FHSU Music Department to revive Cottonwood Project

Music will fill the air around the Fort Hays State University campus from March 27-30 during the Music Department's Cottonwood Project, a three-day festival of chamber music.

This year, a Heartland Arts Fund grant provides support for the project, which hasn't been presented for three years.

The three guest artists will be involved in holding a master class, a free concert at the Hays Public Library, a presentation for elementary school children and a final concert at the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center in Sheridan Hall on the FHSU campus.

Dr. Jonathan Keeble, flutist, graduated from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester and Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. He is an active soloist and chamber music performer and a visiting assistant professor of flute at the University of Illinois, Urbana. He was an associate professor of flute at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, visiting assistant professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, and a teacher at the Eastman School of Music.

Dr. Larry Stomberg, cellist, is an assistant professor of cello and double bass at Oklahoma State. He graduated from Rice University, Houston, with a bachelor of music degree and from State University of New York at Stony Brook with his master's degree and doctorate of musical arts. He also coaches chamber music at the Texas Music Festival.

Dr. Hyunsoon Whang, pianist, is an associate professor in the music department of Cameron University, Lawton, OK. She studied at North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, NC, the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, and Julliard School, New York, NY, and received a doctorate from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Joining these artists in their performances are two FHSU faculty members, Kristin Pisano and Kay Werth, instructors of music.

Kristin Pisano received her master of music degree from the University of Miami in 1996 and plays the clarinet and saxophone. Kay Werth received her master of music degree from the University of Ohio, Athens, in 1985 and plays oboe, bassoon, flute and piano.

The three guest musicians and their FHSU colleagues will conduct a master class at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in Malloy Hall, room 115.

The class is free and open to any FHSU student or community member.

Friday will include a presentation at 10 a.m. in Beach/Schmidt for about 400 third and fourth graders from Hays public schools and Holy Family Elementary School.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, the group will present a concert at the Hays Public Library, which will be free and open to the public.

To finish off the festival, the musicians will perform in concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 30, in Beach/Schmidt. Tickets for the concert are $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and children ages 13-18. The concert is free for all FHSU students.

Dr. Tim Crowley, chair of the Department of Music, said the Cottonwood Project was initiated by former FHSU faculty member Dr. Elinor Freer in the spring of 2000. When she left FHSU at the end of that semester, the project ceased. When Dr. Junghwa Lee, assistant professor of music, took over, she organized a smaller, similar project called the Hays Spring Music Project.

But last year, when retired FHSU faculty member Dr. Claire Matthews expressed interest in bringing the project back, the Music Department decided to go back to the original title and idea.

Crowley has high expectations for the 2003 Cottonwood Project, especially the final concert.

"About 250-300 people are expected to attend the final concert," he said.

Funding is also being provided by a Grassroots Rural Activity Grant from the Kansas Arts Commission and a contribution from Matthews.

Crowley, Matthews and Lee are the event's organizers.

David Fraher, Heartland Arts Fund chairman, spoke highly of FHSU and the Cottonwood Project.

"The Fort Hays State University Department of Music is to be commended for their commitment to serving their community with this distinctive event," he said. "Audiences in Hays, Kansas, will have the opportunity to see the exciting work of Jonathan Keeble, Larry Stomberg and Hyunsoon Whang, many for the first time, and the Heartland Arts Fund is proud to help support this work and the Fort Hays State University Department of Music."

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