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SHSU Update for Week of April 23

Concert for a New Millennium

Two hundred singers, including a children's choir from Yelbert, Germany, an orchestra of 50, and five music groups will participate in Tuesday's (April 25) Concert for a New Millennium. Wayne Barrett will conduct the performance, which will include the Sam Houston State University Symphonic Chorus, the Bach Choir of Huntsville, the Huntsville Community Choral Society, the Huntsville Children's Choir and the Velberter Kinderchor (Velbert, Germany, Children's Choir).

"The concert is on such a massive scale that, perhaps, it really deserves the title that we have given it," said Barrett. "It is going to be a spectacular event."

"Sancta Civitas " ("The Holy City"), by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and "The Hymn of Jesus" by Gustav Holst, are the works to be performed.

"Sancta Civitas" is a dramatic oratorio composed to apocalyptic texts from the book of Revelation. Heavenly scenes and choirs, the fall of Babylon, the Rider upon the white horse, the new heavens, the new earth, and the Holy City are among its themes. The performance features Robert Best, baritone and Matthew Martin, tenor.

"The Hymn of Jesus" is a setting of mystical texts taken from the Apocryphal "Acts of St. John."

"The music brings together Roman chant, energetic dance-like material, a colorful orchestration, and layers of sound that make it both exotic and stirring-and often surprising," said Barrett.

"Both musical works are written for multiple choirs, soloists, and orchestra, so large forces such as we have assembled are necessary for their performance. That is a principal reason why the opportunities to hear them are rare indeed," Barrett said.

"I am particularly grateful to Grettle Payne and the Huntsville Children's Choir and to Rosemarie Hey and the Velberter Kinderchor for their participation. I do not know of another choral music event in Huntsville in recent years that has brought together this many groups and participants."

Admission is $10 dollars for adults and $5 dollars for students. The concert is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Huntsville Arts Commission, City of Huntsville.

Barrett has been a member of the music faculty at Sam Houston State University since 1992. He also conducts the Bach Choir of Huntsville and is the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church.

"I would like to thank the many, many people who are making this concert possible. I have never been a part of an event on this scale, and I believe that our audience is in for an unforgettable experience." said Barrett.

'The Baby Dance'

Can money buy love? In an age of advanced genetic research, can parents create the child of their choice, for a price?

These are questions posed in the Sam Houston State University Department of Theatre and Dance production of "The Baby Dance," scheduled Wednesday (April 26) through Saturday (April 29) in the University Theatre Center Showcase Theatre. Performances are at 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee.

"The Baby Dance" explores the controversial issue of surrogate motherhood.

Rachel and Richard, an upper class couple, discover the pitfalls of the issue when they contract with Wanda and Al, a blue collar couple, to adopt their soon-to-be-born child.

Rachal coaches Wanda through her pregnancy and struggles with the possibility of any flaw in the unborn child. At the same time, Wanda and Al grapple with the desperate financial situation that has forced them into this position.

They have three other mouths to feed and believe they cannot support a fourth. Wanda is left to struggle with her maternal instincts. Will she be able to sacrifice what she wants for what is the best for her family? Will Rachel and Richard be able to buy happiness?

"The Baby Dance" is directed by senior theatre major Corby Sullivan. His cast includes senior musical theatre major Rhonda Curfman, senior theatre major Jeff Narsh, sophomore theatre major Jeremy Sutton, and freshman theatre majors Kira Brasel and Joel McDonald.

Senior threatre major Sara Young stage-manages the show, with set design by junior theatre major Trey Huguley, lighting design by senior theatre major Sara Young, and costume design by senior theatre major George Curry.

Tickets are $8. For more information call the University Theatre Center box office at 936.294.1339.

Three Pianos Plus Viola

Pianists Peter Kempter, Clive Swansbourne and Andrew Wilson and violist Aaron Bielish will perform music by Mozart and Brahms in a Monday (April 24) concert at 6 p.m. in the Recital Hall at Sam Houston State University.

They will play the Trio in B flat by Mozart, and the Quartet in G minor by Brahms, in which they will be joined by Bielish. The event is the beginning of a projected series which will include all the chamber works of Brahms which include piano. The concert will last about 75 minutes, and tickets are $5.

Bielish, in addition to his duties on the string faculty at SHSU, maintains an active private studio of young violinists and violists in the Houston area, and is principal violist with Orchestra X and has been a member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra. He has performed around the world and has been featured on WFMT Radio in Chicago as a member of the Civic String Quartet.

Kempter began his cello studies at the age of five. He joined the SHSU music faculty in 1990 and currently oversees the cello studio and string methods class. He also leads the SHSU Violoncello Ensemble.

He has been a professional member of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Woodlands Symphony, and substitutes with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. In 1988, he traveled with the National Repertory Orchestra to Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, performing at the Seoul Olympic Arts Festival. He currently holds the title of chamber music coordinator with the Texas Music Festival.

Swansbourne, coordinator of piano studies at SHSU, has performed to critical acclaim in most of the big cities and almost all the states, and also in Europe and Canada, gaining a reputation for his interpretations of standard repertoire as well as twentieth-century music. His performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio's "Performance Today" and by the BBC in England.

He gave the complete cycle (in eight recitals) of the 32 Beethoven sonatas twice at Idaho State University while on that faculty, is an active chamber music player, and in January traversed, in three concerts, Beethoven's violin sonatas with violinist and assistant concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony, Samantha George.

He has given master classes and clinics at dozens of colleges and universities. He made his first recital CD in 1999, comprising music by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, and Rachmaninov.

Wilson, assistant professor of music at Sam Houston State, has taught at the University of Virginia, where his concerts were broadcast on Virginia Public Radio, and served as concertmaster of the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra. He has performed extensively across North America as soloist and chamber musician including performances with the Apollo and Sivori String Quartets.

He has received many awards including first prizes in the Dallas Symphonic Festival and Tuesday Musical Club Violin Competition. He has been a member of the Aurora Piano Trio, has served as concertmaster of the Victoria Symphony, associate concertmaster with the Corpus Christi Symphony and performed with the Victoria Bach Festival Orchestra.

Neill Involved In School Nutrition

Sometimes it pays to speak up, even to a very important person.

This was the experience of Kweethai Neill, assistant professor in health and kinesiology and a researcher in school nutrition.

Neill was among a group of 20 scientists and researchers in that field who were invited by Shirley Wadkins, under-secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, to a recent conference at Penn State University.

Neill has been doing school nutrition research since 1990, when she did a thesis on the subject and served as principal investigator for a state wide investigation to determine the nutritional status of the school lunch program in public schools in Ohio. She has also co-authored an article on the subject in "The Health Education Monograph Series (1997)."

She also did work on school nutrition for her doctoral dissertation and since coming to Sam Houston State, has collaborated with S. Thomas Kordinak of the psychology department on further studies. Neill and Kordinak conducted a three-year project to improve the school nutrition services in a school district in North Carolina that fed 60,000 students per day.

As chair of the Council for Food and Nutrition at the American School Health Association, Neill has been an advocate for effective school nutrition programs. In 1997 she challenged Wadkins, at a conference in Washington, to work for more United States Department of Agriculture research funding in this area.

"I am delighted that she has taken the challenge to heart and is looking at getting Congress to appropriate funds for supporting research in school nutrition," said Neill.

Mock Trials Under Way

Professionals in the Forensic Clinical Psychology field often go into court as "expert witnesses." This semester several area attorneys are helping prepare Sam Houston State University students for such assignments.

Doctoral students in the Forensic Clinical Psychology Program prepare for court and undergo both direct and cross examination conducted by attorneys from the community. Adding to the realism of the exercises is the setting for the mock trials, the Beto Criminal Justice Center's Kerper Courtroom.

Local attorneys contributing their services to the project include Dave O'Neil and Rebecca Schlosser from State Counsel for Offenders, Jack Schoate and Phil Hall from the Criminal District Attorney's Office, and John Gaines, Chris Thetsord, and Billy Carter, associated with the Special Civil Prosecution Unit.

The types of cases include competence to stand trial, sanity at the time of a criminal offense, sex offenders pending civil commitment, and termination of parental rights.

"It's exciting to see members of the local professional community willing to collaborate with our program in providing educational experiences few graduate students ever receive," said Mary Alice Conroy, director of clinical training in the program.

Anyone who would like to sit in on a trial may do so. Trials are scheduled for 6-9 p.m. on Monday (April 24) and Monday, May 1 in the courtroom.

Steele Awarded National Grant

Tracy Steele, assistant professor of history at SHSU, has been awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities to participate in a summer institute in Honolulu June 12-July 14.

The program, "Religions, Philosophies, and Culture in India: Conflicts and Negotiations" is a five-week program for faculty in the humanities and social sciences who are not South Asia specialists.

Steele has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in American, Asian, and European history since she came to SHSU in 1992. She has studied internationally and her recent publications have focused on China and East Asia.

Alumni Planning Rome Trip

Sam Houston State University's Office of Alumni Relations invites alumni to participate in a "Rome Escapade" Nov. 7-14.

Guests will stay at the Five-Star deluxe Excelsior Hotel on the Via Veneto in Rome and have the opportunity to tour such sites as The Forum, St. Peter's Basilica, Trevi Fountain, the Bay of Naples, the Vatican Museums and Galleries, and the Sistine Chapel, as well as other famous sites.

The cost of the trip is $1,745 per person, and includes airfare from Houston, hotel, and extras.

For more information, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 936.294.1841.

SHSU/TDCJ Vendor Show

The Purchasing offices of Sam Houston State University and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will co-sponsor the 4th Annual Vendor/Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Show at the Johnson Coliseum on May 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Employees of both organizations who are involved in purchasing are invited to come out and meet the vendors and see the new products and technology available for the current fiscal year. Vendors will also have on hand products becoming available for our upcoming budget year (FY2001).

"Most vendors will have free product samples, giveaways, etc.," said Renee Starns of SHSU, who along with Sharon Schultz of TDCJ is coordinating the event. "This is a great way for secretaries and other staff to actually see the products that they hear about through sales representatives and their faculty."

Student Is Sunglasses Finalist

Sharon Cheairs, senior psychology major at Sam Houston State University, is representing Texas as one of 50 finalists in a FosterGrant sunglasses national model search.

The finalists photos, names, and the state that they represent are listed on the FosterGrant website at, and consumers are invited to vote for one female and one male finalist. The male and female finalists with the most votes will be the new models.

The two winners will receive a trip to New York for a full-day photo shoot and star in a Foster Grant print ad that will appear in national consumer magazines. Voting on the website will be through June 2, when the winners will be announced.

"I saw this on their website and thought it would be fun to enter," said Cheairs. "When they called me at work to tell me that I had been chosen as the finalist, I asked if anybody else had entered. They said the 'response has been overwhelming,' leaving me even more shocked."

Cheairs plans to complete her degree in August.

Retirement/Farewell Receptions

Five members of the Sam Houston State University faculty and staff will be honored with receptions as the 2000 spring semester nears its close. They include: David Moorman, whose retirement reception is scheduled for 3-4:30 p.m. Wednesday (April 26) in Austin Hall.

Don Coers, who will be joining the staff of Angelo State University as vice president for academic affairs, and Ken Craycraft, who will become vice chancellor for academic affairs with the Texas State University System. Their reception is scheduled for 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. May 2 in Austin Hall.

And Tommy Childers and Dan Dannhaus, whose retirement reception is scheduled for 2-4 p. m. May 3 in Austin Hall.

Puccini Opera Is Friday/Saturday

"Suor Angelica," an opera by Giacomo Puccini, featuring Natasha Ospina as Sister Angelica in Friday's performance and Dawn Fry in the role on Saturday, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. April 28 and 29 in the Recital Hall at Sam Houston State University.

Under the direction of Mary Kay Lake, the opera is set in a convent in Italy in the late 17th century. Sister Angelica has been forced to join the convent to atone for the scandal she caused her noble family by having an illegitimate child seven years ago.

When her aunt, the princess (Andrea Gauthier) arrives, the situation becomes even more disheartening.

Tickets are $5. Call 936.294.1360 for information.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
April 23, 2000
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