“A Celebration of the Arts,” a festive program featuring a wide range of musical and theatrical performances in honor of the investiture of William Paterson University’s new president, Richard J. Helldobler, PhD, will be held on Saturday, October 6 at 7 p.m. in the Shea Center for Performing Arts on campus. Admission is free and open to the public.
For President Helldobler, who has been involved in the arts throughout his academic career, including roles as a performer, a choreographer, an artistic director for dance and theatre companies, and as a professor of theatre, the arts offer a special opportunity to celebrate community. “Arts can communicate ideas with such poignancy that it transforms the broader cultural understanding of issues,” he says. “The arts are also one of the few remaining places where we still come together as a community. It is truly special to me to celebrate my investiture as president of William Paterson University with this event that showcases the talents of our faculty, students, and alumni, as well as some of my friends and colleagues.”
Paul Causman, an actor and a past artistic director of the Toledo Rep Theatre in Ohio, will open the evening by performing a monologue, “The Importance of the Arts in Today’s Society,” written by President Helldobler. Other guest artists include soprano Cindy Eberhardt and pianist Ken Cooper, who will perform “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” and “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from Sunset Boulevard; vocalist Andre Montgomery, who will perform “City Lights” from The Act by Kander and Ebb; and Andrew Drost and Grace Osborne, who will sing “Found/Tonight” from Dear Evan Hansen. Drost will also perform “Ideale” by Francesco Paolo Tosti. Cellist Ovidiu Marinescu will perform “The Swan” from Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns, and pianist Scott Beard will perform Chopin’s Waltz No. 1 in E flat major, op. 18 (“Grand valse brillante”). Carl Bolleia, an adjunct professor of music at William Paterson, will accompany many of the performers on piano.
Other performances include “'S Wonderful” by George and Ira Gershwin, performed by the William Paterson University Jazz Ensemble, featuring faculty members David Demsey, saxophone, Pete McGuinness, trombone, Tim Newman, bass trombone, Bill Charlap, piano, and Marcus McLaurine, bass, and students Cecil Alexander, guitar, and Hank Allen-Barfield, drums; “The Great Train Race” by Ian Clarke, performed by faculty member Karen Demsey, flute; and “Saraswati,” composed and performed by faculty Payton MacDonald on marimba.
The William Paterson University Chamber, under the direction of faculty member Lauren Fowler-Calisto, will perform “Shenandoah” and “Down by the Riverside.” In addition, faculty member Christopher Dylan Herbert, joined by a variety of students and alumni, will sing selections from Whitman’s War, a new musical by Clint Edwards. Richard Vigliotti, a William Paterson student majoring in theatre and comedy, will present a comedy routine.
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