Music alumni, faculty succeed all over world

Posted September 15, 2011

Alumni and faculty from ACU's Department of Music have hit the high notes this summer, performing, directing and teaching all across the nation and around the world.

"The successes experienced by our faculty and a number of our alumni over these past few months are a testament to their preparation, commitment to continued professional growth and dedication to their discipline," says Dr. Paul Piersall, chair of the Department of Music and professor of voice.

Here are some noteworthy alumni accomplishments:

Isaac Bray ('09) is currently earning a master's degree in opera performance at the prestigious Boston Conservatory. With the Boston Conservatory Opera, he has performed in multiple lead roles. He is also representing the conservatory in a sampler performance for the national Opera America conference. See more about his work here.

Kristin Brown Huggins ('09) recently completed her graduate studies at New England Conservatory, and will continue to work with the Handel and Haydn Society, the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States.

Many alums are spreading their love of music acrossey Pope ('09) is the new head choir director at Klein Collins High School in the Houston area.

Music faculty have also had exciting successes this summer.

Dr. Paul Piersall directed the Classical Chorus of Abilene in concerts in Italy and Greece. Along with the formal concerts, the choir performed several mini-concerts in ancient Greek amphitheaters. Adrienne Applewhite ('09), who has been invited to sing with the Houston Opera in the Heights for the 2011-12 season, will also begin teaching music at Sampson Elementary School in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. Alison Crosby ('03) will teach theory and musicianship at Sam Houston State University. Jamie Dahman ('03), recent graduate of the University of Michigan with a DMA in Vocal Performance, will teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago this fall. KasCook, music professor at ACU, was the featured guest artist.

In May, Rick Piersall, director of opera at ACU, sang the title role in the world premiere of Archimedes by James Dashow. The opera was presented by the New York Center for Contemporary Opera in New York City. Piersall has returned to New York to perform in the opera The Secret Agent and will be on tour in Hungary at the National Theater in Szeged, which will be televised throughout Europe.

Steven Ward, director of bands and orchestra at ACU, conducted the orchestra at the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts, with a finale concert in Schermerhorn Symphony Hall in Nashville. Composer John Mackey was in residency, and the orchestra premiered his new full-orchestra version of "Under the Rug."

And here in Abilene, Pauline Bjorem, ACU's director of piano studies, directed the 4th Annual Piano Fest on ACU's campus in June. Fourteen pianists participated in a week of recitals, master classes, daily lessons, practices, presentations and a new mentoring program.

Learn more about ACU's Music Department at their website.