A remarkable collection of artistic talent, drawn from the Clayton State University Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) Department, will be on stage at Spivey Hall on Thursday, Sept. 30, as part of the celebration of the inauguration of Dr. Thomas J. “Tim” Hynes, Jr., as the University’s fourth president.
Starting at 11:30 a.m., and running to approximately 12:30 p.m., the VPA Faculty Showcase is free and open to the public and will feature the musical, dramatic and artistic talents of nationally-known artists like Clayton State Theatre Director Phillip DePoy, Director of Keyboard Studies Dr. Michiko Otaki, Director of Opera and Vocal Studies Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller, and Assistant Professor of Studio Art Alan Xie.
“An inauguration is more of a celebration of the learning activities that are at the heart of what we do,” says Hynes. “It’s about showcasing excellence.”
Novelist/playwright/director/actor/musician DePoy, who’s usually behind the scenes is his Clayton State persona, will personally take the stage as the vocalist in a dramatic realization, “Dr. Jazz.” Accompanying DePoy will be dancer Chelisa Williams, a Clayton State student, pianist Seth Davis, a Clayton State alumnus and staff member, and, in a special appearance, violinist Scott DePoy, the theatre director’s brother.
Zeller, a highly-accomplished tenor, the director of the Clayton State Opera, and one of the authors of “What Every Singer Needs to Know About the Body,” will open the program with “Happy is the Man That Findeth Wisdom,” accompanied on the organ by Clayton State’s staff accompanist, Alex Benford. Following Zeller will be “A Presidential Tribute” written and performed by one of metro Atlanta’s outstanding thespians and singers, Shontelle Thrash, Clayton State assistant professor of Theatre and Communication. Xie will then make a presentation of video art, entitled “Solos.” Concluding the Showcase will be Otaki, a pianist of international repute, who will be playing two selections by Frederic Chopin.
In between Zeller’s and Otaki’s performances will come musical numbers by most of the VPA music faculty, including department chair and pianist Dr. Susan Tusing, who will accompany Clayton State Chorale Director and baritone Dr. Shaun Amos in “Pilgrim’s Song.” Dr. Patrick Carney, director of Bands, will collaborate with Dr. Kristin Lyman, director of Music Education and Percussion Studies, on “Adagio from Diversions for Euphonium and Marimba,” a piece written by Director of Theory and Composition Wesley Flinn. Lyman will also collaborate with alumnus Davis, and Benford will also accompany soprano an Assistant Professor of Voice Dr. Christina Howell.