SOU bachelor of fine arts cohort "the Frenzies"

Entire cohort of SOU bachelor of fine arts students perform in L.A. and gain internships

The 2019 cohort for Southern Oregon University’s bachelor of fine arts in performance program will get more than degrees after completing their requirements last month. All 16 members of the BFA program performed a thesis showcase in December, first on the SOU campus and then at the historic Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica, California.

And all 16 have secured internships at either the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or the Oregon Cabaret Theatre.

“Performing our thesis showcase in L.A. was a peek into the work it takes to put on your own show and let people see it,” said Taya Dixon, one of the actors who participated in the performance. “I now feel better prepared to produce my own art in a place like L.A., which makes me excited and more at ease to jump into the professional world.”

Jackie Apodaca, the head of performance for SOU’s Theatre’ program, redesigned the BFA-performance program’s thesis requirement several years ago. In place of a thesis paper, students now work collaboratively to create an industry-style acting showcase for a local audience.

This year, Apodaca led the senior BFA cohort – who call themselves the “Frenzies” – on the trip to Southern California, where they performed for friends, family, alumni and industry guests. 

In addition to booking the performance at Miles Memorial Playhouse, Apodaca was able to help the Frenzies find local internships and fellowships with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Oregon Cabaret Theatre. Both have close relationships with the SOU Theatre program.

“We often place every BFA student in a professional internship upon graduation,” Apodaca said. “It’s exciting to know our graduates are consistently going straight into the profession. This success distinguishes us from many regional undergraduate programs that offer, frankly, less for more.”

The BFA is a pre-professional degree with a declared area of emphasis in either performance, design, technology or management/direction. Admission into the BFA program is through audition, interview, and/or portfolio presentation, and requires two years in residence and acceptance into an undergraduate theatre major. For more information about audition/interview guidelines and dates, you can contact the Theatre Office.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to work for a professional theatre company right out of college,” said Annie Murrell, another member of the Frenzies. “Especially one with as renowned a reputation as the Cabaret. I feel prepared for life as a working actor in a way I never could have without receiving a formal education in theatre and performance.”

The full 2019 BFA cohort – the Frenzies – are Austin Ewing, Quinci Lytle-Freeman, Hunter Sims-Douglas, Wren Eustis, Taya Dixon, Bucanan Howard, Lauren Taylor, Carlos-Zenen Trujillo, Galen James-Heskett, Annie Murrell, Sam Campbell, Rachel Routh, Angela Hernandez, Sean Boulton, Meghan Nealon and Corey Renfree.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

SOU Percussion Ensemble members

SOU percussion groups to perform at prominent NYC music festival

Two percussion groups affiliated with Southern Oregon University will be featured this spring at the inaugural “Long Play” music festival – a three-day event at various New York City venues, produced by the renowned contemporary music organization Bang on a Can.

Left Edge Percussion, a contemporary percussion group in residence at SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts, and the SOU Percussion Ensemble, a student group at OCA, both have accepted invitations to perform at the May 1-3 festival in Brooklyn.

They are among nearly 50 groups that have been announced so far for the Long Play festival, with additional acts expected to be added next month. Performances are planned for at least 10 locations ranging from the opulent BAM Howard Gilman Opera House to The Plaza at 300 Ashland, an outdoor venue in downtown Brooklyn.

Left Edge Percussion, an ensemble of graduate students in SOU’s master of music performance program, is led by SOU music professor Terry Longshore. The group and its members regularly collaborate with artists of various media and are featured at festivals and events worldwide.

The SOU Percussion Ensemble, directed by Longshore and made up of students in the university’s music program, perform often on campus and elsewhere.

“Our students will perform along a star-studded cast of performers and composers at the festival, and worthy of note, we are the only university ensemble being featured at this festival,” Longshore said. “All of the other performers and composers are world-renowned professionals.”

The two SOU groups will perform “Strange and Sacred Noise” by composer and Pulitzer Prize for Music awardee John Luther Adams, who uses his music to describe the natural world and his concerns for its health. They will also perform “Ricefall” by Michael Pisaro, director of the Composition and Experimental Sound program at the California Institute of the Arts.

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.

Eclectic performances and demonstrations at SOU's Oregon Fringe Festival

Oregon Fringe Festival seeking applicants for week-long exhibition

The application deadline for the Oregon Fringe Festival – a distinctive blend of visual, musical, and theatre arts presentations – is Dec. 30. Interested parties can apply online here.

Started in 2014, the Oregon Fringe Festival (OFF), is an Oregon Center for the Arts-funded showcase of SOU students’ creative work. It includes presentations of music, visual art, theatre, dance, creative writing and spoken word, and is built to expand as needed. The festival invites artists from all stages of their careers – from beginners to award-winners – to mingle, network, and perform.

“Our mission is simple: to provide a platform for free expression, and work to secure a tolerant space for the sharing of ideas through story,” the OFF website says.

The six-day arts celebration will start on April 21, but applications to be a part of next spring’s Fringe Festival will be open only until Dec. 30. Those presenting at the festival – which is free and open to the public – will have a unique chance to get their work seen by professionals in their fields. Non-student professionals seeking to present at OFF are allowed to ask for donations to help recoup their costs of performing.

Applications are reviewed by the OFF director and a group of SOU students from the Theatre, Music, Visual Arts, and Emerging Media and Digital Arts departments. Late applications will not be considered.

Accepted applicants will participate in a production meeting to plan the logistics of their show and how it fits into the festival schedule before April. Last year’s OFF included 70 performances with an average audience size of 19 people, but organizers hope to decrease the number of competing performances at this year’s festival in an effort to boost the size of each audience.

The festival is partnered with Levity Circus Collective, Case Coffee Roasters, Jackson County Library Services, The Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant, Three Penny Mercantile and Jefferson Public Radio.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

"Angels in America" is one of two plays performed this month by SOU students

SOU’S Oregon Center for the Arts presents two plays in November

Southern Oregon University theater students are performing two plays this month: Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” was presented on eight dates ending on Nov. 17, and Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America Part Two: Perestroika” has four performances remaining.

Tickets for “Angels” can be purchased online or in-person for $5 for students, $20 for the general public, and $15 for seniors. Parking during the Oregon Center for the Arts performances is free in lot #36, which is on South Mountain Avenue and Henry Street, across from the SOU Music Building.

Following up spring 2019’s production of “Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches,” this fall’s “Angels in America Part Two” is directed by SOU faculty member Jim Edmondson and follows the entwined stories of two AIDS; the reluctant “prophet” Prior, who sees angels, and the notorious reactionary Roy Cohn, who sees the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg (played by Katie Bullock).

The play offsets the end-of-the-world dread of the 1980’s AIDS Crisis with a powerful affirmation of love and hope. It began last weekend and can still be seen at the Main Stage Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 21 and 22, and at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 23 and 24.

“Hedda Gabler,” directed by SOU Theatre professor Jackie Apodaca, followed the titular main character (played by Angela Hernandez) as she chafes against the restraints placed on women in the late 19th century.

The conflicts Hedda deals with are still relevant today: what does it cost a woman to be “likable?” Can she be strong but not “bossy,” smart but not “scary?” The play was performed in the Black Box Theatre on eight dates between Nov. 7 and Nov. 17.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Paul Kirby in "Lodestar," which has a busy film festival schedule

SOU student’s documentary on recreational therapy hits the film festival circuit

“Lodestar,” a short documentary film by SOU graduate student and Army Ranger veteran Paul Kirby, has a busy schedule on the film festival circuit.

It has been selected for the St. Lawrence International Film Festival, the Miami Independent Film Festival, the 2019 Impact DOCS Awards, the First Time Film-Makers Review and the Digital Monthly Online Film Festival.

Kirby wrote, produced, directed and acted in the documentary during spring term, as part of faculty member Chris Lucas’ Advanced Documentary Production class at the SOU’s Digital Media Center. Two other SOU students – Evan Johnson (editor) and Dustin Saigo (cinematographer) – assisted with the production.

The film focuses on coastal access and nature experiences as an under-used intervention for mental health issues, and describes the role of then-Gov. Tom McCall in ensuring public access to all Oregon beaches in 1967.  McCall described Oregon as a lodestar – a star used in shipping navigation to point the way.

“Oregon is unique, in that it is the only state other than Hawaii that has unrestricted public access to the entire length of its coastline,” Kirby said. “Oregon leads the way in terms of public coastal access, but I felt strongly that we need to celebrate our state’s unique status in order to reinforce the existing legislation.”

“Lodestar” touches on a suicide epidemic among veterans and the restrictive coastal access laws of states such as Florida and California. It invokes images of Kirby’s own experiences with PTSD and depression, juxtaposed against his experiences sea kayaking along the Oregon Coast.

The film tackles a topical issue – the federal “Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act” (HR-2435) is under consideration during the current session of Congress. The bill, currently awaiting a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Health, would require an interagency task force to identify opportunities for recreational therapy by veterans on public lands and other outdoor spaces.

Kirby has also been selected as a guest presenter at the Arctic Futures 2050 Conference at the National Academy of Sciences this September in Washington, D.C. The research focus of his presentation is Inuit self-determination.

“One of the great things about the interdisciplinary grad program is it provides the skills and flexibility to make a documentary about the suicide rate among veterans and also conduct research on other marginalized groups with similar issues – like the suicide epidemic among Inuit youth,” Kirby said. “I wouldn’t be able to do that without synthesizing Native American Studies with Documentary Production.”

Harry Fuller birding in Klamath Basin

Author, birder Harry Fuller hosted at SOU by Friends of Hannon Library

(Ashland, Ore.) — Natural history author Harry Fuller, whose work includes books on birding and owls, will discuss the Klamath Basin and its birds in a presentation on Thursday, May 9, that is part of the Friends of Hannon Library Speaker Series for the 2018-19 academic year.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 4 p.m. in the Southern Oregon University library’s Meese Room (#305).

Fuller will explain why the Klamath Basin is such a rich birding location, and how one of the nation’s first wildlife refuges was designated in that area. He has been leading bird trips and teaching birding classes since the 1990s. Annual trips that Fuller leads include trips in Oregon and Washington for the Klamath Bird Observatory, Road Scholar and Golden Gate Audubon.

Before retirement, Fuller managed TV and internet newsrooms in both San Francisco and London. He has lived in Oregon since 2007.

His natural history books include “Freeway Birding” and “Great Gray Owls in California, Oregon and Washington.”

The Oregon State University Press will publish a book of Fuller’s essays next year about Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, titled “Edge of Awe.” It will include his essay on common nighthawks that are seen at the Malheur refuge in abundance.

Fuller’s birding journal can be accessed online at atowhee.blog.

Friends of Hannon Library was established in 1974 by a group of SOU librarians, faculty members and interested citizens to raise money and enrich the library’s collections. The organization sponsors a lecture series each year – this year bringing a total of six speakers to campus for talks on a variety of literary topics.

Those who are visiting campus to attend Thursday’s event can park free in any SOU lot by entering the special code FHL1904 in the lot’s parking meter.

Those who need disability accommodations to participate in the event, may contact DOU’s Disability Resources office at (541) 552-6213. For more information on the event, contact Hannon Library staff at libraryevents@sou.edu or (541) 552-6816.

Bill Rauch speaks to a group at OSF

An interview with Bill Rauch: Trials and Transformations at OSF

ShakespeareAMERICA, Jefferson Public Radio and Oregon Shakespeare Festival will present “An interview with Bill Rauch: Trials and Transformations at OSF,” from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 6, at SOU’s Music Recital Hall.

Rauch, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s outgoing artistic director, will discuss his 12-year leadership of the organization in Monday’s special presentation.

Geoff Riley of Jefferson Public Radio will conduct the interview, which will be recorded for future broadcast on the “Jefferson Exchange” at JPR. There is no admission charge.

David McCandless, director of Shakespeare Studies at SOU and organizer of the event, said Rauch will have an opportunity to reflect on all aspects of his work. He will discuss signature challenges, crucial turning points, proudest achievements and thoughts about OSF’s future.

Rauch is due to leave OSF in August to assume artistic leadership of the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Performing Arts at the World Trade Center in New York City.

Rauch became OSF’s fifth Artistic Director in 2007. He has directed more than 25 plays during his tenure, including seven world premieres. One of those premieres – “All the Way,” by Robert Schenkhan – went all the way to Broadway, and the Tony Award for Best Play in 2014.

ShakespeareAMERICA – an OSF-SOU consortium committed to exploring the meaning of “American Shakespeare” – was founded by David Humphrey, director of the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU, and Paul Nicholson, OSF’s executive director emeritus.

Past ShakespeareAMERICA events include “Much Ado About Shakespeare in America,” “Multi-Cultural Shakespeare,” “The Woman’s Part in Shakespeare,” “Shakespeare in Prison” and “A Conversation with Peter Sellars.”

This story is reposted from the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU

Kim Stafford, Oregon poet laureate

Oregon’s poet laureate to speak at SOU Friends of Hannon Library event

(Ashland, Ore.) — Kim Stafford, Oregon’s poet laureate, will read and discuss his work in an SOU presentation on Thursday, April 18, that is part of the Friends of Hannon Library Speaker Series for the 2018-19 academic year.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 4 p.m. in the library’s Meese Room (#305).

Stafford is an associate professor at Portland’s Lewis & Clark College, and is founding director of the school’s Northwest Writing Institute. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown appointed him last May to a two-year term as Oregon’s ninth poet laureate – “an ambassador of poetry across the state.”

His father, William Stafford, served as Oregon’s fourth poet laureate from 1975 to 1990.

Kim Stafford grew up on Oregon, Iowa, Indiana, California and Alaska as his parents taught in various locations. He received his doctorate in medieval literature from the University of Oregon and has been a member of the Lewis & Clark faculty since 1979.

Stafford has wrtten a dozen books of poetry and prose. His most recent book, “100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do,” examines his brother’s death by suicide and his family’s struggle to cope with and live beyond the tragedy.

Stafford’s 1986 book, “Having Everything Right,” won a Western States Book Awards citation. His work has also been recognized with creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Governor’s Arts Award contributing to Oregon’s literary culture.

Friends of Hannon Library was established in 1974 by a group of SOU librarians, faculty members and interested citizens to raise money and enrich the library’s collections. The organization sponsors a lecture series each year – this year bringing a total of six speakers to campus for talks on a variety of literary topics.

Those who are visiting campus to attend Thursday’s event can park free in any SOU lot by entering the special code FHL1903 in the lot’s parking meter.

-SOU-

Ashland mural in Guanajuato

Ashland, SOU mark 50 years of Guanajuato “sister” relationships

(Ashland, Ore.) — Delegations from Guanajuato, Mexico, and the Universidad de Guanajuato will visit Ashland and Southern Oregon University in April to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their sister city and sister university relationships.

The celebration will include a formal renewal of the partnerships between the cities and universities, and is seen as an opportunity to recommit to the ideals that inspired the relationships in 1969.

“I hope each of us will see this 50-year anniversary as a waypoint at which we can pause, reassess and re-energize before continuing our journey together,” SOU President Linda Schott said in a statement to celebration participants. “Let’s contemplate the future, how our partnership relates to our changing world and what steps we should consider to keep our efforts fresh and relevant.”

On the university side, the multi-day celebration will be highlighted by an invitation-only reception and “gala concert” at the SOU Music Recital Hall on the evening of Tuesday, April 9. The concert will feature four new commissioned works from faculty at Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU, along with a composition by Javier Gonzalez Compean from Guanajuato.

Other university events involving the delegation from Guanajuato include breakfast, ceremonial re-signing of the sister university memorandum of understanding and an SOU campus tour on Monday, April 8. Universidad de Guanajuato Rector Luis Felipe Guerrero Agripino, who has a particular interest in crime prevention, will meet with faculty from SOU’s psychology and criminology departments.

Activities on Wednesday, April 10, include professional development opportunities for SOU faculty and members of the Guanajuato delegation, on the topics of transforming teaching and becoming universities for the future. There will also be an event at the International Peace Flame at SOU’s Thalden Pavilion.

The cooperative link between the two cities and the two universities is unique. Guanajuato is closer in size to Eugene than to Ashland, and Universidad de Guanajuato – which is larger than any university in Oregon – has sister university relationships with more than 300 other institutions worldwide.

But the Ashland-Guanajuato relationships – between both the cities and universities – were the first for each entity. More than 1,000 students, faculty members and others have participated in exchange programs and some families have been involved for three generations. More than 80 marriages have united partners from Ashland and Guanajuato.

In addition to the university activities, Guanajuato business, city government and community representatives will have the opportunity to explore and experience various elements and amenities of Ashland. Delegates from the Mexican city will see a performance of “Hairspray” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and will celebrate the relationship with breakfasts, lunches and dinners hosted by churches, local organizations and service clubs.

The Ashland Chamber & Travel Ashland is sponsoring events at venues including the Ashland Art Center, ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, Thalden Pavilion, Brickroom, Irvine & Roberts Vineyards and Mt. Ashland. The events will showcase Ashland’s economy and amenities, and some of the themes that unite Ashland and Guanajuato.

The City of Ashland has planned specific events and tours for Guanajuato’s official city delegation. The Amigo Club, a key partner in the friendship, is coordinating volunteer host families and has a large role in planning for the visit.

“Whenever I consider the sister city relationship between Ashland and Guanajuato, it warms my heart to think of all the friendships that have been built over the years,” said Sandra Slattery, executive director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. “Of course, the educational student exchange was the cornerstone for the creation of the relationship, but it truly expanded through the 50 years with the ‘people-to-people’ connections that were formed … even marriages!

“It’s been an honor, as the Chamber, to be coordinating and facilitating the steering committee for the celebration welcoming over 50 Guanajuato citizens to Ashland. May we welcome them with open arms as we work for future strengthened relationships and new partnerships to create peace and friendship in our world.”

Delegations from the city of Ashland and SOU will also participate in 50th anniversary festivities in Guanajuato from May 27 to 31.

The celebration will stretch into the summer as Ashland observes the anniversary as the theme for its 4th of July parade.

Individuals, businesses and organizations who have worked together on the celebration include the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, City of Ashland, Southern Oregon University, Amigo Club of Ashland, Ashland Art Center, Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, Ashland Fire & Rescue, Ashland Parks & Recreation, Ashland Police Department, Ashland School District, Ashland Springs Hotel, Barbara Tricarico, Brickroom, El Tapatio, Gathering Glass Studio, Grizzly Peak Winery, host families, Irvine & Roberts Vineyards, Karen & Allen Drescher, La Clinica, Lloyd M. Haines, Martolli’s Restaurant, Mt. Ashland, Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Our Lady of the Mountain Catholic Church, Platt Anderson Cellars, Rogue Valley Peace Choir, Rogue Valley Roasting Co., Rotary Clubs of Ashland, ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum, Southern Oregon Printing, Temple Emek Shalom, Travel Ashland and Weisinger Family Winery.

-SOU-

Dea Kiss music scholarship recipient

Saturday concert to benefit music scholarships

The annual Joyce Stevens Benefit Recital, which raises money for music scholarships, will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Southern Oregon University’s Music Recital Hall.

Anthony Bock, music scholarship recipient

Anthony Bock, music scholarship recipient

The concert will feature a program of classical favorites, performed by a variety of musicians: SOU faculty members Alexander Tutunov, Christine Eggert and Madeline Abel-Kerns; SOU students Anthony Bock and Dea Kiss, who are recent recipients of the Joyce Stevens Scholarship; and piano teachers Pat Daly of Phoenix, Michele Alspach of Ashland and Joyce Stevens of Jacksonville.

The program will include music by Bach, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Poulenc and Scott Joplin.

Admission to the concert will be by donation to the fund for music scholarships, which is named for Stevens in honor of her lifelong contribution to the arts in Oregon and beyond. She is a nationally certified piano teacher.

The concert is sponsored by the SOU Music Program and presented by the Rogue Valley Chapter of the Oregon Music Teachers Association.

The OMTA – a professional organization of music educators made up of private studio teachers and college music faculty across Oregon – is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and all donations to it are tax deductible.

More information is available from Margie Daly of the OMTA at (541) 535-2089.