The California State University, Dominguez Hills Division of Performing, Visual and Digital Media Arts, and the Department of Music will host the Fifth Annual Rod Butler Memorial Festival of the Arts and scholarship fundraiser on Thursday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the University Theatre.
A blending of music, dance, and digital media arts will offer guests an evening of eclectic artistic entertainment and an opportunity to contribute to the Rod Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund, benefiting CSU Dominguez Hills music students, in honor of the late Rodney H. Butler, who had a distinguished career as a professor of music at the university from 1991 up to his sudden death in 2007.
Remembering Butler, Richard Kravchak, professor and chair of the Department of Music, said, “He was a friend and mentor, and it is a privilege for me to produce and participate in this annual celebration of Rod’s life. The music department considers this to be our most important annual showcase. There will be a variety of musical styles presented, and nearly every music major will participate.”
Ranging in musical genres from jazz to classical, the program features some of Butler’s favorite artists. Faculty, students, alumni, and guest artists will perform tunes popularized by Freddie Hubbard, Duke Ellington, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Also planned are performances of original works by Kravchak and CSU Dominguez Hills faculty members Sylvia Lee Mann, conductor of the California State University, Dominguez Hills Orchestra and the Southland Symphony Orchestra, and assistant professor of music Jonathon Grasse, who will premiere of a new work written just for this occasion.
A small orchestral group will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No.5, BWV 1050,” conducted by music major and assistant orchestra conductor George Osorio, who made his on-campus conducting debut during “Holiday Inspirations” last December.
Also performing in the musical portion of the program are the CSUDH Chamber Singers, conducted by professor of music Sally Etcheto, and the CSUDH Jazz Combo.
The 17-piece Santa Ana High School Jazz Ensemble will visit the campus, performing a rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight,” directed by alumnus and former CSU Dominguez Hills assistant conductor Victor de los Santos (Class of ’07, B.A., music education).
Of his former music theory professor, de los Santos said, “Dr. Butler was very educated, and educated his students not only about music related topics but also about what true success is.”
An accomplished trombonist, composer, and music theorist, Butler was a renaissance man of sorts, possessing talents and interests beyond music and teaching, making the incorporation of additional art forms into this year’s concert a fitting tribute. Part of the program will include dances choreographed and performed by students in the dance program, and, before and after the concert, and during intermission, a combination sight-and-sound installation created by digital media arts students will be on display in the lobby of the theater.
A southern California native who lived in Redondo Beach at the time of his death, Butler graduated from CSU Dominguez Hills (Class of ’73, B.A., liberal arts) and received his Master of Arts and doctorate in music theory and composition from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The concert is open to the public. For admission, a donation of $25 from the general public, and $5 from students and seniors is requested. To make a separate donation to the Rod Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund, a downloadable form can be found at: http://cah.csudh.edu/music/RBMSFDonationform.pdf.
For more information, call the Department of Music office at (310) 243-3543 or visit http://cah.csudh.edu/music/.