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St. Philip’s Friends of Music Noontime Recitals

Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 2:00 pm MST

St. Philip’s Friends of Music presents noontime recitals during Lent on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. beginning February 15, 2018 in the Bloom Music Center. Entitled Rising Stars in the Next Musical Generation, young high achievers in the Tucson area will dazzle with their professional polish, maturity and technical prowess. St. Philip’s Friends of Music proudly showcases the newest generation of musicians. Listen to them as they ascend to the professional stage — an entertaining and relaxing way to spend your lunch hour.

The series begins on Thursday, February 15 with Xiaodi Xu, harp: A native of China, Xiaodi Xu is in her second year of study as a DMA student in harp performance at the Fred Fox School of Music. She has studied harp with Dr. Carrol McLaughlin and Dr. Christine Vivona; and received her Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree from Xi’an Conservatory of Music and the Fred Fox School of Music, respectively. As an instrumental performer, she performed her solo recital in the Fred Fox School of music in 2015, and a solo concert in Premiere Piano-Home of Steinway. She has also attended AZ Harp Experience as a teaching assistant in the Fred Fox School of Music and Utah University. In June 2017, she performed a harp solo recital at Yunhe Concert Hall in her hometown of Jining, Shandong province in China. She is a member of Harp Fusion at the Fred Fox School of Music.

On Thursday, February 22 – Kyle DeGraff, tenor: Kyle DeGraff is an undergraduate student pursuing his Bachelor of Music in vocal performance at the University of Arizona. Debuting with the UA Opera Theater as Koko in The Mikado he went on to sing Beast in Gianini’s Beauty and the Beast and Chevalier de la Force in The Dialogue of the Carmelites. He has been the featured tenor soloist in Stravinsky’s ballet, Les Noces, performed by the University’s Arizona Choir in collaboration with the School of Dance. Notable awards include first place in the 2017 Amelia Rieman Voice Competition for the advanced age group, first place in the 2016 Quest for the Best undergraduate division, and first place in the 2016 Dr. Larry Day Memorial Voice Competition. Mr. DeGraff holds an Associate of Science degree in Law Enforcement having completed the Academy in Minnesota, and has toured internationally with the performance group Up with People. Originally from Tucson, Mr. DeGraff grew up in Minnesota.

On Thursday, March 1 – Kathy Acosta Zavala, guitar: Kathy Acosta Zavala is a classical guitarist whose artistry has delighted audiences in Tignes, France; Quebec, Canada; Lima, Peru and Arizona. Ms. Acosta Zavala performed her debut concert in Peru, her cherished homeland, last summer during the VI International Guitar Fest. In 2016 she spent six months in Spain learning from the living legends of the guitar world at the “Masters in Classical Guitar Interpretation” at the University of Alicante. Upon her return to the international competition scene from her studies in Spain, she was awarded second place at the “I International Guitar Competition for Latin American Female Guitarists” held in Sonora, Mexico. In 2014, Ms. Acosta Zavala become the first female guitarist to ever win the Leonard and David Schaeffer Memorial Guitar Competition. That same year she received the prestigious Presser Foundation Award at the University of Arizona and was a Sigma Alpha Iota Summer Music Scholarship awardee. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Musicology and Guitar at the University of Arizona.

On Thursday, March 8 – Sophia Rightmer, cello: Sophia Rightmer, currently 17 years old, is a senior at University High School. She plays cello in the chamber group and in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra. She has been playing cello for 10 years and currently takes lessons from Tucson Symphony Orchestra member, Mary Beth Tyndall. Over the summer of 2016, Sophia attended Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, where she played in the World Youth Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2017, she attended the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute in Washington, DC, playing alongside NSO musicians. She has placed in concerto competitions including the Tucson Civic Young Artist Competition, Tucson Philharmonia Young Artist Competition, and Tucson Cello Congress Competition. In May 2017, Sophia performed a Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

On Thursday, March 15 – Shou Pan, piano: Shuo Pan, a native of China, is currently pursuing her DMA in piano performance at the University of Arizona with Professor Tannis Gibson. She completed her Bachelor of Music degree in piano at Capital Normal University in Beijing. That same year, her essay “Discussing Beethoven’s Conflict Personality Based on the Appassionata Sonata” was published by Musical Arts and Teachers’ Journal in China. Ms. Pan received her Master of Music degree from Ithaca College in 2015 as a student of Dr. Jennifer Hayghe. In 2012, Ms. Pan was awarded first prize at the second Hong Kong International Piano Competition. In 2017, she placed third in the University of Arizona’s 8th Annual Lois Trester Piano Competition Finals; and received the 2017 Honorable Mention Prize in the Professional Division of the Debut International Piano Competition, resulting in solo performances at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall in this June and at the historic Ehrbar Concert Hall in Vienna in August.

The series concludes on Thursday, March 22 with Will MacDonald, violin: Will MacDonald is 16 and has been playing the violin since he was 5 years old. He was given his first seven years of lessons by the generosity of The Women’s Symphony Association in downtown Tucson. Currently he studies classical violin with Wynne Rife, jazz with Nick Coventry, and fiddle with Matt Rolland. Over the years he has enjoyed all styles of music. He has traveled to Washington, DC as part of the Arizona team for “National History Day” to perform fiddle music as the historical character Pierre Cruzatte, the head boatman and a great fiddle player on the Lewis and Clark Exhibition. Will was a finalist in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist’s Competition in 2015, and enjoys playing violin in his homeschool orchestra. Over the years he has been an Arizona State fiddle champion in his age division many times, as well as the runner-up in the Overall Division. He has completed three years of TSO’s outstanding Young Composers Project, writing two pieces for the symphony and a string quartet. Will enjoys playing in three bands around town, Hot Club Jr. (gypsy jazz), Young MacDonald (an old time, Bluegrass, and jazz duo with his brother), and a family band called Akin Tucsong. Will would not have had the opportunity to play the violin at all if it had not been for the exceptional generosity of Tucson’s musical community. We dedicate this performance to all those individuals who have made it possible for underprivileged children in our city to study music. Will is joined by his brother Lee MacDonald who is 13. Lee has studied cello with Mary Beth Tyndall for four years and won 2nd Place in TSO’s Young Artists Competition in 2016.

St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot. All concerts are held in the Bloom Music Center which is just south down the breezeway from the north parking lot. Suggested admission is $10 to St. Philip’s Friends of Music. Complimentary admission to students with ID. Friends of Music provides support to the music programs at St. Philip’s, through sponsoring concerts, special musical events, commissions, scholarships, and community outreach programs. For more information see or call (520) 222-7277.


Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 12:00 pm MST
Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 2:00 pm MST
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Saint Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Church
4440 N Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ 85718 United States
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(520) 299-6421, ext. 29

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