NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The SFA Friends of Music and School of Music will honor Dr. Jennifer Edwards at Extravaganza 32, Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music’s annual gala banquet. The event is planned for 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, in the Grand Ballroom of SFA’s Baker Pattillo Student Center.
Edwards, a 1967 graduate from the SFA School of Music, retired after an illustrious career as a professor of voice at Kansas State University.
This year’s Extravaganza, “Stars of Tomorrow,” celebrates the 32nd 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. This is a very unique experience, and one where there is a lot of fun to be had.”
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. Edwards had a fantastic career as a vocalist and professor after graduating in 1967,” Wurtz said. “In addition to a sustained teaching career with numerous student successes, she is a renowned recitalist and oratorio soloist who has performed throughout the Midwest.”
Originally from Longview, Edwards went on to get her Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Oregon and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Missouri-Kansas City. For 36 years, she was a beloved voice teacher and taught many voice-related courses at Kansas State University. She also served as chair of the voice division.
A recitalist and oratorio soloist, Edwards has performed throughout the Midwest in appearances with the Dayton Bach Society, The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, The Wichita Symphony Serenade Concerts and The Reno Choral Society. Operatic roles include Cherubino in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's “Le Nozze di Figaro,” the Principessa in Giacomo Puccini's “Suor Angelica,” Carmen in Georges Bizet's “Carmen,” and Elizabeth in Robert Ward's “The Crucible.” She was a member of the ensemble cast of the musical, “Quilters,” a production of Opening Night Theater, which toured for two years throughout the state of Kansas. She also sang the role of the Mother in the same company's production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”
She has toured with her husband, pianist/organist Robert Edwards, and trumpeter Craig Parker in recitals of music for organ, trumpet and voice. The three have performed in major churches in Colorado Springs, New York City, New Orleans and Topeka.
The Extravaganza 32 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 Carolyn Andrews, president; Missy DeVine, secretary/treasurer; and Marinell Booth, past president.
“We want to invite everyone to come and celebrate this 32nd Extravaganza with us,” John and Melinda Rohrer said.
Reservations and payments should be made by noon Thursday, April 18.
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 http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/.