October 7, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Pops in the Park Benefits VSU Music Scholarships

Special guests Kenyon Carter, on saxophone, and Tania Myers, on vocals, will join VSU's Jazz Ensemble, New Jazz Ensemble, and Faculty Jazz Combo onstage during the 2014 Pops in the Park on Thursday, Oct. 16.  

~2014-2015 is the Year of the Arts at Valdosta State University~

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s Music Scholarship Alliance will host Pops in the Park from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16. General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for students and senior citizens, and free for children ages 12 and under.

Pops in the Park will feature entertaining performances by VSU’s Steel Drum Band, directed by Paul Campiglia; The Spotlighters, directed by Dr. Paul Neal; Faculty Jazz Combo; New Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dr. Joren Cain; and Jazz Ensemble, directed by David Springfield. Special guests Kenyon Carter, on saxophone, and Tania Myers, on vocals, will join both jazz ensembles and the faculty combo onstage.

Raised in South Georgia, Carter picked up his first saxophone at the age of 13, and he went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in jazz performance and music education at VSU, as well as a master’s degree in jazz studies from Georgia State University. He lives in Atlanta and is a jazz saxophonist and recording artist known for his smooth, melodic jazz compositions and engaging live performances. His most recent album — “Songs For My Father” — debuted at No. 4 on the iTunes Top Jazz Album Chart. It features jazz arrangements of 10 of his all-time favorite gospel hymns and is dedicated to his father, Kent Carter, who died in early 2013.

Myers graduated from VSU in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in music education. As a member of the Blazer Nation, she studied piano and performed regularly with the university’s Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Concert Band. She continued her education at Troy State University, earning a master’s degree in education in 1997. A veteran teacher with 24 years of experience, she serves as the choral director at Coffee High School in Douglas and as organist for the First Methodist Church of Douglas. She also works part time as choral director at South Georgia College.

Proceeds from Pops in the Park will benefit scholarships for students studying in the Department of Music at VSU. Dr. Doug Farwell, department head, said that the Music Scholarship Alliance raised a little more than $4,000 during the 2013 fundraiser. He described the annual event as an opportunity to invest in students.

“Due to having to perform and work during the evenings and on weekends,” he said, “music students have a difficult time scheduling work outside of school.

“Any scholarship money is welcome and enables them to progress through their degree programs quicker and with less debt. Additionally, music students have to bear the burden of purchasing instruments, some of which can cost in excess of $15,000.” 

Farwell said Pops in the Park is great family entertainment and encouraged parents to bring their children.

Pops in the Park attendees are welcome to bring their outdoor folding chairs, picnic dinners, and blankets and enjoy an evening of musical performances at the Fine Arts Building Amphitheatre. Tables of up to eight and catered meals featuring a selection of sandwiches, dips, and picnic salads by Valdosta State University Catering are also available with advanced reservations.

To purchase tickets or make a table reservation, please call the College of the Arts Outreach Office at (229) 333-2150. Tickets will also be available at the door.

To book Valdosta State University Catering, please call (229) 259-5510 no later than Oct. 10.

Please call (229) 251-0166 for more information.

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Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

Scholarship fundraisers like Pops in the Park meet the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 2: Increase financial support for the institution. 

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.