Students featured in Fredonia’s Commencement-eve pops

Doug Osborne-Coy
images of the nine student performers

Several Fredonia students will be featured soloists for “Commencement Eve Pops: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” including (top row, from left) Abigail Brudz, Makenzie Bush, Zach Carter, (middle row, from left) Emma Christmann, Michael Hamill, Zac Liddick, and (bottom row, from left) Emily Minch, Hannah Schubring and Teddy Van De Ven.

Rockefeller Arts Center will pay tribute to one of the world’s most popular composers with “Commencement Eve Pops: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber” on Friday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall.

Tickets are available through the Campus Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone at (716) 673-3501 and online.

The concert will feature music from “Evita,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Cinderella,” “Cats,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

The 52-piece Western New York Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Glen Cortese will be joined by special alumni guest artists Amanda Lynn Bottoms (’14) and Jordan Weatherston Pitts (’12).

Also featured will be the 24-member Fredonia Chamber Choir, under the direction of Dr. Vernon Huff, and nine student vocal soloists, including:

  • Abigail Brudz, a fourth-year Music Education major with a concentration in Voice. She studies with Professor Sarah Luebke. Brudz most recently appeared as the role of Spirit I in the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s production of “The Magic Flute,” for which she was praised as “a name to look out for in the future” by Buffalo Rising.
  • Makenzie Claire Bush, a graduating senior B.F.A. Musical Theatre major and student of Dr. Adam Luebke. Her credits include Little Red Riding Hood (“Into the Woods”), Susan (“Been Bad”) and Gargoyle/Ensemble (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”).
  • Zach Carter, a sophomore Musical Theater major, who studies with Professor James Harrington. His Walter Gloor Mainstage Series credits include “The Wild Party” (Swing) and “Into the Woods” (Swing). Carter’s other credits include “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at Mainstreet Studios (Ensemble).
  • Emma Christmann, a third-year B.F.A. Musical Theatre major with a minor in Dance. Her Walter Gloor Mainstage Series credits include “Romeo and Juliet” (Lady Capulet), “The Wild Party” (Ensemble) and “Songs for a New World” (Woman 1+2 Swing). Her favorite regional credits include Lina in “Singin’ in the Rain” (Best Supporting Actress North East Pennsylvania Theatre Award Nomination).
  • Michael Hamill, a sophomore B.F.A. Musical Theatre major. He studies with Professor Brent Weber. He was most recently seen in the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series production of “Into the Woods” as Cinderella’s Prince. Other Fredonia credits include the ensemble of the “The Wild Party.”
  • Zack Luddick, a junior B.F.A. Musical Theatre major. Luddick has been involved in Fredonia a cappella groups Dynamic Intonation and The Guerrillas. He is also Assistant Company Manager for the Performing Arts Company. Fredonia on stage credits include: “Queens Deli” (Roman Christo), “The Wild Party” (The Neighbor/Swing), “The Normal Heart” (Grady/Craig understudy), “The Dolls of New Albion” (Jasper), “Into the Woods” (Cinderella’s Father/Cinderella's Prince Understudy) and “Romeo and Juliet” (Ensemble/Romeo Understudy).
  • Emily Minch, a B.F.A. Musical Theatre major who studies with Dr. Angela Haas. Some of her favorite credits include: “Into the Woods” (Baker’s Wife), Cedar Point’s “Forbidden Frontier” (Bedonna Manulov), “Dolls of New Albion” (Annabelle) and “A Christmas Carol” (Mrs. Fezziwig/Mrs. Grimsby).
  • Hannah Schubring, a sophomore B.F.A. Musical Theatre major and a voice student of Professor Joe Dan Harper. Recent credits include “Romeo and Juliet” (Walter Gloor Mainstage Series), “Summer and Smoke” (Hillman Opera), “As You Like It” (Shakespeare in Delaware Park), “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (Main Street Studios), and “Dolls of New Albion” (Fredonia Performing Arts Company), and, 
  • Teddy Van De Ven IV, a sophomore Music Education major. He also studies with Dr. Haas. He played the role of Judas in “Godspell” and performed in 25 shows throughout his high school career.

Over the course of his career, Lloyd Webber has won numerous awards, including seven Tony Awards, three GRAMMY awards, and an Academy Award. He has also been honored with a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to musical theatre.

Lloyd Webber is one of the most successful and famous composers of musical theatre in the world. He was born in London, England in 1948 and began studying music at a young age. He composed his first musical, “The Likes of Us,” when he was just 19 years old.

In 1970, Lloyd Webber teamed up with lyricist Tim Rice to create the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which became a huge hit and launched their careers. They went on to collaborate on other successful musicals, including “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Evita.”

In the 1980s, Lloyd Webber continued to create popular and groundbreaking musicals, including “Cats,” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” which just closed on Broadway on April 16 after 35 years. It was the longest-running show in Broadway history.

“Commencement Eve Pops: The Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber” is a DFT Communication Pops Series event presented as part of the 2022-23 Lake Shore Savings Season at Rockefeller Arts Center.

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