a lively foot-stomping rendition of Copland’s “Hoe-Down.”

The inspiration to bring the Organized Rhythm Duo to the Rogue Valley for this unique musical experience, was conceived by Margaret Evans, Dean of the Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and SOU’s professor emerita, who teaches organ at SOU. Evans partnered with Terry Longshore, professor of music and director of Percussion Studies at SOU. Organized Rhythm Duo is represented by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists.

For information on the Organized Rhythm Duo, the artists and their music, click here.

Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for seniors, and free to SOU faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The OCA Box Office will open at 2:00pm – one hour before the performance for last-minute ticket sales. Tickets can also be purchased online here or by calling (541) 552-6348 or emailing

About the performers:

Joseph Gramley has had an extensive, award-winning solo and chamber music career, has taught percussion at multiple universities, collaborates and plays with major symphony orchestras, has two solo recordings, and has released eight albums. He was the associate artistic director of the Silkroad Ensemble from 2014-2017. During Gramley’s tenure, the ensemble won the 2017 GRAMMY award for “best world music” album, was nominated for “best music film” and recorded the music for Ken Burns’ documentary, “Vietnam,” for PBS.

Gramley’s versatility as a percussionist has found him performing alongside a broad cross section of artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Elton John, Michael Stern, Renee Fleming, Wu Man, Glen Velez, and Keiko Abe. Gramley’s two solo recordings, “American Deconstruction” and “Global Percussion,” represent definitive, milestone works in the modern multi-percussion canon. He is currently a professor of music in percussion at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Born in 1970, Gramley grew up in Oregon and was named a presidential scholar in the arts in 1988. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Michigan, and earned his master’s degree from Juilliard and directed its Summer Percussion Seminar for 17 years. Festival experience includes Tanglewood, Salzburg Mozarteum, Spoleto Festival, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and 15 summers at the Marlboro Music Festival.

Clive Driskill-Smith has been named “a star of a new generation” and critics have praised his “blazing technique” and “unbelievable virtuosity” and describe his performances as “intensely moving” and “truly breathtaking.” He began early as a pianist and bassoon player and later at age 15 began playing organ.

Driskill-Smith is currently the organist and choirmaster at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, Texas – a post that he combines with an international concert career. He has performed at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Melbourne Town Hall, Westminster Abbey, The Grand Philharmonic Hall in Perm (Russia) and the National Performing Arts Center in Taipei. He has played at prominent festivals and conventions, and continues to work with acclaimed conductors.

His performances have been broadcast on the BBC (UK), NHK (Japan), Pipedreams (USA), and on radio and television throughout the world. His CDs have received critical acclaim and he has recorded albums with Peter Gabriel on Virgin Records, and with Howard Goodall on EMI Classics.

Story by Kim Andresen, Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU

The SOU Woodwind Ensemble will present “Circusmuzeik”

SOU woodwinds to perform “Circusmuziek” featuring whimsical, colorful melodies

The SOU Woodwind Ensemble will present “Circusmuziek” at the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall on Monday, April 25. The concert, presented by the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, will begin at 7:30 p.m., in-person with a simultaneous live stream on the Oregon Center for the Arts YouTube Channel.

The program will feature contemporary chamber music by the mixed ensemble “Quintet for 7 Reeds,” the clarinet ensemble “Panic in the Practice Room,” and the saxophone quartet “SAXISTENTIAL QUARTET.”

The concert will begin with “Tanguera” from “QuinteTango” by Mariano Mores, arranged by Silvia Coricelli, and “Circusmuziek” by Ton Ter Doest – the concert’s namesake – performed by the Quintet for 7 Reeds. The quintet is made up of oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bass clarinet and bassoon, and will feature SOU alum and current oboe instructor Lorin Groshong, SOU woodwind faculty Rhett Bender, undergraduate music student Jack Boulter and graduate students Randy Nguyen and Travis Muñoz.

The program will also include a performance of “A Real Slow Drag” from “Treemonisha,” written by Scott Joplin and performed by SOU music faculty members Bernadette Keller, Alexander Tutunov and Bender.

Following “Treemonisha” will be “Bagatelle for Clarinets” by Clare Grundman, and selections from “Suite for Clarinets” by T. Stewart Smith, performed by Panic in the Practice Room, which will include undergraduate music students Jack Boulter, Martin Bichinsky, Jackie Lu and Orion Danforth, and graduate student Randy Nguyen.

The concert will conclude with SAXISTENTIAL QUARTET – made up of undergraduate music students Amanda Esser, Jack Kovaleski and Reese Lanier, and graduate student Randy Nguyen – performing “Merry-Go-Round of Life” by Joe Hisaishii and Yudo Yamada, and “Ulla in Africa” by Heiner Wiberny.

A patron commented at a previous concert in February, that “it was the best student wind concert I have heard in 23 years of attending concerts in the SOU Recital Hall.”

About the composers:

“Circusmuiziek” by Dutch composer Ton Ter Doest is composed specifically for the reed quintet. Featuring seven short vignettes that combine the unique sounds of each reed instrument, Doest creates beautiful images in the minds of the audience.

Scott Joplin, the “King of Ragtime,” wrote two operas that were never performed in his lifetime. The score for Joplin’s first opera, “A Guest of Honor,” was lost in 1903, but “Treemonisha” was rediscovered in the 1970s and has since been performed to great acclaim.

Clare Grundman composed scores for film, television, radio and several Broadway productions. He is most known for his compositions and arrangements for symphonic bands, with many of his compositions inspired by folk music from around the world.

Heiner Wiberny is a German jazz saxophonist and flutist. Wiberny first studied romance studies, geography and school music in Cologne, and composition with Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Pavel Blatný.

Joe Hisaishii is best known for his work with animator Hayao Miyazaki, composing music for many of his films. “Merry-Go-Round of Life” was specifically composed for Miyazaki’s film “Howl’s Moving Castle,” with all of the imaginative wonder of the romantic fairy tale.

This will be the last concert the SOU Woodwind Ensembles perform this term. Tickets can be purchased at the OCA Box Office by calling (541) 552-6348 or emailing The OCA Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. General admission tickets are $10, and $5 for seniors and SOU alumni. SOU faculty, staff, students and members of OLLI receive two free tickets each. OLLI and SOU community members must call or email the OCA Box Office, as purchases cannot be made online. General public tickets can be purchased online at For more information or to learn about upcoming events please visit

Story by Gray Blair, box office staff for OCA at SOU

Oregon Center for the Arts spring performances

Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU offers variety of spring performances

The Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU is offering a variety of musical, theatrical and dance performances in the coming weeks – both in-person and live-streamed. Free tickets are available for all SOU students and employees.

FREE Dance Workshop: Saturday, April 2nd at Noon
Dance Workshop (tap, salsa, hip hop, and more!)

Session One: Tap for All – Noon – 1:30pm
SOU Adjunct Faculty Instructor: Suzanne Seiber

Session Two: Contemporary/Salsa/Hip Hop 1:30-3pm
Theatre Building/ROOM: THR 137
Guest instructor: Melissa De Corrado

Sessions are first come, first served. Limited space. 

About the workshops: Sponsored by the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU, these free dance workshops will feature tap, contemporary dance, salsa and hip hop. The workshop will feature a tap session from Noon-1:30pm taught by SOU Adjunct Faculty and Dance Performance instructor Suzanne Seiber. In the second session, guest artist Melissa De Corrado will teach contemporary dance, salsa, and hip hop from 1:30-3pm. Both sessions are in the Theatre Building, Room 137. For more information contact Suzanne Seiber at

SOU Percussion Ensembles perform RECONSTRUCTION Tuesday, April 5th at 7:30PM SOU Recital Hall

The program will open with John Cage’s 1939 composition, First Construction, and close with the 10th Anniversary performance of Bryan Jeffs’ first work for Percussion Ensemble, “A Maroon Hog’s Rebel Frog.” Jeffs’ composition is the first of a trilogy of pieces he has written and premiered for percussion ensemble. His work evokes a sense of lighthearted playfulness balanced with complexity and technical demand. Left Edge Percussion, directed by SOU music professor, Dr. Terry Longshore, is SOU’s graduate level percussion group in residence at the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU. The group regularly collaborates with artists of various media and are featured at festivals and events worldwide. The SOU Percussion Ensemble, directed by 2007 SOU Alum and Faculty member Bryan Jeffs is made up of SOU music program students who perform on campus and across the Rogue Valley at a variety of community events.

FRIDAY MUSIC SHOWCASE: Free Music Every Friday in the SOU Music Recital Hall from 12:30-1:20PM. 

Friday Music Showcase is a weekly MUS 165 course that is required for all music majors during their time at SOU but is an opportunity for the SOU Community and the general public to attend performances. The showcase is performance and lecture based and features guest artists, student performances, live music and engaging lectures during the academic terms. It is also a performance opportunity for junior recitals, faculty recitals, and pre-recital performances.

CMC Vienna Piano Trio: Friday, April 8th at 7:30PM, SOU Music Recital Hall
Not offered through the OCA Box Office.

Long established as one of the world’s leading chamber ensembles, and perennially fresh in its artistry, the Vienna Piano Trio was founded in 1988 by the Viennese pianist Stefan Mendl. His partners are the Californian violinist David McCarroll, a member of the trio since 2015, and the Austrian cellist Clemens Hagen, who joined in 2018. Together, the players embody the ensemble’s continuing commitment to bridging the traditions and practice of Europe and America. This philosophy stems from the trio’s early years and its mentoring by such ensembles as the Trio di Trieste, Haydn-Trio Wien, Beaux Arts Trio, and the Guarneri and LaSalle quartets, and by the violinists Isaac Stern and Jaime Laredo.

For tickets and more information contact Jody Schmidt, Executive Director at (541) 552-6154, email or purchase your tickets online at:

SOU Music Student Recitals: April 9th-30th
No tickets needed. Open to the public – all in the SOU Music Recital Hall at 7:30pm/dates below:

Morgan List, Senior Recital, piano Saturday 4/9; program: Bach, Grieg, Milhaud, Scaramouche. Livestream:

Tiana Wong, Graduate Recital, piano Tuesday, 4/12program: Beethoven, Vine, Grieg; Livestream:

Joseph Wong, Graduate Recital, piano Wednesday, 4/13program: Beethoven, Rachmaninoff; Livestream:

Isaiah Spratt, Graduate Recital, piano Saturday, 4/30program: Debussy, Prokofiev, Shostakovich; Livestream:

April CVA Gallery Opening, and Schneider Museum of Art Opening & Exhibits

SMA: The Presence of Nature: April 8th-May 21st; Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 10am-4pm

Claire Burbridge
Sky Hopinka
Kurtis Hough
Naeemeh Naeemaei
Vanessa Renwick
Olga Volchkova

CVA: The Best of the Best High School Exhibits and SOU Student Exhibits: April 4th-29th

Best of the Best, Meyer Memorial, Boise Cascade, Chairs
Shelby Hammond, I Can Spread My Toes Wider Than You, Jeld-Wen
Kaya Doolaege, Do You Like Me Now, Thorndike
Cheri Ball, NO SIGNPOSTS, Retzlaff

Opening Reception: April 15th, 5-7PM
CVA Gallery Hours: Monday – Sunday, 8AM-10PM
Organized Rhythm: Percussion/Organ Concert on Sunday, April 24th at 3PM, SOU Music Recital Hall

The Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU together with the Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Guild of Organists presents: “An Evening of Organ and Percussion” featuring the Organized Rhythm Duo. This combination of instruments (percussion and organ) is not heard very often, and this will be the first for the Rogue Valley.

SOU Chamber Ensembles present CIRCUSMUZIEK: Monday, April 25th at 7:30PM, SOU Music Recital Hall; Livestream:

The SOU woodwind – reed and double reed – ensembles will present their spring concert titled  “Circusmuziek.” This will be a concert of contemporary chamber ensemble music saxophone quartet, clarinet ensemble, and a quintet of reed instruments: oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bass clarinet and bassoon. The title was inspired by the work of the same name by Dutch composer Ton ter Doest. It will be performed by Quintet for 7 Reeds. Also on the program will be the SAXISTENTIAL QUARTET performing Merry-Go-Round of Life by Japanese composers Joe Hisaishii and Yudo Yamada. Additional music will be performed by clarinet ensemble Panic in the Practice Room.

SOU Music presents: TAMBUCO: Percussion Tuesday, April 26th at 7:30PM, SOU Music Recital Hall;

OCA presents: The Tambuco Percussion Ensemble – from Mexico City will perform in the SOU Music Recital Hall. Four time GRAMMY Nominees, this Mexican Percussion Quartet includes  Ricardo Gallardo, Alfredo Bringas, Raúl Tudón, Miguel González. The group was founded in 1993 by four distinguished Mexican musicians and is ranked among the finest and most innovative in the world.

Oregon Fringe Festival: April 27th-May 1st various locations in the Ashland Community

Each spring, the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University produces the Oregon Fringe Festival, a multi-day event celebrating outrageous creativity in the arts. Featuring over 35 different artists, this year’s festival will include everything from over 20 live performances, to over 10 online performances, in addition to over 20 opportunities to interact with creative work both live and online that is not scheduled as a performance.

On Wednesday, April 27, at 7:00 p.m. the Oregon Fringe Festival will host an Opening Celebration to officially kick off the festival in the CVA Gallery Courtyard – in front of the Art Building on the SOU Campus! Come dressed in your quirkiest attire inspired by the Fringe to meet artists and producers while enjoying an evening of treats and refreshments, visual art exhibitions, Honorarium Recipient Awards from Festival Director, Paige Gerhard, a unique Fringe Gauntlet experience, and more… Following the Opening Celebration will be an Opening Performance featuring a stellar rock concert by MUSIX, a premiere pop music ensemble associated with Music Industry & Production at Southern Oregon University. Click here for a complete schedule of event for OFF:

Chamber Music Concerts presents: The Jerusalem Quartet Friday, April 29th at 7:30PM; 

Chamber Music Concerts presents: The Jerusalem Quartet Saturday, April 30th at 3:00PM;
Not offered through the OCA Box Office.

Since the Jerusalem Quartet’s founding in 1993 and subsequent 1996 debut, the four Israeli musicians have embarked on a journey of growth and maturation which has resulted in a wide repertoire and stunning depth of expression, carrying on the string quartet tradition in a unique manner. The ensemble has found its core in a warm, full, human sound and an egalitarian balance between high and low voices. This approach allows the quartet to maintain a healthy relationship between individual expression and a transparent and respectful presentation of the composer’s work. The Jerusalem Quartet is a regular and beloved guest on the world’s great concert stages, including regular visits to the U.S., London’s Wigmore hall, Tonhalle Zürich, Munich Herkulessaal, Theatre des Champs-Elysées, as well as special guest performances at the Auditorium du Louvre Paris and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. For tickets and more information contact Jody Schmidt, Executive Director at (541) 552-6154, email or purchase your tickets online at:

FREE Bollywood Workshop: Saturday, April 30th at 11AM
Theatre Building/ROOM:THR 137

Sign up by emailing Neeta Singh at
Guest Instructor: Neeta Singh, CEO Neeta Naturals Ayurveda Wellness
Spots available first come, first served. Limited space.
About the Workshop: This workshop (open to the SOU Community) will be a unique opportunity to get to know and learn the basics of a traditional Bollywood dance style, which we all have seen so many times in the movies. Participants will spend the first-half of the workshop learning Bhangra, the high energy folk dance originating from the north Indian state of Punjab. During the other half of the workshop, Neeta will introduce you to the exotic world of Bollywood, India’s largest film industry based out of Mumbai. You will learn the basics of both dances, as well as build a choreography for each dance form that will have you smiling throughout the class and workshop.

About the Artist: Neeta Singh performs year-round concerts, wedding receptions, private parties, fundraisers, corporate events, social/public events, and festivals. She also provides private lessons and training for special events.

For more information or for tickets to any of the above events contact the OCA Box Office M-F from 3-6pm at 541-552-6348, email, or come visit us in person to get your tickets. All April-June events are listed at The OCA Box Office is located between the Music and Theatre buildings at 491 S. Mountain Avenue next to Jefferson Public Radio. E-ticketing available over the phone – avoid long lines and concert delays, and get your free tickets early before the concert day – thank you! 

SOU percussion groups to play in New York

On repeat: prominent NYC music festival features SOU percussion ensembles

Southern Oregon University’s percussion ensembles received a special invitation two years ago to perform at the Bang on a Can “LONG PLAY” music festival – a three-day NYC event each year that draws hundreds of percussive artists from around the world. With instruments nearly packed and ready to go, SOU’s contingency had to wait while the world paused for the pandemic.

The invitation was extended again this year and with renewed fervor, SOU’s percussion faculty – Terry Longshore, Bryan Jeffs and Reed Bentley – will venture to NYC with percussion students and perform during the festival, April 29 through May 1.

SOU will be the only university participating in the May Day festival, and students will share the stage with a cadre of some of the biggest names, composers and musicians, in the world of percussion – an impressive “who’s who” of new music. A total of 11 percussion students, three faculty members and two SOU alumni will participate during the festival, which features 50-plus percussive artists and 60-plus concerts across eight pioneering music venues in Brooklyn. Performances will be held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Roulette, Public Records, Littlefield, Mark Morris Dance Center, The Center for Fiction, outdoor events at The Plaza at 300 Ashland and more.

Longshore’s longstanding connections with festival producers prompted the recent invitations and opportunities for SOU students. He has been involved in the weekend festival since the early 1990’s and performed twice during his own master’s program. He has also made connections with composers and other percussionists through his own professional music career and has participated in the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA.

Bang on a Can was founded in 1987 by lauded contemporary composers Julia Wolfe, David Lang and Michael Gordon. Lang and Wolfe have each been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Gordon is the composer of “Natural History,” which premiered with a 2016 performance at Crater Lake by the Britt Festival Orchestra with Steiger Butte Drum, members of the SOU Percussion Ensemble and various SOU music faculty and students.

“Right now – this minute – is an amazing time to love music,” Wolfe, Lang and Gordon said in a statement about this year’s festival. “Musicians and listeners from every corner of the music world are pushing beyond their boundaries, questioning their roots, searching and stretching for the new. There’s so much audacity and so much courage. We want to show you all of it.

“With the creation of LONG PLAY, we are presenting more kinds of musicians, playing more kinds of music, bending more kinds of minds. LONG PLAY expands and enlarges our scope and our reach, and puts more new faces on stage than ever before. It’s a lot of music!”

The theme of this year’s festival is “An Explosion of Mind-Bending Music of the Moment.” Some of the headliner/highlighted groups: Bang on a Can All-Stars, Kris David/Dave Holland, Matmos, Michael Pisaro, Pan in Motion, Sun Ra Arkestra and Vijay Iyer.

Left Edge Percussion, directed by Longshore, is SOU’s graduate-level percussion group in residence at SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts. The group regularly collaborates with artists of various media, and are featured at festivals and events worldwide.

The SOU Percussion Ensemble, directed by SOU alumnus and faculty member Bryan Jeffs, is made up of SOU music program students who perform on campus and across the Rogue Valley at a variety of community events. Several students who were slated for the 2020 festival will now get the chance to participate.

“I was so disappointed the festival was cancelled in 2020,” said Jared Rountree, a junior music major and member of the SOU Percussion Ensemble. “But when we were invited again to this year’s festival, I was overwhelmed and excited. I am so ready to get out there and perform again in front of a big audience – I feel like I’m getting my life back through music.”

“We will perform along a star-studded cast of performers and composers at the festival, and this is truly an incredible opportunity for our students and alumni,” Longshore said.

And speaking of alumni, two of Longshore’s first music students – Joseph Perez ‘07 and Rebecca Merusi ‘06 – will meet up and perform with SOU during the festival.

“The piece ‘ricefall’ is composed for 16 players and we only had 14,” Longshore said. “So I reached out to a couple of percussion alumni that live near Brooklyn, to see if they would join us.”

“I didn’t even hesitate to say yes, when Terry called and asked if I would perform,” Merusi said. “I started as a percussion ensemble at SOU before Terry arrived at SOU. Now, to be joining them in a performance 20 years later, is absolutely epic.

“SOU is very much a center for the arts, and I am unbelievably proud of my experience and legacy there, and enthusiastic about everything that continues to develop.”

Merusi is connected with the Eastman School of Music, plays with a local philharmonic ensemble, and is an executive team leader for Target Corporation.

Both SOU groups will perform one piece during the festival. Left Edge Percussion will perform “Strange and Sacred Noise” by composer and Pulitzer Prize for Music awardee John Luther Adams, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 30. Adams uses his music to describe the natural world, how nature changes us and how we change it, impacting the health of our planet.

The SOU Percussion Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 29, a piece called “ricefall” by Michael Pisaro, director of the Composition and Experimental Sound program at the California Institute of the Arts. The ensemble in this piece will create a sonic environment, visual and intensely quiet and dramatic, and use rice falling like a gentle rain, from the hands of the performers, onto a variety of objects and surfaces.

The festival won’t be livestreamed, but tickets are available at:, and range from $95 to $350.

SOU’s percussion groups will also perform on campus – both ensembles will perform Re-Construction at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5, in the SOU Music Recital Hall; the SOU Percussion Ensemble will perform “ricefall” at 7:30 p.m. on May 26 in the SOU Music Recital Hall; and Left Edge Percussion will perform “Strange and Sacred Noise” on June 3 at the CVA First Friday Gallery Opening in the courtyard in front the SOU Art Building.

Story by Kim Andresen, Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU

Composers of color featured in SOU concert

“Splinter” woodwind concert features composers of color

The SOU Music Program will present “Splinter”  – a woodwind concert featuring composers of color and directed by SOU’s Rhett Bender – at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22, in the SOU Music Recital Hall. Tickets are $10 for general seating, and SOU students, faculty and staff are free.

Three SOU woodwind groups will perform: Quintet of 7 Reeds, saxophone quartet Saxistential and newly the formed clarinet quartet Panic in the Practice Room. The small ensembles are made up of SOU music faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and alumni.

The performance will open with Piotr Tchaikovsky’s “Album of Music” with “Winter Morning” and “Russian Dances,” followed by Rodgers and Harts’ “My Funny Valentine.”

The Saxistential Quartet – made up of Amanda Esser, Jack Kovaleski, Reese Lanier and Randy Nguyen – will perform “Ragtime Dance” from African-American composer Scott Joplin (aka, the “King of Ragtime). Joplin is well known for more than 50 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet and two operas. Joplin grew up in a musical family of railway laborers in Texarkana, Arkansas, and developed his own musical knowledge with the help of local teachers. He left his job as a railroad laborer in the 1880s and traveled as a musician, visiting Chicago for the World’s Fair of 1893 – which played a major part in making ragtime a national craze by 1897. Joplin moved to Sedalia, Missouri, in 1894 and earned a living as a piano teacher. He began publishing music in 1895, and publication of his “Maple Leaf Rag” in 1899 brought him fame. The piece had a profound influence on writers of ragtime.

“Royal Garden Blues,” by African-American composers Clarence Williams and Spencer Williams (not related), will make up the middle of the program. The two collaborated in 1919 on the piece, which was popularized in jazz by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and has since been recorded by numerous artists and has become a jazz standard. The song is considered one of the first popular songs based on a riff. Clarinet quartet “Panic in the Practice Room” – made up of Jack Boulter, Randy Nguyen, Martin Bichinsky and Jackie Lu – will perform the work.

Also featured during the program will be composure David Bennett and his “Prelude and Scherzo.”

Written for reed quintet, Marc Mellits’ “Splinter” will wrap up the program and feature eight movements that convey the musical characteristics of different majestic hardwood trees – including red oak, sugar maple and weeping willow – which gives the concert its title. The piece will be performed by Quintet for 7 Reeds, is made up of music faculty Lorin Groshong and Rhett Bender, students Jack Boulter and Randy Nguyen, and SOU alumus Travis Muñoz.

To learn more about concerts and performances at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, visit For tickets, contact the OCA Box Office at 541-552-6348 or by email at, or purchase tickets online at

Story courtesy of the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU

President Rick Bailey will support Special Olympics with a "Polar Plunge."

President Bailey, SOU Raiders, make splash for Special Olympics

SOU President Rick Bailey will join other members of the campus community this year as they “take the plunge” as part of a local benefit for Special Olympics Oregon.

Bailey will line up Saturday morning on the edge of the unheated, outdoor pool at Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford with students from the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU. Bailey and other members of the team will jump into the pool – whose water temperature is expected to be about 44 degrees – as part of the annual Southern Oregon Polar Plunge. More than a dozen SOU Raiders are expected to participate in the event, which is free and open to the public.

“Although I am not a fan of jumping into cold bodies of water, I am a HUGE fan of Special Olympics and the wonderful things that organization does,” President Bailey said. “I’m excited to help bring awareness to a great and worthwhile cause.”

Polar Plunge for Special OlympicsAn SOU contingent joins hundreds of other teams made up of students, law enforcement, gyms, corporate partners and thrill seekers across the state each February to make an icy dip. Proceeds from the events provide uniforms, sports equipment, and regional and national travel opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

“My sister and I are both plunging this year,” said Elena Patterson, a senior music major at SOU. “Our brother is a below-the-knee amputee and he has dyslexia. He’s 15 and a freshman at AHS. I like plunging every year because it’s a fun event. You show up and everyone is nervous but excited and finally it’s your turn to go up and the water is so cold! But everyone is cold together. Can’t wait!”

Raiders have been plunging for three years in-person, and students participated virtually last year because of the pandemic. Martin Bichinsky, a sophomore music major at SOU, plunged for the cause at home by submitting a video of himself being doused with a bucket of ice water in his backyard.

SOU alumnus Jared Brown ’17, the Youth Orchestra Manager with Pacific Symphony in Los Angeles, is sponsoring two students by donating $100.

“I continue to support Special Olympics year after year out of love for my cousin, Thomas, who lives with non-verbal autism and aphasia,” Brown said. “I greatly appreciate the effort folks exhibit through activities like Polar Plunge as they bring awareness and visibility to those living in our communities with special needs.”

Another alum, Jayme Dittberner ’21, a teacher at Talent Middle School said, “I like plunging because I love having the opportunity to raise awareness and money for the Special Olympics athletes. It’s really amazing to see so many people in the community coming together for something so important. It’s been a lot of fun the last two years that I’ve done it, and I know how much of an impact we are making by participating in the event.”

The SOU community can join the SOU Raider team by plunging, donating or coming out to watch the event. The Southern Oregon Polar Plunge begins with registration at 9 a.m., costume contest at 10:30 a.m., and opening ceremonies and the plunge at 11 a.m. For more information, contact event manager Kim Andresen, or go to

Two comedies in February for SOU Theatre

SOU Theatre is back: Two comedies open this month

(Ashland, Ore.) — Live performances from the SOU Theatre Program will return from a COVID-19 hiatus with plenty of laughs in a pair of February comedies: “The Thanksgiving Play” by Larissa FastHorse and “The Servant of Two Masters” by Carlo Goldini.

The first of the two winter term productions, “The Thanksgiving Play,” will open with an 8 p.m. performance on Thursday, Feb. 17, in the SOU Theatre Building’s Black Box Theatre, at 491 S. Mountain Ave., in Ashland. Additional performances will be at 8 p.m. on Feb. 18 and 19, and Feb. 24 through 26; and 2 p.m. on Feb. 26 and 27.

There will be limited seating, so those interested in attending are encouraged to contact the Oregon Center for the Arts Box Office early to reserve seats.

The political satire is directed by Steven Sapp and features a cast of four SOU students: Nate Walker, Jodie Chapin, Jade Krische and Andrew Chvatal. What could go wrong when three bleeding-heart liberals undertake to mount a woke Thanksgiving play? Just about everything in Larissa FastHorse’s hilarious satire of clueless white people straining to be politically correct.

The second production – which will overlap the first – is a zany farce in which a perpetually famished lackey schemes to double his wages by serving two masters simultaneously, and goes to increasingly desperate lengths to conceal his ruse. “The Servant of Two Masters” is directed by Brendan McMahon, an assistant professor of theatre at SOU, and features student actors Aleeyah Enriquez, AnaLea Varni, Chloe Boyan, Hayley Kennen, Jennie Babisch, John Price, Keigin Tosh, Kyler Deanda, Sam Whitler, Nicole Villavicencio, Thilini Dissanayake and Tim Turner.

The show opens with an 8 p.m. performance on Thursday, Feb. 24, in the Theatre Building’s Main Stage Theatre. Additional performances will be at 8 p.m. on Feb. 25 and 26, and March 3 through 5; and 2 p.m. on March 5 and 6.

Both of the comedies will have reserved seating; please contact the OCA Box Office early at (541) 552-6348 or via email at to reserve seats.

SOU COVID-19 POLICY: All event attendees must show proof of vaccination card (actual card, or photo of it on your phone) OR a negative COVID-19 Test (from a health center, hospital or doctor’s office) within 48 hours of the performance date for admission at the door. Thank you for adhering to our policy so we can keep our students, faculty, staff, patrons and performers safe!