Music Students Perform in Local Arts Festival

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Six Westminster College music majors and their adviser performed at the Arts on the Riverwalk Festival July 12 in New Castle.

"The Human Voice: Singing like an Opera Singer" was written and directed by Dr. Anne Hagan Bentz, Westminster associate professor of music.  The program, targeting middle-school-aged children, was led by music education major Joseph Spurio and music performance major Danielle Smith.  Their lively interactive program included singing, balloons, and kazoos.

Spurio is a son of William and Darlene Spurio of Hubbard, Ohio, and a graduate of Hubbaard High School.

Smith is a daughter of Christopher Smith, Kennerdell, and Lucija Jezovnik, Kennerdell, and a graduate of Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

The finale featured an abbreviated version of Mozart's Magic Flute with music education major Mark Hockenberry in the role of the powerful priest, Sarastro, and music performance major Alexis Musgrove as the Queen of the Night. 

Hockenberry is a son of Michael and MaryBeth Hockenberry of Hanover and a graduate of South Western High School.

Musgrove is a daughter of JoAnn Musgrove of Southington, Ohio, and a graduate of Warren G. Harding High School.

In a second event, Opera Gala, Hockenberry, Musgrove, Smith, and Spurio were joined by exploratory major Matthew Benzenhoefer and music performance major Becca Bly.  Completing the ensemble were recent alumna Kathleen Bachtel, now a graduate student in vocal performance, and professional opera singer Jennifer Davis Jones.  Master of ceremonies, Dr. Allan Mosher, New Castle Lyric Opera board member, led the audience through stories of opera illustrated by arias and duets from well-known operatic repertoire.  New Castle Lyric Opera board member Kathryn Mansell provided accompaniment.

Benzenhoefer is a son of Robert and Catherine Benzenhoefer of Gibsonia and a graduate of Hampton High School.

Bly is a daughter of Jeffrey and Amy Bly of Chicora and a graduate of Karns City Area High School.

Both events were sponsored by the New Castle Lyric Opera.

Contact Bentz at 724-946-6045 or email for more information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 378 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.