Monthly Archives: February 2015

Stories of East African Culture and Heritage

Music Senior Lecturer Daris Hale was the invited guest February 9 for the Round Rock Campus Speaker Series. She told “vibrant tales of activities while living in Africa” as a Fulbright Scholar and cultural ambassador. She shared thousand-year-old traditions, songs and dances she had learned, “while examining their communal purpose as well as their possible future.” One audience member described his experience of her presentation: “I loved every second of it.  I truly believe people could live a happier life if they just learn to work together regardless of the color of beliefs.”

Daris photo


We mourn and celebrate

TC writes:  “A major point of pride for the School of Music and Texas State is the legacy of John Stansberry. Outstanding musician and teacher, Maestro Stansberry for many years directed our bands and was instrumental in establishing the Texas State Symphony Orchestra. Countless students and colleagues consider ourselves blessed to have had the opportunity to work with him, make fine music with him, and know him as a wonderful human being. We celebrate and cherish the joy and inspiration he has given us.

John passed peacefully this morning, February 17, after many years of decline from Alzheimer’s. His spirit is flying free!

The last time I had the privilege of being with John was a few years ago, when our Wind Ensemble, which he used to direct, gave an invited performance for TMEA in the Lila Cockrell Theater in San Antonio. John was proud of what we were carrying on of his legacy.

It turns out that five days before he died, that same top ensemble, now under the direction of Caroline Beatty, gave a spectacular concert once again for TMEA in Lila Cockrell. (See ‘Wind Symphony tours, triumphs at TMEA‘.) Again John would have been extremely proud.

And now this evening, I just heard a wonderful concert showcasing more than 100 children in our String Project, Hill Country Youth Chorale, and guests from the local Boys and Girls Clubs, playing and singing what they have learned so far this year. They are not quite ready for Carnegie Hall, but proud and full of enthusiasm for making music.

My heart swelled with love for children and love of music at all levels. And consummate music educator John Stansberry was there with us too in spirit. We are all part of a great, unending musical river of beauty and joy.

Wind Symphony tours, triumphs at TMEA

The Texas State Wind Symphony, under the direction of Caroline Beatty, gave a spectacular performance February 12 in the Lila Cockrell Theater in San Antonio at this year’s Texas Music Educators Association convention. The program featured a composition, West of the Sun, by our new professor Michael Ippolito. Featured soloists included faculty Todd Oxford and Russell Haight, alumni Gilbert Garza and Gerald Martinez, and the entire Mariachi Nueva Generación directed by John Lopez. Faculty member Kyle Glaser also conducted.

Leading up to the TMEA performance, the Wind Symphony toured South Texas, performing at Steele High School in Schertz, La Loya ISD in the Rio Grande Valley, and Churchill High School in San Antonio.


Texas State composer scores film music

Texas State music faculty member Richard Hall‘s score for the short film “Viva La Riena De La Muerte”  was recently the recipient of a Bronze medal from the prestigious Global Music Awards in the Soundtrack Film/Television category.  Richard also composed music for a multidisciplinary work titled “the situation room.”  It was featured in Austin at the 22nd Frontera Fest, the largest performance festival in the Southwest.  The work was a collaboration with Texas State Dance professors Ana Baer and Michelle Nance and Texas State Theater professor Melissa Grogan.


Jazz celebration in San Marcos

Friday February 6 Texas State’s Hill Country Jazz Festival began with its annual celebration of old-time jazz legend Eddie Durham, a San Marcos native son. Once again, renowned jazz historian and NEA Jazz Master Dan Morgenstern came in from New York to talk about Eddie’s legacy and share stories of his life. Morgenstern was presented with a plaque by School of Music Director Thomas Clark, proclaiming Morgenstern the official “Distinguished Jazz Laureate” of the Texas State School of Music.

Count Basie Band saxophone star Doug Lawrence joined Texas State’s own jazz legend, drummer Butch Miles, leading an all-star professional big band playing Eddie Durham tunes and other jazz standards to an audience of about 500.

Standing from left: jazz faculty Steve Hawk, Russ Scanlon, Hank Hehmsoth, Butch Miles, guest Lawrence, guest Morgenstern, Keith Winking, Russell Haight, Paul Deemer Seated: Clark, jazz faculty Bennett Wood

Standing from left: jazz faculty Steve Hawk, Russ Scanlon, Hank Hehmsoth, Butch Miles, guest Lawrence, guest Morgenstern, Keith Winking, Russell Haight, Paul Deemer
Seated: Clark, jazz faculty Bennett Wood

Texas State faculty and alumni win Grammy award

Austin-based Conspirare won its first Grammy award February 8 at the 57th annual Grammy awards. The professional vocal ensemble conducted by artistic director and Texas State Artist in Residence Craig Hella Johnson won in the category of Best Choral Performance for its CD The Sacred Spirit of Russia on the Harmonia Mundi label. The award for Best Choral Performance, given to the conductor, is also Craig Hella Johnson’s first Grammy award. Other Conspirare musicians include Texas State faculty Faith DeBow, accompanist, and Texas State alumni singers Mela Sarajane Dalley and Cecilia Kittley Shinn.

Aeolus Quartet works with string and composition students

On Monday January 26, the Aeolus Quartet read new pieces for string quartet by Texas State student composers Adrian Coburn, David Gonzalez, Kristian Rodriguez, Elizabeth Massad, Joshua Cavazos and Nathan Mays. During the reading session, the quartet members were able to give feedback and offer suggestions and the composers could try out small revisions.

The Aeolus Quartet is currently the Graduate Quartet-in-Residence at The Juilliard School. During their day-long residency at Texas State, they also gave a masterclass for two student string quartets and an informal performance in the evening.


Annual Dean’s Seminar explores jazz, creativity

Music jazz and composition faculty member Hank Hehmsoth presented the 2015 Dean’s Seminar February 3 in the Performing Arts Center. An NEA Fellow in Jazz, and MacDowell Norton Stevens Fellow in Composition, Hank played some very cool jazz and examined the role of research in his personal approach to the creation of new music. Dean Fleming honored him with a gala reception preceding the seminar.

HH seminar


Music faculty tour Rio Grande Valley

Texas State faculty artist/teachers completed a successful tour of the Rio Grande Valley December 9– 13. Robert Cannon (trumpet), Charles R. Hurt (trombone), Adah Toland Jones (flute), Bobby Lopez (percussion), Todd Oxford (saxophone), and Vanguel Tangarov (clarinet) visited Clemens High School (Schertz), Veterans Memorial High School and Pace High School (Brownsville), Los Fresnos High School, and Port Isabel High School.
During the tour, the Texas State Faculty Artists/Teachers collectively presented 68 master classes, gave 34 individual lessons, and worked with 692 students. Of the high schools visited, two of the directors of bands, Zach Seratto and Robert Pertrisky, are Texas State alumni.


at Clemens High School in Schertz

at Clemens High School in Schertz