USAO News Bureau

USAO musicians deliver holiday cheer [RESCHEDULED FOR DEC. 10]

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The USAO music department will deliver a whopping bundle of good tidings when the Concert Choir and special performers deliver a holiday spectacular scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the Epworth United Methodist Church.

The event is free and open to the public.

[This event was originally scheduled was Dec. 5 but was rescheduled for Dec. 10]

Highpoints for the evening will include a performance of the Magnificat by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, a medley of traditional Christmas hymns rendered by a hand bell choir and rich instrumental accompaniment throughout that includes trumpets, flute, cello and piano.

The choir and accompanists will perform under the direction of Dr. Jan Hanson, professor of music at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Hanson is eager to unveil this program to community members.

“These students have worked so hard this term to make this a really special night for people who want to celebrate the season in a more traditional way,” Hanson said.  “So far, I’m the only one who has heard it all and I’m so excited to share it!”

The concert will feature a number of guest instrumentalists.

Sarah Willson, cellist, is a senior music education major at the University of Central Oklahoma with an emphasis in cello performance. She has served as principal cellist for the Colorado State University, Pueblo Symphony Orchestra and the UCO Symphony Orchestra.

Wilson currently serves as principal cellist of the UCO Chamber Orchestra and is a member of the UCO Leadership Quartet as well as various chamber ensembles throughout the area.

Cellist Emily Harrison is a senior speech pathology major from Lindsay. She has performed as a featured vocalist and keyboardist with the USAO Show Band and as a singer in the Concert Choir.

Harrison is active in several on-campus organizations, including the Baptist Christian Ministry. Her future plans include attending graduate school in speech pathology.

Flautist Michelle Skinner graduated from USAO in 2006 with a bachelor of arts degree in music and was awarded the USAO Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Award.  

She has performed for USAO’s Festival of Arts and Ideas, the Oklahoma Flute Society, the Oklahoma Federation of Music Clubs, and the MacDowell Music Club.

She is also a library assistant, private piano teacher and artist.                                                                              

Kate Sekula, adjunct instructor of music theory and piano, will accompany on the piano, organ and perform with hand bell choir. She has been playing piano for 27 years and has conducted and/or accompanied choirs and instrumentalists at Lebanon Valley College in Penn. and George Mason University in Virginia as well as for the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. and the Emanuel Lutheran Church in Manchester, CT.

Sekula holds bachelor’s degrees in music education and flute performance from Lebanon Valley College and a master’s of music in flute performance from George Mason University in Virginia. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in music theory and history.

Featured female vocalists include Kassandra Carr, a freshman from Mannford; Norman resident Tory Chinn, a sophomore; and Sophomore Cynthia Cunningham of Tulsa. Junior Kendra Hollenbeck, of Chickasha, Sarah Willoughby, a sophomore from Chickasha;

Male soloists include Senior Olen Cox of Hugo/Grant; Jordan Danser, a sophomore from Chickasha; Senior Oscar Hernandez, also of Chickasha and John Reil, a freshman from Elgin.

Hanson is conducts the USAO Concert and Chamber Choirs as well as teaching coursework in music history, literature, conducting and methods.  She has served as the music director for numerous musical theatre productions at USAO and in collaboration with the Chickasha Community Theater.

Hanson serves regularly as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator in the public schools.

This summer, Hanson served on the faculty of the Inspiration Point Fine Arts Academy in Arkansas as a choral and orchestral guest conductor. She was also the festival conductor for the Central Oklahoma Choral Director’s Association Women’s Honor Choir, an auditioned ensemble of more than 200 singers.

She is a board member of the Oklahoma Arts Institute and holds professional memberships ACDA, OCDA, NAFME and OMEA.

Hanson received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman’s University, her master of music degree from Indiana and earned her doctorate in conducting from the University of North Texas.

More information about the concert can be obtained by calling 574-1298.