Tuesday, April 30, 2013


The Ashland University Department of Music presents the spring honors recital on Wednesday, May 1, 7:30 p.m. at the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall in the Center for the Arts (formerly known as the Arts & Humanities Building).  The concert will showcase the department’s student musicians who accomplished exceptional work in the spring semester from instrumentalists including piano, percussion, guitar, trumpets and flute, to vocalists and an opera scene. The concert is free and open to the public.

Featured instrumentalists include seniors Ian Dively, trumpet; and Eddie Carney, piano; and Spencer Stadnik, guitar; juniors Andy Bartelheim, trumpet; Steve Morsher, percussion; and sophomore Devyn Renninger, flute.  Vocal performances will feature seniors Brandy Kay Riha, soprano; freshman Fatima Imani-Smith, soprano; along with a vocal ensemble performing a scene from the Pirates of Penzance including seniors Bret Cowden, baritone; Derek Jackenheimer, tenor; Katie Vargo, soprano; and Emily Plank, mezzo-soprano.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Under the direction of Dr. Scott Garlock, the Award-Winning Ashland University Jazz Orchestra performs their final concert of the year at the festive Eagle's Nest on Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m.  Grab a snack and beverage, sit back and enjoy some great Jazz tunes in a relaxed atmostphere. Free & Open to the Public.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


The Department of Music at Ashland University is proud to present the choral and orchestral masterpiece by the beloved romantic composer Johannes Brahms. Directed by Dr. Rowland Blackley, the Brahms German Requiem will be performed by the Ashland University Choir, Ashland Area Chorus and Ashland Chamber Orchestra on Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 PM in Hugo Young Theatre.

Over 120 musicians will fill the Hugo Young Theatre stage while featuring soloists Stephanie Sikora, soprano and Brian Keith Johnson, baritone. A German Requiem, To Words of the Holy Scriptures, Op. 45 (Ein deutsches Requiem, nach Worten der heiligen Schrift) was composed by Brahms between 1865 and 1868. Many believe the piece was inspired by the death of Brahms' mother in 1865 which caused him much grief as well as lingering feelings over Robert Schumann's death in 1856. Comprised of seven movements and in the German language derived from the German Luther Bible, Brahms Requiem is a sacred but non-liturgical work with a message of hope for the living who must deal with and accept death.

Dr. Blackley, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Ashland University, has previously presented several large choral and orchestral works including Handel’s Messiah in 2005 and 2010 while also collaborating with the Ashland Symphony Orchestra's performances of Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and the Verdi Requiem. While conducting the University Choir, Chamber Singers and Ashland Area Chorus, he also teaches in the areas of conducting and music education. He co-directs the major opera workshop productions and has served as conductor and music director for several Ashland University theatrical productions.

Stephanie Sikora, Professor of Music and Head of the Voice Area at Ashland University, has been sharing her musical talents with audiences throughout Ohio and the Midwest for numerous years. She has sung over 100 performances with Cleveland Opera on Tour, and has appeared in Cleveland Opera’s main stage productions of The Merry Widow, Hansel and Gretel, Mikado, and Die Fledermaus. She has been a guest soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Festival and has performed with the Reading Symphony, Canton Symphony, Mendelssohn of Pittsburgh, Ashland Symphony, Akron Lyric Opera Theatre, Firelands Symphony, The Singers’ Club and the Robert Page Cleveland Singers. Holding degrees from The Ohio State University, The University of Akron, and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Ms. Sikora has recently become sought after as an adjudicator at such prestigious competitions as the Tuesday Musical Scholarship Auditions and the Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus Vocal Competition.

Brian Keith Johnson has performed many roles in opera from Figaro in il barbiere di Siviglia to Ford in Falstaff. As a member of Actors’ Equity Association, he has also performed a variety of musical theatre roles ranging from Jim in Big River to Father/God in Children of Eden. He has appeared as a soloist with orchestras across the US in repertoire that ranges from Bach's Magnificat and Mozart's Requiem to Brahms's A German Requiem and Orff's Carmina Burana. Mr. Johnson received his bachelor's degree from the University of Akron, and has also studied abroad at the New Opera Academy of Rome and at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.  

Reserved seating tickets for the performance are $7.00 for adults; $5.00 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students, Ashland University faculty and staff; and $1.00 for Ashland University students. To purchase tickets, call the Ashland University Central Box Office at 419-289-5125, Monday through Friday, 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM., visit the Box Office located in the lobby of Hugo Young Theatre at the corner of Grant Street and College Avenue, or order online at www.ashland.edu/tickets (additional fees apply).

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Ashland University Department of Music presents two evenings of "Magic, Marriage & Merriment" with opera scenes from Mikado to The Pirates of Penzance and The Most Happy Fella. The performances which are free and open to the public are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20, 7:30 p.m. at the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall. 

Under the direction of Stephanie Sikora, Associate Professor of Music and Head of the Voice Area in the Department of Music at Ashland University, this annual event features vocal performances from twelve student singers. The female cast includes sopranos Rachel Gollhart, Fatima Imani Smith, Erin Lingenfelter, Colleen Mathias and Katie Vargo along with mezzo-sopranos Emily Plank and Grace Keller. Male singers include tenors Derek Jackenheimer, Christopher Sherer and Caleb Stout; baritone Andrew Shaffer; and bass-baritone Bret Cowden. 

With scenes from eight different operas each evening, the program presents scenes from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute and Abduction from the Seraglio, Lehar's The Merry Widow, Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Loesser's The Most Happy Fella and Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance.

Monday, April 8, 2013


The Department of Music at Ashland University offers a full slate of free concerts in April from its music majors. From vocalists and an a cappella ensemble to a pianist, percussionist and horn players, the end of the year performances offer something for everyone. All of the following recitals are free and open to the public and are held in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall in the Center for the Arts (formerly known as the Arts & Humanities Building).

On Sunday, April 7 at 5:00 p.m., senior vocalist Bret O. Cowden (Paris, Ohio) presents his paper discussing Mozart's use of the baritone and buffo bass fach, the ways that Mozart differentiates between the two fachs (or voice categories), and interpretations by the original singers as well as modern singers' interpretations. Cowden will demonstrate the above findings by performing four arias, one aria from each role discussed. 

At 7:30 p.m. on April 7, Surround Sound, the student-run a cappella group, performs their annual showcase. The program's music selection includes recent hits such as Michael Buble's Just Haven't Met You Yet and Bruno Mars' Just the Way You Are, as well as older tunes including And So It Goes by Billy Joel and Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours by Stevie Wonder. 

Soprano Brandy Riha presents her senior recital on Sunday, April 14 at 5:00 p.m. accompanied by pianist Deb Logan. Brandy is a graduate of Geneva High School and studies privately with Denise Howell.

At 7:30 p.m. on April 14, senior Eddie Carney performs his piano recital
assisted by soprano Madeline Beer and the Drop of a Hat Players. His program includes pieces by Debussy, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Sondheim and Richard Taylor's Cathy's Prayer from Whistle Down the Wind. Eddie is a graduate of Madison High School of Lake County.

Music education major Ian Dively of Berlin, PA presents his senior trumpet recital on Saturday, April 20 at 1:30 p.m. assisted by pianist Sue Gregg and Dr. Amanda Bekeny, trumpet. He will perform pieces by Purcell, Riisager, Vivaldi and Arutiunian.

At 4:00 p.m. on April 20, percussionist Stephen Morsher and Andrew Bartelheim, trumpet, present their junior recital assisted by pianist Sue Gregg, and percussionists Jake Lange, Hailey Sulti and Jeff Neitzke. Both are music education majors with Stephen graduating from Bellevue Senior High School and Andrew from Wooster High School.

Several student ensembles will present a joint recital on Sunday, April 21 at 5:00 p.m. including the brass ensemble directed by Michael Metcalf, a sax trio led by Dr. Thomas Reed, string quartet with Jane Reed and the percussion ensemble under the direction of Jeff Neitzke.

Under the direction of Dr. Scott Garlock, the Ashland University Jazz Orchestra will perform their final concert of the year at the Eagles Nest in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center on Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m.

The spring honors recital will feature the best student performances of the semester on Wednesday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m.


Several Ashland University voice students were award winners at the Ohio NATS (National Association of teachers of Singing) competition held April 6, 2013 at Kent State University.  With over 300 performers and their voice teachers attending, all participating students performed before judges and received comments regarding their singing. At the awards presentation, Ashland University's name was called out three times:

  • Johanna Regan, student of Stephanie Sikora - 2nd place, Upper College Musical Theatre category 1
  • Katie Mounts, student of Denise Howell  - 2nd place,Upper College Musical Theatre category 2
  • Fatima Imani Smith, student of Stephanie Sikora - 1st place, Freshmen College Women Category II