Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's Choral Masterworks Series to present 'An American Requiem'

April 25, 2016 - Robbie Goodrich
Left to right: Erin Roth, Richard Novak and Casey Jones Parrish
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present the annual Choral Masterworks Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

Under the direction of Dr. Tim King, director of choral studies at SFA, the A Cappella Choir, Choral Union, Women's Chorus and the Orchestra of the Pines will perform "An American Requiem" by Richard Danielpour. Guest soloists will be SFA alumni Erin Roth, mezzo-soprano; Richard Novak, tenor; and Casey Jones Parrish, baritone.

"An American Requiem" is being presented in commemoration of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, according to King.

"This year marks the 15th year since the tragic events of 9/11," he said. "We don't do a masterwork in the fall, so we are taking this opportunity for remembrance.

"The work began as a tribute to the American soldier and an examination of the insanity of war," King explained. "During the early stages of composition, the tragic events of 9/11 occurred, hence the dedication reads: 'to the memory of those who died in the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and in tribute to the American soldier - past, present and future.'"

Even though "An American Requiem" is not a liturgical work, Danielpour uses the Roman Catholic Requiem liturgy as outline for the work, King explained.

"However, he supplements the liturgical text with poetry from American poets Whitman, Emerson, Michael Harper, Hilda Doolittle (better known as H.D.), which makes this truly 'An American Requiem,'" he said. "I believe this work will be recognized by music historians as one of the 21st century's greatest American works. With a huge orchestra, massed choirs and accomplished soloists, the beauty and sheer power of the music rewards both the music critic and music lover."

Roth, who is from Lufkin and earned a Master of Music from SFA in 2007, serves as the alto section leader and soloist in residence with the Sanctuary Choir at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas and also regularly performs as a soloist and chorister with the Highland Park Chorale, a professional choral group. She resides in Plano with her husband, Chad.

Novak holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in vocal performance from SFA, and he earned a doctoral degree in vocal performance from the University of North Texas. He is the music director at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in New Braunfels where he is also choir director and music teacher. He is an adjunct voice instructor at the University of the Incarnate Word. He resides in New Braunfels with his wife, Laura, and three children.

Parrish is a native of Livingston now living in Houston where he serves as assistant choir director at Cook Middle School in Cy-Fair ISD. He is a member of the Houston Men's Choir and a staff singer at the United Methodist Church-Downtown Houston. He earned a bachelor's degree in vocal performance and master's degree in choral conducting at SFA.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.