Ten of SUNY Fredonia’s talented student performers will be in the spotlight when Rockefeller Arts Center presents “Big Band Christmas Spectacular” on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall at Rockefeller Arts Center.
The cast includes six singers, two singers/dancers and two dancers, all of whom were selected during auditions in October. They will be backed up by The Little Apple Big Band, under the direction of Bruce Johnstone, director of jazz studies at SUNY Fredonia. The 17-piece big band of top professional jazz players from Western New York and western Pennsylvania will be augmented with two additional percussionists playing sleigh bells, chimes, tympani and other assorted instruments. The concert features instrumental numbers, vocal solos, group numbers and dance routines.
The student singers are:
■ Nia Drummond, a freshman Voice major studying with Shinobu Takagi. She has appeared as a solo performer at the Apollo Theater and has sung with Elton John, Bette Midler, Billy Joel and many more. Recently, she was selected as a Young Arts Finalist in Jazz Voice by the National Endowment of the Arts and is the recipient of the 2012 Gordon Parks Centennial Scholarship.
■ Adelia Gueli, a freshman BFA Musical Theatre major and Voice student of Laurie Tramuta. She has appeared in “Songs for a New World” as Woman 2 at the Lockport Palace Theatre and has interned at Artpark, where she performed in the ensemble of “Fame.” In the spring, she will portray Ginnie in the Walter Gloor Mainstage production of “Stop the World (I Want to Get Off).”
■ Sophia Howes, a senior BFA Musical Theatre major. Her past credits include “Chicago” (Mama Morton), “Stage Door” (Mrs. Orcutt), “Homemade Fusion” and “The Sound of Music” (Nun). She will portray Mrs. Frank in the upcoming Walter Gloor Mainstage production “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
■ Alexander Kosmowski, a sophomore BFA Musical Theatre major. He has appeared in “Stage Door” (Billy), “Guys and Dolls in Concert” (Arvide) and “Chicago” (Aaron) and will be in the upcoming Walter Gloor Mainstage production of “Stop the World (I Want to Get Off).”
■ Mark Montondo, a junior BFA Musical Theatre major. Mark currently studies Voice with Daniel Ihasz. His recent credits include in “Chicago” (Ensemble) and “[Title of Show]” (Jeff). His other notable roles include Claude in “Hair” and Freddy Eynsford-Hill in “My Fair Lady” and as a member of the Company of “On the Town” with the Crane Opera Ensemble.
■ Raphael A. Santos, a senior Acting major studying Voice with Shinobu Takagi. His recent performances include: “Twenty something: a musical song cycle” by Kerrigan and Lowdermilk (man 1), “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”(Chip Tolentino) and “The Spitfire Grill” (Officer Joe Sutter).
The student dancers are:
■ Deanna Jelardi, a senior BFA Musical Theatre major and Dance minor from Long Island. She appeared in the May 2011 commencement eve pops production of “Guys and Dolls in Concert” and is thrilled for the opportunity to perform in “Big Band Christmas Spectacular.”
■ Shane Zimmerman, a sophomore BFA Acting major. He appeared in the recent Walter Gloor Mainstage production of “Chicago” as part of the ensemble.
Two performers will be featured as both singers and dancers. They are:
■ Jordan Louis Fischer, a sophomore BFA Musical Theatre major who has appeared in numerous plays, musicals and concerts with roles including Dickon (“The Secret Garden”) and Mary Sunshine (“Chicago”). He will portray Peter in the upcoming Walter Gloor Mainstage production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” He is a voice student of Joe Dan Harper.
■ Jaclyn Rahmlow, a junior Musical Theatre major. She is a voice student of Laurie Tramuta. Her previous Fredonia credits include “Chicago,” “Stage Door” and “Guys and Dolls in Concert”. This past summer, she worked professionally at the Huron Playhouse in Huron, Ohio where she appeared in “Bye Bye Birdie,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Carousel” and “Fox on the Fairway.”
The songs include “It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas,” a jazz version of “The Nutcracker Suite,” “White Christmas,” “I’ve Got Love to Keep Me Warm,” “Home for the Holidays,” “Santa Baby,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and many more with arrangements by and in the style of Count Basie, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, Les Brown, John La Barbera and Tom Kubis.
“Big Band Christmas Spectacular” is a DFT Communications Pops Series event sponsored by Bahgat & Laurito-Bahgat, Certified Public Accountants as part of the 2012-13 Lake Shore Savings Season.
Tickets are available through the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center (673-3501 or fredonia.edu/tickets).