PVUMC hosts “Southern Comfort,” a concert featuring music of the American South, on Friday, January 15, 2016 at 7 pm in the PVUMC Sanctuary. Come hear Soprano Nina Cole, Tenor Tommy Strawser, and Pianist Andria Fennig sing and play a variety of music in support of PVUMC’s Piano Fund.


Southern Comfort is a vocal performance based on themes, texts, dialect, and music from the American South, and includes a potpourri of solo and duet selections. Highlights include Kenneth Frazelle’s Appalachian Song Book, Vol 1. And 2, William Grant Still’s opera, Troubled Island, and selections from Southern-inspired musicals: Memphis, Show Boat, Floyd Collins, and Violet.


Join us for this new vocal presentation of classics, hymns, folk songs, and musical theatre selections featuring themes from the South performed by Nina Cole Garguilo and Thomas Strawser, and accompanied on piano by Andria Fennig.
The proposed program for Southern Comfort includes:
Appalachian Songbook 1 & 2 by Kenneth Frazelle

“Wondrous Love”
“The Cuckoo”
“Our Good Man”
“Barbra Allen”
“Billy Boy”
“Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss”
“Pretty Saro”
“In East Virginny”
“Charmin’ Birdie”
“Old Joe Clark”

Opera Selections by William Grant Still
Children of the World
Give me no body without your soul
Listen Mary, Trust Me!

Second Hurricane by Aaron Copland
Queenie’s Song

Southern-Inspired musical theatre pieces:
“You are Love” from Showboat
“Music of My Soul” from Memphis
“Surprised” from Violet
“Heart an’ Hand” from Floyd Collins
Tommy Strawser-WebThomas Strawser, tenor, a native of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, enjoys a diverse career in opera, musical theatre, choral performance, and staged theatre. Stage credits as a former resident artist for Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, College Light Opera Company in Massachusetts, and Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, PA, include “Elder Hayes” (Susannah), “Marco” (The Gondoliers), and “Slim” (Oklahoma!). Other favorite roles include “Matt” (The Fantasticks), “Alfred” (Die Fledermaus), “Horst” (Bent) and “Dr. Parker” (Bay Boy). Thomas has professional choral experience as a member of The Philadelphia Singers, Solis Camerata, the Grammy-award winning Phoenix Chorale, as well as a choral residency at St. Alban’s Cathedral in St. Alban, England. Thomas currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona where he is part of the Acting Company at Childsplay, Assistant Music Director at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church, and is a founding director of A/C Theatre Company, the newest resident theatre company at Phoenix Theatre. He leads the PVUMC Youth Choir, and often directs the Chancel Choir at 9:30 am and sings with the worship band at IGNITE, PVUMC’s distinctively different contemporary service at 11:15 am in the chapel. Thomas holds a Master of Music in Opera/Musical Theatre Performance from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.


NinaCole-WebNina Cole Garguilo, soprano, was most recently seen as Despina in Così fan tutte. She has also performed roles including Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Bellomy (The Fantasticks), and Fleta (Iolanthe) and in scenes as Maria (West Side Story). In the summer of 2013, Nina sang the title role in Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank at the Mittelsächsisches Theater in Freiberg, Germany.

In addition to opera and musical theatre performances, Nina has been a featured soloist in many choral works. While obtaining her bachelor’s degree at the University of Mississippi, Nina was a soloist for Ola Gjeilo’s “Tundra” and his premieres of “Liberation of Ellisbell” and “New York I & II”. In 2012, she began work as a professional chorister with the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale. In 2015, Nina was a featured soloist for “Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit” in the Phoenix Chorale’s performances of Brahm’s Ein deutsches Requiem.
A teacher as well as a singing artist, Nina loves helping students of all ages and abilities and aims to instill confidence in her students, whether they be learning new techniques or preparing for stage performance. As an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, she stays current with new developments in voice and performance. Nina is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at Arizona State University. Her current research focuses on American Music. She finds joy in exploring its style and traits, especially dialect, and she seeks to promote American Opera, Art Song, and Broadway repertoire in her own work as well as in her teaching.


Andria001WebAndria Fennig, piano, received her doctorate of music in piano performance from Arizona State University in 2002. She has served on the faculties at AZ State University; the University of Hawaii, Manoa; the Maricopa Community College District, and Grand Canyon University. She is founder and representative for Paradisa!, a Phoenix-based flute, cello, and piano trio. This ensemble has had the privilege to perform in several chamber arts festivals in the Southwest: Desert Foothills Musicfest; Tubac Music Festival, Abiquiu, NM; Chamber Music Festival; Lenten Concert Series in Thousand Oaks, CA, and Trinity Cathedral Chamber Arts Series. Currently, Ms. Fennig resides in Phoenix, where she performs extensively, both nationally and internationally, in new music ensembles, Broadway theatre pits, and chamber music organizations. She has served as Coach-Accompanist with the Hawaii Opera, Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus, Arizona Opera Company, and Phoenix Chorale, performing for several educational outreach and fund-raising activities. In addition to her classical endeavors, she also regularly performs as a pit musician for several Broadway touring productions including Wicked, Book of Mormon, Cinderella, Phantom of the Opera, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Ms. Fennig is an avid promoter and performer of avant-garde chamber repertoire, and has performed with KRUSTA, Crossing 32nd Street, and LINKS ensembles: four chamber ensembles devoted to the performance and appreciation of recently composed works for numerous instrumentation combinations. Ms. Fennig is worship accompanist and Director of Contemporary Worship Arts at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church. She enjoys teaching a large studio of private pupils of all ages and abilities throughout the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.


No tickets are required to attend this concert, and it’s open to the community. We’ll take a free-will offering in support of the PVUMC Piano Fund during the concert, and there will be Dueling Divas CDs for sale ($20/each), with proceeds going to the Piano Fund. The CD is a recording of the first Community Concert this year, when Andria Fennig and Ashley Snavley, music & arts director, performed the kick-off concert this season. Invite a friend to join you at for a great night of music at PVUMC!


Register to join us for our next Community Concert on Friday, January 22, 2016 — An A Cappela Evening. Click here to read more.

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