CCM Voice Student Performs at Kennedy Center as a VSA International Young Soloist

Natalie Sheppard.

Natalie Sheppard.

As a winner of the VSA International Young Soloist Award, CCM voice student Natalie Sheppard performs at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 25. This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the VSA International Young Soloists Competition, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program that recognizes talented, emerging artists ages 14-25 with disabilities from all over the world.

In addition to Sheppard, the concert features her fellow award winners including pianist Elliot McClain of Tennessee, pianist Kohlin Sekizawa of California and classical saxophonist Jessica Tucker of Nevada. The award winners each receive $2,000 and the opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. The performance will be live streamed on the Kennedy Center’s Facebook page and on kennedy-center.org.

Sheppard, a mezzo-soprano, begins her junior year at CCM in the fall, studying with Professor William McGraw. She praises McGraw for “his complete knowledge of the voice, the way he nurtures young artists and his kind heart.”

“He knows how to push his students toward success and gives us the tools we need, but never allows us to be too hard on ourselves,” Sheppard adds.

Sheppard says she has dealt with anxiety and depression for most of her life but that music has been a source of therapy for her. She studies voice and international human rights, and hopes to combine the two disciplines in her work. She currently works with children with disabilities and uses music to teach them life skills.

“I have always believed that as artists and musicians, it is our duty to use our unique medium for good,” Sheppard says. “As a singer, we carry grand responsibility. We posses a public voice. I really want to be a voice for minorities and those who have faced extreme hardships around the world. I plan to combine activism work with recitals.”

At the Kennedy Center concert, she plans to sing a song cycle titled Love After 1950 by Libby Larsen. It features collected poetry written by women. Sheppard will also work with Larsen this summer as a Colburn Fellow at SongFest in Los Angeles.

“Art is an outlet for many,” Sheppard says. “It is crucial that we become more accepting of those with mental illness, and come together as collaborators, not as competitors. I have many friends who suffer from very similar mental disorders. I encourage them to apply for this same award and to be a strong voice for those with all types of anxiety and depression.”

Visit the Kennedy Center’s Facebook page or website to watch Sheppard’s performance at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 25.

 

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The Tony-winning writing team of composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens.

CCM Alumnus Stephen Flaherty Composes ‘Little Dancer’ For Kennedy Center

The official poster for the Kennedy Center musical 'Little Dancer.' Illustration/Kennedy Center.

The official poster for the Kennedy Center musical ‘Little Dancer.’ Illustration/Kennedy Center.

Thanks to the brilliant composition by CCM alumnus Stephen Flaherty (BM, ’82), Edgar Degas’ most renowned sculpture “Little Dancer, Aged 14” will magically come to life in the world premiere Kennedy Center musical Little Dancer beginning this Sunday, Oct. 5 Saturday, Oct. 25, and running through Nov. 30, 2014!

Those without tickets to the sold-out world premiere can get a box seat right on their couches when the center streams the show live, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Flaherty, the Tony-winning composer of the Broadway musical Ragtime, composed the music for what is being called “the splashiest Kennedy Center production of the season.”

His lyricist partner Lynn Ahrens penned the lyrics and book for Little Dancer. In 1998, they both won Tony and Drama Desk awards for Best Original Musical Score for Ragtime. In 1991, they won the Best Musical Tony Award for Once on This Island.

Learn even more about this new musical via Deborah Rieselman and the UC Magazine.

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CCM Alumnus Bryan Hall Takes on New Roles at University of Alaska Fairbanks and Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra

CCM alumnus Bryan Emmon Hall (BM, 2009).

CCM alumnus Bryan Emmon Hall (BM, 2009).

We are delighted to report that CCM alumnus Bryan Hall (BM, 2009) has been named the new violin/viola teacher and pedagogy coordinator at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He will also serve as the concertmaster for the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra. Congratulations!

Also a graduate of CCM’s Starling Preparatory String Project, Hall has performed in such venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, China. Cincinnati CityBeat hailed his performances as “extraordinarily evocative.”

Hall completed his MM and DMA at the University of Texas at Austin.

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CCM Alumna Performs On Annual Kennedy Center Honors Program

Anna Christy, soprano.

Anna Christy, soprano.

Congratulations to CCM alumna Anna Christy, soprano (MM Voice, ’00), who performed at the 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors program last week.

The Honors Gala will be broadcast on the CBS Network for the 34th consecutive year as a two-hour prime-time special on Tuesday, December 27 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

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CCM’s Arts Administration Students Gain Experience With Prestigious Arts Organizations

Class of 2012 Front row L to R: Jenifer Thomas, Kristi Russell, LeAnne Anklan, Anna Backer, Zack Germain, Helene Herbert. Back row: Tyler Roe, Stephanie Saunders, Tony Zancanella, Taj Seyal, David Walker, Jason Hurwitz.

CCM’s Arts Administration students are posed each year with the challenge of finding an internship for the summer as part of their graduate degree. Based on the wealth of knowledge these students have gained in their studies, the students of the Class of 2012 have earned summer spots with the leading arts organizations in their fields of interest. Each student’s strong basis of understanding, stemming from dual-degree coursework in UC’s College of Business and CCM Arts Administration, assisted in earning these highly competitive internships.

The program has consistently prepared its students for real world experience, as is represented by the 100% job placement of last year’s graduating class! Throughout the country (and abroad!) this summer, CCM will be well represented by the Arts Administration students.

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