NSU vocal faculty to present concert on Friday

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NATCHITOCHES – Vocal faculty in the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts will present a recital on Friday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall.

Sopranos D’nissa Hester, Juliana Handy, Terrie Sanders, and Marcy McKee, mezzo-soprano Grace Edgar, and tenors Michael Rorex and Nicholaus Cummins accompanied by pianist Dan Ley will perform songs from “The Secret Garden” and “Kizmet” as well as Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutti,” Bizet’s “Carmen” and Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah” and many others.

Natchitoches Wood

Hester, an instructor of music/voice at NSU, is a native of Amarillo, Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in vocal performance and Master of Music with a concentration in vocal performance and choral conducting from Northwestern State. She has continued her education at the Taos Opera Institute under world renowned sopranos Mary Jane Johnson and Linda Poetschke.

Sanders is an associate professor of music and has been on the faculty at NSU since 1992.  She teaches voice and vocal pedagogy.  Sanders is an active performer and lecturer.  As soloist, some of her Oratorio appearances include Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” Handel’s “Messiah,” Poulenc’s “Gloria,” Brahms’ “German Requiem,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Requiem,” Haydn’s “Nelson Mass,” Bach’s “Magnificat,” Mozart’s “Requiem,” Vaughn Williams “Hodie,” Mendelsohn’s “Elijah” and Honegger’s “King David.”  Her opera performances include Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” and “La Bohѐme,” Menotti’s “The Telephone” and Warren Martin’s “The True Story of Cinderella.” Sanders has been a member of the Summer Seminar Faculty for the McClosky Institute of Voice based in Boston since 2005.

McKee is the director of Opera Theater and an assistant professor of voice at NSU. She received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at Arizona State University in 2016. Ms. McKee has performed as Miss Wingrave (Owen Wingrave), Lady Billows (Albert Herring), and as both Gertrude and the Witch (Hansel and Gretel). McKee made her German debut as Kathi, the yodeling post woman, in “Im Weissen Rössl” with the Mittelsächsisches Theater in Freiberg, Germany. McKee has also performed in Italy with Gruppo di Musica Antica in Genoa and as Donna Anna (Don Giovanni). Most recently McKee portrayed Mercedes (Carmen) with The Rome Music Festival.

Edgar is an assistant professor of musical theatre at Northwestern State. She received her Doctorate in Vocal Performance with a minor in opera directing from the University of Houston. Before beginning her doctoral studies, Edgar was a member of the Opera New Jersey Studio and a Resident Artist in the Marion Roose Pullin Studio at Arizona Opera. In addition, she has performed with Austin Lyric Opera, Key West Pops Symphony, Opera Company of Brooklyn, New Orleans Opera; Opera on Tap, Belleayre Music Festival and with the Astoria Symphony.

Cummins is associate professor of music and director of choral activities at Northwestern State.  The Northwestern Chamber Choir, under Cummins, has recently worked with composers Michael Trotta, Richard Burchard and Vytautas Miškinis  premiering new choral works and producing recordings.  They won best compulsory piece and third prize in the Ave Verum Competition in Baden, Austria, in 2019, and won second prize in the Laurea Mundi Choral Competition in Budapest, Hungary, in 2018.  Most recently, the Northwestern Chamber Choir was one of nine featured collegiate choirs at the National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference in Maryland.

Rorex is associate professor of voice at Northwestern State where he teaches voice, conducts the NSU Concert Choir and the NSU Men’s Chorus. Rorex has degrees in vocal performance from Indiana University and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has performed as a guest recitalist at California State University, Sacramento; Wesleyan College, Wilmington, Delaware; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; Covenant College, Chattanooga, Tennessee; Alice Tulley Hall at Julliard and Indiana University, Bloomington.