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.”

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CCM Lighting Design and Technology Student Competes in Las Vegas HOG Factor Competition

CCM Lighting Design and Technology student Devaka Walpola recently traveled to the Live Design International Conference in Las Vegas to compete as one of three finalists in one of the top academic lighting competitions in the world.

Devaka Walpola

Devaka Walpola.

Walpola, who is in his third year at CCM, was selected as a finalist in the 2017 HOG Factor National Collegiate Lighting Show Programing Competition. As a finalist, he had the opportunity to present an original lighting design live at the international conference on November 17.

“HOG Factor is the number one academic lighting competition worldwide as we speak,” says CCM Lighting Professor Jim Gage. “To be selected as a finalist from the hundreds of submissions is quite the accomplishment.”

Now in its fourth year, the HOG Factor Competition is presented annually by High End Systems, a cutting edge company for lighting technology. The three finalists receive awards that are given to the university where the student is enrolled. In 2014, CCM students entered a similar competition and CCM was awarded a $40,000 lighting console.

Walpola first found out about the competition through CCM Lighting Design and Technology Professor Mark Williams. He then spent around 18 hours designing a light show for the song, “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers featuring Daya and submitted his design to High End Systems.

He progressed to the final round of the HOG Factor Competition in Las Vegas, where he had the opportunity to plan and present a lighting design for The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charles Daniels Band.

“For the competition, I was given a virtual lighting rig and had to program a lighting show on my computer and then translate it to a real world live event in Vegas in front of a crowd of industry leaders,” Walpola says.

Walpola is the master electrician on three CCM productions this year. His studies at CCM have taught him techniques that he’s used to set up lighting and sound for events like Lollapalooza in Chicago and the Electric Zoo in New York. This summer, he spent a few months in Milwaukee working for Clearwing, an audio and visual production company that focuses on live entertainment.

“CCM has a great professional network for getting me where I need to go to start my career in the professional world,” Walpola says. “This is the best jump-start to my career that I could ask for. I was very excited to be able to go to Vegas and program this show for people who could be my employers some day.”

About Live Design International
Since 1988, Live Design International (LDI) has been the leading tradeshow and conference for live design professionals from all around the globe. LDI hosts over 13,000 attendees working in theatre, concerts, clubs, theme parks and houses of worship, as well as a wide range of international live and broadcast venues. Attendees from more than 80 countries come to LDI to see the latest gear in action, refresh their knowledge, and replenish their creativity. More than 350 companies exhibit, providing live demos and the opportunity for face-to-face discussions about the cutting-edge gear they debut exclusively to LDI attendees.

About High End Systems
At High End Systems Inc., we innovate and create the lighting products and control systems that illuminate some of the world’s biggest artists on the largest stages, as well as film and television studios, cruise ships, corporate events, theme parks, churches, restaurants and retail spaces. Now entering our fourth decade, we’re one of the world’s largest entertainment lighting manufacturers, a pioneer in new digital lighting technology and producer of the industry-preferred lighting controller technology. We attribute our success to staying in touch with the needs of the entertainment lighting community. Product research and development at our Austin, TX headquarters is an ongoing collaboration between in-house engineers and lighting professionals in the field. This collaboration is largely to thank for our status as a major industry innovator and intellectual property holder. We’re not only keeping pace with industry developments – we’re guiding them. We’re constantly pushing the creative and technological envelope to meet customer needs and stay ahead of the curve. As members of the entertainment community, we know reliability is paramount. We maintain rigorous manufacturing standards, while providing industry-leading customer support services. Welcome to the High End Systems community. We’re your source for lighting solutions.
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Story by CCM graduate student Jonathan Dellinger.

 

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'Metamorphoses,' from CCM's acclaimed 2013-14 Mainstage Series.

Announcing CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series of Opera, Musical Theatre and Drama

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is pleased to announce initial details for its 2014-15 Mainstage Series of opera, musical theatre and drama productions.

The 2014-15 Mainstage Series features a dazzling collection of both classic and contemporary masterworks, including a gender-bending new production of Shakespeare’s gripping tragedy Macbeth, an extended run of the high-energy romantic-comedy Legally Blonde – The Musical and a magical production of the opera Hänsel and Gretel.

In early 2015, CCM’s student and faculty artists will also present Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and zeitgeist-dominating The Heidi Chronicles and a soaring musical production of Peter Pan. Mozart’s Così fan tutte will close out the series, with a new production directed by Robin Guarino, who recently staged this masterpiece at the Metropolitan Opera.

This year’s must-see Mainstage Series features six fully staged works guaranteed to fill audiences with delight, with performances scheduled from Oct. 1, 2014, through April 12, 2015. All performances take place in the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Cincinnati campus.

Production and ticketing details are below. Priority subscription packages go on sale May 2014. Single tickets become available in August, but subscribing is the only way to guarantee your seats for these must-see shows!

Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/subscribe to register for CCM’s mailing list, and the Box Office will provide you with additional information on this year’s subscription options.

Additional Information
Titles and dates are subject to change—rights pending. To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183. For additional information, visit ccm.uc.edu, email boxoff@uc.edu or call the Box Office.
CCM News

CCM Jazz Welcomes Special Guest Steven Bernstein For Evening of James Bond Film Music on March 10

JazzBondBanner

CCM’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band welcome guest artist and guest composer Steven Bernstein for a concert that is guaranteed to be “Shaken, Not Stirred” at 007 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, in UC’s Corbett Auditorium.

“Special agents” from CCM’s award-winning Lighting Design program will help present this evening of James Bond film music with a dynamic and colorful twist. Scott Belck and Dominic Marino conduct.

“Shaken, Not Stirred” features Bernstein’s adaptations of composer John Barry’s iconic and legendary James Bond film scores. Barry, who died in January 2011 at the age of 77, scored 11 James Bond films between 1963 and ’87. He composed a number of other highly acclaimed film scores, including those for Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa, both Grammy Award winners.

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CCM’s ‘The Time of Your Life’ Earns Two LCT Nominations

CCM presents 'The Time of Your Life.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM presents ‘The Time of Your Life.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Mainstage Series production of The Time of Your Life with two LCT nominations, for Ensemble in a Play and for scenic design (Mark Halpin). Congratulations to everyone involved with this production!

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CCM Slideshows: The Time of Your Life

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CCM proudly presents William Saroyan’s Pulitzer Prize and Drama Critics’ Circle Award-winning drama The Time of Your Life, running tonight through Sunday in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now.

You can read the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s preview of the show here and learn more about the production here.

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CCM’s Mainstage Series Offers ‘The Time of Your Life’ This February

An early look at the set for 'The Time of Your Life' by Scenic Designer Mark Halpin.

An early look at the set for ‘The Time of Your Life’ by Scenic Designer Mark Halpin.

CCM proudly presents a sprawling, elegant production of American playwright William Saroyan’s award-winning five-act play The Time of Your Life, running Feb. 6 (preview) – 10 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

Set in a run-down waterfront dive bar on the docks of San Francisco (“Nick’s Pacific Street Saloon, Restaurant and Entertainment Palace”) in October of 1939, The Time of Your Life is filled with colorful characters, love and the follies of humanity. CCM Associate Professor of Drama Diane Kvapil directs.

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CCM Presents ‘The Time of Your Life’ Feb. 6-10

Ellie Jameson as Kitty, Cliff Nunley as Nick and Will Kiley as Joe in CCM's 'The Time of Your Life.' Photography by Brian J. Ruggaber. Shot on location at Uncle Woody's Pub in Clifton.

Ellie Jameson as Kitty, Cliff Nunley as Nick and Will Kiley as Joe in CCM’s ‘The Time of Your Life.’ Photography by Brian J. Ruggaber. Shot at Uncle Woody’s Pub in Clifton.

“In the time of your life, live – so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches.” – William Saroyan

This February, CCM proudly presents William Saroyan‘s sprawling and elegant The Time of Your Life. Directed by Diane Kvapil, this bittersweet drama runs Feb. 6 (preview) – 10 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

Saroyan’s second play, The Time of Your Life was written in just six days and went on to become the only play to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critic’s Circle Award. Written in the summer of 1939, Saroyan said of the work, “The shadow of impending war is all over my second play.”

“People everywhere needed respite from fear,” Kvapil explains. “Hope was hard to find… the whole world was at war or in fear of invasion.” In this climate, the run-down waterfront saloon of Saroyan’s play serves as a refuge, a place of peace and camaraderie.

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Scenic Design of ‘The Time of Your Life’

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CCM’s 2012-13 Mainstage Series resumes next month with William Saroyan’s sprawling, elegant and bittersweet The Time of Your Life.

Running Feb. 6 (preview) – 10 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater on the campus of the University of Cincinnati, The Time of Your Life was the first drama to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critics’ Circle Award!

Today, we present our first behind-the-scenes look at the set’s progress. Theatre design and production students are busy bringing scenic designers Mark Halpin and Cai Zeng‘s vision to life! Check back for another early look at The Time of Your Life later on this week.

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