Christal Brown teaching

December Commencement Profile: Marya Fancey ’19

Marya Fancey ’19

DMA Organ Performance


Her degree from UNCG’s College of Visual and Performing Arts is a Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance, but Marya Fancey has put her hands on just about every kind of keyboard instrument you can think of and in more than one country.


She started out on piano, but it was when she started organ lessons that she decided to make music her career.  With a Bachelor and a Masters in organ, she chose CVPA to complete the trifecta and earn her DMA with Organ Professor Dr. André Lash and to take advantage of other opportunities offered by the program:


“When I met with Dr. Lash he told me I would have options to study other historical keyboard instruments — harpsichord, fortepiano, clavichord — with Dr. Andrew Willis. I had been studying historical keyboard performance through the McGill Summer Organ Academy (in Montréal) for several years, so the opportunity to continue those studies was a big plus. Additionally, UNCG’s DMA degree is structured to balance performance with academics and requires a written dissertation and cognate in another area (essentially a doctoral minor). These requirements would help me develop as a performer and a scholar.”


Marya’s passion for music and love of learning led her to add another credential — the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.  While at UNCG she participated in a year-long grant writing program sponsored by The Graduate School and was awarded a US Student Scholar grant in Historical Performance.  She lived in Kraków, Poland for the 2017-2018 Academic year.


“My project was musicological research on a Polish manuscript of organ music from 1540 (called the Johannes of Lublin Tablature) and included a concert in Kraków based on the research. I collaborated with Flores Rosarum, a fantastic Krakow-based women’s vocal ensemble, for the concert. We performed three organ masses from the manuscript, which means that I played a series of short organ pieces and in between they sang sixteenth-century chants from the mass. Alternation between organ and choir was used a lot in the Catholic mass from the late Middle Ages up until 1903, but these particular Polish organ masses were last used in the seventeenth century; I think we did the first modern performance of them! I owe a big thank you to my Polish mentors, Dr. Elżbieta Witkowska-Zaremba and Dr. Marcin Szelest, for helping me with the project.”


Marya says she’d like to land at a college or university where she can have an organ studio and teach music theory and/or music history.  She plans to continue research and performance and she feels that CVPA has helped prepare her:

“My experience at UNCG has been very positive. Right from the start the faculty at the School of Music were very supportive and always available when I needed help outside of class. My dissertation committee in particular has helped me with additional projects beyond my program like grant writing and conference presentations. In addition to my degree, I completed the Post-Masters Certificate in Music Theory Pedagogy and am close to receiving the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Historical Keyboard Performance. These extra certificates will help me be more competitive in the job market because very few positions are for organ alone.  I’ve also gained confidence in my abilities — both performance and academic.  I’m excited for the future!”

December Commencement Profiles: Kahlila Brown and Taylor Roberson

Kahlila Brown ’19, BFA Dance Education

Taylor Roberson ’19,  BFA Dance Education

Kahlila Brown and Taylor Roberson have similar stories about how each found their way here.  Recommendations from high school dance teachers pointed them toward UNC Greensboro’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, and they both felt they were about to embark on a journey at an excellent School of Dance.  But neither could have been prepared for how they would feel when they leave campus this month.

Kahlila is from Durham, NC.  She says she pursued a degree in Dance Education because she wanted to share her love of dance with others:

“Dance is an art form that has provided me with an alternative way of communicating and has served as an artistic outlet.  That is what has fueled my passion in dance education.”

 Kahlila says she knew she was in the right place when she came for her tour, and she continued to make UNCG “home” by performing, attending events, and becoming a Spartan Guide:

“I found a community where I would be challenged as a dancer, choreographer, and educator through an experience that would nurture me and expand my knowledge.”

Taylor Roberson is from Pittsboro, NC.  She says, like Kahlila, she felt she had found the right place at the College of Visual and Performing Arts:

“There was something about the professors and the atmosphere that made me feel ‘at home’ as if I had always been a part of the school. I have made connections with so many amazingly talented people in my time here — connections for which I am truly grateful. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to work not only with the School of Dance but also students and faculty in UNCG Theatre/Musical Theatre courses and productions. I would not have traded these last few years for the world.”

 When they were first year students, Kahlila and Taylor both felt certain they would leave CVPA with a degree in dance, but neither realized until now what else they would take with them —  a sense of community and the confidence to go wherever their art takes them.

Kahlila Brown ’19
Taylor Roberson ’19

CVPA Alumni Event Photo Gallery – Fall 2019

The Fall 2019 semester has been full of CVPA alumni sightings:  Asheville, Charlotte, Washington, DC, and New York, as our graduates from art, arts administration, dance, music, and theatre have gathered to meet the new dean, reconnect, and network.

Below are some photos from recent events.  Scroll through and enjoy (click on photos to enlarge), and stay in touch so we can make sure you’re on our invitation list!

CHARLOTTE, NC    September 15, 2019   Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

charlotte alumni dinner
Charlotte alumni dinner at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art before the Collage Concert at Knight Theatre
charlotte alumni dinner
Steve Kesselbaum and Mary Napier-Kesselbaum ’68 BA (English) with Dean bruce mcclung








GREENSBORO, NC   September 17, 2019   Well·Spring Vanguard Alumni Reception

UCLS patrons Judy Hyman ’56 BA (History), ’73 MEd (Counseling), Sarah Shoffner ’62 BS, ’64 MS (Home Economics),
’77 PhD (Family Development/Family Relations), and Emmy Mills ’62 BA, ’65 MFA (Art)
Dean bruce mcclung with Chancellor Emerita Linda Brady – a big fan of the CVPA!
Miles Davis Jazz Studies students are always a great addition to any party!
Dean bruce mcclung with Jo Safrit ’57 BS (Physical Education), who is a loyal donor to CVPA’s Theatre Showcase
Barbara Garey ’59 BS (Sociology) sporting her Woman’s College jacket













ASHEVILLE, NC    September 24, 2019    Buxton Hall BBQ

Tina and David Ostergaard ’02 BFA (Theatre), Anne Salter ’08 MM (Music), and Jonathan Salter ’09 DMA (Music)
Dean mcclung with Asheville alumni
Henrietta Nance Neely ’65 BM (Music) and Sandra Whitener Jarrell ’65 BM (Music) were roommates at UNCG!
Ellen Harris ’97 MFA (Theatre) and Keith Baker enjoying the hushpuppies
Asheville Alumni Dinner
Christina Aurea ’93 BA (Theatre) with David Huskins, CVPA Development Director
A full house at Pomodoros for the Asheville Vanguard Alumni Lunch










NEW YORK CITY   October 25-26, 2019    Various Locations

Carla Gannis ’92 BFA (Art) hosted a fun visit at NYU
Dean bruce mcclung and CVPA Development Director David Huskins having fun with Carla Gannis ’92 BFA (Art) and some virtual reality during a visit to her NYU studio
Joe Forbes ’75 BFA (Theatre) showing students the finer points of backdrop painting at his Scenic Arts Studio
A visit with Joe Forbes ’75 BFA (Theatre) at his Scenic Arts Studio
Sidney Dixon Weberdörfer ’09 MM (Music) shows CVPA Development Director David Huskins and Dean bruce mcclung the tech truck where she helps call the shots for the Metropolitan Opera’s HD Broadcasts
While we were visiting alumni, we caught up with CVPA faculty member Barbara Campbell Thomas at her one-woman show at The Painting Center













NEW YORK CITY   October 27, 2019   Trattoria Dell Arte

Sarah Gooch ’18 BM (Music), Deon’te Goodman ’16 BM (Music), and Dean bruce mcclung
Jennifer Mann ’16 MFA (Theatre), Dean bruce mcclung, and Julie Robles ’16 MFA (Theatre)
Hugh Hysell ’88 BFA (Theatre) and Ashleigh Chestnut ’15 BFA (Theatre)
alumni at brunch in nyc
Dean bruce mcclung, Elizabeth Crittenden ’68 BM (Music), and Patty Thel ’74 BM (Music)
alumni brunch in nyc
Alyson Reim Friedman ’80 BFA (Theatre), Elizabeth Shoe Rivera ’01 MM (Music), and David Rivera ’01 (Interior Architecture)









WASHINGTON, DC  November 3, 2019    The Churchill Hotel

Lynn Miller ’80 BA (Music) and Larry Thomas ’80 BM, ’82 MM (Music) catching up on their time at the “G”
Andrea Brown ’00 MM (Music), ’10 DMA (Music) and Jennifer Taylor ’00 BA (Music)
Lyndsey Swann ’17 MM (Music) and former CVPA staff member with Dean bruce mcclung
Barbara Baker ’69 BM (Music) and Patty Thel ’74 BM (Music)
alumni at event in Washington DC
Standing L-R: Andrea Brown ’00 MM, ’10 DMA (Music), Patty Thel ’74 BM (Music), Barbara Baker ’69 BM (Music), Thomas Breeden ’16 BA (Arts Administration), Lyndsey Swann ’17 MM (Music),
and Dean bruce mcclung.  Seated (L-R): Lynn Miller ’80 BA (Music), Claudia Curry ’66 BA (Art), Jennifer Lane ’80 MFA (Dance), and Jennifer Taylor ’00 BA (Music)




December Commencement Profile: Nicholas Shoaf

Nicholas Shoaf ’19

BA Arts Administration, BM Music Education

Nicholas Shoaf has always known that music would be a part of his life.  UNCG’s College of Visual and Perfoming Arts helped him discover how to combine that love of music with leadership skills to live a life in the arts. Nicholas started singing in elementary school and in church, and he just didn’t stop.  By the time he was in high school, he was heavily involved in both the choral and band programs. When he started looking for colleges, he knew he wanted to teach and lead others. At UNCG he has participated in music, opera, and theatre productions, and this month he will receive a BM in Music Education (Choral) and a BA in Arts Administration. Nicholas says he feels the two degrees will serve him well:

“I value all of my stage and performance experience gained while being a part of the CVPA. I added Arts Administration my junior year because I wanted to broaden my knowledge of the arts as a whole. I wanted to know the behind the scenes action it takes to make everything run smoothly. Plus it makes me more marketable in today’s competitive arts world.”

In addition to the hours of classwork and practicums, Nicholas found ways to bolster his administrative resume by working in the College’s front office.  He also applied for and became one of CVPA’s first Student Ambassadors, eventually becoming the group’s recruiting manager.

Like many of CVPA’s undergraduate students, Nicholas is from North Carolina. He grew up in Pilot Mountain and says UNCG was the best place for him because of the program and because it’s not far from home:

“My parents supported me by coming to every event and concert they could. I know I would not be where I am today if it was not for their love and support. My experience at UNCG has taught me valuable skills that will shape my future. My time here has taught me how to keep my doors open to all opportunities that might come my way.”

Although he’s not sure what door might open in the near future, Nicholas hopes to one day become a Director of Education for a non-profit arts organization. And after he picks up that diploma on December 13th, he will be one step closer.