New conductors, performing arts degree at Yavapai College
The Arts and Humanities Department at Yavapai College has made several additions to its faculty, tapping into community resources as well as searching nationwide for the new staff. In addition, the department has created a new performing arts degree that is starting in the fall with new musical theater classes, more theater classes and dance classes.
The new faculty members for the Arts and Humanities Department include Maurice Terrell as instrumental director, Arlene Hardy as the director of the women's choir and Yavapai youth choir, Dr. Judith Burns as the director of the master chorale and community chorale, Michael Nowak as the chamber singers director, Wayne Wright as the Renaissance singers director, and Nanette Hofer as the music theater director.
Dr. Craig Ralston, dean of the Arts and Humanities Department, said he tapped into community resources for some of the new faculty. Using Hardy as an example, he said she had been with the department 10 years ago.
"I felt someone who is entrenched in the community and a musician, who taught for us before, could bring a whole different perspective than someone brand new," he said.
However, Ralston also said some positions necessitated a national search, such as the creation of the new performing arts/musical theater position that Hofer is stepping into, which coincides with the new performing arts track.
Ralston explained that creating this track is the result of people from the community asking for performing arts. He said the department has music that's going strong and some theater classes and a dance program archived a few years ago, but people kept saying they really wanted the dance training, more theater classes and more musicals.
"I designed a new performing arts program that we're launching this fall with new musical theater classes, more theater classes and dance classes," he said. "It was really the community saying this is what we want. Plus when you look at Prescott High, Mingus High, Red Rocks High, our biggest schools in our district, they all have musical theater programs."
And Ralston said musical theater appeals to audiences of all ages and preferences, noting how few people haven't seen a film such as "Frozen" or "Beauty and the Beast." He said musicals, for him, "integrate arts as music, theater and dance coming together."
Follow Reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @Prescott Wheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.