Centenary celebrates music school dean Gale Odom with recital April 21

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College’s Hurley School of Music will present a vocal recital in celebration of the retirement of Dr. Gale Odom, Dean of the Hurley School of Music. The program will take place in the Anderson Auditorium on the Centenary campus at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 21. The recital will feature Odom and two Centenary alumnae, sopranos Melanie Russell and Nancy Carey, accompanied by former Centenary faculty member, Dr. Gay Grosz. The program is free and open to the public, with a reception following at the Symphony Guild House, 2803 Woodlawn, across from the School of Music.

“This is an exciting time for me, as I look forward to exploring different activities in retirement.  It is also bittersweet, because Centenary has been at the center of my work life for so long,” says Odom.  “I am thrilled that two of my alumnae will be singing with me in the concert.”

Odom has been Dean of the Hurley School of Music at Centenary College since 1998. She holds BM and DMA degrees from the University of North Texas and an MM from Indiana University, all in Vocal Performance. A regional artist who sang frequently throughout Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, she has performed over 30 opera roles, including Marie in Daughter of the Regiment, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Micäela in Carmen, and Hanna in The Merry Widow. Her numerous oratorio and concert appearances include the Mahler 4th Symphony, Mozart’s Great Mass in C and Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder. Musical theater roles have included Johanna in Sweeney Todd and Cinderella in Into the Woods, and she was the Church Singer in the motion picture Steel Magnolias. A former regional governor of National Association of Teachers of Singing, she is on the Board of the NATS Foundation and has served as Chair of Region 9 in the National Association of Schools of Music.

New Orleans area native Melanie Russell made her NYC debut in August 2008 with Opera Omnia’s premiere production, The Coronation of Poppea. In addition to freelancing in the NYC area and around the US, she toured internationally for three years with Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach. Recent notable appearances include Handel’s Messiah (Lincoln Center, NYC; San Diego, CA; Kansas City, MO), Monteverdi's Vespers (Voices of Ascension, NYC), Webern’s Opus 18 (St. Paul’s Chapel, NYC), Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonnelle under the direction of Steven Fox, Lisa Bielawa's Vireo (The Stone, NYC), and an abridged version of The Magic Flute (Queen of the Night/ Papagena) with ACO’s "Classical Music for Kids" outreach program (NYC). Melanie regularly performs with choral and early music ensembles around the U.S., including Bach Collegium San Diego, Antioch, Spire, TENET, Clarion Music Society, The Thirteen, and Trinity Wall Street. She was thrilled to sing with The Rolling Stones during their US tour (you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you can!), and with Andrea Bocelli as part of NBC’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting. An enthusiast of new music as well, she is proud to have been a part of performing and recording two Pulitzer Prize-winning compositions: Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields and Du Yun’s Angel’s Bone. Favorite staged roles include Adele (Die Fledermaus), Marian Paroo (The Music Man), Tuptim (The King and I), and Maria Elena Holly (Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story). Melanie holds the Artist Diploma in Voice from Yale University/Institute of Sacred Music, as well as performance degrees from Loyola University New Orleans and Centenary College of Louisiana, where she was a grateful recipient of the Mary C. White Scholarship.

Soprano Nancy Carey was recently featured in the title role of Opera Memphis' 2017 Midtown Opera Festival production of The Lovely Galatea. Other recent opera roles include Edith in Pirates of Penzance with Shreveport Opera and Nella in University of Memphis' production of Gianni Schicchi. Nancy originated the role of "Tish" in the critically acclaimed premier of Destiny: Hope, a chamber opera by composer Costas Dafnis in 2015. Other roles include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Giannetta  in L’elisir d’amore, and Flora in La Traviata. Recent engagements include concerts with Shreveport Symphony Orchestra and South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. A 2016 winner of the Marjorie Stricklin Emerging Artists Competition, she has performed with Austin Lyric Opera, LSU Opera, La Musica Lirica, and Louisiana Opera Outreach Program. Nancy is currently completing a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at the University of Memphis. She holds a Master of Music degree from LSU and Bachelor of Music degree from Centenary College, where she is currently an instructor in voice.

Pianist Gay Grosz is Director of Music Ministries at First United Methodist Church of Minden, Louisiana. She was formerly on the faculty of Centenary College, where she taught piano, accompanying, music theory, and chamber music. She received her BM degree from Centenary and her MM and DMA degrees from Louisiana State University, where she studied with Constance Knox Carroll. Grosz has been one of the official accompanists for the Shreveport Symphony’s Nena Plant Wideman Piano Competition and is a past finalist of that competition.  She has performed with the Marshall Symphony Orchestra and Shreveport Symphony Orchestra. She also performs with the Baroque Artists of Shreveport and is a member of the Evangeline Trio. Grosz is a past recipient of the Ronald Brothers Accompanying Award, given by the National Association of Teachers of Singing Southern Region.