Holly Bishop Funds Afghan Orphanage Sponsorship

Holly Bishop established a Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO) orphanage sponsorship for three young Afghan musicians: violinist Sunbol (basic needs), cellist Nazira (housing), and oboist Madina (healthcare). She and her husband raised the fund through their ensemble, Cuatro Puntos, a group of chamber musicians dedicated to global cooperation and peace through the writing and performance of new music worldwide. They are also sponsoring a violin program in Kabul.

Zanaida Robles Directs Resonant Witness

Alumna Zanaida Robles led the San Gabriel Valley Choral Company in “Resonant Witness,” a journey through grief, loss, and injustice, on the way to hope, healing, and reconciliation. Highlights included a rare performance of “Amazing Grace” written in the Cherokee language and involving Native American flute, and Zanaida’s arrangement of “Lift Ev’ry Voice,” the Black National Anthem, for solo and chorus, which was recently published by E.B. Mark Publishing for distribution by Hal Leonard.

Dave Gerhart Premieres Work for Solo Steelpan

Dave Gerhart was the featured soloist in a benefit concert for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Steel Orchestra Program at the University of Chicago. Dr. Gerhart premiered “Passageways” for solo steelpan and percussion ensemble by Baljinder Sekhon. The premiere was part of a consortium of 44 steel drum performers and educators that Dr. Gerhart organized.

Bluesettes Quintet Win Harmony Sweepstakes Los Angeles Regional

The Bluesettes Quintet with alumni Miko Shudo, Rachel St. Marseille, Katrina Kochevar, Ian Brekke (currently directing Jazz ‘N Tonic), and Riley Wilson are the 2015 Harmony Sweepstakes Los Angeles Regional Champions. The annual national competition draws from hundreds of vocal groups from around the country with regional competitions in eight cities. They and winning groups from each festival will be flown to perform in front of celebrity judges and a sold-out house of enthusiastic a cappella fans at the National Finals at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center.

Mandy Jo Smith Wins Graduate Student Paper Award

Mandy Jo Smith, musicology alumna now working towards her PhD at Case Western University, organized a session on rock drumming for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. The session was standing room only, attended by major scholars of popular music as well as graduate researchers. Mandy Jo won the Graduate Student Paper Award at this conference for her presentation.

Brandon Faber Executive Director Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony

Alumnus Brandon Faber (MM Conducting) was featured in “Spotlight on Small Business” as Executive Director, Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra. When asked, “What’s in store for the future?” Brandon answered, “…we will be increasing our concert programs and continuing the work of our educational programs. We offer four subscription concerts and six robust educational opportunities. In the coming years, we will move to a six concert subscription series plus a summer concert as well as increasing our educational reach. A larger state-based concerto competition, a countywide Teen Council mentor program, a high school and middle school side-by-side performance program, a young people’s concert, and an advanced program for the study of orchestral conducting are a sampling of the educational programs in our long-term plan. We’re a very busy group of people—and that’s one thing that won’t change in the future.”

Maayan Voss de Bettancourt Cast in Three Roles

Alumna Maayan Voss de Bettancourt has been case in three roles this summer: Nancy Lowe in Baby Shower (a new opera by Bruce Trinkley & Jason Charnesky) with The Fresh Squeezed Opera Company; The Child in The Bewitched Child (Ravel) with the Midwest Institute of Opera, and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart) with OperaRox Presents.

Kevin Chavez Co-hosts Greenroom Conversations Podcast

Alumnus Kevin Chavez is the cohost of the podcast “Greenroom Conversations” out of NYC. He and Carol Ann Aicher (faculty at Manhattan School of Music) interview musicians on the topic of “how to make it” in the performing arts.

Kevin is also the owner and editor for “Reed eBooks,” which publishes the new series “Making Reeds Start to Finish.” Under Kevin’s guidance, Reed eBooks published its first volume with Dr. Nancy Ambrose King in August 2012 in Apple’s iBookstore exclusively for iPad, and a second volume in 2014 by bassoonist George Sakakeeny.