School of Music Professor Is Consultant on Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon

Music professor Gavin Douglas in Thailand
Gavin Douglas, Professor of Ethnomusicology at The Grand Palace, Bangkok Thailand
Photo credit: Gavin Douglas

“What does a white college professor, born in Canada and living in North Carolina, have to say about Southeast Asia?”asks Gavin Douglas with a wry laugh, but quite sincerely.  

It only takes a brief look at his university bio to realize that he is being very modest:  

 “A professor of Ethnomusicology in UNC Greensboro’s School of Music, Douglas holds BMUS and BA degrees from Queen’s University in Ontario, an MM from the University of Texas, and a PhD from the University of Washington.  He is the author of Music in Mainland Southeast Asia (Oxford), a text that explores diversity, political trauma and globalization across Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.  His other writings can be found in a variety of journals and edited volumes on topics such as state patronage of the arts, music and politics, ethnic minority traditions, and the sound worlds  of Theravada Buddhism.”

 He can now add “film consultant”, because in 2019, Douglas’s resume and research caught the attention of a big name in Hollywood.

“Out of the blue, I got this email from Disney, asking if I would be interested in acting as a music consultant for their next film, Raya and the Last DragonI guess it was my book – I imagine I got tapped because I’d done work over a span of several years and many countries in the region. Raya and the Last Dragon takes place in this magical, mythical Southeast Asian inspired place. It’s a corner of the world  that Disney hadn’t yet explored.” (more…)

photo of Tim Hagen, Visiting Professor of Flute

Tim Hagen Named Visiting Assistant Professor of Flute

College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the appointment of Tim Hagen as Visiting Assistant Professor of Flute in CVPA’s School of Music.

Hagen is an internationally acclaimed flutist, praised for his “technical virtuosity and musical sensitivity” (NewMusicBox) and “real flair” (The Well-Tempered Ear). He has been a prizewinner at major flute competitions, including the Myrna Brown Artist Competition, Australian International Flute Competition, and Pasadena Showcase House Instrumental Competition. As a soloist, Hagen has appeared in concert at New York’s 92nd Street Y and Lincoln Center in addition to multiple concerto performances with the Missouri Symphony. He was Principal Flute of the Missouri Symphony from 2009 to 2016 and has performed with orchestras across the country, including the Minnesota Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Dubuque Symphony, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, and Dallas Wind Symphony. His experience as a chamber musician includes fellowships at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the Atlantic Music Festival.  (more…)

2020 Distinguished Alumna (School of Art) Sheena Rose Creates Mural for Weatherspoon Art Museum

Announcement from the Weatherspoon Art Museum (June 3, 2021):  The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro  will debut a dynamic mural in its atrium commissioned from artist Sheena Rose. The project will be on view beginning June 12.

A homecoming is in the works. The Weatherspoon is excited to announce its commission of a major new artwork by artist Sheena Rose, UNC Greensboro MFA ’16. A multidisciplinary artist working in animation, drawing, painting, and performance, Rose’s vibrant and energetic work is at once anchored in her Caribbean heritage and expansive in its explorations of culture and human experience.

A native of Barbados, where she continues to live and work, Rose attended UNC Greensboro as a Fulbright Scholar from 2014 to 2016. (more…)

Quinton Parker Appointed Assistant Professor of Music Education

College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the appointment of Quinton D. Parker as Assistant Professor of Music Education in the School of Music.

From 2016 to 2021, Parker served as the Music Education Program Coordinator and Assistant Director of Symphonic and Marching Bands at North Carolina Central University. His research interests include imposter syndrome in University music students from marginalized populations, systemic injustice in collegiate musical study, implicit bias in music performance evaluation, and social justice in Music Education. His research interests are fueled by his personal commitment to advancing social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the field of music.


Theatre Industry Showcase Shifts to Virtual With Positive Results

The School of Theatre’s New York Showcase is an opportunity for BFA and MFA Acting students to present their work to entertainment industry producers, agents, and casting directors. It is often a first step to a career on stage or screen, as it can lead to audition offers and agency signings.

In years past that meant a live, in-person performance and recently a combination of live and some taped scenes. This year, because of the pandemic, Showcase had to shift to completely virtual. Students filmed their scenes and songs which were then edited together in one showcase reel and distributed.

Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Erin Speer says, “It was a challenge to decide which direction to go with Showcase this year. We spent a lot of time reaching out to industry contacts and colleagues at other programs to see what kind of showcases were being planned. Ultimately we decided to go with a digital showcase through The Growing Studio in New York.”

Musical Theatre Program Coordinator Dominick Amendum says there were actually some positive outcomes from having to stay home:

“Our students had the opportunity to virtually meet with 5 major agents representing NYC, LA, Chicago, Atlanta, and beyond. The agents watched their work and then had individual meetings with each student to give them feedback and get to know them better. Our showcase reel was then e-blasted to over 1,000 casting directors, agents, and industry professionals around the country. The other advantage is that since so much of our students’ showcase material was written specifically for them they now have it for use in their own reels and websites without copyright issues.”

Speer says the offers are already starting to come in:

“The students had incredible responses from the agents at the Growing Studio, and one of our students has signed with a major bicoastal agency. It looks to be one of our most successful showcases ever.”

Thomas Mendolia (’12 BFA Acting) shooting a scene for the 2021 Theatre Industry Showcase Reel

With everything being recorded and not live, the stakes are high when it comes to the production side of things, but the School of Theatre already had that covered. For the past several years, Thomas Mendolia (’12 BFA Acting) has been making the trip to UNCG from Los Angeles to shoot, edit, and direct scenes with students. Addendum says Mendolia’s expertise is invaluable.

“Given that he just signed on with a major studio to make his first feature film, working with him is now an incredible educational experience for our students. Thomas works at an incredibly high level and our students get to engage with him and learn from him as they create their showcase segments. Additionally, they now have clips that are directed and filmed by a true ‘Hollywood Director.’”

So what happens next? Travel is opening back up, and the lights are coming back on, on Broadway. Speer says the performance faculty are already discussing what Showcase will look like in 2022.

“The success of this year’s showcase and the benefits of the digital format for this year are obvious. There are also advantages for the University to do an in-person showcase. We want to be in line with what the industry wants.”

Amendum agrees:

“The reality is that this year’s model reached more people in the industry, and our students had really meaningful contact with major agents and came away with high-quality media for their own use. I anticipate that future years will blend this virtual model along with some work in NYC.”

Whether live and in-person or recorded on a reel, Speers says CVPA Theatre students shine.

“This is a hardworking, resilient group of actors and musical theatre performers. What I love about them most is the way they support and care for each other, and how truly unique and individual they all are. This is a diverse and gifted group, and I can’t wait to see what happens for them next!”

Watch the 2021 Showcase Reel here.


Story by Terri W. Relos
Photo credit: Martin Kane