Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA music alumni to perform in 'An American Requiem'

May 3, 2016 - Robbie Goodrich
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Three alumni of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will return to their alma mater to perform in the annual choral masterworks series 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; Dr. Richard Novak, tenor; and Casey Jones Parrish, baritone.

Roth's career as a lyric mezzo-soprano has advanced with performances at Opéra Louisiane, Des Moines Metro Opera and the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, singing roles that include Pitti-Sing in W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's "The Mikado," Meg Page in Giuseppe Verdi's "Falstaff," Siébel in Charles Gounod's "Faust," and Prince Orlofsky in Johann Strauss' "Die Fledermaus." She has performed as a featured soloist in many works, including George Frideric Handel's "Messiah," Verdi's Requiem, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem, Felix Mendelssohn's "Elijah" and, most recently, Vivaldi's "Gloria." She was a grant recipient in the Fielder Grant competition and a national finalist in the American Prize competition, as well as the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year, where she received the Audience Choice Award. Roth recently performed in the inaugural season of the Dallas Choral Festival, singing Ludwig van Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis" with a professional chorus of 100 singers from across the nation. She now lives in Plano with her husband, Chad, and currently serves as the alto section leader and soloist-in-residence with the Sanctuary Choir at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas. She regularly performs as a soloist and chorister with the Highland Park Chorale, a professional choral group. She most recently joined the Orpheus Chamber Singers, Dallas-Fort Worth's premier chamber ensemble, where she was a soloist in Maurice Duruflé's Requiem. She earned a master's degree in vocal performance at SFA in 2007 and was a student of Nita Hudson.

Novak has established a national reputation as a professional tenor and voice teacher. He has performed with Washington Concert Opera, Opera Carolina, San Antonio Opera, Opera Piccola, Annapolis Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, The Living Opera, Wagner Society of Washington, San Antonio Symphony, San Antonio Chamber Choir, San Antonio Choral Society, Chautauqua Symphony, Prince William Symphony, the Monroe Symphony, the Conservatorio di Musica Agostino Steffani in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, and the Institute of Culture in Culiacán and Mazatlán, Mexico. Among Novak's operatic credits are Rodolfo, Pinkerton, Alfredo, Don José, Nemorino, Ernesto, Werther, Eisenstein, Tamino, Lippo, Roméo, and Tybalt. In 2005 and 2006, Novak won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Tulsa District. He is also a former winner of the Texoma NATS Singer of the Year award. He holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in vocal performance from SFA, and a doctoral degree in vocal performance from the University of North Texas. He is the music director at Saints 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 and is founder/artistic director of the Saints Peter & Paul Young Artist Recital Series, which presents young artists with performance opportunities and financial support for furthering musical pursuits. He resides in New Braunfels with his wife, Laura, and three children.

Parrish is a native of Livingston and has lived in Houston since July of 2015. After graduating from SFA in 2014, he served as assistant choir director under the leadership of Dr. Tod Fish at Coronado High School in Lubbock. Later, Parrish moved to Houston with his fiancé where he now serves as assistant choir director at Cook Middle School in Cy-Fair ISD. He is a member of the Houston Men's Choir along with other SFA alumni Jake Taylor, Clint Jordan and Brian Miller. Parrish is a staff singer at the United Methodist Church-Downtown Houston under the direction of SFA alumnus Dr. Terry Morris. During his years at SFA, Parrish had the opportunity to perform a variety of opera roles, including Olin Blitch from Carlisle Floyd's "Susannah," Marco from Bedrich Smetana's "The Bartered Bride," and Germont from Verdi's "La Traviata." He has traveled to several European countries performing a wide variety of choral works with King and the SFA A Cappella Choir. In 2011, he had the opportunity to perform the baritone solo from Velio Tormis' "Raua Needmine" at the TMEA convention in San Antonio with the A Cappella Choir. Parrish earned both a bachelor's degree in vocal performance in 2012 and master's degree in choral conducting in 2014 at SFA under the mentorship of King and Hudson.

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.