Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony to present Halloween concert on October 31

The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra will present a Halloween concert on Monday, Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Tickets are $15.75 each and can be purchased online at NSU, Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts and BPCC@NSU students are admitted free with a current student I.D. A livestream will be available at Those attending are invited to dress in costume. 

Dr. Doug Bakenhus is musical director and conductor of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra. Syll-Young Olson is assistant director. Ella Victoria Aubrey Castro is the graduate assistant conductor.

The program will include selections from “Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Calvin Custer, The prologue from “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo featuring NSU vocal faculty member Robert Cardwell, “Night on Bald Mountain” by Modest Mussorgsky, “Funeral March of a Marionette” by Charles Gounod, “Devils Dance” from the film “The Witches of Eastwick” by John Williams, “Mars, the Bringer of War” from “The Planets” by Holst, Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Three Little Maids (from Hell) ae We” from “The Mikado,” featuring sopranos Juliana Handy, Dr. Marcy McKee and Dr. Terrie Sanders. “The Complete Harry Potter,” arranger by Jerry Brubaker and “Berceuse” and “Finale” from “The Firebird” by Igor Stravinsky. Complete program notes written by Jacob Rupert are available at

Cardwell recently completed a professional fellowship with the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, where he made his role debut as Friedrich Bhaer in Adamo’s “Little Women.” As an apprentice artist for Sarasota Opera, Cardwell was seen in Verdi’s “Aida,” “La battaglia di Legnano” and Beethoven’s “Fidelio.” After completing his apprenticeship, he went on to sing the role of Sciarrone in “Tosca” with the Central Florida Lyric Opera. Cardwell sang the title role in Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi,” in addition to a series of opera aria and scenes concerts with the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival in Italy. He also sang the title role of Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia” and Tonio in Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci” with the UNT Opera. Other roles with UNT Opera include Baron Zeta in “The Merry Widow,” The Duke in “Romeo et Juliette” and The Pirate King in “The Pirates of Penzance.” Equally at home on the concert stage, Cardwell has served as the baritone/bass soloist in Beethoven’s “9th Symphony,” Handel’s “The Messiah,” Stainer’s “The Crucifixion” and Dubois’ “The Seven Last Words” with churches and organizations throughout Texas.

Cardwell made his role debut as Giorgio Germont in “La Traviata” with the Soma International Foundation in Houston. He went on to win the Robin Angly & Miles Smith Award in the Lois Alba Aria Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. He is a recipient of Amarillo Opera’s Mila Gibson Fund for Young Artist Awards and a winner of the Edward Baird Singer of the Year Competition at the Texoma Regional Conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Cardwell completed the Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in Performance at West Texas A&M University. During his time in the Texas Panhandle, he received numerous scholarships, as well as favorable reviews for his operatic roles with WTAMU Opera and Amarillo Opera: the title roles in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “Le nozze di Figaro,” Guglielmo in “Cosi fan tutte,” Monterone in “Rigoletto,” Roberto in “Vives’ Bohemios” and Hosie Roach in “Cold Sassy Tree.” A recent graduate of the University of North Texas doctoral program, Cardwell currently serves on the voice faculty of Northwestern State. His research interests include the promotion of cultural diversity and inclusion in the voice studio through the use of voice repertoire by composers and poets/librettists from underrepresented groups, specifically the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities.

Handy has appeared and starred in operatic roles including “Die Zauberflote,” “La Traviata,” “The Old Maid and the Thief,” “Die Schauspieldirektor” and “The True Story of Cinderella.” She has won numerous awards and scholarships including those from NATS, Northwestern State’s Concerto and Aria competition and the Marjorie Strickland Emerging Artist competition. Handy is an adjunct instructor of music at Northwestern State. She earned a bachelor of music at Louisiana College and a masters in vocal performance from NSU. She is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Worship and Hymnology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

McKee received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at Arizona State University in 2016. She received her master of music and bachelor of music from West Texas A&M University. She is director of opera and an assistant professor of voice at NSU. McKee has taught at Bemidji State University, Arizona State  University, West Texas A&M University and Central Arizona College. She has sung throughout the United States and in Germany and Italy. Most recently McKee portrayed Mercedes in “Carmen” at the Rome Music Festival. She is a two-time winner of the North Dakota Division of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society and Mu Phi Epsilon. Her research interest is learning styles and how they facilitate a student’s ability to learn.

Sanders is an associate professor of music and head of the Department of Music in the School of Creative and Performing Arts. She has been a member of NSU’s faculty since 1992, teaching voice and vocal pedagogy. Sanders holds degrees from Emmanuel College, Lee University, Northwestern State University and the University of Southern Mississippi.  She also holds a certification with the McClosky Institute of Voice and is a Master Teacher for that organization. 

Sanders is an active performer and lecturer. She has been a member of the Summer Seminar Faculty for the McClosky Institute of Voice based in Boston since 2005. She has presented at state, regional and international conferences including the International Congress of Voice Teachers (2012 and 2017) and the Southern Region Conference for the National Association of Teachers of Singing (2014).  She regularly presents master classes and lectures throughout the state and region on alignment, relaxation and breathing techniques for the singer.

Sanders was the Danny and Lenn Dohmann Endowed Professor for 2020-21. She is a two-time recipient of the Donald F. Derby Endowed Professorship and was the 2017 recipient of the Joanna Magale Endowed Professorship, which funded an invitation to present at the 2017 International Congress of Voice Teachers in Stockholm, Sweden.