CFPA's Masked Ball raises $63,000 for the college

Submitted by gallagm7 on Fri, 07/26/2013 - 1:11pm

Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA) raised about $63,000 at its fourth Annual Masked Ball and Auction, sponsored by the Dreier Family, in February at the Hotel Bellwether in Bellingham.

A festive fundraiser, the Masked Ball and Auction provides an opportunity for art and education advocates to support CFPA scholarships in the areas of art, design, music, dance, and theatre.  The evening is run as a full-scale production with performances, lighting, staging and décor provided by the talented students from the College. 

Guests enjoy a sit-down dinner, short live auction, performances throughout the evening, and dance the night away to live music.  Past Masked Balls featured such exciting reveals as the purchase of a brand new 9-foot Steinway Concert Grand Piano.  This year’s event showcased special CFPA alumni guests, including Heidi Grant Murphy, John Olbrantz, Steve Arnold, and Jovon Miller.

An award-winning soprano, Heidi Grant Murphy is one of the outstanding vocal talents of her generation.  Murphy discovered her love of performance at WWU and recently completed her 20th year at the Metropolitan Opera.  Throughout the years she has appeared with many of the world’s finest opera companies and symphony orchestras and, in addition to her work on stage, has been a featured guest on NPR, A&E, and BBC Radio 3.  Murphy now serves as an adjunct professor of practice at Indiana Jacobs School of Music.

John Olbrantz graduated from Western with a degree in Art History and has gone on to serve in various positions throughout the West Coast, including director of the Bellevue Art Museum and the San Jose Museum of Art.  Olbrantz received his Master’s degree from the University of Washington and, in 1998, became the founding director of Willamette University’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art where he continues to serve as The Maribeth Collins director.  He has been involved in various exhibitions, fundraising and development, grant writing, and publications; served as the Washington States Arts Commissioner; and was a recipient of a Mayor’s Arts Award in Bellingham.

A graduate of the BFA Scene Design program at WWU and the MFA Scene Design program at Carnegie Mellon University, Steve Arnold has served as an art director, production designer, and set designer on a variety of blockbuster hits in Hollywood.  His resume includes such roles as assistant art director for “Forrest Gump,” Supervising Art Director for “Spider-Man,” and art director for “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”  Arnold has also provided set design for Oliver Stone’s “The Doors” and is currently serving as Production Designer for a new TV series, “House of Cards,” featuring Kevin Spacey.

Even though he has only been tap dancing for five years, WWU Dance alumni Jovon Miller has already made his mark and established himself as one of the up-and-coming dancers in the world of tap.  In just his second year of learning to tap, Miller was one of 10 recipients nationwide (one of just two dancers) for the prestigious Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship Award for 2009-2010.  As a hoofer, Miller has performed at Benaroya Hall, Meydenbauer Center, the Masters of Lindy and Tap Young Talent Showcase, World of Dance Seattle, and various gigs in Los Angeles.