The talent of SUNY Fredonia takes center stage at the opening concert | News, Sports, Jobs

Image Submitted Eight student singers from the State University of New York at Fredonia will be featured when the Rockefeller Arts Center performs “Commencement Eve-Pops: Salute to the Big Apple” on Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. at King Concert Hall. They are (top row from left) Zachary Bills, Arden Brown, Gavin Card, Taryn Feuer and (bottom row from left) Daniel Novak, Nathaniel Peets, Lauren Teller and Vanessa Vacanti.

When the Rockefeller Arts Center presents its traditional pop extravaganza, the talented students of the State University of New York at Fredonia will be in the spotlight.

“Beginning Eve-Pops: Tribute to the Big Apple” takes place on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. at the King Concert Hall. In addition to the 17-piece Fredonia Jazz Orchestra led by Dr. Nick Weiser, eight of Fredonia’s top student singers will be featured. They are:

Zachary Bills, a first-year graduate student in the five-year Master of Music Education program, is following the choral conducting recital trail with Dr. Vernon Huff. He is also studying voice under Dr. Kimberly Upcraft. He is originally from Rochester and after graduation, he plans to pursue a career as a high school choir director. Bills is the production’s assistant voice coach

Arden Brown, a sophomore BFA in Musical Theater with a minor in Sports Coaching/Psychology from New York City, studying under Dr. Robert Strauss. She plans to pursue a career in acting.

Gavin Card, a BFA major in musical theater from Jamestown, studying with Joe Dan Harper. He intends to continue his combat education on stage and pursue a career focused on voice acting and Shakespeare. Past credits include Frollo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and Eddie in “The Wild Party.”

Taryn Feuer, a sophomore at Long Island’s BFA Musical Theater who studies with Julie Newell. Some favorite past credits include Katherine in “News” and Martha in “Spring Awakening”. She is also playing the role of Alma Winemiller in the upcoming Hillman Opera production of “Summer and Smoke” in the fall of 2022.

Daniel Novak, a sophomore in music education with a concentration in voice from Lakeview, is studying under Professor Lynne McMurtry. He plans to be a choirmaster for college or high school.

Nathaniel Peets, a second-year music education student from Webster, studying with Joe Dan Harper. This semester, he performed as Sam in the Student Opera Theater Association production of “Problems in Tahiti” and he also participated in WNYCO’s production of “Le Vin HerbÈ.”

Lauren Teller, a BFA musical theater major from Buffalo. She has had the privilege of studying voice with the exceptional Brent Weber for the past four years. She plans to move to Chicago to continue her acting work for film and live theater.

Vanessa Vacanti, musical theater major and dance minor from Baldwinsville. She was last seen in the Walter Gloor Mainstage series as Jenny and Edna in “Mr. Burns: a post-electric piece.” After graduating, Vanessa plans to move to Syracuse and audition for theaters, as well as begin performing in the area as a jazz singer.

A full evening of some of the most beloved tunes from the city that never sleeps has been chosen for this special concert, which is a Fredonia tradition spanning nearly three decades. The songs include “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” “New York, New York,” “Crush the Savoy” “The New York State of Mind” and more.

Tickets are available by phone at 716-673-3501 and online at This is a DFT Communications Pops event presented as part of Lake Shore Thrift Season.

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