Wading Home opera marks an SMU Meadows-guided community collaboration between Dallas and New Orleans

'Wading Home' photoTo observe the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, SMU is participating in a community collaboration that commemorates the event in music. Wading Home, an opera set against the backdrop of the historic storm, opens for a one-night-only free performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 in Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street. The show was performed in New Orleans on Sept. 12-13 at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall.

The story of a young musician’s struggle to find his missing father in the chaotic aftermath of the hurricane, Wading Home is based on the novel of the same name by Dallas author and violinist Rosalyn Story. The opera, composed by Dallas musician Mary Alice Rich, is produced in collaboration with several Meadows School of the Arts faculty members and students, as well as community members from Dallas and New Orleans.

The opera is a dream project for Meadows Professor of Voice Barbara Hill Moore, who is serving as producer and music director. The stage director is Meadows Director of Opera Hank Hammett, and the conductor is Constantina Tsolainou, former head of choral activities at the Meadows School.

“I am intensely proud of the amazing gifts of time, talent, and love of the human family and spirit, shared without compensation by SMU faculty, staff, students and alumni in this collaborative project with Loyola University and the people of New Orleans,” says Hill Moore. “The three performances of Wading Home are a community collaboration shared by Texans, Louisianans, New Yorkers, South Africans and a host of people from around the globe with the people of New Orleans and of Dallas.”

Baritone and Meadows alumnus Donnie Ray Albert (M.M. ’75) sings the role of the lost father, Simon. Other leading roles in the Dallas performance include established opera singers and Meadows alumni Leon Turner (M.M. ’92) as Julian, Simon’s musician son, and Bronwen Forbay (Artist Diploma ’04) as Velmyra, Julian’s former love who helps him reconnect with his Louisiana roots and his lost father. Also sharing the stage is Quintin Coleman (M.M. ’15, Performer’s Diploma ’17) as Julian’s trumpeter friend Grady, with whom Julian has lost touch during the years he has been performing around the globe as a famous jazz musician. Dance alumnus Jamal Story (B.F.A. Dance Performance and B.A. Corporate Communications ’99) will also perform.

The SMU Meadows new music ensemble SYZYGY, led by Meadows Director of Chamber Music and three-time Grammy winner Matt Albert, will play live. Also onstage for the Dallas performance will be the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas.

The performances have been produced with support from the Dallas-based organization The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL), with funding from the Meadows School of the Arts and the Bruce R. Foote Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

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Calendar Highlights: Feb. 18, 2013

President's Day graphic

Giving art meaning: Artist David Mackenzie will be at SMU tonight, Monday, Feb. 18, as part of the Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Mackenzie explores art through videos and performances focusing on identity, race and how people represent themselves in public. His work has been described as brief but powerful. Originally from Jamaica, he received a B.F.A. in printmaking from the University of the Arts. The lecture is free and open to the public and starts at 6:30 p.m. in 241 Umphrey Lee Center.

The Naples DocumentsStanton Sharp Lecture: The Clements Department of History invites you to a lecture by Kenneth J. Andrien, SMU’s Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Chair in History. He will speak on the historic Naples documents, whose discovery in 1996 presented a challenge to the historical understanding of the Inca Empire and Spanish conquest. Andrien will explain these controversies and speak on whether he believes the documents are authentic. The lecture takes place Wednesday, Feb. 20, in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. A reception will be held at 6 p.m. with the lecture following at 6:30 p.m.

SMU vs. The Great Debaters: SMU will face Wiley College in a public debate Wednesday, Feb. 20. The last time SMU took on the Marshall, Texas-based college was back in 2009. The topic of the debate is to be determined but will focus on a timely controversy that is of interest to the public. The debate starts at 7 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall, 2130 Owen Arts Center.

Arlene Sanchez WalshParar de Sufrir: The Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology welcomes Arlene Sánchez Walsh, speaking on “Parar de Sufrir: Health, Wealth, and Suffering in the Latino/a Religious Imagination.” Dr. Sánchez Walsh is an associate professor of church history at Azusa Pacific University and the 2012-13 visiting scholar for the Center. She is an expert in Pentecostal studies, one of the fastest-growing Christian movements, and has published works in this area. The lecture starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 in 121 Prothro Hall. It is free and open to the public and will include refreshments. For more information, contact Josefrayn Sánchez-Perry.

MWE: As part of Black History Month, SMU’s Meadows Wind Ensemble will perform an I Have A Dream concert featuring a reading of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech performed by Meadows alum Donnie Ray Albert and a gospel collaboration with the Hamilton Park Baptist Church Men’s Choir. Albert will also perform two spirituals. The performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for faculty, staff and students. Buy tickets online or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 20, 2007

tiledesign-150.jpgShaping up: The Meadows Symphony Orchestra opens its 2007-08 season with Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer (featuring international opera baritone and SMU alumnus Donnie Ray Albert) in “New Shapes.” Performances take place at 8 p.m. Sept. 21 and 3 p.m. Sept. 23 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. For tickets, call 8-2787 (8-ARTS).

Art, family style: Enjoy hands-on activities, gallery games and films for all ages – as well as current exhibitions “Tile Design in Valencia” (top right) and “A Tribute to Texas Art” – at Super Saturday Family Day, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 22 in Meadows Museum. Free and open to the public.

Faculty roundtable: SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence presents “Evidence, Facts and Opinion: Teaching Students to Tell the Difference” at 3 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. Register online.

jennie-finch-150.jpgThere’s the pitch: Olympic softball gold medalist and NCAA College World Series champion Jennie Finch (middle right) speaks in the 2007 Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum, noon-1:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. For ticket information, call 8-4314.

Know your world: Dawn Youngblood, curator of SMU’s Edwin J. Foscue Map Library, discusses “Terra Cognita: Living in a Google Earth World” at an SMU Faculty Club wine and cheese reception, 4 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Faculty Club. For more information, contact Dee Powell at 8-3012.

Rediscovering Latino history: SMU’s Gilbert Lecture Series, Ethnic Studies Program and Clements Center for Southwest Studies present “Challenges in Searching for the Lost or Buried Heritage of Latinos in the United States” by Nicolás Kanellos, Brown Foundation Professor of Spanish at the University of Houston and founding publisher of The Americas Review (formerly Revista Chicano-Riqueña) and Arte Público Press. The event begins with a 6 p.m. reception followed by a 6:30 lecture and book-signing Sept. 27 in the Stanley Marcus Reading Room, DeGolyer Library. The event is free; registration is required. Register online or contact Leslie Reid.

momix-150.jpgIn the mix: TITAS presents a “best of” show by legendary modern dance ensemble MOMIX (bottom right), featuring excerpts from their most groundbreaking works, at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 and 3 p.m. Sept. 30 in McFarlin Auditorium. For tickets and more information, call the TITAS Box Office at 214-528-5576.