CCM Horn Student Named 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artist

CCM student Michelle Hembree is one of 10 winners of the 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition. Hembree is a third-year undergraduate horn student who studies with CCM Winds and Percussion Department Chair Randy Gardner.

“Michelle Hembree is one of the most musically gifted and intellectually brilliant students I’ve had the privilege to teach during my long career,” says Gardner. “She is also an upbeat, friendly and enthusiastic person who is respected by and popular with her fellow students and faculty alike.”

As a winner of the competition, Hembree will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend June 24-27, 2017, which will take place during the Music for All Summer Symposium, to be held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, from June 24-July 1, 2017. Winners will receive a once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity in front of thousands, national press coverage and will participate in workshops designed to launch a professional music career.

Hembree will perform Eugene Bozza’s En Foret at Ball State this summer. As a Yamaha Young Performing Artist, Hembree will receive a professional recording of the performance, a professional photography session and services and support from Yamaha Artist Relations.

“I am excited to perform this summer,” says Hembree. “En Foret is a fun piece with a little bit of everything in it. This is a great opportunity to network and meet other musicians, as well as learn more about the performance and education industry.”

Hembree joins a distinguished company of more than 250 talented musicians who have been recognized since the program’s inception. CCM alumnus Austin Larson (BM Horn, 2012) became a Yamaha Young Performing Artist in 2011; he is now a member of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Many winners have established successful music careers, both as performers and educators, including Ricardo Morales, principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Alex Han, saxophonist with Marcus Miller; Otis Murphy, professor, Indiana University; Conrad Jones, principal trumpeter with the Indianapolis Symphony; and Aaron Parks, acclaimed jazz pianist.

“The YYPA Program is a significant opportunity for young musicians who are embarking on careers as professionals, and one of the most visible and distinctive ways that Yamaha offers valuable support for music education,” said John Wittmann, director of education and artist relations, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. “We are pleased to honor Michelle at this pivotal stage in her career.”

For more information about the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program, visit http://4wrd.it/YYPA.

About Michelle Hembree
Hembree has received numerous awards and accolades during the course of her young career. She is the CCM Kemp Horn scholar of her class and has won numerous awards including second place in the Three Arts Scholarship Competition, the CCM Undergraduate Instrumentalist Solo Contest, YoungArts Merit award, Meridian Symphony Solo Competition and Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Solo Competition. She has participated in several ensembles including the Sarasota Music Festival, National Youth Orchestra of the U.S.A., Voksenasen Norwegian Summer Academy and Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. In the spring of 2016, Hembree performed first horn on Schumann’s “Konzertstück for Four Horns” with Seven Hills Sinfonietta. Hembree has played with renowned artists including Valery Gergiev, Larry Rachleff, Joshua Bell and Nicholas McGean. Her previous teachers include Dr. David Saunders and Lawrence Johnson.

About Yamaha
Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is one of the largest subsidiaries of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement, commercial installation and home entertainment products to the U.S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and NEXO commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, MusicCast wireless multiroom audio systems, Blu-ray/CD players, earphones, headphones, home-theater-in-a-box systems, sound bars and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, music, professional audio installation and consumer markets.

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Story by CCM graduate assistant Charlotte Kies

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes
Paulina Villarreal with fellow 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition prize winners and judges. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

CCM Alums and Students Win Awards in Lotte Lenya Competition

We are delighted to announce that three current and former CCM students won awards as finalists in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the prestigious competition was held on Saturday, April 22, in Kilbourn Hall of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

DMA Voice candidate Paulina Villarreal (MM Voice, 2015) won Third Prize, which includes a cash award of $10,000. Jasmin Habersham (AD Opera, 2015; MM Voice, 2013) and first-year voice masters student Lisa Marie Rogali each received prizes of $3000 as finalists in the competition.

Fourteen artists competed in the final round of the Lotte Lenya Competition. You can learn more about all of this year’s winners by visiting www.kwf.org.

The 14 finalists who competed in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

The 14 finalists who competed in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

Villarreal, Habersham and Rogali are the latest in a long line of CCM students and alumni who have reached the final rounds of the Lotte Lenya Competition. CCM alumna Talya Lieberman (AD Opera, 2016) took Third Prize in the 2016 installment of this prestigious international theatre singing contest. CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) won Third Prize in 2013 and alumna Caitlin Mathes (MM Voice, 2009; AD Opera, 2010) won First Prize in 2011.

For this year’s competition, each finalist presented four selections from the operatic, Golden Age, contemporary musical theatre repertoires and the music of Kurt Weill to compete for prizes totaling more than $75,000.

The panel of judges included renowned stage director Anne Bogart, Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley and returning judge Rob Berman, who was most recently seen on Broadway as music director for Bright Star and Dames at Sea.

Over the last 20 years, the Lotte Lenya Competition has grown from a small contest exclusively for students of the Eastman School of Music, to one of the widest-reaching international vocal competitions. Past prize winners have gone on to appear on major theater, opera and concert stages around the world. This season, LLC laureates can be seen in seven Broadway shows, at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Komische Oper, in concert with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, on national and international theatrical tours and heard on two Grammy Award-winning recordings.

About the Kurt Weill Foundation
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. is dedicated to promoting understanding of the life and works of composer Kurt Weill (1900-50) and preserving the legacies of Weill and his wife, actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). The Foundation administers the Weill-Lenya Research Center, a Grant Program, the Kurt Weill Book Prize and the Lotte Lenya Competition, and publishes the Kurt Weill Edition and the Kurt Weill Newsletter. Learn more by visiting www.kwf.org.

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Alums and Students in #TheatreCompany Premiere Short Film Starring Diane Kvapil

For the past two years, alumni and students from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music have worked to write and produce a new short film starring one of Cincinnati’s most beloved artists, Emeritus Professor Diane Kvapil. Presented by the #TheatreCompany, A Thankless Child premieres on Thursday, April 27, at UC’s MainStreet Cinema in the Tangeman University Center.

A Thankless Child is the story of a family haunted by a huge secret and the victims left in its wake. It is an absurdist take on the burdens and responsibilities of being a part of a family. This film was made possible by the generous contributions to the #thedianemovie crowd-funding campaign and CCMpower.

The film gives Kvapil an opportunity to get back in front of the arts community that she has fostered and loved for more than 40 years. Locally, Kvapil has performed at Playhouse in the Park, Edgecliffe Theatre and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in numerous productions since 1957. She was a treasured CCM Acting faculty member from 1977 until her retirement in 2015.

At CCM, Kvapil directed productions of Trojan Women (with original music by Richard Oberacker), Our Town, Three Sisters (Acclaim Award winner for Outstanding Ensemble) and Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. In 2011 she was named Outstanding Theatre Educator by the ACCLAIM Awards in Cincinnati.

Diane Kvapil throughout her years in the performing arts.

A sample of Diane Kvapil’s work throughout her years in the performing arts.

“Diane is the definition of a passionate life-long artist and educator,” says #TheatreCompany co-founder AC Horton (BFA Acting, 2015). “She is moved by her immense love of the work and storytelling and her dedication to passing that love on to her students.”

The idea for A Thankless Child started with a joke made by CCM Acting student Katie Langham during a performance at Kvapil’s home in March 2015.

“The energy was palpable,” remembers Langham, co-founder of #TheatreCompany. “Just a moment in her home and you can feel the stories around you. I asked Diane if she would be open to making a short film in the home upon her retirement. Thinking that it was never going to happen, she half-jokingly said ‘yes.’ Unfortunately for her, I never half-joke.”

At the time, Langham and AC Horton were working with fellow students and alumni in the #TheatreCompany, a new company of young theatre professionals dedicated to creating honest, exciting and contemporary work. The company was born at CCM when Horton used #TheatreCompany to refer to the one-night-only shows she directed in classrooms. The company grew to produce an original piece, The Gospel of Fat Kathy, which was performed in New York City.

Langham, Horton and John Patrick Maddock (BFA Acting, 2014) wrote the script for A Thankless Child as they worked on The Gospel of Fat Kathy in New York. The entire cast, crew and creative team for A Thankless Child is made of former and current students from CCM’s Acting, Theatre Design and Production, E-Media and Commercial Music Production programs.

“When Katie first asked me to do it, I almost said no,” Horton recalls. “The idea was absolutely terrifying. But, I agreed that if she could get Diane to do it, I would do it. One thing I learned during my time at CCM is that you have to follow the fear.”

Kate Wilford in "A Thankless Child."

Kate Wilford in “A Thankless Child.”

Horton directs the film, which stars Kvapil and her daughter, Kate Wilford. It marks the first time the mother-daughter duo have acted together. Langham plays Kvapil’s estranged granddaughter and serves as the film’s Executive Producer.

“I would not have had the courage or faith in myself to lead a project of this size without the lessons taught to me by my CCM professors, specifically Richard Hess,” Langham says. “He has taught me how to find the heart of a project and how to be fearless and generous every step of the way. Without CCM I would not be the ‘woman in art’ I am today.”

“Working on this film has been an incredible, life-changing learning experience,” Langham says. “Not only did I get to act alongside my mentor, teacher and very good friend Diane Kvapil, but I worked with a crew that was gifted, patient and eager to be in the room.”

A Thankless Child premieres at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 27 at UC’s MainStreet Cinema in the Tangeman University Center. The UC Alumni Association will host a reception with light snacks and refreshments at 6:30 p.m.

The reception and premiere are free; please RSVP online at alumni.uc.edu/ccm/thedianemovie.

PRODUCTION TEAM
Director/Writer – AC Horton (BFA Acting, 2015)
Executive Producer/Writer/Maddie Steele – Katie Langham* (CCM Acting)
Writer/Producer/Andy Steele – John Patrick Maddock (BFA Acting, 2014)
Genevieve Clark – Diane Kvapil
Cynthia Steele – Kate Wilford
V.O. David Steele – D’Arcy Smith, CCM Acting professor
Director of Photography – Zacharias Muller (BFA E-Media, 2015)
Camera 2 – Asa Featherstone IV (BA Communications, E-Media Minor, 2016)
Script Supervisor/Assistant Director – Danielle Kokochak* (E-Media Minor)
Lighting Designer – Josh Davenport (CCM Theatre Design and Production, 2014-2014)
Set Design/Props – Logan Greenwell* (CCM Theatre Design and Production)
Hair & Make-up – Danae Jimenez* (CCM Theatre Design and Production)
Production Assistant – Jacob Berry* (CCM E-Media)
Production Assistant – Clare Bradley Combest* (CCM Acting)
Audio Engineer – Haley Wolf (BFA E-Media, 2015)
Audio Engineer – Lauren Osinski (BFA E-Media, 2016)
Artistic Mentor – Shaun S. Sutton (BFA Acting, 2014)

POST PRODUCTION TEAM
Soundtrack – Jennifer Rowecamp (BFA Commercial Music Production, 2016)
Editor – Bradley Theodore Thompson* (CCM E-Media)
Editor – Sam Medert (BFA E-Media, 2016)
Audio Editor – Lindsey Singleton Ballou* (CCM E-Media)

*CCM student

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CCM Acting Alumnus Takes New Musical ‘Bandstand’ to Broadway

Five alumni from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music are involved in a swing-filled, all-American musical that opens on Broadway on April 26. Bandstand: The New American Musical features alumni from CCM’s Acting, Musical Theatre and Orchestral Conducting programs.

Bandstand, set in 1945, tells the story of Donny Novitski, a World War II veteran who decides to enter a national contest seeking America’s newest musical sensation. He quickly assembles a ragtag jazz band of fellow veterans, along with a beautiful young war widow to be the band’s lead singer, and enters the contest. It’s a post-war Cinderella story told in an era when young Americans were fighting for their identity in the face of a dramatically changed world.

Richard Oberacker (BFA Acting, 1993) wrote the music, book and lyrics for Bandstand. While Oberacker received his undergraduate degree in acting, he has become a successful conductor, composer and lyricist. He is currently the conductor of Cirque du Soleil’s in Las Vegas, and he composed the score for a new musical version of The Great Gatsby, which will premiere in Tokyo later this year.

Oberacker returned to CCM in 2015 to teach a "Singing Actor" master class.

Oberacker returned to CCM in 2015 to teach a “Singing Actor” master class.

“Richard Oberacker was born to make music. He is a storyteller by nature, and now America will get to enjoy just how good he is when Bandstand opens on Broadway,” said Richard Hess, Professor of Acting and the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Dramatic Performance.

“He has such a big heart, and he inspires excellence in everyone around him. Cincinnati taught Richard how to fly; now he’s ready to soar.”

Greg Anthony Rassen (MM Orchestral Conducting 2003) is co-orchestrator, music supervisor and music arranger for Bandstand.  During his time on Broadway, he has conducted An American in Paris, The Little Mermaid, The Book of Mormon and Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. He is also an accomplished pianist and was featured on the Grammy-nominated cast recording of An American in Paris. He currently holds a position with the New York Pops.

The vocal music arranger for the show is David Kreppel (BFA Musical Theatre, 1992), who is currently the Associate Music Supervisor for The Lion King worldwide and has conducted Aladdin, Sister Act, Rock of Ages and A Chorus Line on Broadway.

Two CCM alumni have roles on stage in this production. Geoff Packard (BFA Musical Theatre, 2004) plays Wayne Wright, the trombonist in the band. His Broadway credits include Matilda, Rock of Ages and Phantom of the Opera, and he has participated in national tours of Wicked and Phantom of the Opera.

Max Clayton (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) is in the ensemble and is also an understudy for Donny Novitski, the male lead. On Broadway, he has been seen in Something Rotten!, On the Town and Gigi.

Bandstand opens on April 26 at Broadway’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th Street in New York City.  You can learn more about the show at bandstandbroadway.com.

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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News
Preparatory Ballet Concert. Photography by Kyuran Ann Choe.

CCM Preparatory Presents the Spring Youth Ballet Concert

CCM Preparatory students perform traditional and contemporary works at the annual Spring Youth Ballet Concert. Directed by Jonnie Lynn Jacobs-Percer, the ballet concert is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29, in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

The program features a partially restaged performance of Act III of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, with choreography by Marius Petipa and restaging by CCM Prep Ballet faculty.

Other highlights include three works performed and choreographed by graduating high school seniors in the CCM Prep Ballet program.

The CCM Prep Youth Ballet program is open to any dancer ages 9-18. “Our goal is to expose our young dancers to many of the classic ballets, which helps develop their performance skills and ballet technique,” said Jacobs-Percer, who teaches in CCM’s collegiate Dance Department and serves as the ballet director in CCM Prep.

For more information about CCM Prep Dance, visit ccm.uc.edu/prep/dance.

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Performance Times
7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to CCM Prep’s Spring Youth Ballet Concert are $15 general, $10 non-UC students and FREE for UC students with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online now through our e-Box Office! Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice for CCM Box Office hours and location.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.

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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

Photography by Kyuran Ann Choe

Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes
Children playing on tank drums made of repurposed propane tanks, which will be installed at Percussion Park.

CCM Jazz Alumnus Ben Sloan to Open Percussion Park in East Price Hill

If you build it, they will drum — East Price Hill is getting a new park that is built to make noise. Part playground, part instrument, Percussion Park opens in grand style on Friday, April 21, with a celebration at the corner of Warsaw and McPherson avenues.

Percussion Park is the creation of Ben Sloan, who graduated from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) in 2011 with a BM in Jazz Studies. It all began when Sloan watched a video of a child playing on a drum set made of paint cans and buckets. He thought, “I could build something like that” and set to work.

A bass marimba inspired by the marimbas commonly found in Zimbabwe. The instrument will soon be installed at Percussion Park. Photo provided by Ben Sloan.

A bass marimba inspired by the marimbas commonly found in Zimbabwe. The instrument will soon be installed at Percussion Park. Photo provided by Ben Sloan.

The park is a collection of outdoor percussion instruments; a brass marimba, tank drums made with propane tanks, suspended stainless tubes and wooden tongue drums. The instruments are easy to play, some are meditative and others are bouncy and playful. “It’s sculptural, it’s playful, it’s bright, it’s inviting,” Sloan says. “It’s a space for making noise.”

He hopes people will enjoy the instruments and make connections through music.

“Perhaps someone finds some clarity playing an instrument on their own on a dreary afternoon, or a couple of friends have a laugh while playing something as they pass by, or total strangers find themselves communicating through music,” Sloan says. “I would love to see the park become a gathering space for the community, a place for events, for impromptu performances — a place for creative expression.”

 

Sloan works as a teaching artist and site coordinator at MYCincinnati, an after school youth orchestra program directed by CCM alumnus Eddy Kwon (BM Jazz Studies, 2011). He teaches the pre-orchestra students, ages 5-10, in a class that combines singing, movement, percussion and “a lot of silliness.”

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and Price Hill Will help clean up the vacant lot, which will soon host the Percussion Park.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and Price Hill Will help clean up the vacant lot, which will soon host the Percussion Park.

Last spring Sloan shared his idea for Percussion Park with MYCincinnati founder Laura Jekel, who is also the head of Creative Placemaking at Price Hill Will, a nonprofit focused on community development. She shared Sloan’s idea with Price Hill Will and a few days later there was space for Percussion Park in an empty lot at the corner of Warsaw and McPherson avenues.

Sloan received a $10,000 grant for the park from People’s Liberty, a philanthropic lab that brings together civic-minded talent to address challenges and uncover opportunities to accelerate the positive transformation of Greater Cincinnati. He also worked with Price Hill Will and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful to revitalize the vacant lot. They have added a rain garden, plants and trees in addition to Sloan’s outdoor instruments.

When he isn’t teaching or building a new community park, Sloan performs in a handful of other local music projects including A Delicate Motor, Lazy Heart and Fresh Funk.

“Many of the musicians I play regularly with are CCM alums,” Sloan says. “My biggest takeaway from CCM are the friendships forged over those four years.”

Sloan recently connected with fellow alums from CCM and UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) at an event hosted by the UC Alumni Association. He spoke about Percussion Park at the event, which was held at People’s Liberty.

Percussion Park’s opening celebration is from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, April 21 at the corner of Warsaw and McPherson avenues in East Price Hill. The celebration features short performances from MYCincinnati musicians and free catered food from local restaurants Veracruz Mexican Grill and Urban Grill.

For more information on Percussion Park, visit percussionpark.com.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News

CCM Studio Acting Presents World Premiere of ‘Very Dumb Kids’

CCM Presents "Very Dumb Kids" April 20-22. Photo by Adam Zeek.

CCM Presents ‘Very Dumb Kids’ April 20-22. Photo by Adam Zeek.

Written by rising New York playwright Gracie Gardner, Very Dumb Kids was workshopped by acting students last spring at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. The CCM Studio Series presents the staged world premiere of the play on April 20-22 in Cohen Family Studio Theater. The play is directed by CCM Acting Professor Brant Russell.

The drama tells the tale of foreign correspondent Sarah Nehal, who is tragically murdered in New Delhi. While Sarah was busy confronting the world, her college friends sat calmly at home in the U.S., streaming T.V. shows on the internet and peddling their esoteric skill sets. One year after her funeral, Sarah’s friends meet for their annual Fourth of July reunion.

Very Dumb Kids explores entitlement and its effects on the disenfranchised as well as the privileged in the millennial era. The play also focuses on empowerment and how to live responsibly in an irresponsible universe.

This is the inaugural production of CCM Acting’s new play-commissioning initiative, which focuses on plays that speak to the unique experience of being young in America. The plays, written for and about students, will enrapture a new generation of artists and audiences. They will go on to be produced by educational institutions and professional theatre companies all over the country to expand CCM’s reach and reputation as a preeminent institution for the performing arts.

Very Dumb Kids runs from Thursday, April 20 through Saturday, April 22 in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. With free admission and limited seating, CCM’s Studio Series productions remain one of the hottest tickets in town. Learn more about how secure your tickets by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/did-you-know/how-to-studio-series.

You can read more about Very Dumb Kids online through the Cincinnati Enquirer and CityBeat.
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Cast List
Lauren Carter
Carter LaCava
Jacqueline Daaleman
Nick Heffelfinger
Isaac Hickox-Young
Madeline Page-Schmit
Olivia Passafiume
Graham Rogers

Performance Times

8 p.m. Thursday, April 20
8 p.m. Friday, April 21
2 & 8 p.m. Saturday, April 22

Location
Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Tickets
Admission is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, April 17. Visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

Parking and Directions

Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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Acting Studio Series Sponsor: Neil Artman & Margaret Straub

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Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

Photo by Adam Zeek

CCM News Student Salutes