Leo De La Cruz

CCM student oboist wins NFMC’s prestigious Carolyn Nelson Double Reed Award

Leo De La Cruz

CCM graduate student Leo De La Cruz turned heads in a variety of competitions during the 2019-20 season. Most recently, he won the National Federation of Music Clubs’ Carolyn Nelson Double Reed Award, which includes a $1,250 cash prize.

Leo De La Cruz rehearsing with CCM Chamber Winds. Photo/Provided.

Leo De La Cruz rehearsing with CCM Chamber Winds. Photo/Provided.

De La Cruz also won the CCM Wind Studies concerto competition, which culminated in a performance of Weber’s Concertino for Oboe and Wind Band with the CCM Chamber Winds on February 9, and he achieved an honorable mention at the 2020 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition.

To apply for the Carolyn Nelson Double Reed Award, De La Cruz submitted a 15-minute performance video, including the Weber Concertino he performed in February. His other selections were Dutilleux’s Oboe Sonata and Robert Schumann’s Three Romances, which he performed in chamber music recitals at CCM.

“I think the part that I’m most proud of about those recordings isn’t necessarily my own playing, but rather the back and forth between my partners and me,” De La Cruz says. “Both of them were fantastic collaborators and musicians, and I’m positive that my own playing improved drastically just through the work we did together.”

Before coming to CCM, De La Cruz attended high school in Spring, Texas (a suburb of Houston) and earned bachelor’s degrees in oboe performance and music theory from Furman University.

“I gravitated toward the oboe because it was unique; I was the only one in my middle school band who played it,” he remembers. “I never really planned on making music for a living, so I didn’t really take it very seriously until the end of high school, when I took a music theory class and really fell in love with the orchestral repertoire.”

De La Cruz is also working on two degrees at CCM — master’s degrees in oboe performance and music theory. In his oboe studies, he receives guidance from both of CCM’s oboe faculty, Professor of Oboe Mark Ostoich and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Oboe Dwight Parry, principal oboe at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

“I’m not quite sure what I want to do in the future quite honestly, because both of my interests bring me so much satisfaction,” De La Cruz says. “I can’t get enough of making music with other people, so if I could find a way to incorporate both chamber music and music theory into a career, I’d be happy.”


Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

Featured Image at top: Leo De La Cruz. Photo/Provided.

CCM News Student Salutes

CCM Students, Alumni Unite in Virtual Performance of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’

Alumnus Harrison Sheckler organized 300 musicians from around the world for the special concert

CCM alumnus Harrison Sheckler (BM Piano, ’19) united 300 musicians from 15 countries for a virtual performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from CarouselThe performance is available to watch online.

Now a student at the Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College, Sheckler spent over 200 hours promoting, organizing submissions and video editing the project. He collected tracks from countries all over the world, including the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Vietnam, Israel, Australia, South Africa and more.

The video features 30 CCM students and alumni representing multiple areas of the college including musical theatre, composition, music education, violin, violoncello, double bass, oboe, flute, piano, tuba, horn and more. It was produced by CCM Commercial Music Production alumni Josh Meyer and Grant Bayer, who are audio engineers at Cincinnati’s Zated Records. CCM students and alumni involved in the performance include:

  • Jenny Mollet (BFA Musical Theatre, ’19)
  • Giselle Haas (BM Music Education, ’19)
  • Kanako Shimasaki – current DMA Violin student
  • Maciej Latawiec (Matthew) – current DMA Violin student
  • Li-Han Eliza Tseng (DMA Violoncello, ’19)
  • Maksym Mahlay – current BM Composition and Piano student
  • Carolyn Regula – former DMA Violoncello student
  • Isabel Dimoff (BM Violoncello, ’18)
  • Jonathan Lin (BM Violoncello, ’18)
  • Micah Donar (BM Violoncello, ’17; MM Violoncello, ‘19)
  • Peter Ryan (MM Violoncello, ’19) – current DMA Violoncello current
  • Kimber Elayne Sprawl (BFA Musical Theatre, ’14)
  • Natalie Orth (BM Violin, ’20)
  • Taiga Benito – current BM Double Bass student
  • Dan Qiao (MM Violin, ’17) – current DMA Violin student
  • Taylor Overholt (BM Clarinet, ’19)
  • Collin Goff – current BM Music Education and Clarinet
  • Katie Riley – current BM Flute student
  • Ray Haim (BM Music Education, ’18)
  • Sarah Minneman – current DMA Oboe student
  • Bryan Lyons (BM Oboe, ’97) – current DMA Oboe student
  • Patrick Grimone (BM Oboe, ’19)
  • Eliza Edge (BM Horn, ’19)
  • Griffin Botts (BM Horn, ’17) – current MM Horn student
  • Ryan Penshorn – former BM Horn student
  • Phillip Palmore (BM Horn, ’20)
  • Evan Sacks-Wilner – current BM Tuba student
  • Harrison Sheckler (BM Piano, ’19)
  • Josh Meyer (BM Commercial Music Production, ’18)
  • Grant Bayer (BM Commercial Music Production, ’18)

The performance has garnered media attention from Broadway World and Musical America Worldwide.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News CCM Video Student Salutes

Donor Spotlight: Dr. Alvin and Jean Crawford

The Crawfords have a deep, lifelong love of music and the arts that led them to connect with CCM

Dr. Alvin Crawford, retired Chief of Orthopedics and founding director of the Spine Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, has had a distinguished, internationally renowned career as an orthopedic surgeon. In his honor, the Spine Center was renamed the Crawford Spine Center.

But his first love was music.

He started playing trumpet in seventh grade, eventually switching to clarinet. He started college as a music major and wanted a career as a studio musician. In his sophomore year of college, he made a decision that changed the lives of thousands of children across the world: he decided to become a physician.

Dr. Alvin and Jean Crawford stand in the corridor of CCM's Mary Emery Hall. Photo/Joseph Rubino

Dr. Alvin and Jean Crawford stand in the corridor of CCM’s Mary Emery Hall. Photo/Joseph Rubino

Dr. Crawford attended Meharry Medical College in 1960, a time when most if not all southern schools were segregated. He applied for admission to the University of Tennessee and became the first African-American to enroll in this southern medical school. He could not transfer because the University of Tennessee did not consider Meharry Medical College an accredited medical school.

“I became an academic orthopedist, but continued to play,” he says. “I was hired by UC to head the Pediatric Orthopaedic service. Once my wife and I found out what CCM was all about, we decided to get involved. After I retired at Cincinnati Children’s, I was able to attend the jazz improvisation course for freshmen and we started coming to performances. Last year I took jazz history.”

Continuing to live out his love of music, Dr. Crawford helped form a group called “The Wannabes,” which plays for nonprofits and has played an opera gala. From there he joined the Queen City Concert band, a community band in Cincinnati.

Jean Crawford’s interest in music stretches back to the piano lessons she took as a child. She was a teacher and high school counselor and sang in choruses through college.

“I always encouraged my students to get involved and take any type of arts as electives,” she says. “When I served on the Cincinnati Opera board, I saw that most of our singers in the chorus were from CCM. When we attended CCM’s Moveable Feast, we realized the caliber of musicianship here and were hooked on CCM.”

Mrs. Crawford talks about the opportunity she did not have, but that she wants all children to have. “I lived in the segregated south and the opportunities to attend and participate in the arts were limited,” she says. “So my goal is to make sure that the performing arts are available to all communities. In this area, school districts have limited support for funding the arts. Through the prep schools, CCM provides arts exposure to them. Also, students from CCM go to public schools to give the children more exposure. I think that’s important. And to do that you need money.“

“I think they’re doing something [at CCM] that’s really important,” Dr. Crawford adds. “I became involved in the CCM Dean’s Advisory Council and I can see that the people here care. They care, and they want to put out a good product. And once I became involved with CCMpower, I was able to meet the kids and see what they’re doing.”


Who will you empower NEXT?

In order to recruit and retain top talent, CCM must be able to offer competitive scholarship and grant opportunities to our students. CCMpower raises funds through membership and special events in order to provide the resources that attract the best and brightest students. Learn more about how you can empower the next generation of CCM stars.


Story by Joseph Rubino

Featured image at top Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Dena Cranley, Barbara Gould, Jean Crawford and Dr. Alvin Crawford at CCM’s 2020 Moveable Feast. Photo/Andrew Higley

CCM News Student Salutes

What to stream in quarantine: CCM connections in shows and movies

As you scroll through streaming options, look out for these shows and movies that have local ties

You’ve finished working remotely for the day, just returned home from a walk and now you’re looking for some screen-time entertainment. Instead of watching that show for the 100th time, try turning to something that features the work of UC College-Conservatory of Music alumni.

The list of streaming suggestions below feature the work of CCM alumni from across the college including Acting, Musical Theatre, Electronic Media, Theatre Design and Production, Composition and Wig and Make-Up graduates.

Have another suggestion to add to our list? Submit your tip to us online. Please include the name of the alum and degree program, the name of the TV show or film and the available streaming options.

Shows

Blue Bloods

Musical Theatre alumna Leigh Ann Larkin, née Wielgus (BFA, ’02) has a recurring role as medical examiner Megan Carson on the CBS television series Blue Bloods. The police procedural drama stars Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg. Learn more about Larkin’s role on the show.

Available to watch on the CBS website and Hulu.


Dead to Me

Distinguished CCM Acting alumna Diana Maria Riva (BFA, ’91; MFA, ’95) plays Detective Ana Perez on Netflix’s Dead to Me, starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini. The dark comedy returns with a second season on May 8. Learn more about Diana Maria Riva.

Available to watch on Netflix.


Fuller House

CCM Acting alumna Eydie Faye (BFA, ’99) is a writer and editor on Netflix’s Fuller House, which follows the Tanner family as DJ Tanner-Fuller shares a home with her sister Stephanie and friend Kimmy, who help raise her three boys. The final episodes of the series will drop on June 2. Learn more about Faye’s workLearn more about Fuller House.

Available to watch on Netflix.


McMillion$

E-Media alumnus Brian Lazarte (BFA, ’14) co-directed McMillion$ with James Lee Hernandez, and the documentary series was picked up by Mark Walhberg’s production company Unrealistic Ideas and TV network HBO. McMillion$ centers on the McDonald’s monopoly fraud case, revealing the largely untold story that involves the FBI and the mafia, elaborate undercover stings and a slew of fascinating characters. Learn more about Lazarte’s workLearn more about the docuseries.

Available to watch on Hulu and HBO streaming platforms.


The Waltons

In the mood for some classic TV? Try these popular creations from alumnus Earl Hamner Jr. (CCM, ’48; UC HonDoc, ’08). Hamner was a member of UC’s first class of broadcasting graduates and worked at local radio station WLW before he began writing for TV and film. He created The Waltons and also wrote episodes of the original The Twilight Zone and the original animated film adaptation of Charlotte’s WebLearn more about Hamner’s work.

The Waltons and Charlotte’s Web are available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

The Twilight Zone is available to watch on Hulu.


Waco

E-Media alumnus Elliot Greenberg (BFA, ’01) edited this six-part TV miniseries based on the 1992 Waco, Texas, siege. Learn more about the miniseries. Greenburg has also worked on films including Fantastic FourClerks IIQuarantine and more. Learn more about Greenberg’s work.

Waco is available to watch on Netflix and the Paramount Network.


Movies

A Wrinkle in Time

E-Media alum Dan Schroer (BFA, ’99) worked as the second assistant “a” camera in the family-friendly coming-of-age tale A Wrinkle in Time, starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. Schroer has worked on multiple blockbuster films including InceptionInterstellarThe Dark Knight Rises and DunkirkLearn more about Schroer’s work.

A Wrinkle in Time is available to watch on Disney+.


Gone Girl

CCM Theatre Design and Production alumna Dawn Swiderski (BFA, ’89) was the art director and CCM Acting alumnus Cooper Thornton (MFA, ’92) played Dr. Benson in the suspenseful drama, Gone Girl. Starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, the thriller is based on Gillian Flynn’s bestseller about a man suspected of wrongdoing when his wife goes missing. Learn more about the CCM connections in Gone Girl.

Available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video and available to watch on Hulu with a Live TV subscription.


The Hunger Games

Emmy Award-winning CCM Wig and Make-Up alumnus Bradley Look (MFA, ’88) is one of the most sought-after make-up artists in the industry. His work can be seen in The Hunger Games film series, Captain Marvel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor, to name a few. He won an Emmy for his work as a make-up artist on Star Trek: Voyager in 1996 and recieved Emmy nominations for his work on How I Met Your MotherPushing DaisiesEnterprise and Star Trek: Deep Space NineLearn more about Bradley’s work.

The Hunger Games series is available to watch on Hulu with a Live TV subscription.

Captain MarvelCaptain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor are available to watch on Disney+.


The Jungle Book

Before moving to the Star Wars universe, E-Media alumnus Nicholas Lipari was assistant editor on the live-action remake of The Jungle Book. The Disney favorite is reimagined with help from Hollywood voices including Bill Murray (Baloo), Ben Kinglsey (Bagheera), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Christopher Walken (King Louie) and more. Learn more about Lipari’s work.

Available to watch on Disney+.


Novitiate

CCM Composition alumnus Tyler Bradley Walker (DMA, ’10) was the music supervisor of Novitiate and enlisted the help of fellow CCM Composition alumnus Christopher Stark (MM, ’07) to score the music-heavy feature film. Novitiate is about a 17-year-old girl who trains to become a nun as the Roman Catholic Church undergoes radical changes in the early 1960s. Maggie Betts directs the film, which stars Melissa Leo, Dennis O’Hare, Dianna Agron and Margaret Qualley. Learn more about Walker and Stark’s work.

Novitiate is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The force is strong with CCM E-Media alumnus Nicholas Lipari (BFA, ’12) who served as assistant editor on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The movie follows the daughter of an Imperial scientist who joins the Rebel Alliance in a risky move to steal the Death Star plans. Learn more about Lipari’s work on Rogue One.

Available to watch on Disney+.


Randy Edelman’s Epic Film Scores

Interested in something with a noteworthy score? Film composer and distinguished UC alumnus Randy Edelman (CCM ’69; UC HonDoc, ’04) has more than 100 compositions to his name. His scores for such movies as The Last of the MohicansGhostbusters IIThe Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and While You Were Sleeping all earned him BMI Film Music Awards. His other film score credits include DragonheartThe Indian in the Cupboard and The Mask, to name a few. Learn more about Edelman’s work.

The Last of the MohicansGhostbusters IIThe Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and While You Were Sleeping are available to rent on Amazon Prime Video. While You Were Sleeping is also available to watch on Hulu with a Showtime subscription.

Dragonheart is available to watch on Netflix.

The Indian in the Cupboard is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video and is available to watch on Hulu.

The Mask is available to watching on Hulu with a Cinemax subscription.


Have another suggestion to add to our list? Submit your tip to us online. Please include the name of the alum and degree program, the name of the TV show or film and the available streaming options.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News

CCM Celebrates Class of 2020

CCM is so proud of our graduates and of the faculty and staff who helped guide their success

After investing countless hours in classrooms, practice rooms, studios, workshops and rehearsal halls, the Class of 2020 is graduating from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. Congratulations!

Photo of CCM Village as the cover for the Graduation Convocation program.

Click the image to download CCM’s 2020 Graduation Convocation program. Design by Mikki Graff.

The CCM community is inspired by the Class of 2020’s resilience during this unprecedented crisis and is proud to welcome this year’s graduates to our global network of alumni. Graduates join a network of thousands of UC alumni including artists, entrepreneurs, researchers, leaders and professionals around the world.

“I wish we could gather in Corbett Auditorium to recognize and celebrate all you’ve achieved,” CCM Dean Stanley E. Romanstein says. “I’d like nothing more than to shake your hand, to look you in the eye and say, on behalf of CCM’s faculty and staff, ‘Congratulations! Well done!’ Unfortunately, COVID-19 has relegated us to a virtual celebration.”

“Please know how proud we are of you and of what you’ve done,” Romanstein adds. “CCM’s reputation as a nationally ranked and internationally renowned institution rests with you. The faculty and I look forward to following your journey, wherever it may take you.”

In addition to CCM’s degree recipients, we also acknowledge this year’s student and faculty award recipients:

  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student Achievement Award: Melinda Hunt
  • Sigma Alpha Iota Scholastic Award for Outstanding Achievement: Adelaide Young
  • Ernest N. Glover Award for Outstanding Teaching: Tricia Sundbeck

CCM also celebrates five retiring faculty members who have dedicated themselves to continuing the college’s legacy as a leading training center for the performing and media arts:

  • Earl Rivers, professor of music and director of choral studies, 1973-2020
  • Dean Mogle, professor and head of costume design and technology, 1989-2020
  • Alan Siebert, professor of trumpet, 1990-2020
  • Mark Williams, professor of lighting design and technology, 2009-2020
  • Stephen Allee, professor of music, 2015-2020

We look forward to a time in which we can all come together again to mark these momentous milestones in person. Until then, please accept our digital congratulations on behalf of CCM’s faculty, staff, friends and alumni.

Congratulations to CCM’s Class of 2020!

View the list of CCM’s 2020 graduates.

You can also download the online version of the Graduation Convocation program booklet.


#UCGrad2020

UC President Neville G. Pinto invites the university community to participate in a two-day virtual graduation celebration on May 1-2, 2020. To mark this important milestone, UC Student Affairs and its Commencement Office has planned the following digital activities, which will be based in their Twitter account @StuAffUC and use the hashtag #UCGrad20.

A Day of GRAD-itude

Every hour from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, May 1, Student Affairs will share a sampling of thank you messages from graduates as they show their GRAD-itude to those who have been a part of their journey to graduation.

Celebration Saturday

Commemorate your achievement by taking a walk down memory lane. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, Student Affairs will tweet every half hour to celebrate the day with you. Follow along for fun flashbacks, interactive polls, lots of great GIFs and a chance to tell us about your memorable moments at UC. If you happen to be online at 4:30 p.m., you’ll catch a message from President Pinto and then finish the festivities at 5 p.m. with a virtual cap toss.

Until we can see one another again in person, please stay in touch and and stay connected at alumni.uc.edu


Featured images of CCM’s 2019 Graduation Convocation by Jay Yocis 

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes

Musical Family Gives Living Room Performance of Beethoven String Quartet

A family of musicians stuck at home during the pandemic found a perfect venue for a chamber music performance — their living room. The four string players, including two UC College-Conservatory of Music students, performed the first movement of Beethoven’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3 and shared it online for music lovers everywhere to enjoy.

The home concert features Cleveland Orchestra violinist Kathleen Collins and her children: Daniel Fields, a student violinist at CCM; Matthew Fields, a student cellist at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University; and Maya Fields, a student violist at CCM.

The performance received rave reviews from the family’s live-audience member, Cleo the dog. Tune into the performance on CCM’s YouTube channel.


Video provided by Maya Fields

CCM News CCM Video Student Salutes

Cincinnati Enquirer: CCM Alum Writes Custom Songs During Pandemic

As performing arts centers around the world announce event cancelations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, musicians are finding new ways to share and create their art. The Cincinnati Enquirer recently featured how one UC College-Conservatory of Music alumnus is sharing his work through a unique business model.

Ryan Fine. Photo/Ryan Fine

Ryan Fine (BFA Commercial Music Production, ’17) is a Nashville-based performer, songwriter, pianist and producer who suddenly found himself with an empty calendar when performances were canceled. So, he started Fine-Tuned Custom Songs to create original works for music lovers during the pandemic.

Fine will create an original song based on what the customer wants. Customers can request songs for any occasion, specify the tone and style of music. Prices for the songs start at $50.

Read the full article.

Fine has been writing and producing custom songs for kids going through traumatic experiences with the Songs of Love Foundation since 2016. He was voted Best Instrumentalist of 2019 by readers of the Nashville Scene. As an artist he has over 275,000 streams on Spotify. Cincinnati audiences may remember his jazz pop group Ryan Fine & The Media, which performed a set at the Midpoint Music Festival in 2016. Learn more about Fine on his professional website.


Feature image at top: Ryan Fine at the piano. Photo/Ryan Fine

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News

CCM Celebrates 2020 Faculty Retirements

As the 2019-20 academic year comes to a close, UC’s College-Conservatory of Music celebrates the careers of five retiring faculty members who have given nearly 124 years of combined service to the college. These members of the CCM family have dedicated themselves to continuing the college’s legacy as a leading training center for the performing and media arts:

  • Earl Rivers, professor of music and director of choral studies, 1973-2020
  • Dean Mogle, professor and head of costume design and technology, 1989-2020
  • Alan Siebert, professor of trumpet, 1990-2020
  • Mark Williams, professor of lighting design and technology, 2009-20
  • Stephen Allee, professor of music, 2015-20

Please join us in saluting their years of service to the CCM community!


Earl Rivers conducts CCM’s 2018 performance of J.S. Bach’s “St. John Passion” at Cincinnati’s Knox Presbyterian Church. Photo/Andrew Higley

Earl Rivers arrived at CCM as a DMA student in September 1970. During his first month at the college, he remembers joining other student conductors and the May Festival Chorus to welcome incoming Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Director Thomas Schippers with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem at Music Hall. He has since presented numerous choral masterworks with students at CCM and throughout Greater Cincinnati.

“My favorite memories at CCM include the staged productions we accomplished of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion, and of Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake — all staged by talented student directors in CCM’s Opera Stage Directing Artist Diploma Program,” Rivers says. “These productions prepared CCM’s student singers, instrumentalists, conductors, and technical theatre majors to become leaders in the next generation of performers in staged productions of concert works and oratorios.”


Dean Mogle displays his costume designs for CCM’s 2016 production of “Swan Lake.” Photo/Becky Butts

After 31 years at CCM with nearly 150 costume design graduates and more than 300 supervised staged productions, Dean Mogle has too many memories to single out only a few. “The richness of student talent over the years has elevated all of us to new heights in training,” he says.

“I am most proud as our students take their rightful places in this country’s most prestigious theatre, opera and dance organizations, as well as Broadway, motion pictures and television productions,” Mogle adds. “Over the years, the incredibly dedicated professional staff and faculty have mentored each student toward their full potential and guided them into their chosen areas of this profession. Whether designing, assisting, managing, making or dressing, our students are admired by the profession for their talents, skills and dedication — hallmarks of CCM.”


Alan Siebert and Bryan Crisp snap a selfie behind-the-scene of Crisp’s Music On Purpose podcast. Photo/Bryan Crisp

Alan Siebert’s favorite memories of are watching students succeed, whether at a recital, conference or on stage. Over the years, he has celebrated students’ accomplishments near and far — in performances in Cincinnati as well as all over the world including Bangkok, Thailand.  He remembers trying to livestream a broadcast of students performing at the National Trumpet Competition in Texas when he and his wife were driving home from one of his own concerts. They pulled into the parking lot of a shopping center, sat in their car and watched the performance on his phone so they could cheer them on from afar.

“I also love performing with my former students,” adds Siebert, who recently reunited with former student Bryan Crisp (MM, ’05) to talk about his career on Crisp’s Music On Purpose podcast. “Whether it’s in a recital, orchestra or chamber music setting. It is always gratifying to see them years later and marvel at how well they have done, knowing that you had a small part in that development. I have had great colleagues and students at CCM and also many wonderful opportunities because of CCM.”


Mark Williams coordinated the BOOM! lighting display at CCM’s 2020 Moveable Feast. Photo/Quinn Villarreal

Mark Williams is the instructor and coordinator behind CCM’s annual BOOM! lighting showcase, a dazzling stage lighting and technical production display by students in his Moving Light Programming course. The event inspired the “Light Their Way” theme at CCM’s 2020 Moveable Feast fundraiser.

Former student Oliver Littleton (BFA, ’19) remembers taking Williams’ Moving Light Programming course and how it challenged him to examine his design process and use lighting technology in new ways. “The training from Mark’s course is something I use all the time in my work now,” said Littleton, who began working as a lighting design intern at Walt Disney World during his final year at CCM.


CCM faculty members Kim Pensyl, Stephen Allee, Craig Bailey and Scott Belck in Brazil during CCM’s residency with JALCO. Photo/Stephen Allee

A pianist, composer and arranger, Stephen Allee has spent more than 35 years working primarily as a jazz instructor as well as writing and performing for syndicated radio programs, network TV and motion pictures. Over the summer, he traveled with the CCM Jazz Orchestra to São Paulo, Brazil for an international residency with Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. CCM’s Department of Jazz Studies was named Jazz at Lincoln Center‘s inaugural College Affiliate, a distinction reserved for the country’s top-ranked jazz programs.

More recently, Allee worked with fellow CCM faculty member Rusty Burge and musicians Steve Houghton, Rob Dixon and Jeremy Allen to release BAHAD in January 2020. Allee wrote the title track of the record, which is available to stream online.

“My experience in the Jazz Studies Department at CCM has been nothing short of amazing,” Allee says. “Our students have grown by leaps and bounds, nurtured by the encouraging atmosphere in our department.”

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

Playbill Streams Broadway’s ‘Bandstand’ Musical Film on April 10

Playbill will stream the 2017 Broadway musical Bandstand, written by CCM Acting alumnus Richard Oberacker (BFA, ’93) and Robert Taylor, beginning tonight, April 10, 2020. The Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of World War II veteran Donny Novitski, who forms a band with fellow veterans and enters a national contest to become America’s newest musical sensation.

Richard Oberacker with CCM Acting Professor Richard Hess at a preview performance of “Bandstand” on Broadway.

The first Playbill Playback, a new series in which old and recent favorite musicals can be streamed on Playbill.com, Bandstand will be streamed for the first time on April 10 and will be available through April 17. A portion of the proceeds raised with the stream will go to The Actors Fund.

The Bandstand stream will also feature an interview with co-stars Laura Osnes, Corey Cott and Beth Leavel as well as director-choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and co-creators Oberacker and Taylor.

In addition to Oberacker, alumni from across CCM are involved in this award-winning musical. Geoff Packard (BFA Musical Theatre, ’04) plays Wayne Wright, a trombonist in the veteran band; Max Clayton (BFA Musical Theatre, ’14) is in the ensemble; Greg Anthony Rassen (MM Orchestral Conducting, ’03) is the co-orchestrator, music supervisor and music arranger; and David Kreppel (BFA Musical Theatre, ’92) is the vocal music arranger.

Bandstand was the first theatrical production in history to be certified authentic by Got Your 6, an organization that advocates for authentic portrayal of the military across entertainment.

Learn more about the Bandstand stream on Playbill.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News CCMONSTAGE Faculty Fanfare

CCM Acting Class of 2020 Presents Virtual Senior Showcase

Watch a collection of five scenes showcasing the talents of CCM Acting’s Class of 2020

The Acting Department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM Acting) proudly presents its first Virtual Senior Showcase. Although the COVID-19 novel coronavirus prevented CCM Acting from holding its customary Senior Showcases for agents and casting directors in New York and Los Angeles this spring, the program’s new Virtual Senior Showcase allows industry insiders and the general public to see this year’s seniors in action.

The video showcase includes five scenes showcasing the talents of CCM Acting’s Class of 2020. Directed by Professor D’Arcy Smith, the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair in Acting at CCM, the showcase features students performing excerpts from TV programs, films and plays including “227,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Pysch” and “Embers” along with an excerpt of “My So-Called Gay Life” written by CCM Acting student Abby Palen. A collaboration with CCM’s Electronic Media program, the CCM Acting Virtual Senior Showcase features the work of E-Media majors Caleb Smiley and Carlos Herriott II. Viewer discretion is advised; this video features strong language and mature content.

“Although we’ve transitioned to remote operations, we remain committed to our ongoing academic and artistic missions,” says Smith. “Our senior Acting students have put in countless hours preparing for their industry debuts in this year’s Senior Showcase and they deserve to have their time in the spotlight. They should be very proud of everything that they have accomplished, and we are happy to present this video snapshot of their talent for the entire world to enjoy.”

Get to know the graduating seniors by reading their professional summaries!

CCM News CCMONSTAGE Student Salutes