Wesleyan showcases talent at annual concert


President Frederick Slabach and his wife Melany Neilson applauding the performers.

Texas Wesleyan’s Department of Music held the 22nd annual President’s Honors Concert in the Nicholas Martin Hall on Friday night.

Family, friends, and regular attendees of Wesleyan concerts chatted among each other while they waited for the first performance to start.

President Frederick Slabach; his wife Melany Neilson; and alumni Karen and Michael Burchfield hosted the concert. Barbara Boulware was the Master of Ceremonies. Boulware is a Wesleyan graduate of 1968, according to the booklet handed out at the event.

A list of all the performers at the 2018 President’s Honors Concert.
Source: The booklet handed out at the concert. Graphic by Elena Maldonado.


Part of sophomore Elizabeth Drewes’s  performance of “Come scoglio.” Audio clip by Elena Maldonado.


One of the attendees, Sandra Rodriguez, aunt of senior music major Julian Rodriguez, sat with the rest of her nephew’s family; they have seen Rodriguez perform at the President’s Honors Concert for three years in a row.

“This is a special concert because it will be his last one,” she said.

It was the third time that Rodriguez attended the President’s Honors Concert to see her nephew, but she said she tries to attend most of the shows that the department puts on.

She said she has enjoyed being able to see part of Wesleyan’s talent.

“It’s been a very fun ride being a part of the Wesleyan family,” Rodriguez said. “Seeing the entire music department, [they] have great talent, and [I] wish them all the best.”

Matthew Seher sat in the audience accompanied by his wife Martha Earngey, who is Texas Wesleyan’s Director of Development for Annual Gifts, and one of the people fundraising for the concert.

Although Seher is not a stranger to the department’s shows. He said he was excited to see the annual concert.

“I usually go to all of the concerts,” he said.

Earngey said she and Seher knew many of the students that were set to perform.

“We follow most of the students over the years,” Earngey said. “Some of them will be graduating and that makes us sad.”

Out of all of the shows that Wesleyan presents throughout the year, Seher and Earngey said the honors concert is their favorite.

“I think this is our favorite just because it is such a tradition,” she said. “It’s the 22nd year [that the concert has been put on] and [it] showcases our wonderful students.”

Adjunct music instructor Keith Critcher accompanied some of the performers on the piano.

Allison Hurd, a Wesleyan graduate of 2009, had attended the concert to see her daughter Chanel Hurd perform.

“I thought [the concert] was lovely,” she said. “This is my third year to be here and thought it was awesome because my daughter was in it.”

Hurd said she wished the concert had been advertised more.

“[People] should definitely come next year,” Hurd said. “It’s a strong program, this being the 22nd year so hopefully [Wesleyan] will continue it.”

Hurd said she is always left in amazement after experiencing the concert.

“[The talent] is really a little secret of Fort Worth,” she said.

Hurd said she encourages anyone interested in being part of Wesleyan’s music department to come see next year’s honors concert.

“I’m always a big advocate of Wesleyan because it is a small group feel,” Hurd said. “That is one of the reasons of why I came here, and [Wesleyan] is very accommodating to working parents or single-family households. I like the small class sizes and all of the teachers I had here were very engaged, so I’m always pushing people to come to Wesleyan.”

All photos by Akeel Johnson:

Luis Calderón and Keith Critcher perform Hunter’s Moon by Gilbert Vinter.
Performers gather their friends together for pictures.
Classical guitarist Dexter Collins and pianist Alicia Smith presents mezzo-soprano Chanel Hurd (right) with the cord to the golden shears.
Audience members discussing the music of the concert.
The audience heads off to Lou’s Place for the reception.
The performers of the President’s Honors Concert.
President Frederick Slabach and his wife Melany Neilson applauding the performers.
Keith Critcher and Chanel Hurd performing “Sweet and Low-Down” from Tip-Toes.
Keith Critcher and Antonio Quiñones performing Prelude, Cadence et Finale.
Keith Critcher and Mary Grim performing “Ah, What a Dinner” from La Pérchole.