NOC Gala set for Sunday

Ponca City Now - April 20, 2016 1:45 pm

Northern Oklahoma College presents the 21st annual Gala on Sunday, April 24, in Tonkawa.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. in the Kinzer Performing Arts Center. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Internationally noted conductor Gerald Steichen will direct the Gala in a program of light opera and Broadway show tunes featuring outstanding opera artists Laquita Mitchell, soprano, and Glenn Seven Allen, tenor.

They will be joined by NOC music faculty Dineo Heilmann, Chad Anderson, Shannon Bradford, Edward Dixon and Brandon Haynes; the NOC College Choir; and the Gala Orchestra, comprising members of area symphony orchestras including Oklahoma City and Wichita.

Steichen has established a career ranging from symphony to opera and from Broadway to chamber music. He currently holds the positions of Music Director of the Macon Symphony Orchestra (Georgia), Principal Pops Conductor of the Utah Symphony and Music Director of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra (Connecticut). He will be traveling with the touring company of The King and I throughout the United States.

For 15 seasons the Tonkawa native was Principal Pops Conductor of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. He is a frequent guest conductor for the Boston Pops and the New Jersey Symphony and has appeared with the symphonies of numerous cities. International appearances include the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo City Symphony, the NDR Philharmonic Hannover at the Braunschweig Festival and numerous appearances with the Norwegian Radio Symphony.

During 10 seasons with the New York City Opera, Steichen led a number of performances including a live WQXR broadcast of Wall to Wall Opera from New York’s Symphony Space by the New York City Opera Orchestra and soloists. A gifted pianist, he performed on stage for the New York City Opera’s productions of Porgy and Bess and Carmina Burana .

Steichen toured nationally as the associate conductor of The Phantom of the Opera , The Secret Garden and Peter Pan and conducted Cats in New York for two years. He appeared on Broadway, portraying Manny, the Accompanist, in the Tony Award-winning Master Class . He spent 18 years with the "Meet the Artist" series at Lincoln Center as conductor, clinician and pianist.

Soprano Laquita Mitchell consistently earns acclaim in eminent opera companies throughout North America and Europe. Already in her young career, she has led performances with the Los Angeles Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera and Opéra Comique in Paris, among many others.

Opera News praised her “purity of tone and vivid theatrical presence” in her compelling debut as Bess in Porgy and Bess with the San Francisco Opera. Other notable roles include Violetta in La Traviata and Micaela in Carmen , New York City Opera; Sharon in Master Class, Kennedy Center; and Mimì in La bohème, Cincinnati Opera.

Also active as a concert artist, Mitchell most recently performed Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Louisville Orchestra, the world premiere of August 4, 1964, Dallas Symphony Orchestra; and her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut as the soprano soloist in All Rise. Mitchell has performed in concert and recital for the HIFA Arts festival in Zimbabwe, Africa, for three consecutive years.

Mitchell made her debut with the New World Symphony in Alberto Ginastera’s Cantata para la America Magica and debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the 2015 Salute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She also debuted with the New York Philharmonic in "In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy," a special two-day event celebrating ground-breaking soloists who have influenced generations of singers.

She has been honored with the Alumni Award from Westminster Choir College and the 2010 Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the Manhattan School of Music.

Glenn Seven Allen is garnering critical acclaim on opera and concert stages throughout the United States as a consummate singing actor. This season’s engagements include the role of Tamino in Die Zauberflöte , tenor soloist in a concert honoring the music of Victor Herbert for the Victor Herbert Foundation and the leading role of Charles in the American Symphony’s world premiere of The Long Christmas Dinner .

He appeared as Ferrando in the world premiere of Jonathan Dawes’ Cosi faran tutti and played the title role in Huang Ruo’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen at the American Opera Center. In demand for his creative portrayals of the leading men of operetta repertoire, he was featured as Camille in The Merry Widow with the Imperial Symphony; Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance , Utah Shakespeare Festival; and Ralf Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore , Opera Saratoga.

Among Allen’s many recent operatic engagements are his Carnegie Hall début as George Dibdin in Der Vampyr and a début as Tonio in La fille du Regiment with Connecticut Concert Opera..

Allen originated the role of Giuseppe in the Tony-winning Broadway run of Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza . Other theatrical credits in various venues include Lancelot in Camelot ; Rutledge in 1776 ; Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar ; and Clifford Bradshaw in Cabaret , a role which earned him The Helen Hayes nomination for Best Actor.

Currently a member of the acting faculty at the Yale School of Drama, he is a sought after clinician for his “Acting in Song” master classes.

Gala tickets may be purchased in person or via telephone from the Office of Development and Community Relations, Vineyard Library-Administration Building, (580) 628-6214. Reservations will not be accepted through voicemail or email.

Tickets are $20 each and are limited to four per person. Tickets for children under five years old are discouraged. All tickets are general admission and are nonrefundable. Northern accepts MasterCard, Visa and Discover.


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