This Week at SOTA

NKU School of the Arts - March 8, 2021

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Musical Theatre "Idol" heading to Hollywood!

If you missed American Idol last night, Freshman Musical Theatre BFA student Alyssa Wray auditioned in front of the all-star judging panel, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.

Wray first caught the eye of "American Idol" producers during a Zoom audition. She was then invited to Ojai, CA, to audition in person in front of the judges. Wray was given a golden ticket in last night's broadcast and will be heading to Hollywood! Congratulations, Alyssa! We’re all rooting for you!

Historical Moment! Alyssa Wray's Star Power Brings Lionel Richie To Tears! - American Idol 2021

Theatre + Dance Upcoming Projects

It's been a while since we've had news about our productions this year, so here is an update! We hope to share these projects with you soon!


  • Falling and Loving (in post-production): scheduled for March 2021
  • Elegies (in post-production): scheduled for March 2021
  • Gruesome Playground Injuries (in post-production): scheduled for April 2021
  • Fugitive Songs (currently filming): scheduled for April 2021
  • First Year Show Film Fest (in rehearsal/development): scheduled for April 2021
  • Dance '21 (in rehearsal/development): scheduled for May 2021


Please note that release dates are subject to change. Updates and more specific information will be posted on our social media and the Theatre + Dance website.

Summer Dance Institute

NKU School of the Arts is proud to announce the inaugural Summer Dance Institute - A Three Day Holistic College Dance Institute for Artists in the Making. The program will take place Aug. 5-7, 2021 on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. Participants between the ages of 14-23 can experience immersive dance major courses working with professors, fellow students, receiving industry, pedagogical training, building your network, gaining insight into all the various careers a dance major can provide, and the beginnings of campus life in our new state of the art dance studio.

SOTA Saturdays

SOTA Saturdays is a weekly virtual open house for NKU’s School of the Arts. This is an opportunity for potential students to learn a little more about SOTA to help make your decision for where to best develop your creative potential to the fullest! Parents, you are invited too! Area K-12 art, music, and theatre teachers, we hope this will be an opportunity for you to learn about some of the great opportunities we have to offer you and your students here in SOTA as well! All are welcome and we hope all will be entertained and enlightened!


The next session will be Saturday, April 3 at 11 a.m. We will speak with some of our amazing alumni who have graduated from our programs about their successes in fields outside the arts. The expansive skillset that comes with a degree in the arts prepares our students to pursue the arts as a career and use the arts in their profession in whatever field that may be!


Past sessions are available to view online at the SOTA YouTube channel.

Celebration of Contemporary Ceramics

NKU SOTA is pleased to announce the opening of Several ceramic exhibitions. “Rivers Connect: Unstoppable Forces in Contemporary Ceramics” opens in the Main Gallery. “Past and Present Ceramic Faculty" opens in the Third Floor Gallery. "Ceramic Alumni" opens in the Third Floor Lobby of the Fine Arts Center. All exhibitions will on view from March 8-April 2, 2021. Visit the Art Gallery webpage for more information.


Rivers Connect: Unstoppable Forces in Contemporary Ceramics, includes eight artists (Chelsey Albert, Jee Eun Lee, David Hiltner, Margie Hughto, Brooks Oliver, Britt Thorp, Alberto Veronica, Renquian Yang) who have both studied and taught at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Their work collectively serves as a metaphor for humanity's relationship to the natural world. Representative of our communal cultures and familial traditions, this exhibition further examines the rise and decline of human interaction in its relationship to our ecosystems and cultural intersectionality.


In the Third Floor Gallery, we will be highlighting the ceramic work of Past and Present Ceramic faculty. Exhibiting Artists include Ana England, Cheryl Pannabacker, Nicholas Bonner, Diane Fishbein, Ben Clark and Joshua Maier. In the Third Floor lobby of the Fine Arts Center, we will be exhibiting the artwork of ceramic alumni from the NKU Visual Arts Program. Exhibiting artists include Ben Huber, Bethany Kramer, Kaitlin Peed, Jon Stein, Amy Pelligrino, Jennifer Gardner, Tyler Gray, Charity Rust-Jordan and Jeff Heeg.

Herzog article published in string journal

William Herzog, D.M.A. Assistant Professor of Violin, published an article titled "Teaching High-Quality Violin and Viola Vibrato, Virtually" in the American String Teacher journal.

Tri-State Rising Artists

The Inaugural Tri-State Rising Artists competition took place in late February. There were 11 competitors and over 4,100 video views. NKU prep's own Gracie Niehaus won the audience choice award. Congratulations Gracie!

Diana Belland Dedication Student Recital

The annual Northern Kentucky Winter Pedagogy Conference at Northern Kentucky University was founded thirteen years ago by Dr. Diana Belland who recently passed away due to complications from ALS. During her tenure as Professor at NKU, she was a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion. Before her retirement, Dr. Belland was in high demand as an adjudicator and clinician in the area. The Finale Recital features students from area teachers and institutions who benefitted the most from her talents. Thank you to the students of NKU, CCM-MTA and local MTA members who performed in this recital dedicated to her memory.

Congratulations to SOTA students awarded Honors Lists

Congratulations to our SOTA students who made the College of Arts & Sciences Honors Lists! After clicking the link below, scroll down to News & Events to find the Fall 2020 Honors Lists. Students are listed under "School of the Arts."

Have Something Newsworthy?

We would love to hear from you! Send your stories and updates to Rick Endres, SOTA Publicity Manager, at endresr1@nku.edu. If you graduated from any SOTA program, submit an Alumni Update, and you may be featured on our website and other publications!