A Celebration of the American Songbook

Come spend an evening with some of America's greatest music as Shepherd University Department of Music presents A Celebration of the American Songbook on Friday, October 5th and Saturday, October 6th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 7th at 3:00 p.m. in the Frank Arts Center Theater. Shepherd's talented cast will sing selections from great composers like Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Jerome Kern such as "Always," "Steppin' Out With My Baby," "Our Love Is Here To Stay," and "Look For The Silver Lining" among others in a program of music that has been woven in the fabric of the American experience!

A Celebration of the American Songbook was written by Dr. Bobb Robinson and Dr. Robert Tudor. The Shepherd University production is directed and choreographed by Dr. Richard Helldobler, with musical direction by Ken Cooper.

"While musical revues have been part of America's musical theater history, one has not been produced at Shepherd in quite sometime. A Celebration of the American Songbook will provide our students the opportunity to explore a new performance genre while at the same time perform some of America's greatest composers and lyricists from stage and screen," said Dr. Helldobler. "You won't want to miss these glorious voices performing this wonderful music!"

Dr. Richard Helldobler joins the Shepherd University Department of Music faculty this semester as Professor of Musical Theater. He comes to Shepherd from California University of Pennsylvania where he held several positions since 1990, most recently serving as the associate provost/associate vice president for academic affairs. While at California, Helldobler was the dean of the College of Liberal Arts following 10 years as chair of the Department of Theater and Dance. He also was the founding artistic director of the Mon Valley Ballet Theater, the resident dance company of the university. Dr. Richard Helldobler served as vice president for academic affairs at Shepherd University for three years before joining the Music Department and returning to teaching this fall. A graduate of the University of Toledo with a bachelor of business administration degree, Helldobler earned his master's degree in musical theater/staging and directing and his doctorate in theater from Bowling Green State University. He was an American Council on Education Fellow, completing his fellowship at Point Park University and Roosevelt University. Dr. Helldobler directed and choreographed Shepherd University's production of Candide in February 2011 and Sweeney Todd this past February.

Dr. Robert Tudor and Dr. Bobb Robinson are both new to Shepherd University this fall. Dr. Robert Tudor serves as Director of Vocal Activities, and Chair of the Department of Music at Shepherd University. His multifaceted career has included work as a professional singer, educator, and non-profit executive, including leadership positions at Jacksonville University (JU), The Florida International Festival, The Association of Boarding Schools, American Classic Voyages, and Levine School of Music. He served as Chair of the Division of Music at Jacksonville University from 2006 to 2012 before coming to Shepherd University this fall to serve as Director of Vocal Activities and Music Department Chair. Dr. Robert (Bobb) Robinson, baritone, joined Shepherd University's applied voice faculty this fall. Hailed by The Washington Post for his "charismatic stage presence" and "rich, flowing baritone", and by The Miami Herald for his "impressively effortless" singing. Dr. Robinson holds Bachelor degrees from Muskingum College and Stetson University, a Masters degree from the University of Miami, and a Doctorate from the University of Maryland. He is currently Director of Opera at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

A Celebration of the American Songbook features the talents of Shepherd music majors VanChessca Allen, Shannen Banzhoff, Johnna Leary, Megan West, Paul Cabell, Brian James, Eduardo Rivera and Matt Rothenberg. Mr. Ken Cooper is the Vocal Music Director at Washington High School in Charles Town, WV.

Admission and seating for A Celebration of the American Songbook is on a first come-first serve basis and advance sales or reservations are not available. The box office will open one hour prior to each performance. General admission is $10, $5 for students 18 and under, and free to Shepherd students with Rambler ID and Friends of Music MAC Cardholders. For more information call 304-876-5555.