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SHSU Update for Week of Feb. 20

'Pretty Fire'

cheray martin Sam Houston State University's Black History Committee of the Program Council in cooperation with the Department of Theatre and Dance will present actress Charlayne Woodard's "Pretty Fire" at 8 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 24) through Saturday (Feb. 26) in the Showcase Theatre.

"Pretty Fire" is a story told in the oral tradition of West Africa and the American South, and is performed by SHSU alum Cheray Dawn Martin, who received high marks for her performance of the role four years ago in Houston.

Martin earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from SHSU in 1991. She has been seen on Houston stages in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Steel Magnolias," and "for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf."

"Pretty Fire" is a collection of Woodard's remembrances about her childhood in a loving, middle-class black family. It tells of her premature birth, which she was not expected to survive. But she did so with the unshakable faith of her family, especially her grandparents.

The show moves through Woodard's childhood, including such events as her mastery of the alphabet during an all-night session with her father, her placement in a special school for accelerated learners and her summer visits to her grandparents in Georgia.

The "pretty fire" of the title is the bright flame seen outside a window one night while visiting her grandparents--a burning cross placed by racists to demoralize black residents. The narrator recalls how she marveled at its beauty, until she looked in the face of her grandmother, her great hero, and saw fear there for the first time.

There is also an attempted sexual assault, but through it all, with her own resources and the support of her family and community, the heroine maintains her optimistic faith in the basic goodness of life and the world.

Houston Chronicle reviewer Everett Evans was especially impressed with Martin's performance.

"Martin responds to the strong material with a breakthrough performance," Everett wrote. "With every line and every move, she exudes charm, intelligence and vitality. She can be down-home funny or heart-wrenchingly moving--but always at one with the writing. In short, Martin is terrific--a genuine find. If you want to see a bright young acting talent finding full voice, go see her."

In addition to her dramatic efforts, Martin has appeared in television commercials for such companies as Buick, Toyota, Compaq Computers, Academy Sporting Goods and March of Faith Ministries, and as a dancer for the Houston Oilers and Six Flags.

When "Pretty Fire" was performed in Houston, tickets were $12 - $15. For this week's Huntsville performances admission will be $5, or $3 for SHSU students. The University Theatre Center Box Office is at 936-294-1339.

International Choral Music

The SHSU Chorale, under the direction of Wayne Barrett, will present a concert of international choral music on Thursday evening, March 2, in the Beto Criminal Justice Center Killinger Auditorium at Sam Houston State University.

The program features "Brief Mass," by American composer, Dan Locklair; "Warum is das Licht gegeben dem Máhlseligen" ("Why is Light Given to Him Who Suffers"), by German composer Johannes Brahms; "Trois chansons Bretonnes" ("Three Breton Songs"), by Belgian composer, Henk Badings; "The Souls of the Righteous," by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams; "Agnus Dei" ("Lamb of God"), by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki; "Dravidian Dithyramb," by Indian composer Victor Paranjoti; "Deep River," arranged by Larry Farrow, an American; and "Elijah Rock," arranged by American Moses Hogan, also an American.

"This is a program of tremendous variety and superb quality," said Barrett. "The Locklair 'Mass' is a beautiful and exciting work. It is contemporary--composed in 1996--but very friendly to the listener. The Brahms motet is one of his most famous-powerful and moving.

"The theme of the motet is given in the title, which is taken from the book of Job," he said. "The Badings songs, which are for voices and piano, are just wonderful. Some of our audience may have heard them on a recent Robert Shaw CD."

Barrett believes each piece on the program will be of interest.

"It's just a terrific concert," he said. "I believe that everyone who comes will really enjoy it."

The SHSU Chorale is the Department of Music's premier vocal ensemble. The Chorale has a distinguished history and enjoys a reputation of long standing for its stirring performances. The choir tours regularly and has frequently appeared at both regional and national professional conventions.

KSHU Radio Is On Line

Sam Houston State University's radio station--KSHU--is on the Web, making it possible for interested alumni throughout the world to tune in to home basketball, baseball and softball games this spring.

The Bearkat home and away basketball games are also broadcast by Madisonville radio station KMVL and are also available on the Web.

Craig Stark, KSHU station manager, said that last year KSHU received email from alumni around the country, wanting to know if and when KSHU would be on the internet. "They wanted to listen to our music formats but also wanted to listen to our broadcasts of SHSU sports--mainly basketball," said Stark. "Last semester Jim Stevens (associate vice president for information resources) notified me that the possibility of putting KSHU on the internet was easily within our grasp. During October and November, Dr. Stevens and a group of his students, most notably Michael Taylor, Steve Sandlin (radio/television chief engineer) and I worked on the logistics of getting us hooked up."

In January the software and hardware elements were put into place and the station went global.

"We have already had confirmed contact from persons listening via the web in Birmingham, Alabama, Fairfax, Virginia and Austin," said Stark. "The response so far has been astounding. Very positive."

The KSHU link is at the top of the SHSU homepage.

Distinguished Lecturer

Edward Albee, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright best known for his play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", will speak at Sam Houston State University Tuesday (Feb. 22).

Albee's lecture at 8 p.m. in the Beto Criminal Justice Center Killinger Auditorium is entitled "The Playwright vs. The Theater," a discussion of the state of American theater, its problems, its strengths and its future. Admission is free.

Albee will be available for a reception and book-signing in the Criminal Justice Center foyer area beginning about 7:15 p.m. Copies of all of Albee's plays, and a new Albee biography, "A Singular Journey," are available at the University Bookstore in the Lowman Student Center and will also be on sale at the event.

Excellence Award Nominations Sought

Nominations for faculty excellence awards will be accepted, according to Stanley Kelley, chair of the Excellence in Teaching committee and Paul Reed, chair of the Excellence in Research and Service Committee, beginning Monday (Feb. 21).

The Excellence in Teaching Committee accepts and encourages nominations from both faculty and students. Nominations for this award must be made through an electronic ballot Feb. 21-March 3, by accessing the Sam Houston State University homepage and selecting the appropriate icons.

The committee selecting the recipients for the Excellence in Research and the Excellence in Service awards requests nominations from faculty members in the form of a personal letter. Reed chairs this committee.

All three Faculty Excellence Award winners will be recognized during the spring commencement services May 6. In addition to the honor, excellence winners receive a cash award--$1,200 for teaching, $1,000 for research, and $800 for service.

Music, Dance Throughout the Week

Three music events and a dance alumni reunion are scheduled this week at Sam Houston State University.

A faculty recital by Scott Plugge and Clive Swansbourne, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday (Feb. 21) in the Recital Hall, has been cancelled.

The events include a faculty voice recital by Rebecca Hicks at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 22) in the Recital Hall; a Percussion Ensemble Concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 23) in the Beto Criminal Justice Center Killinger Auditorium; and a faculty clarinet recital by Tamara Raatz at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 24).

Performing with Raatz will be SHSU faculty members Aaron Bielish on viola and David Fleming on piano and SHSU alum Randall Luster on clarinet. Luster completed his bachelor's degree at SHSU and his masters at Rice University, taught instrumental music in the Texas City school district, and now teaches in Pearland.

The Raatz/Beilish/Fleming/Luster concert includes music by Witold Lutoslawski, Mozart, Paul Hindemith, and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, who was strongly influenced by Mozart and Beethoven.

The Dance Department alumni reunion and concerts are scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday (Feb. 25) and Saturday (Feb. 26) in the Dance Theatre, Academic Building III.

Midnight Mayhem

The Department of Recreational Sports will be hosting Midnight Mayhem from 7 p.m. until 12 midnight Wednesday (Feb. 23) in the Health/Kinesiology Center.

Events include Who Wants to be a Sam Millionaire, Speed Throw, NBA Live2000 Tourney, Stump the Staff, Scooter Soccer, Blind Volleyball, Obstacle Course, Wiffleball, Spades, 4-square, 1 on 1 Basketball, Hot Shot Contest and Wallyball Tourney.

The drawing for a chance to shoot a half court basketball shot for $5,000 will be at 11:45 and the shot itself at midnight. For more information contact Jennifer Brown at 936-294-1985.

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SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Feb. 20, 2000
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