Motifs: May/June 2018

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2017 saw Christina Britton Conroy (Chris Czukor — IAC/NMC 66-67, 69, IAA 67-70, IAC St 70) publish five new books. Her nonfiction, “How to Have Fun With Your Aging Parents” (Black Lyon Publishing), is a hands-on manual helping older adults find passion and joy. Her four-book historical novel series, “His Majesty's Theatre (Endeavour Media, UK), is the story of a London theatre company from 1887 to 1904. A gay actor/manager escapes arrest by pretending to marry his leading lady and father her illegitimate child. Together, they harbor a country heiress escaping a forced marriage.

Kent Marcum (IAA 75-77) will retire from teaching choir and band at Addison Community Schools to focus on his music composition career.

John Greenfield (IAA 78-79) was recognized by the 2016-2017 Primetime Emmy Awards as Special Effects Director contributing to the Emmy Award-winning Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, Saturday Night Live. John also celebrated 200,000 sales of his solo guitar album and Mirror Records release, "No Age Music," in January.

Dolores Catherino (IAC/NMC 78-80) was awarded an artist fellowship by the Rasmuson Foundation to create polychromatic ‘pitch-color' compositions with 72 notes per octave, which will integrate sophisticated music technology with the flexibility and expressive strength of traditional acoustic instruments in deeper explorations of music, sound and polychromatic 'pitch-color.'

Brad DePlanche (IAA 79-81) has spent the last two years playing Genie in Disney's Aladdin onboard their Fantasy cruise ship.

Gwendolyn Laster (UNIV 80, IAC Fac 08-10) has been selected as a 2018-2019 Jubilation Foundation Fellow and will join the adjunct faculty at Bard College teaching Jazz Violin/Viola in the fall of 2018.

Emily (Gloger) Bracale (IAC/NMC 81, IAA 81-85) published “Our Last Six Months” in January 2018. It is written and illustrated in the Graphic Medicine genre. She is also the author and illustrator of a nonfiction book about Lyme disease, “In the Lyme Light II: Portraits of Illness and Healing.” (2014)

Liza Grossman (IAA 82-85) was interviewed by Dan Rather prior to a Contemporary Youth Orchestra concert featuring Kenny Loggins as a special guest. Grossman is the founder and conductor of the ensemble.

Major David Alpar (IAC/NMC 84-85, IAA 85-88, IAC St 87), Commander/Conductor of the United States Air Force Band of the West, premiered James Stephenson's (IAC/NMC 79-84, 86, IAA 83-86, IAC Fac 04, 08) "Road Home for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble” at the 2018 International Trumpet Guild Conference. This is their fifth collaboration.

Carol (Man) Lee (IAC/NMC 86, IAA 86-88) is excited to return to Interlochen Arts Academy by way of her son, who will be attending the Academy in the fall of 2018 as a saxophone major in the class of 2020. Carol maintains a private piano teaching studio, is a freelance pianist and coach, and serves as MTAC Pasadena Branch President. Carol and her husband Lewis are proud parents to four children ages 20, 16, 14 and 13.

Tom Kitt (IAC 90) is the music supervisor for the new musical, Jagged Little Pill, which opened May 24 at the American Repertory Theatre. Diane Paulus (IAC/NMC 75-78) is the company’s artistic director.

Alexandra Livesay (IAC 92, IAA 92-94, IAC St 93) has written a book, “Madeline,” which is available from and Barnes and Noble. She is currently working on a sequel to “Madeline,” which will be published in October 2018.

Kaoru Watanabe (IAC 92, IAA 92-93) performs worldwide on Japanese taiko drum and shinobue flutes and can be heard on the soundtrack of the movie Isle of Dogs.

Jonathan Smucker (IAA 93-96) recently debuted with American Bach Soloists in the Monteverdi Vespers. In the 2018-2019 season, he sings the Witch of Endor in Handel’s Saul with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale in San Francisco and at Los Angeles’ Disney Hall, and joins the San Francisco Opera Chorus for Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci. He is also the newly appointed Voice Department Chair at the San Francisco Community Music Center, coordinating a voice faculty of 25 and more than 100 students.

Chad Sell (IAC 94-00) collaborated with ten writers to create a comic collection titled The Cardboard Kingdom, which was released on June 5. Sell and his fellow creators were featured in an interview with Electric Literature.

Matthew Travis (AS 95-96, 01) has been named Director of Choral and Orchestral Programs at Midland Center for the Arts.

Emily Brausa (IAC 99-00, IAA 01-02) was mentioned in a article about Broadway pit musicians. Brausa currently plays in the pit for Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical.

Jeffrey Barker (IAA 00-02) has been awarded the Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service. Barker is currently the Associate Principal Flute of the Seattle Symphony.

Sara Nimeh (IAC 00-06, IAA 06-08) and Rachel (Womble) Bles (IAA 06-08) have created a scripted, interactive, comedic web series for Instagram called Molly & Pip. Original music for the series was composed by Matthew McGaughey (IAC 90-93, IAA 93-95). The series follows the misadventures of the pair as they attempt to navigate the various levels of the Dallas entertainment scene. Will these two ever get to quit their day jobs? Watch Molly & Pip to find out!

Haley Bangs (IAC 02-03, IAA 03-05) joined the Omaha Symphony Orchestra as their Assistant Principal/Second Flutist in September of 2017. She was a member of the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C. from 2009 to 2015, and she’s currently a doctoral candidate at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

Patrick Williams (IAA 04-07) was recently appointed Associate Principal Flute of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Michael Ferrara (IAC 07-08, IAA 08-09) is the music director for Bard Summerscape’s production of Leonard Bernstein’s Peter Pan.

Kevin Fitzgerald (AS 07, IAA 07-09) was named Assistant Conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

Katherine Balch (IAC 08) is the Composer-in-Residence with the California Symphony. Balch, who was selected out of 130 applicants, is the first woman to hold the position since it was founded 26 years ago. Her first composition as a part of the residence, like a broken clock, will debut on May 6. Balch also received a BMI Student Composer Award for her composition “Leaf Fabric” for orchestra.

Clifton Boyd (IAC 08-10, IAC St 13) and Cameren Anai Williams (IAC 13) received MPower grants from the Sphinx Organization. MPower grants are given to alumni of Sphinx programs to help them achieve their career objectives in classical music.

Ryan Swank (IAC 08, 10, IAC St 12-15) released his first album of original piano compositions in late April. He also played piano in the concert scene in the independent short film “The Acorn,” which is currently available on YouTube.

Garrett Ledbetter (IAC 10) is now a general manager for Old Navy. As a general manager, Ledbetter oversees 40 brand associates.

Danielle Dinstman (IAC 10-11, IAA 12-14) will intern at The Museum of Modern Art in the Department of Education and Family Programs this summer.

Sam Hollister (IAC 10-13) organized and conducted Mozart’s Requiem as part of his senior project at Yale University. He recruited and rehearsed the 100 members of the chorus, orchestra and soloists. More than 600 people attended the April 6 performance in Battell Chapel. After graduating from Yale, Hollister will spend his summer in Europe at the Vienna Summer Music Festival and three other festivals/workshops for conducting.

Olivia Staton (IAC 11) won the second flute position in the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Roi Dolev (IAA 11-14) is directing/producing Israel's premiere of the musical La Cage Aux Folles, as featured in The Advocate. All proceeds from the production go to suicide prevention among LGBT teens, in remembrance of his dear friend Caleb Kreidler (IAC 12, IAA 12-13).

Derek Brockington (IAA 13-15, ICA St 13-14, IAC St 15) will join Harlem Dance Theatre for the 2018-19 season.