Continuing ed credits available at Dec. 4 Accounting CPE Day

Dept of Accounting logo webPresentations on accounting and financial reporting, auditing, taxation and ethics will highlight the upcoming sixth annual Department of Accounting CPE Day at Middle Tennessee State University.

The continuing education event will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, in the State Farm Lecture Hall on MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building.

Participants can earn up to eight hours of continuing professional education, or CPE, credit. The cost is $175, which includes all seminars, materials and lunch.

The sessions and presenters include:

  • “Tennessee Legislative Updates,” Jeff Foster, senior tax counsel, Tennessee Department of Revenue.
  • “Tennessee-Specific Ethics,” Mark Crocker, executive director, Tennessee State Board of Accountancy.
  • “FASB Update,” Dr. Stan Clark, associate professor of accounting.
  • “Tax Update,” Dr. Denise Leggett, assistant professor of accounting.
  • “Private Company Financial Reporting,” Chad Milom, partner, accounting and assurance department, Lattimore, Black, Morgan & Cain.
  • “Excel Budgeting Techniques,” Dr. Tammy Bahmanziari, associate professor of accounting.
  • “Revenue Recognition,” Dr. Jeannie Harrington, associate professor of accounting.
  • “Budgeting for Small Businesses,” Monica Davis, accounting faculty.
  • “Professional Skepticism,” Dr. Rebekah Heath, assistant professor of accounting, and Dr. Sandy Benson, interim chair, Department of Accounting, and associate professor of business law.
  • “Taxes and The Affordable Care Act,” Dr. Tim Koski, professor of accounting.
  • “Audit Update,” Bill Mooningham, accounting faculty.

To register or get more information, visit the Department of Accounting website at www.mtsu.edu/accounting or call the department at 615-898-5306.

The 24th annual Department of Accounting Alumni CPE Day at MTSU will held on Thursday, April 30, 2015.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU serves with style at etiquette seminar featuring 4-course meal

Learning the social graces at the dinner table can be fun as well as enlightening.

ASID etiquette event poster webMTSU’s student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers hope to prove that fact at an etiquette seminar and four-course meal planned from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the Hazlewood Dining Room of the James Union Building.

“We want to help our students here at MTSU with having that etiquette background, that civility, that business etiquette,” said Deborah Belcher, who chairs the Department of Human Sciences. “And, since this was all borne from home economics, I think we need to continue that tradition.”

Belcher, who has taught etiquette for years, recently completed training at the Burlington, Vermont-based Emily Post Institute.

Post, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose 1922 book “Etiquette: In Society, in Business, in Politics and At Home” was a bestseller, became the gold standard in her time for expertise on the proper ways to behave in all kinds of situations. Her descendants continue her work today at www.emilypost.com.

For example, as Belcher said, “Can you eat asparagus with your fingers? Yes, if it does not have a sauce on it. When it has a sauce, then you must cut it.”

Before the dinner, teams of students will attempt to set the tables appropriately. Teams who perform best and fastest will win prizes.

Deborah Belcher

“The table setting itself tells you the connection with the menu and what you’re going to have for dinner,” Belcher said.

Belcher said the meal usually consists of soup, salad, sorbet to cleanse the palate, an entrée and vegetables, bread, dessert and a choice of coffee, tea or water.

The price of the dinner is $25 per person, which covers the meal and facilities charges. For more information, call 904-230-6490.

The seminar previously tackled such subjects as how to eat with chopsticks and the proper ways of toasting. This year’s seminar has a masquerade theme and will include some after-dinner dance instruction.

Belcher said the key to understanding proper etiquette is to treat others as one would wish to be treated.

“If we know these rules and we practice the rules, when we go out for a job interview, or we’re in a social situation, then we know we can fall back on these rules, and that creates a level of comfort,” she said.

To learn more about the American Society of Interior Designers or the Department of Human Sciences, contact Belcher at 615-898-2302 or deborah.belcher@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Top MTSU scholars will join Phi Kappa Phi society Nov. 18

More than 40 of MTSU’s most brilliant scholars will soon join the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society.

Phi Kappa Phi will hold its fall 2014 initiation ceremony at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, in the Student Union Ballroom.

The organization has chapters on more than 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

To be eligible, juniors must have completed at least 72 credit hours and rank scholastically in the top 7.5 percent of their class. Seniors and graduate students must rank in the top 10 percent of their class.

The main speaker at the fall 2014 initiation ceremony will be Dr. Debra Rose Wilson, a Phi Kappa Phi member since 2002 and recipient of the Tennessee Nurses Association’s 2013 Excellence in Nursing Education Award.

Dr. Debra Rose Wilson

Wilson, who is an associate professor of nursing at Tennessee State University, has expertise in public health, obstetrics, epidemiology, breast-feeding trends, wellness, disease prevention and nursing education.

She earned her bachelor’s degree and her nursing degree from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario in Canada, her master’s from TSU and her doctorate from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The former MTSU nursing professor currently is conducting research in a liaison with the University of the Western Cape in the Republic of South Africa and the University of Botswana.

Dr. Dianna Rust

Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also may be eligible for membership in the organization. Its motto is “Philosophia Krateito Photon,” which is “Let the love of learning rule humanity” in Greek.

The fall 2014 faculty initiate will be Dr. Dianna Rust, an associate professor of university studies at MTSU and chair of the Quality Enhancement Plan Committee. The QEP panel is charged with recommending a topic for the plan and developing it with an eye toward improving student outcomes.

MTSU must develop a Quality Enhancement Plan to be reaccredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The association will conduct its on-site review of MTSU in spring 2016.

According to www.phikappaphi.org, the honor society was created in 1897 at the University of Maine with a mission “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.”

To learn more about joining MTSU’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter, go to its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pkpmtsu.

For more information, contact Gina Logue, MTSU chapter secretary, in the MTSU Office of News and Media Relations at 615-898-5081 or gina.logue@mtsu.edu.

For parking information, go to http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Students, faculty display creativity at Artlightenment (+VIDEO)

MTSU students and professors are prepared to show off their filmmaking talents at a Nashville festival.

Five motion pictures written, directed and produced by members of the campus community are entered in this year’s Artlightenment Art Show and Film Festival, which is scheduled for Nov. 13-15 at the Celebrity Center, 1130 Eighth Ave. S. in Nashville.

This year’s festival theme is “The Light Side of Art,” and the MTSU entries reflect that sensibility.

The world premiere of “Happy New Year, Mr. Kates!” is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13. (Watch a preview below)


Written and directed by Dr. Bob Pondillo, professor emeritus of mass media history and American culture, the 33-minute film tells the story of an assisted living facility resident who feels he has lived an inconsequential life until he has an epiphany on New Year’s Eve.

More than 30 electronic media communication majors on the production degree track, several graduate students from the recording industry master’s degree program and a few recent alumni worked on the project, as well as makeup artists from the Department of Speech and Theatre.

“Coffee,” an animated short by Kevin McNulty, will be shown at 9 p.m. Thursday. McNulty said the four-and-a-half-minute movie is “the ‘true’ story of the lives affected by America’s addiction to coffee.”

“’Coffee’ is about consumerism,” said McNulty. “Most of us don’t really care about where our products come from, be it the clothes on our backs, the electronics we use or even the food we eat.

“We just want them to be cheap, to work properly and to taste good. The film is a satirical look at one such product.”

The film was partially funded by an MTSU Undergraduate Research Experience and Creative Activity Summer Teams grant.

McNulty is an assistant professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication. His areas of expertise include digital, stop-motion and traditional animation, as well as motion graphics.

  MTSU students involved in the production of “Coffee” are Andie Ayotte, Derek Barnes, Chris Dyer, Simon Idiare Jr., Jacob Loper, Kelsie Richards, Erin Thompson, Aaron Trimble and Raphael Williams.

Three student documentaries produced under the supervision of Tom Neff, an associate professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication and founder of the Documentary Channel, are scheduled to be shown back-to-back starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14.

All three films were shot during an education-abroad experience in Paris.

“A Designer’s Canvas” follows fashion designer Pierre-Henry Bor, who combines a classic Chanel elegance with a contemporary style.

“Le Debut” is about Alice Elia, the latest winner of Suzy Amis Cameron’s Red Carpet Green Dress Competition.

“Fighter” captures the essence of Afro-French singer Jara Ezo, whose music and lyrics pack a wallop, and three women who had an impact on her life and career.

The team of student documentarians includes Richard Adams, Amber Bradford, Justin Carroll, Mayra Cervantes, Lucas Fleming, Samantha Hearn, Bing Li, William Messerschmidt, Tiffany Murray, Kelsey Price and Kelly Rozell.

Tickets for the complete three-day Artlightenment experience are $15 each and are available at www.artlightenment.com.

The price of admission includes access to all exhibits and workshops, as well as the film festival screenings, closing-night awards and fashion show.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)


International quartet pushes jazz boundaries at concert (+VIDEO)

MTSU’s School of Music will welcome a unique jazz group, the Eastern Boundary Quartet, to campus Friday, Nov. 14, at 7:30 p.m. for a free public concert.

The performance is set in Room 173 of the Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus. A searchable campus map with parking notes is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

The group, which combines Hungarian folk rhythms and melodies with jazz harmonies and rhythms to form original “hybrid” improvised music, also will present a free public clinic Nov. 14. The music clinic is set from 2 to 4 p.m. in Room 303 of the Saunders Fine Arts Building on campus.

The Eastern Boundary Quartet came together in 2007 when Hungarian drummer Balazs Bágyi and saxophonist Mihaly Borbély met American bassist Joe Fonda and pianist Michael Jefry Stevens.

The quartet performs original music created by all its members and has recorded three CDs, including one from a live concert in Brugge, Belgium. You can watch a brief performance from their 2009 U.S. concert tour below.


“The band was formed with the imagination of connecting two worlds of the jazz scene today,” said Stevens, the group’s pianist. “This unique collaboration is a mixture of avant-garde jazz and ethno music from Hungary, like a cultural bridge between the USA and Eastern Europe.”

Jazz drummer, composer, music educator and producer Bágyi graduated with honors from the jazz department of the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy in Budapest and has become a respected artist on both his native Hungary’s and the international jazz scene.

Borbély also studied at the Liszt Music Academy and at the Béla Bartók Conservatory, focusing on classical clarinet and jazz saxophone. In addition to his original instruments, Borbély has specialized in playing unusual wind instruments, including the tárogató, folk flutes, kaval, dvojnice, fujara, ocarina, bombard, and zurna.

Fonda, a composer, bassist, recording artist, producer and educator, has collaborated and performed with such artists as Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp, Lou Donaldson, Bill and Kenny Barron and Perry Robinson.

Stevens performs extensively in Europe, Latin America and North America, joining a list of well-known artists that includes Dave Liebman, Dave Douglas, Valery Ponomarev, Cecil Bridgewater, Dakota Staton, Bill McHenry and Han Bennink.

The Eastern Boundary Quartet is in the midst of its second U.S. tour, which features stops in Virginia and North Carolina as well as Tennessee. You can learn more about the group here.

For more information on this and other concerts in the MTSU School of Music, call 615-898-2493 or visit the “Concert Calendar” at www.mtsumusic.com.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

The Eastern Boundary Quartet, shown here in concert, will appear at MTSU Friday, Nov. 14, in a free public performance in Room 173 of the Wright Music Building. From left are pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, bassist Joe Fonda, saxophonist Mihaly Borbély and drummer Balazs Bágyi. (photo submitted)

The Eastern Boundary Quartet, shown here in concert, will appear at MTSU Friday, Nov. 14, in a free public performance in Room 173 of the Wright Music Building. From left are pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, bassist Joe Fonda, saxophonist Mihaly Borbély and drummer Balazs Bágyi. (photo submitted)

MTSU jazz faculty honor trumpet great Wheeler in free Nov. 17 concert

MTSU’s jazz faculty will pay tribute to legendary trumpeter, composer and bandleader Kenny Wheeler with a special free concert, “Flutter By, Butterfly: Remembering Kenny Wheeler,” set Monday, Nov. 17.

Legendary trumpeter, composer and bandleader Kenny Wheeler, who died at age 84 in September, is shown in this June 2012 photo recording his penultimate album, “Mirrors,” with Norma Winstone and the London Vocal Project. (photo courtesy of Tim Dickeson)

The 7:30 p.m. event will be held in Hinton Music Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus. It is free and open to the public.

A special video presentation will precede the concert at 7:10 p.m.

Wheeler, who died at age 84 in London in September, led numerous large and small ensembles and has been called a “fearless improviser.”

Honoring his legacy will be MTSU faculty Mike Parkinson on trumpet and flugelhorn, Don Aliquo on tenor and soprano saxophone, Pat Coil on piano, Jim Ferguson on bass and vocals, Derrek Philips on drums and Gerald Trottman on vocals.

The group will perform works from Wheeler’s recordings from ECM, CamJazz, ArtistHouse and Soul Note, including “Everybody’s Song But My Own,” “Gentle Piece,” “114,” “Winter Suite,” “Where Do We Go From Here,” “Mark Time” and “Three for D’reen.”

Jazz faculty members also will play “How Deep Is The Ocean,” an Irving Berlin standard that Wheeler often performed, and “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” in a special arrangement by Parkinson in homage to Wheeler.

Wheeler, a native of Canada, grew up in a musical family. He learned cornet at age 12 and studied trumpet and theory at the Toronto Conservatory of Music before moving to London in 1952.

In his early career he worked with big bands but was soon influenced by trumpet artists Miles Davis, Booker Little and Fats Navarro.

Wheeler led numerous large and small ensembles, as well as Azimuth, a trio he co-founded with pianist John Taylor and vocalist Norman Winstone, during his career of almost 60 years.

He performed and recorded with John Abercrombie, Michael Brecker, Bob Brookmeyer, Steve Coleman, Marc Copland, Chris Potter and the Berlin Contemporary Orchestra and was still collaborating on recordings as recently as 2011.

For more information on this and other concerts in the MTSU School of Music, call 615-898-2493 or visit the “Concert Calendar” at www.mtusmusic.com.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Todd Gallery exhibits feature work by local sculptors, MTSU students

MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery is featuring work by the officers of the Mid-South Sculpture Alliance and Renaissance art techniques by MTSU students in a pair of public exhibits open through Friday, Nov. 14.

MTSU students Wesley Blissard, Robert Crutchfield, Scott Sulfridge and LeRon Stewart are the artists behind “Triptych,” an egg tempera work depicting the Crucifixion and the Annunciation, which is part of an exhibit underway at MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery through Friday, Nov. 14. The artists are studying the techniques used during the Italian Renaissance.

Both the sculptors’ exhibit and the students’ “Arti Maggiori” exhibit are presented by MTSU Arts.

The Mid-South Sculpture Alliance exhibit is in the main gallery of the facility, and the student exhibit is in Room 210, also known as TAG|210.

MTSU art professor Michael Baggarly is curator of the sculpture exhibit, which features work by Jan Chenoweth and Rondell Crier, both of Chattanooga, Tennessee; David Marquez of Bowling Green, Kentucky; and Joe Manson of Central, South Carolina.

The Mid-South Sculpture Alliance is a nonprofit organization that works to advance the creation and understanding of sculpture and its power to educate, effect social change and engage artists, art professionals and communities.

The student show at the Todd Gallery will feature works by Dr. Laura Cochrane’s Italian Renaissance class, all developed from a thorough study of the art techniques and processes with an emphasis on remaining true to the period.

The 34 students in the class were divided into 10 groups and instructed by exhibit curators to work on papermaking, oil painting, letterpress printing and stone sculpture projects to create a sampling of works of the roughly 300-year period.

 All Todd Art Gallery exhibits and receptions are free and open to the public. The gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and state and university holidays.

For more information about MTSU Arts, which presents a full slate of art, theatre and music offerings at the university each year, visit www.mtsuarts.com.

For more information about MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery, including parking and directions, contact gallery director Eric Snyder at 615-898-5653 or eric.snyder@mtsu.edu or visit www.mtsu.edu/art. You also can find a campus parking map at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

“Germination 008: Knots,” a sculpture in cast iron and bronze by David Marquez, is part of an exhibit underway at MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery through Friday, Nov. 14. Marquez is an art professor at Western Kentucky University and secretary for the Mid-South Sculpture Alliance.

MTSU students Duke Lockert and Kimberly Conners are the creators of “Etching,” an Italian-style intaglio print formed with etched and engraved metal, which is part of an exhibit underway at MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery through Friday, Nov. 14. The artists are studying the techniques used during the Italian Renaissance.

MTSU urges active learning, critical reflection with ‘MT Engage’ (+VIDEO)

Middle Tennessee State University launched a new curriculum initiative Thursday, Nov. 6, that will emphasize “active learning and critical reflection” as a part of students’ learning from the moment they arrive on campus.

Called MT Engage, the curriculum improvement effort encourages students to “engage academically, learn exponentially (and) showcase yourself.”

The initiative was unveiled at a campuswide event on a sunny but blustery day under a big tent on the Student Union Commons that attracted dozens of students, faculty and staff.


MT Engage is part of the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, an accreditation review requirement every 10 years by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the regional accreditation body for higher education institutions in the South.

The QEP “describes a carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution,” according to the accrediting association, more popularly known as SACS.

MT Engage will focus on general education engagement as well as students using an e-portfolio to demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities gained over the college experience. The initiative, which is still being developed by a committee and subcommittees representing a cross-section of faculty, staff and students, will need to be implemented in time for the SACS on-campus review in spring 2016.

In his remarks at the kickoff, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee noted the success of MTSU’s previous reaffirmation initiative, the Experiential Learning, or EXL, program, a highly successful effort in which the university emphasized hands-on activities and public service as an integral part of a student’s learning experience.

“That program became a model for universities and colleges around the Southern states that are a part of SACS,” he told the crowd.

McPhee applauded the latest efforts by the newest QEP Committee, chaired by Dr. Dianna Rust, to obtain necessary feedback from the campus through focus groups and surveys to select the MT Engage theme. Such a theme complements the goals expressed in the Quest for Student Success initiative launched last year, he said.

MTSU student Chad Jones, a junior mass communication major, speaks Nov. 6 during the kickoff of MTSU’s next curriculum improvement initiative, called “MT Engage.” Jones was part of a team of students in an advertising class that planned the kickoff and logo contest on the Student Union Commons. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

“Student involvement, student interaction, student life on the campus — those variables are among the most important when it comes to student success, which is a major focus of what we’re all about at MTSU,” he said. “… This process will only make our university a better place.”

While EXL courses are normally available during junior and senior years, Rust said MT Engage expands on the EXL concept by engaging students earlier in their college careers.

During their freshman and sophomore years, students will have experiences inside and outside the classroom that require critical thinking, service-learning opportunities and participation in campus events — “ways to engage our students, mind and body,” said Rust, an associate professor in University Studies.

“We envision these types of courses beginning in the freshman year and going on until graduation.”

Students were heavily involved in the kickoff. QEP organizers worked with Dr. Tricia Farwell’s fall advertising campaigns class to help plan a logo contest and kick-off. The team of College of Mass Communication students included Chad Jones, Sonia Torres, Laura Moore, Taylor Sloan, Courtney Webb, Grace Mueller and Morgan Mosley.

Farwell said teaching such a “high engagement class” is as rewarding for her as it is for the students she teaches.

“It’s an all-around experience beyond the classroom for me as a faculty member,” she said.

“The best thing for me isn’t the outcomes I expect from this class, but the unexpected outcomes. … The best part for me is that my students not only live up to my expectations, but that they usually exceed my expectations. This event is an example of this.”

Student Chad Jones told the crowd that Farwell, whom he referred to as “Dr. T,” helped the team of students become critical thinkers and problem solvers as they planned Thursday’s kickoff.

“This has been a journey this whole semester,” he said of the event planning, explaining that MTSU served as the “client” for the class.

“We really wanted to leave our mark here at MTSU and help lay the foundation for the MT Engage program and QEP initiative.”

The logo contest featured the top three designs submitted by students Justin Johnson, Grace Mueller and Brian Scocchio. The logo finalists were displayed and voted on at the kickoff and the concepts of each were discussed. The winning design, to be unveiled at a later date, will be used as the official logo for MT Engage.

Voting booths were set up for students, faculty and staff to vote on their logo of choice, with McPhee casting the first vote following his remarks. Contest voters could also sign up for a chance to win prizes such as gift cards, candy, pens and koozies when they cast their vote.

For more information about MTSU’s Quality Enhancement Plan, visit www.mtsu.edu/QEP or contact Rust at 615-898-5325.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU student Morgan Mosley, a senior mass communication major, puts an “I VOTED” sticker on MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee Nov. 6 during the kickoff of MTSU’s new curriculum improvement initiative, “MT Engage.” McPhee cast the first vote in a student logo contest held on the Student Union Commons.

Dr. Dianna Rust gives opening remarks Thursday, Nov. 6, during the kickoff of Middle Tennessee State University’s next curriculum improvement initiative, called “MT Engage.”

Heavenly music comes down to earth with MTSU ‘Creation’ Nov. 9

Quick: Think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than sitting inside MTSU’s Hinton Hall and immersing yourself in the blended, beautiful music of humans and instruments.

Click on the poster above to see a more detailed version.

Now make an appointment with yourself, your friends, family, group or organization to attend the Sunday, Nov. 9, performance of Haydn’s “Creation” by the MTSU Concert Chorale and Middle Tennessee Choral Society at 3 p.m.

Tickets for the MTSU Arts production, sponsored by Ascend Federal Credit Union, are $10 per person and available at the door. MTSU faculty, staff and students will be admitted free with valid IDs.

Hinton Hall is located inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building; you can find a searchable campus map at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

“Creation,” an 18th-century oratorio that celebrates the birth of the world as told in the book of Genesis and in Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” will showcase a 120-voice MTSU choir and a 35-piece MTSU orchestra.

The choral groups also are welcoming a trio of guest soloists for this special production:

  • soprano Alice Matlock Clements, an MTSU music alumna and local voice teacher.
  • tenor Drake Dantzler, music professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.
  • bass John Kramar, a voice professor at East Carolina University School of Music in Greenville, North Carolina.

“We are really thrilled to offer this concert, the first major choral work of the season, to the community,” said Dr. Raphael Bundage, a professor of vocal performance in MTSU’s School of Music and Choral Society music director/conductor.

“The story of creation in music is always fascinating. It comes right from the heart of the book of Genesis. Church groups, youth groups, all sorts of groups may enjoy coming to hear our performance. It will be a wonderful outing for any group who wants to hear great music.”

Alice Matlock Clements

Drake Dantzler

Drs. Adam Clark and Eunbyol Ko, members of the MTSU School of Music faculty, will present an exciting prelude to the Nov. 9 choral concert with their special performance of Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 10 in E flat.”

The couple will begin the program on two 9-foot baby grand pianos on the Hinton stage, Bundage said, noting that their rendition “will be a unique pairing” with the “Creation” performance.

This Nov. 9 event is launching a busy 2014-15 season for the Middle Tennessee Choral Society, which has adopted “Celebrating the Creative Spirit in Song” as this year’s theme.

The annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” set Monday, Dec. 1, marks the 30th anniversary for the group’s presentation of the beloved holiday oratorio. “Messiah” will be presented beginning at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at First United Methodist Church, located at 265 W. Thompson Lane. Tickets for that concert also are $10 per person.

Drs. Adam Clark, left, and Eunbyol Ko

John Kramar

“That we’ve presented ‘Messiah’ to the MTSU community and our neighbors for 30 years, I think, is a grand testament to both our choral society and the community,” Bundage said. “We’re so honored to perform it.”

The MTSU “Messiah” production once again will feature a professional orchestra and MTSU student and faculty soloists, he added.

Additional 2014-15 concerts at MTSU include performances of Lehar’s “The Merry Widow” Feb. 19-20 and “Bach and Friends in Concert” March 22.

For more information on this and other concerts in the MTSU School of Music, call 615-898-2493 or visit the “Concert Calendar” at www.mtsumusic.com.

For details on joining the Middle Tennessee Choral Society, contact Bundage at raphael.bundage@mtsu.edu or 615-898-2849.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Peek inside ‘A Doll’s House’ through Nov. 9 at Tucker Theatre

The play is 135 years old, but the new MTSU Theatre production of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” is serious about ensuring that its true focus of discovering personal identity remains clear.

The eight-member cast of “A Doll’s House,” set Nov. 5-9 in MTSU’s Tucker Theatre, is directed by theatre professor Kyle Kennedy, who said they’re fully aware of the challenges of bringing the originally controversial classic to the stage.

“What’s relevant about this play today is not only dealing with the roles of the sexes and with women’s lives,” Kennedy said. “Ibsen’s biographer said the playwright wanted to make clear ‘that the primary duty of anyone was to find out who he or she really was and to become that person,’ and reading that meant a lot to me. It’s a theme that speaks to our whole audience, the whole variety of people in it.”

Kelsey Blackwell, a junior theatre major from Memphis, left, shushes Dominic Gillette, a junior theatre major from Chattanooga, as the pair rehearse a scene from the MTSU Theatre production of “A Doll’s House.” Blackwell portrays Nora and Gillette is her husband, Torvald, in the Henrik Ibsen play scheduled Nov. 5-9 in Tucker Theatre. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

The performances of “A Doll’s House” are set at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5-8 at MTSU, and a 2 p.m. matinee is planned for Sunday, Nov. 9.

Tickets for the MTSU Arts performances, sponsored by Ascend Federal Credit Union, are available online at www.mtsuarts.com and at the Tucker Theatre box office an hour before curtain times.

In brief, the play, which premiered in Denmark in 1879, follows a young wife and mother whose well-intentioned efforts to help her family backfire and tear apart her seemingly perfect life.

Ibsen, one of the founders of realism in theatre, intended it as a scathing criticism of 19th-century society’s accepted roles for wives and husbands. The conclusion caused such controversy that some productions presented an alternate ending — to Ibsen’s extreme dismay — and theaters were subjected to protests and threats.

Auditions for this MTSU Theatre production were held in September, and the cast began rehearsals Oct. 1 for what director Kennedy and cast members admit is a “verbose” and challenging play.

 “These lines definitely are not even monologues; they’re more like dissertations,” Kelsey Blackwell, a junior theatre major from Memphis who portrays the lead, Nora Helmer, said with a laugh.

“Still, this piece really touched me, and I feel so humbled to be a part of it with these great people. This show has so much history and it has such a great message that’s relevant today.

“Even though this was written in the late 1800s, I want people to understand that love and marriage should be genuine and real. Regardless of when it’s set, it’s still very important to understand.”

Professor Kyle Kennedy

Blackwell was most recently on the Tucker Theatre stage in the 2013 production of “A Year with Frog and Toad,” where she played “Mouse.”

“I like this particular show because of its relevancy but also because it shows how much times have changed. It’s really interesting,” said Dominic Gillette, a junior theater major from Chattanooga who portrays Nora’s husband, Torvald.

“This play gives you a chance to actually dive into characters and find back stories and find out a lot about your character. It’s good for us as students to get that kind of training right here. It’s definitely a different type of show from what we’ve done at Tucker in a while.”

Gillette was part of this fall’s recent “American Tall Tales” revival at MTSU, where he portrayed “John Henry.”

Click on the poster graphic above for ticket information for the MTSU Theatre production of “A Doll’s House” set Nov. 5-9 in Tucker Theatre.

The cast also includes Abbey Kairdolf as Nora’s friend Christine Linde; Christan McLaurine as family friend Peter Rank; Saul Rodriguez as Torvald’s employee, Nils Krogstad; Beth Ann Stripling as Anne-Marie, the Helmers’ nanny; Victoria Crawford, the Helmers’ maid; and Jay Mullens as the delivery boy. Crawford and Mullens also provide the Helmer children’s voices.

“We select plays for production each year by committee, and we want to make sure that all of our theatre students, during their years at MTSU, are exposed to different dramatic styles, forms and genres of theater,” director Kennedy explained. “`A Doll’s House’ is historically notable because it’s one of the hallmark plays of the realist movement.

“We’re glad for the opportunity for our students to be exposed to a great play with great characters that addresses a very important theme. And we’re glad for the opportunity to present it to MTSU audiences.”

General admission tickets are $10 each and $5 for K-12 students and senior citizens. MTSU students with valid IDs will be admitted free.

Tickets for “A Doll’s House” also can be ordered by phone by calling 888-71-TICKETS (888-718-4253) 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information about MTSU Theatre’s current season anytime, visit http://mtsu.edu/theatre/CurrentSeason.php.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)