The RMHC is blessed with an advisory group of some of the best minds there are in our areas of study. They have provided extraordinary support and advice every step of the way. The region owes them a debt of gratitude and we humbly acknowledge their service.
Robert Willey received his MA degree in computer music and PhD in music (theoretical studies) from the University of California, San Diego. After assisting a music technology exchange program for five years between U.C.S.D, Stanford University, and a studio in Buenos Aires funded by the Rockefeller Foundation he spent two years in Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor of computer music composition and performance, chamber music, improvisation, arranging, and distance education course design. After returning to the U.S. Willey taught popular music theory, computer literacy, and rock band at the State University of New York - Oneonta for three years, and then spent ten years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he taught music theory, technology, synthesis, recording, live sound, music appreciation, music industry, and jazz combo, while engaged in the unique musical culture of South Louisiana. He has published method books on Louisiana Creole fiddle and Brazilian piano, and is currently writing a music technology textbook and arranging the player piano Studies of Conlon Nancarrow. In 2013 Willey became director of Music Media Production and Industry at Ball State, where he is teaching music business, songwriting, and senior projects.
Dominic Murcott is a composer, percussionist, curator and educator based in London. Much of his work combines acoustic instruments with computer work and other media. He has a continuing interest in work that is personalised for specific performers and has created acoustic/electronic pieces for trumpeter Noel Langley, percussionist Joby Burgess, clarinetist Joan Enric Lluna, harpist Sioned Williams and the Elysian String Quartet among many others.
2013 marked the tenth anniversary of his becoming Head of Composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. The Composition Department has become renowned for its inventive "fine arts" approach to music making and the integration of traditional and sonic arts within the curriculum.
He has taken an unusual path to his current position, starting out as a self-taught musician, his early career included playing drums with no-wave pioneers Blurt and composing for the highly successful V-Tol Dance Company throughout their ten-year history. Changing from drums to vibraphone he became a member of art-pop band The High Llamas and has played on records by many influential artists including Stereolab and Pavement. His PhD is from Goldsmiths College, University of London and explores the relationship between computers, performers and film as well as devising methods of live score generation.
In April 2012 he curated the critically acclaimed festival "Impossible Brilliance: The Music of Conlon Nancarrow" at London's Southbank Centre, contributing among other things new Nancarrow arrangements for the London Sinfonietta. After several years of research he has become one a small number of Nancarrow experts and has throughout the UK as well as in Japan, the US and Mexico City on the subject. Dr. Joshua Rifkin, Boston University, B.S., The Julliard School; M.F.A., Princeton University. Joshua Rifkin's life as a musician and scholar has spanned Renaissance motets and ragtime masters, Bach cantatas and Baroque Beatles. (Murcott continued) He has conducted major orchestras, ensembles, and opera companies throughout much of the world, and compiled an extensive discography ranging from the fifteenth-century chanson master Antoine Busnoys to Mexican modernist Silvestre Revueltas. The Bach Ensemble, which he founded in 1978, won Britain's Gramophone Award for its pathbreaking recording of the Mass in B Minor, and has toured widely in the U.S. and Europe. Rifkin's list of scholarly publications covers topics from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on Josquin Desprez, Heinrich Schutz, and J. S. Bach; his edition of the B Minor Mass, published by Breitkopf & Hartel, presented the first critical text of this standard work. Subjects of recent studies include authenticity and chronology in Josquin; provenance and production of Renaissance music manuscripts; stylistic development of the motet around 1500; album entries by Heinrich Schutz; questions of performance in Bach; and Anton Webern's relationship to early music. Joshua Rifkin has received honorary doctorates from the University of Dortmund, Germany, and the Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland. His most recent CD, Vivat Leo! Music for a Medici Pope with the vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis, has won France's Diapason d'or. With the Bach Ensemble, he directs the festival Bach: Sommer in Arnstadt, Germany, and he has held the first residence at the Huis van de Polyfonie established by the Alamire Foundation in Leuven, Belgium.
John Tennison, M.D., was born in 1968 in Texarkana, Texas. After completing his bachelor's degree in psychology at Johns Hopkins University, he earned his M.D. degree at Stanford University in 1998. Tennison grew up playing Boogie Woogie. Tennison's exposure to and interest in Boogie Woogie are a direct consequence of Texarkana's Boogie Woogie heritage. Currently, Tennison performs Boogie Woogie at sites throughout Texas, including his current home base of San Antonio. Tennison performed in Europe at Silvan Zingg's International Boogie Festival in Switzerland in 2006. Tennison plays Boogie Woogie as a form of daily yogic meditation. Tennison's Boogie Woogie performances are highly-original and in the spirit of "free jazz." Tennison's Boogie Woogies are improvisatory to the degree of not only improvising melodic and rhythmic elements, but also of improvising harmonic changes, tempo changes, and meter changes. When playing Boogie Woogie, Tennison applies an alternate tuning system that he invented, called Quantonality.
Tennison began researching the history of Boogie Woogie in 1985. In 2004, Tennison founded The Boogie Woogie Foundation (BoWoFo), a non-profit organization established to foster research, to promote, and to increase the general public knowledge of the origin, history, and broad influence that the Boogie Woogie style has had. The BoWoFo website is at www.bowofo.org. Tennison is widely considered the world's top authority on the history of Boogie Woogie and plans to write a book that will address the early history of Boogie Woogie. Tennison's book will focus on the evolution of Boogie Woogie from the 1870s through 1930
Conductor Rick Benjamin has built a career on the discovery and performance of lost American music from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. He is the founder and director of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, which uses his extraordinary 20,000-title collection of antique theater and dance orchestra scores (c.1875-1925) as the basis of its repertoire. In addition to his work with Paragon, Mr. Benjamin maintains active careers as a pianist, arranger, and tubist. As a guest conductor he has led many other ensembles, including the National Orchestra of Ireland (Dublin), the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Aarhus and Aalborg Symfoniorkesters (both Denmark), the Olympia Symphony (Washington State), the Erie Philharmonic, and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Reykjavik).
Mr. Benjamin is also the leading conductor of music for silent films, with more than 600 screenings to his credit. His research in early movie music is extensive and ongoing, and has led to Mr. Benjamin's creation of one of the world's best archives of silent film scores - nearly 1,000 titles ranging from 1898 to 1928. His articles on American music appear in several international publications, and lecture tours have taken him to more than 100 colleges and universities across North America. Mr. Benjamin's reconstruction of the Scott Joplin opera Treemonisha was premiered to great acclaim in San Francisco, tours, and was recently recorded by Mr. Benjamin and the PRO in a 2-CD album set for New World Records. Rick Benjamin is continuing work on his books The American Theater Orchestra and Encyclopedia of Arrangers & Orchestrators: 1875-1925. He is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (www.grammy.org).
"I started the Temptations in 1961 by surrounding myself with four of the best singers I could find. It took the group 3 years to get the first #1 hit and subsequent tour with "My Girl". Just like the Beatles, we were a group. Not a lead singer with background harmonies, but a group. We could all sing lead and we all sang harmonies. Since then, I have stayed true to my formula. For 49 years, I have surrounded myself with the best vocal talent, musicians and writers that I could find in order to deliver the great music and shows that people have come to expect from the Temptations. Running a band for 49 years is not easy, but it is what I do & I love it. It was God's calling for me."
Roy studied electrical engineering at the University of Texas. However, his main training was as the direct heir to Paul W. Klipsch who passed his legendary knowledge of loudspeaker design to Roy. Roy will serve the RMHC in ensuring the integrity and accuracy of all audio reproduction chains.
Pat Cupp was raised in a musical family. His father, Burton Cupp and was a drummer and mother Ruth, was a piano player. His brothers played the piano and sister sang. His father taught him to play the tenor guitar (4 strings) which also allowed him to play tenor banjo Dixieland style. He got his first six string guitar when he was eleven years old after playing a stage show in Dierks, Arkansas which yielded six dollars and his dad made up the rest to purchase a guitar which cost fifteen dollars. He used this guitar until he was 18 years old and began recording.
He signed his record contract in May 1956 and subsequently appeared on stage shows with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, George Jones, Johnny Horton, Johnny Carroll, Tommy Sands, Jim Ed and Maxine Brown and a host of others.
Saucers. Pat Cupp and the Flying Saucers made their first recordings in 1956 at the Radio Ranch - KWKH - in Shreveport. The group recorded tunes written by Pat, including: "Do Me No Wrong," "Baby Come Back," and "Long Gone Daddy." This last tune is most remembered by Rockabilly fans in the United States and overseas.
Pat participated in the "Elvis Experience" in a memorable way. According to Pat, he and Dr. Carl "Cheesie" Nelson, now President of Texarkana College, were asked by a frantic promoter to fill in for Presley whose car had broken down. Elvis arrived in time to listen to Pat and "Cheesie." At the end of the performance, Presley came onto the stage to thank the men before the audience. It would not be their last meeting. The life and legend of Pat Cupp was recently celebrated at a worldwide gathering in Hemsby, England, 150 miles north of London in 1995. His old records were remade into CD's, old photographs were reprinted, and the recovery of a man's fame, never expected in his most "far out" fantasy, was made. According to Pat, "I finally was a star."
Larry Tedder has worked in Radio Broadcasting and the Music field since 1985. Studied and received an Associates Degree in Radio and TV Broadcasting and Production from Texarkana College. He is a 30+ year record collector and his collection spans the century from early cylinder recordings right up to the end of the 78rpm era. He became interested in and began working in the preservation of historic sound recordings in 1999, and since that time has organized American Sound Archives specializing in archiving of early 20th century recordings. His most recent work is with Document Records (a record company in Scotland), issuing the unreleased recordings from The Thomas Edison Company made between 1915-1929.
Ezra Charles is Houston's favorite piano player, having won the Houston PressMusic Award for Best Keyboardist six times, most recently in 2013. A native of Texarkana, he grew up in Beaumont, Texas. His first band experience (at age 14) was "Johnny and the Jammers." consisting of himself, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, and a drummer. Moving to Houston to earn E.E. degrees from Rice University, he organized Thursday's Children, now widely regarded among the most influential Texas garage bands of the Sixties. While a graduate student at Rice, he solved a problem that had plagued piano players for decades by inventing the Helpinstill Piano Pickup, bearing his given last name, and dominating the world-wide field of piano amplification to this day. Musically, he spent most of the Seventies preparing for his career as a Blues master, being personally mentored by Leon Russell, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Professor Longhair. He organized his own band in the early 80's and quickly established a reputation for showmanship and innovation. As a singer-songwriter-frontman he was famous for flashy piano antics, all-girl horn sections, and setting his piano on fire, but, after releasing ten CD's, and creating a significant body of original material loved by his fans both in Texas and in Europe, he retired from the band business in 2014. He now he is exploring his lifelong fascination with boogie-woogie in his one-man show, "The Story of Boogie-Woogie."
Alan Feinberg, RA, AICP was born and raised in Texarkana. Starting with his grandfather, Sol, and continuing with his father, Stern and brother Stern, Jr., the family owned and operated the Hotel Savoy, and two Howard Johnsons as well as properties in Austin and Corpus Christi. Alan chose a different path and received an architectural degree from the University of Texas in Austin where his thesis was on downtown Texarkana and State Line Avenue. In the Vietnam war, he served four years and become a Captain in the Air Force which landed him in the Washington Metropolitan Area. For the past two decades, Alan has resided in the Reston, DC, the surrounding jurisdictions, and finally in Frederick, Maryland. He attended the Graduate School in Planning & Management Science of George Washington University, where he was a teaching fellow. Next, Alan worked on a large new town and a variety of other projects and then, while on the staff of a small planning firm he did international development work in Africa and the South Pacific as well as many successful projects in the US.
Alan served as a Principal Urban Designer with Prince George's County, Maryland's Planning Department, for over five years, reviewing and facilitating a myriad of large and small large development projects. He also served as head of planning for a large engineering firm and was the planning coordinator and for a parking authority.
His own firm, FeinDesign, did an award winning parking study for Ellicott City, Maryland and many other projects, and was a key part of the team that won $35 million HOPE VI grant for Norfolk, Virginia, which has become one of the most successful redevelopment projects in the country. He was an adviser to groups involved in rebuilding Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and his work on creatively re-envisioning small towns includes assembling a blue-ribbon panel to re-imagine La Plata, Maryland. For the last decade he founded and is a major promoter and facilitator for East Frederick Rising,
Mr. Feinberg is a registered architect and a charter member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Roseanna Vitro Born in Hot Springs and raised in Texarkana, Arkansas, Roseanna began singing at an early age, drawing inspiration from various musical genres like gospel, rock, and R&B, theatre, and classical music. Initially, Vitro was determined to be a rock singer. She was exposed to jazz and it became her genre of choice after moving to Houston in the 1970s. Jazz voice coach, Ray Sullenger, discovered Roseanna and presented her to the Houston Jazz Community where she sang frequently with Arnett Cobb, the Texas Tenor.
In 1978 she moved to New York City and started performing with Kenny Werner and Fred Hersch. She also sat in with and ultimately toured with Lionel Hampton. While gigging at Fat Tuesday's, Lou Marini branded Roseanna "The Texas Tornado." In 2005 she performed and recorded live with Kenny Werner at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, one of 6 recordings with Werner.
Vitro is an active performer, touring throughout the United States and abroad. She has been broadcast on WBGO-FM (Newark, New Jersey) and on National Public Radio, Marian McPartland's Program. She has recorded fourteen critically acclaimed CDs and toured throughout the United States. The 2011 recording The Music of Randy Newman received 4 1/2 stars in Downbeat Magazine and was nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award in the category of Best Vocal Jazz Album.
In addition to being a critically acclaimed performer and recording artist, Vitro is a teacher and clinician. She taught Vocal Jazz at State University of New York at Purchase, was Jazz Vocal Chair at New Jersey City University for 16 year, and 13 years at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Jazz for Teens program. She holds frequent workshops, clinics, and master classes. She has studied classical voice, ear-training, classical Indian vocal technique, Portuguese language, piano, and jazz technique and concept.
Having served as an official Jazz Ambassador on two tours, sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center, U.S. State Department, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, she has presented concerts and workshops around the world.
James Greeson retired in 2015 as a Professor of Composition and Music Theory in the Department of Music at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He received his doctorate in composition from the University of Wisconsin and MM and BM from the University of Utah (Magna cum Laude). His compositions have been published by Oriana Press, Cor Publishing, Willis Music and SeeSaw Publishers. In recent years he has focused on composing sound tracks to documentaries for public My picture should be here - I'm very handsome... television and has completed nine of them which have been broadcast in both the US and Canada. In 2009 was awarded an Emmy for his score for the PBS documentary "The Buffalo Flows." Two other soundtracks have been nominated for Emmy awards.
Michael Inman, Yamaha Corporation of America Institutional Sales Manager, Central Region
Michelle Griffith Hamilton, Music Industry Expert, Hamiltone Music Group.
Brian Goesl, Executive Director, Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Counsel.
Genia Bullock, Marketing and PR Director and chair of the TRAHC African-American Committee
Mayor Ruth Penny Bell, Texarkana, AR