Music Performance at BSC
BSC's Department of Music places a high priority on excellence and features an extraordinary faculty of nationally and internationally recognized artists and teachers, including performers, composers, conductors, music historians, and music educators. Equally impressive is our record of student achievement. Our department offers a variety of music training programs leading to the bachelor and master of music degrees. The college is located in the heart of the Magic City which boasts a flourishing arts scene made up of a major orchestra, professional opera companies, ballet organizations, theatres, and other groups.
Our music program has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music since 1934. And the program was honored with a NATS 2008 Award for Vocal Excellence. The award provides voice scholarships from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and is only offered to qualified four-year colleges, universities or conservatories with outstanding vocal programs.
Be sure to explore the rest of the Music Department Web site and check out the many offerings and opportunities that are available at Birmingham-Southern.
Immersed in the Musician's Life
Award-winning BSC students perform with local orchestra
Three Birmingham-Southern student musicians who were selected as winners of the college's 9th annual Whittington Music Competition appeared as soloists with the Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra in February. The orchestra was conducted by Les Fillmer, chairman emeritus of the Alabama School of Fine Arts Department of Music. Pictured (from left) are Iris Reddick, a freshman cello performance major from Memphis; Wei Dai, a junior piano performance major from Xiamen, China; and Hannah Ellington, a junior voice performance major from Indian Springs. The highly competitive Whittington Music Competition is named for Frances and Dorsey Whittington, who were leaders of the Birmingham Conservatory of Music, which later became the Music Department at BSC.
Opera Birmingham production features Birmingham-Southern students
Two BSC students were cast in the 2010 Opera Birmingham production of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida. Pictured are Cooper Schrimsher (on right) posing with dramatic tenor Roy Cornelius Smith, who sang the leading role of Radames. Hannah Ellington is missing from the photo.
BSC students work with world-renowned teacher
On Saturday, March 6, BSC voice students had a master class with world-renowned voice teacher Marvin Keenze, who is currently on the voice faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University. Keenze is a member of the American Academy of Voice Teachers and is chair of the International Congress of Voice Teachers (ICVT).
Three BSC singers get professional performance opportunities
Three Birmingham-Southern students and a professor were cast in the 2009 Opera Birmingham production of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot. Pictured during a performance break are (from left) Hannah Ellington, Tim Beenken, Dr. David Smith, and Mandy McDaniel-Stack.
Some Recent BSC Student Awards and Activities:
Hannah Ellington was a finalist in the 2009 Classical Singer National Voice Competition.
Josh Phillips won first place in his category at the 2010 National Association of Teachers of Singing Auditions and Competition.
W. James Pandelis (composition major, '09) won ERM Media's international film scoring competition and is one of four composers selected to write the score for Thomas Edison's short silent film Maniac Chase.
Shelby Bowling (vocal performance major, '09) was admitted to The Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University Master of Music in Vocal Performance program. She was cast this year as the Queen of the Night in their production of Mozart's Magic Flute.
Christina McCauley, a senior voice performance major, who is Miss Southern Heartland 2010, will be competing in the Miss Georgia Pageant in June 2010.
Timothy Beenken (vocal performance major, '09) was admitted to The Juilliard School Master of Music in Vocal Performance program. Beenken will perform the role of the Marquis de la Force in Poulenc's Dialogue of the Carmelites this April. His performance this past fall was cited in The New York Times.
Patrick Scott (music performance '08), played his final recital for the master of sacred music degree from The University of Texas March 2, 2010. A graduate of recently retired BSC Professor Jim Cook's organ studio, Scott is one of only three people chosen from a large pool of international applicants to be admitted into the doctoral program in organ performance at UT. He will begin his work on that degree in the fall.
Erin Wakeman (vocal performance major, '06) received her master of music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music and is now studying voice in Bologna, Italy.
New director of opera named at Birmingham-Southern
Jeff Kensmoe will join the BSC music faculty in the fall of 2010. He received his bachelor of music degree from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, pursued graduate studies at the University of Maryland at College Park, received his masters of music degree from the University of Northern Colorado, and is currently a doctoral candidate in vocal performance at the University of Northern Colorado.
Kensmoe has taught at the Wayland Baptist University, the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, St. Francis De Sales parochial school in Spooner, Wis., and Aims Community College in Greeley, Colo. He has spent a number of years living and working out of Washington D.C., and New York City where he premiered roles that included Jake Pewlet in Roger Ames' Amarantha and Amos in Lawrence Moss' The Queen and the Rebels.
Some of his opera and musical theatre roles include Papageno in The Magic Flute, Peter in Hänsel and Gretel, and Giralimo in The Secret Marriage. Kensmoe has also been involved in musical reviews and has been a bass-baritone soloist in a number of masses and oratorios across the U.S.
He has appeared on television in The Sondhiem Gala at Carnegie Hall on PBS, in The Guiding Light on CBS, and was a guest artist at the New Zealand and former West German embassies. Kensmoe currently is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Actor's Equity Association.