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Kennedy Center honors WSU theatre faculty for teaching excellence

Mary Trotter, left, and Benjamin Gonzales
Trotter and Gonzalez

Washington State University theatre faculty Benjamin Gonzales and Mary Trotter received separate awards for outstanding and innovative teaching at this years’ Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VII, held Feb. 19-23 in Spokane.

Outstanding and Innovative Teaching and Service

Gonzales, a clinical associate professor and WSU faculty member since 2003, received the Horace Robinson/Jack Watson Award.  It is presented, each year, to a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region VII faculty member who has shown dedication and support for their students above and beyond the normal duties expected of university faculty.

Trotter, a clinical assistant professor at WSU since 2011, was awarded with the Region VII Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)/KCACTF Prize for Innovative Teaching. This prize is awarded for innovative teaching that supports student success in the area of theatre arts.

KCACTF Region VII includes Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, northern California and northern Nevada and is attended by more than one thousand faculty and students each year.

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WSU Insider

From Pullman to Star Wars

Musician Paul Henning, WSU alumnus and Pullman native, to speak at university

Paul HenningStaring out at Kamiak Butte from Washington State University’s campus about 20 years, Pullman native Paul Henning, just like so many other college students, wondered what direction his life was going.

The young music major couldn’t have imagined that he would soon be living in Los Angeles, working in the film scoring business, nor that nearly 20 years later, he would be part of the team working on the newest “Star Wars” films.

“I remember being in those seats and having no idea what to do,” Henning said of his time at WSU.

Henning, who has now been working in LA since 2000, will return to Pullman next week where he will deliver various presentations throughout the week. His main presentation is set at 7 p.m. Monday in the CUB Auditorium, during which he will share his story of going from Pullman to working on the score for “Star Wars.”

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Northwest Public Radio

More than just music at WSU

Co-assistant leaders of WSU Marching Band say job is about forming bonds, spreading Cougar spirit

Experiencing a Washington State University football game or sporting event would not quite be the same with a recorded playing of the fight song or without the steady beat of a drum line.

Sarah Miller
Brent Edwards

“Think about what would happen if there was no music,” said Brent Edwards, co-assistant director of the Washington State University Marching Band and instructor in the School of Music.

The marching band delivers something unique not only to the university, but to the community as a whole. Edwards and his co-assistant director, Sarah Miller, clinical assistant professor of music, are part of the team that builds that ever-spirited group of musicians.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Is Elvis still the King? After 40 years, maybe not so much

Forty years ago, Elvis Presley died in his Memphis, Tenn., home. The man dubbed “the King of Rock ’n’ Roll” continues to sell records to collectors and lifelong fans, but the question of exactly how strongly he is influencing today’s artists generates mixed responses from musicians and others in the region.

Frederick David Snider
Dave Snider

“I really think that Elvis Presley is a name only — I don’t really think he influences anyone anymore,” said Dave Snider, a music instructor at Washington State University, where he teaches a rock ’n’ roll history course.

Snider said Presley’s name elicits a reaction from students whose grandparents might have seen him, but some of those students don’t know what he looked like or really even know who he was.

Students know enough to associate the name with someone who was very cool at one time, but many of them can’t name any specific songs, Snider said.

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Yakima Herald

Inspiring the next generation of musicians

WSU continues 28-year tradition with youth camp

Thirty-four adolescent musicians, adorned in matching red T-shirts, invaded the Washington State University Pullman campus on Sunday for the university’s week-long Summer Keyboard Exploration. They came from as far away as Singapore and as close as the Palouse.

The program, now in its 28th year, allowed the 7th- through 12th-grade performers the chance to improve themselves musically as well as worldly by working with the university’s School of Music faculty, studying classical and jazz piano, improvisation and organ.

Jeffrey Savage
Jeffrey Savage

WSU music professor Dr. Jeffrey Savage said the students had the opportunity to work with a different instructor each day of the camp, individually and together in a group setting during several master classes, concentrating on solo performance literature, technique and ensemble playing.

“I think they come away from the camp really inspired,” Savage said. “To get to know them as young students and then to help them develop as college students is really a treat.”

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