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August 8, 2008

ULM welcomes VAPA Associate Dean Matthew James

The University of Louisiana at Monroe welcomes Dr. Matthew James as the new associate dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts.

James, a talented virtuoso, possesses over 28 years of administrative, instructional and performance experience in addition to a strong affection for the South. He replaces Dr. Keith White, who retired in spring 2008.

James expressed his pleasure at joining the ULM family. “I am very delighted to have the opportunity to serve as the new associate dean of Visual and Performing Arts. I have a deep love of the South, and a tremendous interest in projects that combine the resources available here. I feel that this institution, as well as this geographic region, has enormous potential, and will continue to develop as a fertile area for the arts. I look forward to being a partner in many artistic ventures to come.”

Most recently, James chaired the music department at Walla Walla University in Washington state for six years while also serving as a professor of music.

Dean Jeffrey Cass of the ULM College of Arts and Sciences, expressed his confidence in the associate dean. “Matthew James brings a wealth of experience to a very important position within Arts and Sciences. As associate dean, he will continue to build upon the legacy of Keith White, that of highly professional productions and of community outreach.”

James achieved his bachelor's degree in music education from Missouri Western State University (then-College) in 1978 after attending the Vienna International Music Center in Austria ('77). He earned his master's degree in music ('82) and then gained his doctorate in voice performance ('89), both from the University of Missouri - Kansas City.

Among his extensive accomplishments, James attained an apprenticeship with the Des Moines Metro Opera, a fellowship with the Bach Aria Festival in New York, and special training from the Institute of Voice Performance Pedagogy (with Richard Miller) at Oberlin College.

James has served in a variety of instructional positions during his career, including the roles of adjunct instructors of music and voice, vocal instructor, clinician/guest conductor, professor of music, and private teacher of the Suzuki violin, viola, and voice. His oratorio performances and collaborations in faculty recitals number over twenty.

His performance experience encompasses a wide array of apprentice, academic and professional operatic roles, notably a two-year tour with the National Opera Company of Raleigh, N.C., where he performed as Mustafa in Rossini's “The Italian Girl in Algiers,” as Falstaff/Page in Niccolai's “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” as Geronimo in Cimarosa's “The Secret Marriage,” as Scaramba in Sousa's “El Capitan,” as Bartolo and Basilio in Rossini's “The Barber of Seville,” as Sir Tristram and Sheriff in Flotow's “Martha,” and as Colline, Benoit and Alcindoro in Puccini's “La Boheme.”

During his professional career, he has taken on the role of Basilio in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” and of Sarastro in “Il Flauto Magico” with Operastate at the Cortile di S.Ivo alla Sapienza in Rome, Italy. James also performed the title role in Mozart's “Don Giovanni” with the Rome Festival Orchestra at the Basilica di San Clemente.

James is or has been a member of the International Adventist's Musicians Association, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Suzuki Association of America, the Music Teacher's National Association, and the College Music Society.

Rounding out his accolade-filled career, he has performed as a principal violist for the WWC/WWU Orchestra, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Missouri Western State University, served as a clinician in German and Italian diction, directed the South Dakota Metropolitan Opera auditions, and displayed his talent as a violist and violinist for multiple symphonies.

The New ULM Childrens Choir

The New ULM Childrens Choir will be formed this fall as a class offering by the ULM Prep Academy. The Choir, which will be an auditioned ensemble, will meet each Monday afternoon 4:00-5:30 beginning the first Monday after Labor Day (September 8 ). Students who audition for the choir should be 7-13 years old. Each Monday's meeting will include a rehearsal and a session for building musical skills, including sight reading and music fundamentals.

Auditions will be on Monday, August 25, at 4:00 p.m. in Biedenharn 134, the music building of ULM on DeSiard Street. Students will be required to match pitches that are played on the piano, and will be asked to sing a familiar tune (Happy Birthday, nursery rhyme, etc).

The Choir will meet 10 times in the fall semester, and will sing in the ULM Opera’s performance of Hansel and Gretel at the end of October, and will participate in a Holiday concert in December.

The fee for the choir will be $125 for the semester, and will include music.

For more information, call Dr. Mark R. Clark at ULM, 342-3247

The Louisiana Lyric Opera

The Louisiana Lyric Opera is planning a production of the acclaimed Broadway musical Miss Saigon, which will be presented in Brown Auditorium on the campus of the University of Louisiana-Monroe on June 12-14, 2009.

The three performances will feature the return of Franc D'Ambrosio to the ULM campus, who will sing the leading role in the production. Mr. D'Ambrosio, who had a leading role in the Godfather III film, has the distinction of appearing in the title role of the Phantom of the Opera more than any other actor on Broadway and on tour.

The leading female role in the show will be portrayed by New York City resident Chloe Sunga. Conducting will be ULM Music Faculty member Deborah Chandler, and the choreographer will be Robin Stephens of the ULM Dance Faculty.

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