NSU Department of Music receives donation of opera scores

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Former Northwestern State University staff member Paula Craig has donated nearly two dozen boxes of opera scores and materials to the NSU Department of Music. The collection will be placed in the Prince Music Library in the School of Creative and Performing Arts.

Craig’s husband, the late James Pat Craig, was a singer, piano teacher, choral director and lover of opera. Paula Craig worked in the library of NSU’s College of Nursing and Schools of Allied Health in Shreveport from 2000-2002 and 2007-2018.

The donation is already benefitting the Department of Music. Director of the NSU Opera Theatre Dr. Marcy McKee found a score from the collection that will be used in a production on Oct. 14-15.

“May these scores further your mission to continue providing great opera to this area,” said Paula Craig. “My connection with NSU is special because I had to opportunity to work at the College of Nursing and Allied Health Library in Shreveport.”

James Pat Craig began his of fondness for various types of music in high school. He majored in education with a minor in music at the University of Arkansas-Monticello. During this time, he realized opera was “his” music. He began collecting LP’s of famous operas as well as music from the great composers and symphonies. He also taught piano and directed the choir at the First Christian Church in Gould, Arkansas. He graduated from University of North Texas with a degree in library information. He received his Ph.D. from Berkley University in Berkley, Michigan.

Over the years, he performed many vocal solos for clubs and organizations in Little Rock, Arkansas, and sang at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion as well as various churches. After locating to Shreveport, as director of the library of LSU Health Science Center and Biomedical Communications, he served the Shreveport Opera as president. He sang in the Shreveport Opera Chorus on occasion and performed some roles in the operas. His interest ran from Gilbert & Sullivan to the obscure operas, which he obtained on travels to different countries. His favorite opera was “Norma” with “Der Rosenkavalier” a close second.

Singing solos at First United Methodist Church in Shreveport was a joy for him. The Craigs enjoyed the Shreveport Opera, the Houston Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna Opera House and were fortunate to attend an opera at La Scala in Milan, Italy.