The magazine for the Department of Music & Theatre at
Iowa State University

Faculty and staff honors and creative activities

Read about the Department of Music and Theatre’s award-winning faculty and staff, and their latest creative and scholarly endeavors.

Will Coeur, resident lighting designer and production manager, presented at the Mid-America Theatre Conference. His design for ISU Theatre’s “Songs for a New World” received a national award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) for Distinguished Achievement in Lighting Design. Coeur was also recognized for scenic and projection design.

Michael Golemo, director of bands, conducted several honor bands across the nation. His composition “Meant for the World” was commissioned and performed by the Urbandale (Iowa) High School wind ensemble and choir. His transcription of Z. Randall Stroope’s “Magnificat” was published by Alliance Music Publishing. Golemo also had two pieces published by Timeworks LLC.

Christopher Hopkins, professor of music composition, received a MacDowell Fellowship to support Galilei Dialogues, a project that involves editing the music of Vincenzo Galilei, father of Galileo, and composing a modern work based on Galilei’s style. Hopkins also premiered a new work in his “Arched Interiors” series of electroacoustic compositions at the Library of Congress.

Joshua Johnson, associate teaching professor of music, performed with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, and the Omaha Symphony. Johnson is part of a consortium for a new horn sonata by brass composer, Anthony Plog. He is collaborating with composer Adam Wolf on a new solo work for Wagner tuba.

Tiffany Johnson, assistant professor of theatre practice, directed “In the Upper Room” for Pyramid Theatre Company and co-directed “Buffalo Women,” co-produced by Pyramid Theatre Company and The Des Moines Playhouse. “Facing Our Truth: Short Plays on Trayvon, Race, and Privilege,” an ISU Theatre production Johnson directed last year, earned several national awards from KCACTF.

Charissa Menefee, professor of English and theatre, received the 2022-23 LAS Humanities Scholarship Enhancement Initiative Award. Menefee was guest director at the New Play Lab of the William Inge Theatre Festival and was a guest artist for Eco-Theatre and Playwriting at Floating World Productions. Her play “Slobber and Snarl” was published in “Ludlow Charlington’s Doghouse,” and her plays “Marked Cards” and “Tennessee Rook” were published in the “States of Play” series.

Cason Murphy, assistant professor of theatre, received the Prize for Innovative Teaching at KCACTF. In addition, Murphy was elected to a two-year term as vice president of the Mid-America Theatre Conference. He also presented his research at multiple conferences.

Doris Nash, costume shop supervisor, designed the costumes for ISU Theatre’s “Facing Our Truth,” which earned a national costume-design award from KCACTF.

Amanda Petefish-Schrag, associate professor of theatre, received the 2022 Cassling Innovation Award. She presented at the Entomological Society of America Joint Annual Meeting, and at the Mid-America Theatre Conference with Tiffany Antone, assistant teaching professor of theatre.

Jennifer Rodgers, assistant director of choral activities and assistant teaching professor of voice, conducted a mass choir at Carnegie Hall in May 2023. Rodgers was named artistic director of Ames Chamber Artists in January. She also accepted a vocalist position with Chicago-based withonevoice.

Kelly Schaefer, teaching professor of theatre, designed the costumes for “A Christmas Carol” at Iowa Stage Theatre Company. Her costumes for ISU Theatre’s “Songs for a New World” received a national award from KCACTF, and her designs for ISU Theatre’s “Night of the Living Dead” were part of KCACTF’s invitation-only costume parade.

Jonathan Sharp, associate professor of music, was a soloist at the 2022 National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy. He presented a lecture about percussionist Glenn Kotche at the 2022 International Drumkit Studies Conference. Sharp was awarded a Digital Research Grant from Iowa State’s Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities.

Chad Sonka, assistant teaching professor of music, was named a 2023 Jerry Shakeshaft Master Teacher. Sonka directed the opera “Charlie and the Wolf” by Dave Ragland Jr. for Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Opera’s outreach program.

Christina Svec, associate professor of music education, conducted the 2023 Iowa Music Educators Association 5th/6th Grade Opus Honor Choir and the North Central Iowa Choral Director’s Association 5th/6th Grade Honor Choir. She also presented her research at several conferences.