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Monday, August 29, 2011


For Immediate Release: 8/26/11
Contact: Michael French
Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator
College of Performing and Visual Arts
Southern Utah University
Phone: (435) 865-8667


Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT: With the remarkable growth in its student admissions, Shauna Mendini, Dean of SUU’s College of Performing and Visual Arts, is pleased to announce a number of new faculty and staff appointments that commence with the fall 2011 semester. Dean Mendini remarked, “SUU’s College of Performing and Visual Arts continues to build its faculty and staff by hiring the highest caliber of educators and professionals whose skills and abilities will have a profound impact on our students’ development and futures.”

There are two new full-time positions in the Department of Art and Design. Jessica Gerlach joins the department as Assistant Professor of Graphic Design. She recently graduated with an MFA in Visual Communications at the University of Arizona. Jessica’s work is fueled by her commitment to use art and design to inform and educate the public about critical social, political, and environmental issues. Her most recent project in conjunction with the Rillito River Project’s Bat Night 2010 was extensive interdisciplinary research and collaboration, and the resulting public environmental installation informed an audience of about 5,000 people about key plant and animal species that have been lost with the deterioration of the riparian habitat in one of Tucson’s rivers. Previously, Jessica spent seven years as an arts-in-education program coordinator for the South Central PaARTners at Millersville University in Pennsylvania.

G. Roland Spears is the new Assistant Professor of Drawing/Entertainment Design. Ron has over 25 years of industry experience in illustration and design with hundreds of published illustrations. He is a member of the New York Society of Illustrators, and received his MFA in Illustration from The University of Hartford. The current focus of his art is centered upon digital Illustration, landscape and figurative oil painting.

There are three faculty members in SUU’s Department of Music. Dr. Kevin L. Baker has joined the faculty as Director of Choral Activities. In this capacity, he directs the Concert Choir and Opus as well as teaches choral conducting, choral techniques and studio voice. He was previously Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Culver-Stockton College, Canton, Missouri, and prior to that, he was a tenured member of the music department at St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin. A native of Missouri, he received his Bachelor’s degree from Southwest Baptist University and earned a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting and the Ph.D. from the University of Missouri – Columbia. He has studied conducting with Dr. David Rayl, Dr. Duncan Couch, and Mr. Edward Dolbashian; voice with Dr. Lee Snook; and has performed masterclasses with or sung under Sir David Willcocks, John Rutter, Dr. Douglas McEwen, Mr. Rodney Eichenberger and Dr. Charlene Archebeque. He has served as Minister of Music for churches in Missouri and conducted community choirs as well. As Director of the Choral Arts Singers, a St. Louis, Missouri community-based adult group, he performed major choral/orchestral works on a recurring basis, which often included members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He was also the conductor and artistic director for the Green Bay Chamber Choir.

Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Piano. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, in piano performance at Missouri Western State University, and received Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.His teachers included Jerry Anderson and Mark Clinton, piano, and Quentin Faulkner, harpsichord and organ. He received UNL Hixson-Lied travel grants to study with Christoph Lieske at the Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum in Salzburg and to study and perform at the Ameropa Chamber Music Festival in Prague. Dr. Bohnenstengel previously taught at UNL and Doane College. His concert schedule has taken him to three continents, including recitals with flutists John Bailey and Javier Montilla in Venezuela and performances at the annual Sommernachtsmusik in Moegglingen, Germany.

In a one-year appointment, Dr. Douglas L. Ipson joins the Department of Music as Visiting Assistant Professor of Twentieth Century Music/Theory/Music History. He received a Ph.D. in music history at the University of Chicago after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Brigham Young University. A specialist in nineteenth-century Italian opera—especially its political aspects—he has been published in the Cambridge Opera Journal and is a contributor to the forthcoming Cambridge Verdi Encyclopedia (expected 2013). Currently he is preparing the critical edition of the opera La battaglia di Legnano for The Works of Giuseppe Verdi, published by the University of Chicago Press and Casa Ricordi. Dr. Ipson’s other areas of scholarly interest include the role of music in the European revolutions of 1848–49, Shakespeare and opera, the sixteenth-century Italian madrigal, and the intersection of seventeenth-century Venetian opera and painting. He is also an active choral composer and arranger whose works have been published by Hinshaw Music and have been performed by choirs across the country, including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the BYU Singers. Dr. Ipson is a native of St. George, Utah.

In the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, there is one new faculty position and one staff. In the faculty area, Jarrod Bray joins the department as Assistant Professor of Scenic & Lighting Design. He has designed scenery and lighting across the U.S. He most recently resided in Boston, Ma. Where, in addition to an active design career, he was the Resident Scenic Designer for the Brown/Trinity Rep. graduate training program and the New London Playhouse. Previously he has taught properties design and construction for the graduate training program at Brandeis University. Jarrod holds an MFA in Scenic Design from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and is a member of United Scenic Artists, local 829. His work can be seen at www.Jarrodbray.com.

In a staff position, Gerald Rheault has accepted the position of Music Director and Accompanist. A Cedar City resident and a graduate of SUU, he will serve as the CPVA accompanist for dance classes and as music director and conductor for most CPVA and Opera programs. Outside SUU, he is the pianist and choir director for Community Presbyterian Church, and works seasonally as music director and musician for the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

The Southern Utah University College of Performing and Visual Arts is comprised of nationally accredited departments of Art and Design, Music, Theatre Arts and Dance, as well as a graduate program in Arts Administration. The College offers 16 different degree areas, including liberal arts Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees; professional Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Fine Arts in art and theatre degrees; and a Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration degree. More than 60 full- and part-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 550 majors in the College. Over 1100 students enroll each year in over 195 arts classes on the SUU campus. The College presents 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year. The College’s affiliate organizations include the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, American Folk Ballet, Utah Shakespeare Festival, the performance group Acclamation, and the SUU Ballroom Dance Company. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, contact the Office of the Dean at (435) 865-8561, or by e-mail at cpvamktg@suu.edu.

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