Alison Poteracke: Body and Soul

It is only fitting for Jazz Studies major Alison Poteracke to name her first book of fiction after the jazz standard, “Body and Soul.” Wait. Book of fiction? By a music student? It is true, Alison’s love story about two forty-something musicians has been published by Tate Publishing.

Of the tens of thousands of submissions that Tate receives every year, only a few are selected for publication. Alison, who plays the tenor saxophone and studies jazz composition and audio engineering, wrote the book during recovery from hand surgery.

“I sent it to a publisher that helps to get beginning writers off the ground,” she said. “I signed a contract with them but couldn’t believe it was true until I received a proof copy in the mail.”

Alison says that her family is even more thrilled than she is. Her dad, uncle and aunt are all writers but Alison is the first in the family to have a completed, published book. Congratulations Alison!


More Student Spotlights


Lynne Morrow Guest Conducts Oakland Symphony

Lynne Morrow, Sonoma State’s Opera and Musical Theatre program director, recently stepped on the stage of Oakland’s Paramount Theatre to conduct the Oakland East Bay Symphony in a performance of the Fauré Requiem.

The move, however, wasn’t quite out of her comfort zone as Lynne is the conductor of the Oakland Symphony Chorus, where her duties include preparing the singers for their regular appearances with the OEBS under music director Michael Morgan. For this concert, “Sky Above, Sea Below,” Maestro Morgan shared the podium with Morrow and Brian Nies, the orchestra’s assistant conductor, for works by Handel, Britten and Fauré.

Morrow dedicated her performance to the memory of her uncle, Charles Darden, who passed away February 20. Darden, who conducted the Oakland Symphony and San Francisco Symphony, “was a great musician and an exemplar for me,” Morrow said.

Lynne was named music director of the Oakland Symphony Chorus in 2005, the same year that she was picked to lead another Bay Area chorus, the Pacific Mozart Ensemble. PME under Lynne’s direction has recorded two CDs of Dave Brubeck’s choral music and in 2006 received a Grammy nomination for “Best Choral Performance” for its recording of Bernstein’s Mass.

Currently, PME is commissioning two Cuban artists – composer Roberto Valera and dance master Manuel Suarez ­– to make a performance work called “To Cuba With Love.” Lynne launched the project with a trip to Cuba last December to learn folkloric dance movements. She blogs about it here.

Back on campus, Lynne enjoys working with singers who want to sing professionally, as well as non-singers who are nervous about singing in public. Catch her on May 2 at 7:30 p.m. and May 4 at 2 p.m. in Warren Auditorium as her music and theatre arts students present the Musical Theatre Scenes Workshop.


Requiem interview with SF Chronicle

To Cuba with Love project


More Faculty Spotlights


SSU Jazz Alums Get Five Stars in Downbeat Review

Two former students of jazz faculty Randy Vincent and George Marsh are members of the highly acclaimed group, Zooid, whose latest CD just received a rare five-star review in Downbeat magazine.

The album is Tomorrow Sunny/The Revelry, a project of cutting-edge jazz composer Henry Threadgill, and features guitarist Liberty Ellman and drummer Elliot Humberto Kavee.

The London-born Ellman, recipient of the 2011 Downbeat Critics Poll for Rising Star Guitar, lived his earliest years in New York but spent his adolescence and most of his 20s in the Bay Area, emerging with a bachelor of arts degree in Music from SSU.


Before moving to New York, Elliot Humberto Kavee was the drummer of choice among the Bay Area’s most gifted creative musicians, playing on over 40 critically acclaimed recordings. In addition, Kavee was a musician, composer, musical director, actor and writer with the Tony award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe for seven years — the only musical director in the group’s 40-year history to win a dramalogue award.

The other members of Zooid are Threadgill on alto sax and flute, Jose Davila on trombone and tuba, Stomu Takeishi on bass guitar and cellist Christopher Hoffman. The Downbeat review by is not yet available online but the album has received accolades from The New York Times and, among others.


More Alumni Spotlights