Texas Tech University

Fine Arts Notes




Newsletter of the Fine Arts Doctoral Program
Fall 2008




In the 2008 edition of the college's Ampersand magazine devoted to arts educators, several alumni of the Fine Arts Doctoral Program were featured for innovative contributions in a variety of educational circumstances. Selected on the basis of interest level and geographical scope, these stories represent well all our graduates' achievements, leadership, and multi-faceted engagement with a plurality of issues. The first segment of Alumnotes amplifies information and stories in Ampersand; the second includes two alumni we were not able to include in the magazine; and the final segment presents the remaining Alumnotes you submitted in alphabetical order.

Michael Marcades (FA M, 1999), newly appointed Director of Music at Southern Union State Community College in Wadley, Alabama, has landed within a southeastern United States phenomenon that constitutes a unique choral education teaching paradigm: the "show choir." Show choir incorporates varied facets of choral/vocal skill, dance, and theater. Many gifted students in the region are attracted to a musical experience that transcends performing on stationary risers. Perhaps as a result of this interest, show choir environments often seem to focus on the area of "show," i.e., choreography, costumes, etc., while devoting limited attention to the "choir" aspect.

michael marcades teaching a class

Dr. Marcades, however, transforms the genre by infusing excellence in vocal/choral performance and literature, in order to provide new possibilities for those whose primary teaching and performance outlet constitutes show choir.

Currently in preparation, "Estampie Natalis - A Southern Union Christmas" exemplifies this pursuit of excellence. As indicated in the title, the show utilizes Vaclav Nelhybel's challenging work for mixed voices and chamber orchestra as its foundation. Nelhybel's literature probably has seldom, if ever, been the heart of a show choir experience that expands here to include a troupe of dancers that performs while the choir sings and "moves." The end result recalls the work's premiere performance with featured ballet dancers but creates a contemporary interdisciplinary performance and learning experience for all.

TTU's interdisciplinary doctoral degree provided the preparation to embrace such a unique, often criticized, performance environment, according to Marcades. As he notes, "Art is art; excellence is excellence -- and it should be infused everywhere." That credo recognizes the validity of vernacular or multicultural musics (see following story).

From 2001 - 2006, Marcades served as Director of Choral Activities, Columbus State University, Columbus, Georgia; 2007 to present Director of Music Ministries, First United Methodist Church, Opelika, Alabama; 2008 Newly Appointed Director of Choral Activities/Music, Southern Union State Community College, Wadley, Alabama.

For Gary W. Cobb (FA M, 1979), professor of music at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, working with international students while he was a graduate assistant at TTU teaching fundamentals of music and first-year music theory led to thinking about ways to advance understanding of other cultures through music. Dr. Cobb received a fellowship from the James Irvine Foundation as part of a program to devise courses that would foster cultural diversity, leading to his Multicultural Music in America: Eye on Los Angeles. In part by using the metropolis as a living textbook, students gain awareness of trends in multicultural music on national and international levels, of the multicultural music found within the metropolitan area, and of what is meant by community in Los Angeles.

headshot of gary cobb

Music constitutes a portal to the history, literature, politics, art, and social concerns of the particular culture, but some of the most important learning experiences occur when students interact with members of a particular urban group. The course aims to instill in students the ability to empathize with the concerns of another culture, since this ability is thought to be a crucial leadership skill enabling successful functions in a global society.

Cobb is in his 27th year as a professor of music at Pepperdine, and was recently named organist at Pacific Palisades Presbyterian Church. He is involved in the community as a board member for the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ventura Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. His current research interest is in the area of leadership development and the arts, growing out of his obtaining a certificate in executive leadership from the Peter Drucker and Masatoshi Ito School of Management at Claremont Graduate University (2006). He was also recently awarded a CALI Excellence for the Future Award for outstanding achievement in the area of dispute resolution and education.


Empathy and experiential learning are fundamental to pedagogical concepts such as service learning that have recently gained ground in educational theory and practice. Among our alumni, Steven Earl-Edwards (FA T, 1992), professor in Theatre at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia, addresses these and other issues with a course combining service learning, oral history, drama, and film. Dr. Edwards was asked by his academic dean to create a special Cornerstone course for the past semester which he built around the feature film, A Circle on the Cross.

steve edwards hugging another man

Edwards co-wrote the script with former TTU professor Tom Jones, and he co-produced and co-directed the film in which he also acts. The course addresses how war affects both service persons and their families during and after service, especially if the service person was a Prisoner of War or was Missing in Action. Primarily focusing on the Vietnam experience, the course utilizes research from all recent wars; students spend at least ten hours of service learning interviewing retired veterans in order to obtain their life-stories. The feature film is scheduled for release to festivals by early spring 2009; the trailer can be viewed at: www.acircleonthecross.com or on YouTube. sedwards@lagrange.edu


Hands-on experience and time for reflection are central to a more traditional but still vital educational practice, the internship. Lari Dianne Young (FA M, 1994) is currently in her fifth year as Director of the Performing Arts Center, a 1500-seat concert hall at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, which has hosted the late Tejano Legend Freddy Fender, pianist Van Cliburn, and violinist Itzhak Perlman, among others. In May 2007 she graduated from Class XXXV of Leadership Corpus Christi. In April of this year she was named a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow and will serve as President of the Rotary Club of Southside Corpus Christi next year

building with lights on the outside

Previously Dr. Young developed "Signature Programs" aligned with state educational skills requirements in her position at TTU as Senior Director of K-12 International Education Outreach in the International Cultural Center (ICC). The "Signature Programs" aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills requirements (TEKS) and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Test (TAKS), and provided online curriculum materials to use pre and post visit.

Dr. Young and Assistant Director Sylvia Jones collaborated with the National Park Service and Ellis Island Immigration Museum staff to design the most successful program, "Gateway to America: The Immigrant Experience on Ellis Island," which gave K-12 students a chance to recreate the experience of coming to America for the first time. As incoming immigrants from Europe at the turn of the century, students received identity, passport, money, and health documents. They then boarded their "ship" (the ICC auditorium) and were transported back to early 1900's America. When they "landed" at Ellis Island, a virtual construction created by Lari and Sylvia, students referred to their papers to determine which class of immigrant they were and where they were from which, in turn, would determine their experience during the simulation. This comprised immigration checks, health inspections, money exchanges, the cacophony of multiple languages, and so on. Finally, students viewed primary-source footage of the immigration process while they reflected on their own experience at the ICC. The Ellis Island Experience is still part of the K-12 Outreach curriculum to this day.

interior of a fine arts building

Today, Young engages a different role: she assists her full-time staff in mentoring some 30 interns in arts management and production who assist in areas including box office, ushering, technical assistance, and grant writing. While learning, interns support the public interface of the Performing Arts Center, home to the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra (CCSO). Lari.Young@tamucc.edu


For the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, Ronald Scott (FA M, 1997) has developed a new twist on pre-concert lectures. The orchestra's Footnotes series, now in its third season, augments the music history lesson or program notes in person that usually constitute these lectures through incorporation of music technology. Dr. Scott fosters active listening by isolating various musical features of compositions on the evening's program and analyzing creative processes used to compose them.

ron scott teaching

He uses music notation software to create examples that explore such ideas as the transformation of a motive into a complete theme or compositional devices used to develop and present musical themes as the work unfolds. Eight to fifteen excerpts each from 15 to 90 seconds in length present features of orchestration, tonality, and secondary melodies; alternate possibilities sometimes illustrate how different types of accompaniment would impact the mood of the piece. By these means, musical construction is clearly delineated for listeners who may otherwise encounter difficulty in discerning separate elements within the auditory mélange experienced at the concert. They can thus better comprehend the aural complexities and can appreciate more completely the imagination of the composer in whose mind those sounds originated.

Currently associate professor at Texas A&M University, Scott clearly extends music appreciation beyond its traditional setting, addressing 70 to 100 lecture attendees and, during occasional live broadcasts, the radio-FM audiences of Corpus Christi and Victoria. Thus he, like all our featured educators, does much to extend pedagogical boundaries.

Among his teaching duties in the Department of Music, Scott leads the clarinet and saxophone studios, and conducts the University Orchestra, which he founded in 2004. A recent publication for clarinet choir, Antonin Dvorak's Slavonic Dance, Op. 46, no. 8, arranged by Ronald D. Scott (1997), received its premier performance at the International Clarinet Association's ClarinetFest 2008 in Kansas City, Missouri. This is the second of his three published arrangements of music by Dvorak for that medium to be performed at ClarinetFest. Ron also performs on the clarinet, including appearances with Keith Brion's New Sousa Band, the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, and the Victoria Symphony, along with various chamber music and recital performances in Corpus Christi and San Antonio.


William M. Doll (FA T, '99)
Bill Doll, Professor of Drama and Director of Angelo State University Theater, was the recipient of the Texas Educational Theatre Association (TETA) 2007 University Educator of the Year Award. The award was received in January at the TETA TheatreFest Convention.

A member of the Angelo State University faculty since 1999, Doll has directed more than 35 Angelo State University Theatre productions, and some 45 at other venues.

theater performance

His favorites include: STOP THE WORLD - I WANT TO GET OFF, SYLVIA, WAIT UNTIL DARK, TALLY'S FOLLY, PICNIC, SOULS' NEST (premiere production), ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, THE FANTASTICKS, CON MIS MANOS/WITH MY HANDS (premiere production, Regional KCACTF selections and National Playwriting Award Finalist), THE POSTHUMOUS LIFE OF SYLVIA PLATH, ET AL (premiere production, regional KCACTF Regional Nominee), FAHRENHEIT 451, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, THE BOYS NEXT DOOR and ALL IN THE TIMING. Directing mantra - serve the script. His favorite acting assignment was the Lion in THE WIZ, for which the review said he was, "the most lovable and hilarious pussycat to ever tiptoe across a stage."

Doll's teaching interests include directing, acting, playwriting, dramatic literature, and creative development. His most memorable production experience is working with student playwright (Misael Martinez) and script (Con Mis Manos/With My Hands) from inception in Playwriting class through its production and national KCACTF submission. His teaching philosophy, in brief, is that experience through play production is a primary learning instrument for students as they apply their scholarly activity (class work) to practice in the theatre (play production).

theater performance

Research interest is in creative development and he contributed to "Paul Baker and the Integration of Abilities," ed. Flynn and McKinney, TCU Press, 2003. In addition to his TETA award, Doll also has three ASU "Rammy" nominations as professor of the year in the liberal and fine arts and was a 2006 nominee for the Faculty Senate's Teaching Excellence Award. He has recently wed Carala Luker.


Ruth J. Holmes, Ph.D. (FA M, '76)
Currently in 34th year as Professor of Music at Lubbock Christian University, Ruth Holmes teaches piano, music history, and music theory. In these classes she incorporates critical thinking activities and other features that led to her receiving the 2007 TMTA Collegiate Teaching Achievement Award. She has presented lecture/recitals on The Style Periods of Music and The History of the Harpsichord, served as adjudicator for piano competitions at ENMU, Greater Southwest Music Festival, and TAPS, and made her debut on CD with "The Piano Artistry of Ruth Holmes."

ruth holmes sitting by a piano

Recently, Holmes performed a duo-harpsichord recital with Roger Burnell (Nov. 11) at the Baker Conference Center, LCU campus. The concert included solo harpsichord pieces by Bach and Galuppi, the Bach Concerto in C Major, BWV 1061, for two harpsichords with string ensemble, and Renaissance songs of Caccini and Dowland accompanied by harpsichord and sung by Dann Coakwell.

Ann B. Stutes (FA M, '95)

Ann Stutes serves as Dean of the School of Music at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX. In addition to administrative duties, she is Associate Professor of Music and holds the Shaw Professorate of Music, coordinating the music theory curriculum and teaching both music theory and Honors Program courses. Her husband Randy is a math teacher and cross country coach at Plainview High School.

According to Stutes, music theory traditionally serves as a "weed-out" course for those students who may not have the skills or desires necessary to continue pursuing a degree in music. I have always believed that this does not necessarily need to be the case. If collegiate faculty could work "with" the student in the early stages of university-level music training, we would have increased retention in our programs and students would eventually embrace their academic futures with more energy and passion. While completing my dissertation at Texas Tech, I began to develop a method of teaching freshmen music students in the music theory classroom that intentionally embraces the traditional stage of intellectual development students bring as they transition from high school into college. In addition, it is clear that all musicians do not learn the same. By designing assignments and information delivery systems that speak to multiple styles of learning, more students will have the opportunity to succeed.

My classes include a variety of activities not often found in music theory at the collegiate level. Students participate in TEAM activities, are involved in regular self- and peer-review, use personal performance for class projects, and participate regularly in oral testing in order to develop communication skills needed in professional music collaborative environments. The result is confident, self-assured musician scholars who are prepared to enter the workforce as productive individuals.

All these educational leaders' efforts, in combination with those of our other alumni, maintain the reputation of the Fine Arts Doctoral Program for stimulating, innovating, synthesizing, and, most of all, excelling. I thank all of you who responded to our queries and all who communicated your more concise notes below. Keep in touch!

Brian D. Steele, Ph.D., Director, FADP


David Crawford (FAID-Theatre, 1987)


David Crawford, recent chair of the Speech and Theatre department at Tyler Junior College for 25 years has stepped down to spend more time with family, writing, and production activity.

In December his full-length play Harvest was produced Off-Broadway at The Beckett in Theatre Row, produced by the Alchemy Theatre Productions of Manhattan. The play received a "Critic's Pick." This year, Smith and Kraus publishers selected Harvest for their Best Plays of 2007 publication.

Theatre East selected his new play, Night Cries, for an Off-Broadway reading in June 2008.

Texas Dramatists produced a reading of his newest play, Moonlight Serenade.

Douglas M. Cummins (FA T, '80)


Doug Cummins (Theatre, '80) announces his retirement from Furman University effective June, 2009. This concludes twelve years of service at Furman preceded by thirty years at The University of Texas Pan American.

In his final year, Doug will perform the role of Neils Bohr in Michael Frayn's Copenhagen and direct Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie. He and his wife, Jacqui Brandli, will live in Fayetteville, AR.

Carl R. Gombert (FA A, '94)


Carl R. Gombert Carl Gombert ('94 - art) was promoted to Professor of Art in 2007, after serving for two years as Chair of the Faculty at Maryville College (TN) where he has taught since 1993.

Gombert's work is now in the collections of five museums and he continues to exhibit his paintings, drawings and prints widely. Upcoming solo shows will be at Bloomsburg University (Aug-Sept) and at A Shenere Velt Gallery in Los Angeles (Oct). Recent juried shows include The Red Clay Survey (Huntsville Museum of Art), the Monotype Guild of New England (Attleboro Arts Museum) and the Loa Angeles Printmakers Annual Exhibition (Riverside Museum).

In 2006, Gombert traveled through Greece studying ancient art and archeology under the aegis of the Center for Hellenic Studies and the Council of Independent Colleges. In 2007. He participated in the Salzburg Global Seminar "Cultural Institutions Without Walls: New Models of Arts-Community Interaction," in Austria.

painting of a man with a long beard

Catherine Jennings (FA A, '01)


During the summer of 2008, I painted the landscapes in and around Joshua Tree National Park in southern California as one of the artists selected for the competitive Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency. More info: http://www.joshuatreehighlandshouse.com/jthh/files/artist.html

Bao-Ling Hsiao (FA A, '95)


Dr. Bao-Ling Hsiao is recently a full-time associate professor in Department of Fine Arts of National Taichung University in Taiwan. She stands as an excellent teacher of 2007 in the university. Dr. Hsiao is focusing her study on illustrated book making as well as art course designing in general education.

James A. Rennier (FA M, '97)


Since graduating in May 1997 with the interdisciplinary fine arts Ph.D. I moved in 2000 from McMurry University in Abilene to Corpus Christi to serve as the chair of the department of music at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. My seven years of service there provided me with extensive opportunities to hire faculty and staff and oversee departmental expansion from an upper-division only unit to a four-year program. I also served to represent the university in overseeing the construction of the first phase of a performing arts center. Additionally I established two scholarship endowments and permanent funding for a student string quartet. I remained active as a professional musician, performing as principal timpanist of the Corpus Christi Symphony, percussionist and assistant timpanist of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, substitute principal timpanist with the San Antonio Symphony, and as a free-lance musician in South Texas.

In July 2007, I became Dean of the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. Although my administrative duties have largely precluded my performance activities, I continue to perform with the Amarillo Opera and as an occasional free-lance musician.

Frances W. Scott (FA A, '85)

Newly published book: C. S. Peirce's System of Science Life as a Laboratory, The Press of Arisbe Associates, Indiana University at Indianapolis.

Brenda G. Wristen (FA M, '98)


Dr. Brenda Wristen is Associate Professor of Music and directs the Piano Pedagogy and Keyboard Skills programs at the University of Nebraska--Lincoln. She is a recognized expert in the area of occupational health and wellness of musicians, and has presented her research at numerous meetings of international and national organizations including Music Teachers National Association, the Performing Arts Medicine Association (in conjunction with the Aspen Music Festival), the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, the College Music Society, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and the International Society for Music Education. Her work, including findings from several collaborative grant-funded studies, has been published in American Music Teacher, Medical Problems of Performing Artists, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Music Education Research, Clavier, Keyboard Companion, and Piano Pedagogy Forum. Her collaborative project with Dr. Susan Hallbeck was recognized in 2005 with a "Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science" appellation by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the American Institute of Physics.

Leona M. Zastrow (FA A, '80)


Leona M. Zastrow, PhD was honored in October, 2005 by the Arizona Art Educators for her previous leadership and her knowledge about American Indian arts. Zastrow was featured in an article, Winter, 2006, in the Santa Fe Trend magazine. She was interviewed about appraising American Indian art. In 2008, she has written an article on Indian basketry for Chubb's Insurance. She is a member of the Appraisers Association of America. She has been a qualified appraiser of American Indian Art for eleven years.




Fine Arts Doctoral Program

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