Southeastern department celebrates 75 years with Music Gala
Contact: Elise Doster
HAMMOND – As part of this season’s Fanfare, Southeastern Louisiana University’s Opera/Music Theatre Workshop will hold a gala performance Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in celebration of the Department of Music and Dramatic Arts’ 75th anniversary.
Scheduled at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Hammond, the gala will feature solos and group ensembles performed by current Southeastern students and alumni and will be dedicated to former Opera/Music Theatre Workshop Director Scharmal Schrock, now senior lecturer at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
“Scharmal changed the face of the program here at Southeastern,” said Chuck Effler, current director of the workshop. “She had a tremendous impact on the students she guided through the program, and she recognized that classical singers also need to be versatile in Broadway style.”
Pieces and scenes showcased in the 31-song lineup include opera and Broadway numbers from “South Pacific,” “The Music Man,” “La Boheme,” “Too Many Sopranos,” “The Tender Land” and “Die Fledermaus.”
Returning alumni include Eastman School of Music Opera Department Chair Steven Daigle, San Francisco opera mezzo-soprano Deveda Karanas, Southeastern voice faculty members Joy Ratliff and Kay Schepker and many others.
In addition to solos and ensembles, 80 Southeastern students and alumni will come together during the gala’s second act to perform two mass chorus pieces. A 45-piece orchestra, half of which are Southeastern students, will accompany the evening’s performances.
“It’s going to be a very special night,” said Effler, who became workshop director in 2002. “Many of our alumni have gone on to become professional opera singers and music educations, and we got in touch with as many alumni from the program as we could to participate.”
Ticket prices range from $15-$21 and are on sale at the Columbia/Fanfare box office, 220 E. Thomas Street, 985-543-4371 or online at columbiatheatre.org. Faculty, staff, alumni and children under 12 will receive a discount. During October, the box office is open each week day from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. and one hour prior to Columbia performances.