Alumni to participate in Symphony Orchestra concert


NATCHITOCHES – The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert, “A Celebration of Peace With Music of the Americas,” on Monday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Douglas Bakenhus is music director of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra and Jolie Gonzalez Masmela, is graduate assistant conductor. Tickets are $10. NSU, BPCC@NSU and LSMSA students are admitted free with a current student I.D.


The concert will feature Northwestern State alumni Dr. Raúl Antonio Munguía, director of orchestras and professor of violin and viola at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, and Sherman Desselle, anchor of KALB-TV’s “Jambalaya.”


Bakenhus said the program was the idea of Masmela, who will give a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m.


“Her (Masmela’s) master degree document is on the topic of three composers who all studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris,” said Bakenhus. “Boulanger, who was a composer and teacher, was considered the top teacher of composition in the 20th century. Many well-known composers in Europe and in the Americas studied with her. She had a knack for teaching composers to find their own voice especially through the music of their own cultures. It is a fascinating topic, because they all sound so different. Astor Piazzolla was from Argentina, Adolfo Mejia was from Colombia and Aaron Copland was from the U.S.”



Bakenhus said he decided to go beyond Masmela’s paper by adding works by Carlos Chavez and Adolphus Hailstork, who also studied with Boulanger in Paris. Hailstork is the only composer still living. He studied with Boulanger just before she died in 1973.


The program will be “Fanfare on Amazing Grace” by Hailstork, “Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas” by Piazzolla and arranged by Desyatnikov featuring Munguia on violin, “Acuarela” by Mejía, “Sinfonia India for Large Orchestra” by Chávez, “Lincoln Portrait for Narrator and Orchestra” by Copland with narration by Desselle, “Cumbia” from “La Pequeña Suite” by Mejía and Copland’s “Rodeo: Hoedown.”


Munguia leads the graduate programs in orchestral conducting and is head of the string area at Pittsburg State. Munguía is the principal guest conductor of the San Pedro Sula Symphony Orchestra in his native country of Honduras. As a strong advocate of music education, Munguía has conducted several District and Honor orchestras in Missouri, Texas, Mississippi, Kansas, Louisiana, El Salvador, Brazil and Honduras. A passionate proponent for the chamber music genre, Munguía founded the Pittsburg Chamber Music Festival held every summer in Pittsburg, Kansas. Now on its sixth edition, the festival brings together renowned national and regional artists to the Four State Area.


Munguia holds a Doctoral in Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting from Texas Tech University, a Masters in Orchestral Conducting and Violin Performance from Northwestern State studying violin with Dr. Andrej Kurti, and orchestral conducting with Bakenhus. He also holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi.


Desselle is a native of Alexandria. He is a graduate of Peabody Magnet High School and Northwestern State in vocal music performance.


He was offered a position as a part-time videographer at KALB in June of 2008, and by the end of the year, Desselle enjoyed the experience of being on both sides of the camera. By July of 2009, he was made a “One Man Band” reporter, covering the weekend news and NSU sports. He later began anchoring the Weekend Edition newscasts on News Channel 5 and reporting our “What’s Right About Cenla” stories. Desselle is on “Jambalaya” Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. – 7 a.m.


Desselle speaks at local schools and community events and is a mentor for high school students. Desselle is a board member for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the National Association of Black Journalists and is active in his local church.