Meet some of the 'Street Scene' Neighbors!

Stephanie | October 18, 2014

‘Street Scene’ produced by the School of Theatre & Dance in conjunction with the School of Music is in tech this weekend! Meet some of the friendly neighbors residing in the Lower East Side apartment building!

The show is in performance Oct. 23-26 in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre!



2013 Ryan Headshot

Guest Artist, Ryan C. Connelly (Sam Kaplan)

Ryan C. Connelly, tenor, is a 2011 graduate from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Master’s Program. Since that time he has sung with many companies all over the country and the globe, like Kentucky Opera, where he made his professional debut in 2011 as Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as Remendado in Carmen and Njegus in The Merry Widow. Ryan debuted internationally in 2012 singing the role of Florville in the Rossini opera Il Signor Bruschino  with the CCM Spoleto Festival in Spoleto, Italy. In that same year, Ryan was able to perform in the inaugural production of the Queen City Chamber Opera , which included lead roles in their double bill of Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne  and Der Schauspieldirektor. Ryan recently sang with Virginia Opera for their entire 2013-14 season in the roles of Dr. Cajus in Falstaff, Monostatos in The Magic Flute, and Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos.


Caryn Alexis Crozier (Rose Maurrant)

Caryn Alexis Crozier received both her Bachelor of Music degree and her Master of Music degree from Appalachian State University where she was a Concerto-Aria competition finalist. Since that time she has been seen in such roles as Papagena (Die Zauberflote), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), Die Mutter (Hansel und Gretel), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), and Giannetta (l’Elisir d’Amore). Caryn was involved in an opera outreach program (Quintessential!) that brought opera scenes to local schools, as well as, with an early music ensemble, Collegium Musicum, where she was able to perform as a soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C, Faure’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s Weihnachts-Oratorium, and Handel’s Messiah. She was recently given the opportunity to study Early Anglican Church music at Cambridge University. Caryn is currently pursuing her DMA degree at WVU and is studying with the incredible, Dr. Hope Koehler. Fun fact: She is terrified of clowns and spiders, and once auditioned for a role in O Brother, Where Art Thou.... she had to sing “Twinkle, twinkle, little star” with a Southern accent.

Faith Snyderman's STREET SCENE Headshot crop

Faith Snyderman (Anna Maurrant)

Faith Snyderman, a junior Vocal Performance major, Theatre minor from Washington, D.C., is thrilled and honored to be playing the role of Anna Maurrant in her third main stage production here at West Virginia University. Credits also include Gypsy-smuggler in George Bizet’s Carmen and featured female ensemble in Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret. She would like to sincerely thank Bryce Britton and Maestro Cormio for believing in her, pushing her to be the best she can be and for giving her the phenomenal opportunity to play the role of a lifetime in her undergraduate collegiate career. Faith would also like to thank Dr. Hope Koehler, Jackie Merrill, the Artistic Team, the cast, and crew for all of their hard work and encouragement. Lastly, she extends a huge thank you to her friends and family for their unconditional love and support.

Dallas 1

Dallas Wright (Frank Maurrant)

Dallas Wright is a senior bass-baritone studying under Dr. William Koehler. He was last seen as the Speaker in Mozart’s The Magic Flute produced by WVU’s School of Music in the spring of 2014. His opera scene performances include Koko in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, and Drunken Poet in Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen. Dallas’ Clay Theatre performances include Sailor in WVU’s School of Theatre & Dance production of Cabaret, and as a smuggler and chorus member in Bizet’s opera Carmen. This semester marks his seventh with the University Singers, with whom he has been a soloist. Dallas has also appeared as a soloist with the WVU Steel Band singing the “tro-lo-lo” song.


Mallory Robson (Mrs. Jones)

Mallory Robson is a sophomore in the Theatre program at West Virginia University, and is pursuing a minor in Vocal Performance. This is her first main stage production, and she’s very excited to be a part of her first operetta. This is also her first time working with a dog on stage, and she’s thrilled that it got to be Warren. She is a member of University Singers, along with many of the other students in the cast. Mallory would like to thank everyone involved in the production of Street Scene for all being wonderfully supportive and caring throughout the entire process of the show. And of course, she would like to thank her parents for being incredibly supportive and loving as always.


Joe Ryan (Mr. Jones)

Joe Ryan is a sophomore Vocal Performance major at West Virginia University studying with Professor of Voice, Dr. William Koehler. Joe was cast as a freshman in Cabaret, Dance Now!, and The Magic Flute. Joe would like to thank Bryce Britton, Maestro Marcello Cormio, and General Hambrick for making Street Scene possible.


Margaret Dransfield (May Jones)

Margaret Dransfield is a 20-year-old junior in the BFA acting program. She is thrilled to be back on the Clay stage dancing and providing that ever so necessary comedic relief. She was previously seen in DANCE NOW! 2012 and 2013, Carmen as part of the ensemble, and Cabaret as Fraulein Kost. Margaret has been heavily involved in musical theatre since age 10 but has recently found a love for straight theatre. She would like to thank the School of Theatre and Dance for the ability to thrive in her position at school and her family for always loving and caring for her even when it isn’t easy. -Dreams can NEVER be too big- love and peace-


Woody Pond (Vincent Jones)

Woody Pond will be playing the role of Vince Jones in the WVU College of Creative Arts’s production of Street Scene. He is a sophomore in the Theater program and this is his first main stage performance at WVU. He has had a blast working on this show with a very talented cast, crew, and director. He would like to thank his parents, sister, friends, and his acting mentors Bill Cornforth and Tim Thompson for supporting him as an actor and a person.


Warren Koon (Queenie)

Warren Koon is making his stage debut as “Queenie.” He is excited to take on the role of a female dog, and he is not afraid of the challenge it presents. Warren would like thank Mallory for being such a great acting partner and Glen Koon for taking care of him when he’s not on the stage! He hopes you enjoy the show tonight because it’s been a real treat for him to be a part of!


Rachel C. Taylor (Mrs. Fiorentino)

Rachel C Taylor is a first-year graduate student at West Virginia University. A native of Miamisburg, Ohio, Rachel received her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Asbury University, where she was also the Peniston Honor’s winner for Voice. In addition to school performances, Rachel has been involved in community work both chorally as a member of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Chorus and in putting on concerts to benefit charities and senior citizen groups. In 2010, she studied at AIMS in Gratz, Austria. Her most recent opera role at Asbury was YumYum in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado. Rachel is excited to make her WVU debut as Greta Fiorentino in Kurt Weil’s Street Scene.


Robert Rowley (Mr. Fiorentino)

Robert Rowley, Tenor, is a young artist pursuing his B.M. in Vocal Performance at West Virginia University under the instruction of Dr. Hope Koehler. Originally from Sturgis, Kentucky, Robert first became exposed to performing when he had the opportunity to be a chorister in West Virginia University’s production of Carmen in 2012. Since then Robert has appeared most notably as Monostatos in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Robert has also performed scenes as Alfred in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and Dr. Caius in Verdi’s Falstaff with WVU Opera Theatre. Robert is excited to bring to life LippovFiorentino, the feisty Italian husband of Greta Fiorentino whose love for her is only matched by his love for ice cream.


Vincent Pelligrino (Harry Easter/Dick McGann)

Vincent Pelligrino is an actor and musical theatre performer from Detroit, Michigan. This is his third year in the MFA Acting program. Previous shows at WVU include The Cherry Orchard, Cabaret and Henry IV. Professionally he’s worked with The Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre, The National Theatre for Children and Shakespeare in Detroit. He is looking forward to a career as theatre practitioner, teaching and performing.


Madilyn Carothers (Mrs. Hildebrand)

Madilyn Carothers is so excited to be a part of such an exciting production! Madilyn is a sophomore Vocal Performance major with a Theater minor. She has always been heavily involved in music and theater and is definitely not a stranger to the stage. She has participated in multiple musicals including Once on this Island, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and 42nd Street. But this is one of her first main stage productions with West Virginia University, with the exception of last semesters production of The Magic Flute as a chorus member. Madilyn is ecstatic to share with the audience the intense and hectic atmosphere that Street Scene provides. Welcome to the street, you might be able to take my place! Charlie!


Janine Ernsting (Jennie Hildebrand)

Janine Ernsting is a junior Vocal Performance major at West Virginia University. This year, Janine will also be performing the role of Silverpael in an excerpt of Mozart’s The Impressario presented by the WVU Opera Theatre. In previous years, Janine has played the role of a Cigarette Girl in Bizet’s Carmen, Clorinda in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, and First Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. She is a member of the University Singers and is currently the Secretary of the WVU Student Chapter of American Choral Director’s Association. Janine competed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition and won first place two years in a row; she plans on competing again this fall. Finally, Janine would like to thank her parents, colleagues, mentors, and voice teacher, Dr. Hope Koehler, for believing in her and supporting her every step of the way. Janine cannot wait to see what her future has to offer.


Meg Baker (Mrs. Olson)

Meg Baker is excited to play her first operatic role as Olga Olsen in Street Scene. Meg performed in the ensemble as a Cigarette Girl in WVU’s production of Carmen in 2013. She graduated as an Industrial Engineer from WVU last spring, and is returning to complete her second degree in Multidisciplinary Studies. The MDS degree combines three minors, so Meg currently studies Vocal Performance, Theater, and Music Technology minors. As part of her capstone project, she is the acting dramaturge for this production of Street Scene. Meg would like to thank her parents and her friends for letting her follow her crazy dreams, and supporting her even when it doesn’t make any sense.


John T.K. Scherch (Mr. Olson)

John T.K. Scherch, bass, is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and in his final year of Vocal Performance studies at WVU. In Street Scene, he will be portraying Swedish neighbor Carl Olsen, his second full role in a WVU opera production. Other roles he has portrayed are Prince Gremin and Zaretsky in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Russian Opera Workshop, coached by faculty of Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts, and Sarastro in WVU’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. T.K. has also done scene work in a variety of roles, and can be seen in an upcoming performance as Sparafucile from Verdi’s Rigoletto and Don Alfonso from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. He is also the director of the classical music show on U92-FM, WVU’s college radio station, and regularly features WVU students and faculty on air.


Steven Michael Patrick (Mr. Buchanan)

Steven Michael Patrick – Tenor, is in his fourth year of study at West Virginia University. He currently studies with Dr.Nicholas Perna. He spent last fall in Edinburgh, Scotland where he attended The University of Edinburgh Napier. While there he worked with Taylor Wilson of the Scottish National Opera. He is excited to be performing the role of Daniel Buchanan. His past performances with the WVU Opera Theatre include Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Monostatos) and Bizet’s Carmen.


Alec Tincher (Officer Murphy)

Alec Tincher is a junior Vocal Performance Studies major studying under Dr. William Koehler.
He is currently working on a scene from Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief in opera theatre. This past summer he performed Missa Criolla with the University of Rome and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Rome, Italy. He is the former keyboardist for the group The Corey Brooks Band which won album of the year and vocal group of the year at 2013’s Artist Music Guild Heritage Awards in Charlotte, North Carolina This is his first major production.

What's Your Story?

Charlene | October 6, 2014

Alumni Spotlight: Bobby & Betty Ann Spiers (both received a master’s degree in music in 1970)
Bobby sent us this email in late August, which we want to share with you. What’s your story? Send us a blurb and we’ll try to put it on our blog and print it in one of our future newsletters. We’d love to hear from you!

This has been an exciting summer for the Spiers clan. I went “solo” on my first trip to Europe which was “A London Rhapsody” with American Public Media’s host of “Performance Today,” Fred Child on NPR. While I was on this trip, my wife Betty Ann was chasing the musical sons of J.S. Bach in Greensboro (University of North Carolina) while I was chasing Handel in London with Fred. I was one of three Virginia travelers, out of a tour of 50, which left the first week of June. As a result of this, I made three home websites on Facebook: Performance Today, Shenandoah University, and most recently, WCVE Public Radio here in Richmond, which broadcasts Fred’s show on weekday mornings. The exciting thing that happened at the Heathrow airport after I cleared security was the CBS reality show, “The Amazing Race” making their first stop on their quest. I DID SEND a contribution today for the “Pride of West Virginia.” I hope they do well in Atlanta! Thank you for the emails which Betty Ann and I receive from WVU. We think of you guys often, are still quite active in the community, and our church. Have a great new year!!

Bobby Spiers
1970 WVU MM
Lifetime member of WVU Music Alumni Association
P.S. Our punch bowl from Morgantown Glass (1970) is still used at receptions – it’s not broken yet!!!!!

Bobby & Betty Ann
Bobby and Betty Ann Spiers at WCVE Public Radio in Richmond, Va.

#30 Fred with Bobby outside of Handel Museum
Fred Child and Bobby Spiers outside the Handel Museum in London

As part of the College of Creative Arts Alumni-in-Residence Series, noted alumni Sandy Bainum and Mark Phillips will return to the CAC in October to work with students. All of the events are also free and open to the public.

Friday, October 24: Sandy Bainum

Sandy Bainum photo

Actor, singer and dancer Sandy Bainum is the total modern day performer. From standards to contemporary hits to special material, she connects with a wide range of musical generations and genres – a truly eclectic and exciting theater and cabaret artist.

Sandy, who graduated from the WVU School of Music with a bachelor’s degree in 1982, is a classically trained coloratura soprano and dancer. She made the leap from small town Pennsylvania to Broadway when she was hired for the chorus of David Merrick’s legendary production of “42nd Street,” first in the National Tour and then on Broadway, in the plum rule of Annie. Now living in Washington, D.C., Sandy regularly appears in Washington’s top theatrical venues in plays and musicals for which she’s garnered excellent reviews, plus several nominations and awards. Sandy also performs her terrific one-woman cabaret shows in major venues in D.C., New York and Los Angeles. See her website at

Sandy will talk with students and faculty about her career experiences.

Saturday, October 25: Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips is Professor of Composition, Electronic Music and Theory at Ohio University, where he was named a Distinguished Professor in 2007. An internationally known composer, his musical creations have been honored for their high level of craftsmanship, technical mastery and intellectual depth.

Phillips, who grew up in Parkersburg, W.Va., received a bachelor’s degree in composition, electronic music and theory (with a minor in trombone) from WVU in 1974, and master’s and doctoral degrees in music from Indiana University. His many prestigious awards include the Barlow International Prize for Orchestral Music, which led to collaborations with conductor Leonard Slatkin. Following a national competition, Pi Kappa Lambda commissioned him to compose a work for their 2006 national conference in San Antonio. His music has received dozens of orchestra performances by groups such as the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra, and has been recorded by Richard Stoltzman and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lark Quartet, and several solo artists. See his website at

Mark will present a forum for music students at the Creative Arts Center on Saturday afternoon. That evening, there will be a New Music Concert at 8:15 pm that will feature two of his compositions: “T-Rex” for Trombone and electronic playback, and “Porch Music” for violin, cello, and marimba. The concert will be held in the Bloch Learning and Performance Hall (200A).

The College of Creative Arts is pleased to announce its success during the “State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University,” the comprehensive capital campaign conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of WVU. Thanks to the generosity of alumni, faculty, and friends, the College of Creative Arts has exceeded its initial fundraising goal of $13,500,000 by more than $2 million!

“On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students of the College of Creative Arts, I express thanks and appreciation to donors and friends who continue to invest in the arts and arts education. We will be excellent stewards of your generosity,” said Dean Paul Kreider.

• During 2013-2014, the College of Creative Arts received $1,632,490 in new pledges, new planned gift expectancies, and gifts not fulfilling pledges.
• The College also received $1,479,107 in cash and in-kind gifts.
• Donors contributed $326,261 through the College’s annual fund program, slightly up from the 2012-2013 annual fund total of $323,167. The reason for this increase was enhanced participation by the alumni and friends, with 1,511 donors this year, versus 1,401 last year.
• A total of 2,167 gifts were received from this year’s donors – an increase of 229 gifts from last year’s total of 1,938.
• Donors also made several significant gifts during the past year, including beautiful Steinway pianos that will enrich the experiences of students and faculty.
• A new musical theatre scholarship was endowed, research activities of faculty in the School of Art and Design were supported robustly, and the Mountaineer Marching Band was able to perform in Oklahoma and at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore due to gifts to the Pride Travel Fund.
• Endowed scholarships in music performance and collaborative piano were founded, and a future fund will support art education programs for middle and high school students.
• A fund was established to assist College of Creative Arts students to travel domestically and internationally for study, research, and performance activities, and the Dean’s Honors Scholars Program was initiated.
• An endowment was created to enable the Art Museum of WVU to acquire works by renowned international photographers.
• Last, but not least, many donors have supported the nearly completed Art Museum of WVU, which will greatly expand cultural and educational opportunities for the citizens of the region.

WVU Foundation and University officials have announced that the “State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University” has been so successful that it exceeded its $750 million goal more than a year before the original deadline. The Campaign is now scheduled to continue through 2017, with a new goal of $1 billion.

Because many pressing needs remain to be met in the College of Creative Arts, our faculty and staff will not diminish their efforts to advance the College’s mission during the remainder of the comprehensive campaign.

“Due to the fact that the college has exceeded its campaign goal and that the campaign has been extended for two years, the college will quickly review it fundraising priorities while considering a new goal for the State of Minds Campaign,” state Dean Kreider. “The College is grateful to donors, alumni and friends for their gracious support and for their continuous and future generosity.”

Street Scene in Production

Stephanie | October 5, 2014


We’re switching gears from a small-cast, contemporary comedy to a large-scale operetta in conjunction with the School of Music! Street Scene, the acclaimed American opera by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Langston Hughes and book by Elmer Rice, based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, is coming to the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre Oct. 23-26!

From the shadow of a tenement building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1940s, residents cope with the heat and fill their days with gossip and plenty of squabbles. Amidst the hubbub of this community, Anna Maurrant is a discontented housewife while her daughter, Rose, is finding romance with the boy next door. As tensions build between neighbors and families alike, this beautiful tragedy showcases how little we can truly know about people behind closed doors—until it is too late. From beautiful arias to classic Broadway-style show tunes, Street Scene creates a portrait of a not-too-distant American past.

Street Scene

“Ice Cream Sextet” in rehearsal


“Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed” in rehearsal


Act 1 Rehearsal

Meet Our New Faculty Members!


Professor Bryce Britton, Director

Britton’s extensive professional credits include Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre,
ACT, Village Theatre, Lyric Theatre and Contemporary American Theatre Festival. With a passion for OriginalTheatre, he has worked on numerous new works with the Village Originals Festival and the Seaberry Quinn Playwriting Festival. He is a recipient of the 2009 Milo Cline Award in Athens, Ohio, based on service and support to the community and given by a summer theater program Britton managed there.

Some of his favorite directorial credits include Dana Lynn Formby’s The Small of Her Back,
Wonder of the World, West Side Story, Pippin, Into the Woods, and The Grapes of Wrath. Britton recently directed Monty Python’s hilarious musical Spamalot and Sara Ruhl’s haunting retelling of the Orpheus tale, Eurydice, in the Seattle area.


Maestro Marcello Cormio, Musical Director

Mr. Cormio has appeared with orchestras around the United States and Europe, including the San Antonio Symphony, the Orchestra della Società dei Concerti di Bari, the Bacau Symphony, the Orchestra Sinfonica del Conservatorio di Bari, the Bay View festival, and the collegiate festival orchestra at Georgia All-State. He has also led the different orchestras of the Indiana University School of Music and the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra in several performances. He recently had his conducting debut in China, performing at the head of the University of Kentucky Symphony in concert halls in Hangzhou, Tianjin, and at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing.

In recent years, Mr. Cormio has been regularly invited as guest lecturer and conductor for opera
workshops at prestigious academic institutions, such as the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music in New York; this summer he was on the faculty of the Opera Studio do Recifemaster class in Brazil.


Violin professor Mikylah Myers McTeer has only been a faculty member in the School of Music for a few years, but in that short time she has taken the violin studio at the Creative Arts Center to a new level of excellence.

In honor of her extraordinary work with students, Dr. McTeer was recently presented with the Outstanding Teaching Award in the College of Creative Arts for 2014.

According to WVU School of Music Director Keith Jackson, McTeer is the epitome of the modern-day applied music teacher.

“Her ability as a pedagogue has led to an increase in both the quality and the number of students coming to WVU to study violin,” he said. “This increase has been clear in the traditional areas of student growth at the undergraduate and graduate levels AND in the development of a nationally and internationally diverse violin studio of exceptional quality.

“This quality is most evident in performances by the WVU Symphony Orchestra and the Graduate String Quartet, both of which have been recognized in national competitions in the last two years.”

Mikylah McTeer came to WVU in 2007. She subsequently received the WVU School of Music’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 2008 and was named West Virginia’s Outstanding Studio Teacher of the Year by the West Virginia chapter of the American String Teachers Association in both 2009 and 2010.

Currently the only violin professor at WVU, she teaches 23 students in her studio at the Creative Arts Center and also performs internationally as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player.

She received her bachelor of music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studied violin with Roland and Almita Vamos.

She then earned her master’s degree and a doctorate in violin performance from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, studying with Fredell Lack. During her time in Houston, she regularly performed with the Houston Symphony and the Houston Grand Opera. She was also a violinist with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida.

“I have had the opportunity to study with some of the world’s greatest violin teachers,” she said. “In violin pedagogy, we speak of ‘violin lineage.’ You can trace some of today’s best teachers back to the famous composers. I was very lucky at Oberlin, and at Houston, to study with teachers who came from this lineage, and I am lucky to be able to pass this on to my students as well.

“Every student is different and it is fun to find out what technique works best for each one. You have the same goal of getting them to play at the highest level, but some you have to push in one way and others you have to encourage in a different way.”

During the summers, McTeer’s students travel the world, and so does she, performing at music festivals throughout the United States and Europe, many of which are very competitive on the national and international level.

This past summer, several of her students received very prestigious scholarships to study at major music festivals: Taylor Giorgio, a native of Charleston, West Virginia, went to the Bowdoin International Summer Music Festival in Maine to study with Janet Sung; Joey Rabchuk of Macomb, Illinois, went to the Chautauqua Summer Music Festival in New York to study with Jaques Israelievitch; Kori Hill, a native of Oxford, Ohio, went to the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy in Virginia; and Kristi Holstein, a native of Charleston, West Virginia, went to the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina.

It was recently announced that two outstanding violinists from McTeer’s studio—Taylor Giorgio and Pittsburgh native Judith Meyers—had been selected to perform for Rachel Barton Pine, one of the great international violin superstars, during a master class with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 20 in Charleston, West Virginia.

Rachel Barton Pine’s principal teachers were Roland and Almita Vamos, which whom Mikylah McTeer studied at Oberlin, and who are part of the “violin lineage.”

McTeer continues to pass along this lineage as she teaches a one-hour lesson each week with each of her students. They include undergraduates, graduate students and students with a minor in violin.

Many of them are studying for a doctorate, since the WVU School of Music is the only school in the region that offers a Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance.

Only her best students are selected to perform with the WVU Symphony Orchestra, in a competitive audition process that she compares to selecting players for the football team.

“We can only have a certain number and they must be the very best,” she said.

Last year, her students helped the WVU Symphony Orchestra become recognized as one of the most outstanding university orchestras in the country.

Follow McTeer and her studio on Twitter: @WVUviolin.

Kefferstan 2011

Christine Bane Kefferstan, professor of piano at WVU for 35 years, who passed away August 20, 2014, left quite a legacy through her students, past and present, who will never forget her tireless enthusiasm for performing and teaching.

A celebration of her life will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 21 at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Star City, W.Va., where she was a long-time member.

Dr. Kefferstan was a classical pianist who performed all over the world, including Belize, London, Rio de Janeiro, Indonesia, Malaysia and Canada, as well as many venues in the United States, but she was best known for her love of teaching.

Her former student Lisa Withers remembers first meeting Kefferstan when she was 12 years old and playing in a West Virginia Music Teachers’ Association festival, where Kefferstan was one of the judges.

“She was wonderfully encouraging to a shy 12-year-old piano student playing Mozart and Gershwin,” Withers said. “Later, I had a lesson with her at the WVU Piano Camp at age 16 and totally fell in love with her as a teacher. I studied with Christine during my undergraduate years and came back to WVU to study with her as a doctoral student.”

Withers is now associate professor of piano and music at Emory & Henry College in Virginia. She considers Kefferstan her most significant piano teacher and mentor.

“We maintained a friendship that spanned more than two decades,” Withers said. “Her standards were high and she demanded effort and a commitment to excellence from her students, but she was unfailingly encouraging and caring with each individual student.”

“Christine’s work with her students and her contributions to the WVU keyboard program were immeasurable,” said Piano Professor James Miltenberger, a long-time friend and colleague.

“Perhaps the major contribution she made to the program was the concept and follow-through for a summer Keyboard Festival and Competition at the Creative Arts Center. This summer event has been very successful and is part of her lasting legacy.”

The annual festival held each June at WVU, called ””The Intersection of Jazz and Classical Music: a Piano Festival for Students and Teachers,” has featured internationally known guest artists such as Leon Fleisher, Christopher Taylor, Harold Danko, Dan Haerle, Ann Schein and Stefan Karlsson.

In addition to the Keyboard Festival, Kefferstan was also involved in the School of Music’s efforts to become an All-Steinway School and she was often the first person to play the new pianos when they arrived at the Creative Arts Center.

In 2012, when William and Loulie Canady of Morgantown gave a new Steinway Grand Piano to the College of Creative Arts in memory of their daughter Valerie, Kefferstan and WVU piano technician Tim Richards traveled to Steinway & Sons in New York City to select the new instrument.

They toured the Steinway Gallery in New York, watched pianos being made, and Christine tried out many different grand pianos before choosing one that she said “will be a joy to our students, faculty and guests for generations to come.”

“Christine was the ultimate encourager,” said former student Sheila Barnhart Womack, who graduated last spring.

“I had the privilege of studying with her for six years. She was more than just a teacher and mentor to me; she was my friend. She pointed me in the direction of opportunities that I never imagined were available to me. She made me feel like I could do anything. I am forever indebted to her.”

Christine Kefferstan was born July 3, 1951, in Bloomington, Illinois, the daughter of Mary Kathryn Isenmann Bane and the late Wilbur Lloyd Bane.

A graduate of the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, she earned her doctorate with Israeli pianist David Bar-Illan and had additional coaching with Anna McGrosso, Sedmara Rutstein, and Viachaslov Gabrielov.

In addition to her mother, she is survived by her husband of 36 years, Robert Kefferstan; son, Sean (Courtney) Kefferstan; daughter, Mary Kefferstan; and eight siblings and their spouses throughout Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Christine’s memory to the WVU Healthcare Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, 1 Medical Center Drive, Morgantown, W.Va., 26506.

Seven new faculty members have joined the WVU College of Creative Arts this fall, in the areas of musical theatre, art education, music history, costume technology, interactive media, painting, and music theory and composition.

The new faculty members are: School of Art and Design—Terese Giobbia, assistant professor of art and coordinator of art education; Jeffrey Moser, assistant professor of interactive media design, and Amy Schissel, assistant professor of painting; School of Music: Evan MacCarthy, assistant professor of music history, and Joseph Dangerfield, assistant professor of music theory and composition; School of Theatre and Dance: Bryce Britton, assistant professor of theatre and director of musical theatre, and Andrea Washington-Brown, clinical assistant professor of costuming.

“We are pleased to have such talented and experienced faculty joining the College of Creative Arts,” said Dean Paul Kreider. “I was impressed with these candidates and I am so pleased they have chosen to become members of the College of Creative Arts family.”

Theresa Giobbia photo

Terese Giobbia received a Master’s degree and a doctorate in Art Education from Northern Illinois University and also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education. Her dissertation topic examined design education in the K-12 classroom and explored how the teaching practice of secondary school design educators can be enhanced by understanding the professional practices of fashion design professionals. Prior to joining WVU, Giobbia taught art education classes at Northern Illinois University and supervised pre-service art teachers. She has extensive experience teaching fine and applied arts in the K-12 classroom. Her research interests include design and technology education in secondary school curriculum; fashion as public art; and the hybrid identity of American youth as seen through their clothing. She has presented on these topics at numerous international and national conferences and is currently publishing a book on incorporating fashion into the K-21 art curricula.


A recent graduate of the University of Delaware, Jeffrey Moser is a digital media artist working with the transmediation of culture taking place during the 21st century, when every scrap of analogue information, sound recording, photograph, and motion picture ascends from its physical form and is preserved in simulated perfection. His work celebrates this transmediation, while warning against its inevitable consequences—the loss of disintegrating or disappearing cultural history. Moser is influenced by the research of former Boston University film professor, Dr. Robert Steele (1918–1981) and his studies on light rhythms in films. Moser holds undergraduate degrees in Graphic Design and Philosophy, and has most recently taught in Omaha, Nebraska. His video work has been screened in Savannah, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Wilmington, Delaware; Providence, Rhode Island; and Zegreb, Croatia, as well as being presented at the National Gallery of Art as part of the 32nd Black Maria Film Festival.

Amy Schissel PHoto

Amy Schissel completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2002 from the University of Ottawa and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Ottawa in 2009. Her work negotiates hybrid moments where paint and modes of digital representation collide, giving rise to contemporary imagery that flips between abstraction and representation. She was a finalist in the 2011 RBC Canadian Painting Competition and her work can be found in the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, the Department of Foreign Affairs Canada, the City of Ottawa, the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, and the Gotland Museum of Fine Arts, Sweden, in addition to numerous private international collections. She was Canada’s 2009 recipient of the Brucebo Fine Arts Award, and Ottawa’s 2013 RBC Emerging Artist Award. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally.


Evan MacCarthy received an A.B. in Classics and music from the College of the Holy Cross, and a doctorate in historical musicology from Harvard University. His research focuses on the history of 15th-century music and music theory, late medieval chant, German music in the Baroque era, and late 19th-century American music. He is writing a book on the intersections of music, pedagogy, and the revival of classical literature across the Italian peninsula in the 15th century, focusing on the different spheres of humanistic and scholastic learning at Italian courts, cathedrals, and universities. He is also producing an edition and first-ever translation of Ugolino of Orvieto’s “Declaratio musice discipline” (written c. 1435) for Brepols Press. He has served on the music faculties of Harvard University (where he was the Harvard College Fellow in music from 2010 to 2012), College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University.

Joseph Dangerfield photo

Joseph Dangerfield has lived and worked professionally in Germany, Russia, Holland and New York. He began his composition studies at Marshall University, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1999. He completed his master’s degree at Bowling Green State University, and received a doctorate in 2005 from the University of Iowa. He is the recipient of many awards and recognitions, including the Aaron Copland Award (2010), the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra’s Composition Prize (2010), the Henry and Parker Pelzer Prize for Excellence in Composition (2005), the Young and Emerging Composers Award (2002), and ASCAP Standard Awards. He was a Fulbright Scholar to the Russian Federation and the Netherlands (2009-2010), where he served as composer-in-residence with the Ensemble Studio New Music at the famed Moscow Conservatory, and lectured at Maastricht Conservatorium. He has been a resident in the Leighton Studios of the prestigious Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, and the Yaddo Colony in New York.

Bryce Britton

Bryce Britton received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Direction from Ohio University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Directing from the University of Puget Sound. His extensive professional credits include Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT, Village Theatre, Lyric Theatre and Contemporary American Theatre Festival. With a passion for Original Theatre, he has worked on numerous new works with the Village Originals Festival and the Seaberry Quinn Playwriting Festival. He was the recipient of the 2009 Milo Cline Award. Some of his favorite directorial credits include “West Side Story,” “Pippin,” ” Into the Woods,” “Extremities,” “Sleuth,” The Dumb Waiter, “The Grapes of Wrath,” Humperdinck’s opera version of “Hansel and Gretel,” “An Actor’s Nightmare,” “Sweet Charity,” and “Oklahoma!” He wrote and directed an original adaptation of John Webster’s classic “The Duchess of Malfi” and recently directed Monty Python’s hilarious musical “Spamalot” and Sara Ruhl’s haunting retelling of the Orpheus tale, “Eurydice.”

Andrea Washington Brown

Andrea Washington-Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Memphis and a Master of Fine Arts from Wayne State University. She has designed many costumes for the Bowling Green State University Theatre Department, Wayne State Theatre Department and Princeton University’s BAC Drama. She received the KCACTF XLII, Region III, 2010 Merit Award for “The Dancing Blanket” from the BGSU Theatre production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” Photographs of her work for the WSU production of “The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God” have been published in “The Enjoyment of Theatre, Seventh Edition.” Recent designs credits include Swine Palace’s “Shapeshifter” and “King Lear” and LSU Theatre Mainstage’s “Our Lady of 121st Street.” She is a frequent guest costume designer for the eta Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago, Illinois.

It’s no mystery that the Mountaineer Marching Band is beloved across the state of West Virginia.

But how much are they loved?

Enough for McDowell County officials to reschedule a high school football season opener to accommodate the “Pride of West Virginia?”

Yes, and that’s something they can toot their horn to.

It’s been nearly three decades since the Band performed for the fine folks of McDowell County – West Virginia University Extension agent Donald Reed has been keeping count.

So when President Gordon Gee swept through McDowell County this summer on his 55-county tour, Gee asked residents what the University could do for them.

Reed replied, “What would it take to bring the Mountaineer Marching Band to McDowell?”

“The audience really clapped and showed their support, and he told me that he would check on it,” Reed said.

Gee took Reed’s request back to Morgantown and Jay Drury, the Band’s director.

The nearly 400-member Band will perform at Riverview High School in Bradshaw at 6 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 28) prior to the “Battle of the Views” season opener between Riverview and Mount View. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

The game was bumped up a day earlier to fit the Mountaineer Marching Band’s schedule as it travels to Atlanta, Georgia, this weekend for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game pitting WVU against Alabama.

“To me, having President Gee honor our request shows that he really does believe what he said – that WVU is the people’s university,” Reed said. “McDowell is the farthest county away from WVU, but this request shows that we are not forgotten. It also will give our kids a small taste of the opportunities that await them in Morgantown.”

Drury said the Band, which is part of the WVU College of Creative Arts, will leave Morgantown early Thursday. President Gee will meet up with the crew and ride the bus into McDowell County.

The last time the Band played in the county was in 1988 at Mount View High School in Welch, Drury said.

“We’ll perform a pre-game show,” he said, “that will include patriotic and other standard tunes.

“We really like to believe that the Band belongs to the state. Our nickname, after all, is the ‘Pride of West Virginia.’ We take a lot of pride in that and we enjoy the opportunity to perform for folks in the state, especially those who don’t get to see us on a regular basis. It’s also great for our students to see other areas of the state and connect with fans they’d normally never get to meet.”

The Band isn’t stopping with McDowell County. At 10:30 a.m. Friday, they will roll over to H.P. Hunnicutt Field in Princeton (Mercer County) to perform for local schoolchildren.

Then it’s off to Atlanta where the band will meet up with the University of Alabama’s Million Dollar Band for a joint performance at the game.

To help defray 2014 travel costs for the “Pride of West Virginia,” the Pride Travel Fund, established by the WVU Foundation, is accepting donations. Along with the trip to the Georgia Dome, the Band also plans to travel to the Maryland game Sept. 13, as well as other locations around the state and region.

Thanks to Reed’s request, one of those first stops will be McDowell County.

“It will be amazing to have the WVU Band play at River View High School,” he said. “I have lived here most of my life and have been an agent for almost four years. One of my main roles is being an ambassador for my community, and the mission of Extension is to use University-level knowledge and research to help solve local problems. I was able to use the University connection to bring a chance of a lifetime to McDowell.”

Pride of WV photo
Kefferstan 2011

Christine Kefferstan, Professor of Piano in the WVU School of Music for 35 years, passed away Wednesday morning, Aug. 20, with her family at her side. Dr. Kefferstan graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, where she earned her DMA with Israeli pianist David Bar-Illan. She came to the WVU Creative Arts Center in 1979.

“Over the years, Christine was a consummate artist and pedagogue whose devotion to her students and colleagues was always clear,” said Keith Jackson, Director of the School of Music. “Her smile, laugh and good humor will be missed by all.”

Recognized by the WVU School of Music and by the West Virginia Music Teachers Association for her excellence in teaching, Kefferstan was very proud of her students who hold university, church and studio positions throughout the country. An active member of Music Teachers National Association since 1982, she served as WV State President, MTNA Eastern Division President, and a member of both the MTNA National Foundation Board and the MTNA Board of Directors. She was also the founder of the Annual Summer Keyboard Festival and Competition held at the Creative Arts Center.

There will not be a traditional funeral service, but a celebration of her life will occur at a later date.