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SHSU Update for Week of March 5

SHSU to Co-Produce Houston Play

It's only a small theater, but it's a big step up for the Sam Houston State University Theatre & Dance program.

This summer the SHSU Theatre & Dance program will co-produce the early Stephen Sondheim musical "Saturday Night," to be performed July 12-Aug. 13 in Theater LaB Houston. The musical will also be performed on campus early in the 2000 Fall Semester.

Jim Miller, director of the Department of Theatre and Dance, said the arrangement is the first of its kind for his program.

"It gives our students a window into the Houston market, including Houston reviews," he said. "It's a good way to showcase our students and our programs."

Miller said that auditions have already been held, and a company is being formed. He will direct the show, with faculty members Jonathan Charles in charge of choreography and Lu Ann Miles as music director.

Gerald LaBita founded the 70-seat Theater LaB Houston in 1993 in his parents' old grocery story at 1706 Alamo St. He had one goal in mind--to present contemporary theater exclusively, with emphasis on plays no one else was doing in Houston.

With music and lyrics by Sondheim, book by Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein, "Saturday Night" was written in 1955 and set for Broadway production. The death of its producer caused its cancellation. It finally made its world premiere in London in 1997 and its U. S. premiere in Chicago in 1999. Its first New York production opened off-Broadway Feb. 14.

Set in 1929, "Saturday Night" depicts a group of bright young Brooklyn boys, their efforts to get dates for Saturday night, and their dreams of crossing the river to live in Manhattan.

"The music is really nice," said Miller. "Sondheim in his youth is better than a lot of people at the height of their careers."

Profs Elected to State Offices

Two Sam Houston State University professors have been elected to office in state professional organizations for higher education faculty members.

bill fleming Bill Fleming (left), professor of English, was elected president-elect of the Texas Council of Faculty Senates, and Frank Fair (right), professor of philosophy, has been elected vice president (east region) of the Texas Association of College Teachers. Both were elected during meetings of their respective organizations last weekend in Austin.

frank fair Fleming's commitment is for four years. He will serve one year as president-elect, two years as president, and one year as past president. Fleming is the current chair of Sam Houston State University's Faculty Senate and has served in that capacity and as chair-elect for the past four years. He also currently serves as the president of an organization consisting of faculty senate representatives from schools within The Texas State University System.

The Texas Council of Faculty Senates is comprised of the officers of the various faculty senates of faculty governance organizations of the 35 senior public colleges and universities in Texas as defined by The Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The organization meets twice a year in Austin and strives to maintain communication and coordination among faculty governance organizations; assist faculty governance organizations in the discharge of their responsibilities; and represent faculty governance organizations, primarily in matters of professional standards and responsibility, to government and other bodies involved in higher education.

Fair is currently serving his second year as president of the local chapter of the Texas Association of College Teachers. The state organization is divided into four regions, and as east regional vice president, Fair will be a member of the state board of TACT organizations. He has been a member of the SHSU faculty since 1971.

"We seem to be doing a better job of communicating the needs of higher education to legislators," Fair said, "but we can still improve. We appreciate what they did last session in the area of student scholarships and overall funding. Our next initiative will be to concentrate on competitive faculty compensation before higher education experiences the same supply and demand crisis faced in the public schools."

Mills Returns to Bandstand

Ralph Mills, director of bands at Sam Houston State University for 25 years, and now professor emeritus, returns to the bandstand this week as guest conductor for a concert by the SHSU Wind Ensemble.

The concert by the Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Matthew McInturf, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (March 7) in the Beto Criminal Justice Building Killinger Auditorium.

Mills developed a nationally-recognized band program at Sam Houston State. He and several of his students who are now recognized as among the foremost music educators in Texas have been named Texas Bandmaster of the Year by the Texas Bandmasters Association.

He will conduct the 55-member Wind Ensemble in John Phillip Sousa's "The Black Horse Troop," one of the many marches that contributed to Sousa's reputation as America's "March King."

The program will open with David Gillingham's "New Century Dawn," a celebratory fanfare and chorale for winds and percussion intended to evoke feelings of anticipation and optimism about the new millennium.

Next on the program will be Percy Grainger's "Molly on the Shore," which is based on two Irish Reel tunes from County Cork. It was written in 1920 and was a birthday gift for his mother.

Phillip Schroeder will conduct the 12-member SHSU Faculty Artists Ensemble in John C. Ross's "Autochthon." Ross took the title from the idea of "autochthon," or something without clear connection from what has come before.

The concert will conclude with University of Houston assistant professor Rob Smith's "Whirl," said to "create the aural perception of whirling," with rapid ascending and descending scales, feathered beaming, and syncopated rhythms.

Admission is $5, with Friends of Music and SHSU faculty, staff and students admitted free.

From 'Festivo' to 'Fandango'

The Sam Houston State University Symphonic Band concert this week begins with a "Festivo" and ends with a "Fandango."

The 41-member group under the direction of Robert Meaux performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (March 9) in the Beto Criminal Justice Building Killinger Auditorium.

"Festivo" was written by the Czechoslovakian-born Vaclav Nelhybel, who wrote and taught in the United States for 39 years until his death four years ago. He described the piece as "an overture-type composition in which the woodwinds and the brasses are constantly confronting each other like two antagonists in a dramatic scene."

Second on the program is "Yorkshire Ballad," written in 1984 by James Barnes, who teaches orchestration and composition at the University of Kansas. Barnes said he composed the piece so that younger players would have the opportunity to play music that is more or less in the style of Percy Grainger. One of Grainger's works is scheduled to be performed in the Tuesday concert.

Gustav Holst's "Moorside Suite," written in 1927 is reminiscent of the great ceremonial marches of Elgar and Walton in its pomp and dignity. Holst died in 1934 after a lifetime of poor health caused at least in part by a concussion suffered in a backward fall from the conductor's podium.

Alfred Reed's "Slavonic Folk Suite" was written in 1953 when Reed was a student at Baylor University, where he conducted the Baylor University Symphony Orchestra before graduating in 1955. It is a free adaptation of Eastern Church vocal music for the modern symphonic band.

The Symphonic Band concert will conclude Frank Perkins' "Fandango," which was originally published as a piano solo, and is said to have much of the descriptive feeling of the Spanish dance, with fire, spirit and excitement in the beginning and ending.

Admission is $5, with Friends of Music and SHSU faculty, staff and students admitted free.

Call for Papers

The deadline for submission of summaries of papers for Sam Houston State University's University-Wide Graduate Research Exchange is Friday (March 10).

A panel of peer researchers will review the summaries and those selected will be presented from 6-8:30 p.m. April 19 in the Teacher Education Center. Currently enrolled SHSU graduate students involved in individual or small group research are eligible to participate.

The event is sponsored by the Center for Research & Doctoral Studies and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. For more information, contact Derrick Elliott at 936.294.4348 or Beverly Irby, Research Exchange chair, at 936.294.1134.

Field School Meetings

Two informational meetings have been scheduled this week concerning the SHSU Puebla Field School. The meetings are set for Tuesday (March 7) at 5 p.m. in Lowman Student Center room 312, and Wednesday (March 8) at 3 p.m. in Lowman Student Center room 301.

Frieda Koeninger is director of the field school which will be held in the historic colonial city of Puebla, Mexico, June 5 to June 29. SHSU professors will teach courses in art, English, Spanish, management and economics. For more information, contact Koeninger at 936.294.1443.

Record-Setting Job Fair

The Annual Teacher Job Fair scheduled for Wednesday (March 8) will have a record 158 school districts represented by 270 recruiters. The event is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. in Johnson Coliseum. For more information, contact the Office of Career Services at 936.294.1713.

Art Exhibit

painting "Ceremonial Spaces," an exhibit of paintings by Neal Wilson, opens Monday (March 6) in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Thursday (March 9). The exhibit runs through March 31. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 936.294.1315 for more information.

Spring Break

Spring Break at Sam Houston State University will be March 13-17 for faculty and students, and March 16 and 17 for staff.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
March 5, 2000
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