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SFA Friends of Music to honor Broadnax at Extravaganza gala

April 17, 2018 - Robbie Goodrich
Dr. Wesley J. Broadnax, 2018 SFA Outstanding Music Alumnus

The SFA Friends of Music and School of Music will honor Dr. Wesley J. Broadnax at Extravaganza 31, Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music's annual gala banquet. The event is planned for 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, in the Grand Ballroom of SFA's Baker Pattillo Student Center.

Broadnax, who is assistant professor and director of bands at Drexel University, will be recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Music Alumnus.

This year's Extravaganza, "An Evening with the Stars of SFA," celebrates the 31st anniversary of the gala and fundraiser, which features gourmet dining, performances by student soloists and ensembles, and the presentation of student awards in an exciting evening of music, according to Dr. Gary Wurtz, director of the SFA School of Music.

"There is no better way to experience a cross section of what the SFA School of Music has to offer than at our annual Extravaganza," Wurtz said. "While enjoying a good meal, those in attendance hear performances by the top choir, band, orchestra, jazz band, student recitalists, opera performers, and more. Our fantastic students provide both dinner music and a dance to end the evening. It is really a lot of fun!"

Part music student awards ceremony, part formal dinner, and part musical potpourri, Extravaganza features jazz, wind ensemble, choir, opera, string quartet and orchestra. Additional highlights include awarding Outstanding Music Alumni and Outstanding Recitalists of the Year.

As is tradition with Extravaganza, the music faculty has selected an outstanding music graduate to honor.

"Dr. Broadnax is the ultimate East Texas success story," said Dr. Charles Gavin, professor of horn in the School of Music. "He came from a quite humble background in Marshall, Texas, and took advantage of every opportunity presented him. Many times, if the opportunity was not there, Wes found ways to create one. In addition to being a superb musician, Wes is one of the warmest people I have encountered."

Prior to his work at Drexel, Broadnax served as director of bands/instrumental music education on the faculties of the University of Delaware, California State University East Bay and Michigan State University. He is also artistic director/conductor of the Mid-Atlantic Chamber Players and assistant conductor of the Newark Symphony Orchestra in Delaware.

Broadnax graduated from SFA in 1993 with a Bachelor of Music Education and went on to receive both the master's and doctoral degrees in wind conducting from Michigan State University. While at MSU, he was a regular performer on bass trombone and euphonium. He was a member of the West Shore Symphony, Greater Lansing Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony and Midland Symphony, in addition to various chamber ensembles that included both the West Shore Symphony Brass Trio and Capitol Brass Quartet in Lansing. In California, he performed as bass trombonist with the Silicon Valley Symphony and Mission Chamber Orchestra.

He maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator. He is a sought-after presenter at national conferences and has published articles on a variety of topics related to music education.

The Extravaganza 31 committee includes John and Melinda Rohrer, co-chairs, Carolyn King, Caryl Hall, MaryAnn and Farrar Bentley, Kimberly LaGraff, Barb Stump, Shirley Watterston and Marinell Booth.

This year's Friends of Music officers include Marinell Booth, president; Carolyn Andrews, president-elect; Missy DeVine, secretary/treasurer; and Caryl Hall, past president.

"We want to invite everyone to come and celebrate this 31st Extravaganza with us," Melinda Roher said.

Reservations and payments should be made by noon Friday, April 20.

Tickets are $40 for adults and $10 for SFA students. Patron level tickets range in prices from $65 to $140, and donations will be accepted for the Friends of Music scholarship fund. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.