RealNewArts Foundation in association with
The Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts
proudly presents

RealNewMusic 2014

aLtered sTates

a new work by composer
Teresa LeVelle

and new music by percussion quartet
Free the Birds

Saturday, February 8, 2014 8:00 pm
Tickets $10.00 / $5.00 (students, seniors, Whittier College faculty & staff)


The Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts
Whittier College, 6760 Painter Ave., Whittier
Box Office: 562.907.4203
Google map to the Shannon Center

Composer & Performer Information

Teresa LeVelle holds a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University in composition, a Master of Music degree from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas.  Her music is performed throughout the United States and internationally.  She was the winner of the Indiana University Dean's Prize for Composition with her work, Concerto for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, commissioned by New Zealand violinist Mark Menzies.  Teresa actively pursues collaboration with emerging performers.  She has received various commissions, including The Shadowlands: concerto for soprano saxophone and string quartet, for David Dees (World Premiere at the XII World Saxophone Congress in Montreal, Canada), and Kanza (flute, soprano saxophone, and cello) for Lisa Garner (World Premiere at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall).  Teresa has been a featured composer on the James Madison University New Music Festival, Toledo New Music Festival, Mid West Composers Symposium, Crossroads of Traditions: The Second Inter-American Composition Workshop, and The Yellow Barn Festival (Composition Intensive) in Putney, Vermont.  Her 2007 CD, The Shadowlands, has received critical acclaim.  She is currently Associate Professor of Music at Whittier College.

aLtered sTates: a story of life, love and mental illness, is a chamber opera in one act.  While the staged version of the final opera is anticipated for 2015, approximately twenty-five minutes of the work will be presented at the RealNewMusic Festival. The composition explores the lives of three people: Mother, Son and Stepmother.

The Stepmother enters the life of a boy who has Aspergerís Syndrome, (high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder).  As a new stepmother, she struggles to adjust to the challenges of this unfamiliar and stressful environment.  To add to this anxiety, she must learn to navigate the relationship between her stepson and his mentally ill mother while insuring he gets the support he needs.

The loving but withdrawn Son struggles with the divorce of his parents and the appearance of a stepmother.  His biological mother suffers from schizophrenia and hoarding disorder. He loves his mother but is confused by, and questions many things that she says to him.  While he has trouble forming relationships with others, he looks for someone to clarify the world around him.  Highly focused on single topics, he often talks about little else. Change causes him great distress.

Although doctors have tried to help his Mother, she does not believe she is sick and refuses medication or therapy. She loves her son and despises his stepmother. Actively hearing voices and smelling strange and repulsive smells that no one else hears or smells, she believes that everyone is plotting against her.  She is left alone without her son and no family to help her.  Her life spirals out of control.

In the end, it is the Stepmother who takes responsibility for both of them in their hours of need. She cleans up their messes, and does her best to make things better.

* * * * * * *

Free the Birds are: Matt Allen, Brian Cannady, Nik Keelaghan, and Sam Webster

"Four groovy guys playing very groovy music." Free the Birds was formed in the Summer of 2013, the brain child of Sam Webster.  Sam wanted to find a way to bring his long time friends together to play music. As a percussion quartet we try to blend drum grooves with hypnotic mallet percussion melodies into a style we call psychedelic minimalism.

Matt Allen is a Los Angeles based composer/performer.  Through his music he tries to explore the existential, transcendental, and metaphysical aspects of the human condition.  He is work on his Master's Degree in Music Composition at the California Institute of the Arts and holds his Bachelor's Degree in Music Composition from the California State University, Fullerton

Brian Cannady is a percussionist based in the LA area. Upon receiving his bachelors in music from Cal State Fullerton, he continued with an informal education playing in musical theatre, orchestras, bands, and various chamber ensembles. With a cornucopias background, Brian is currently applying to LA's foremost music schools for his Masters degree in performance.

Nikolaus Keelaghan, a native Los Angeleno, has performed with artists such as David Krakauer and Bill Cunliffe, and has been part of numerous classical recordings, most recently the UCLA Philharmonia's premiere recording of Mohammed Fairouz's Third Symphony. He performed in the premiere of the band arrangement of Bill Kraft's Timpani Concerto No. 1, performed by Todd Miller, and is currently collaborating with Mr. Kraft on his own performance of the concerto, having won the 2013 UCLA All-Star Concerto Competition. Mr. Keelaghan has studied percussion and timpani with Raynor Carroll, Theresa Dimond, Todd Miller, Ken McGrath, and Robert Slack. He graduated magna cum laude from Cal State Fullerton in 2012 and is currently earning his Master of Music degree from UCLA. He is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor's Society, and a winner of the 2013 Mimi Alpert Feldman Music Scholarship. In his spare time, Mr. Keelaghan enjoys playing viola and working on DIY projects.


Sam Webster is a Los Angeles based drummer and percussionist. As an active freelancer, Sam has worked in numerous musical settings. Most recently he has performed with The Angel City Chorale, Musical Theater Guild's production of Leonard Bernstein's "Wonderful Town," and recorded songs for Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys." He has been featuring on screen in numerous films and television shows including "The Mentalist," "Hart of Dixie," "Gangster Squad," and "Jersey Boys." In 2010, after competing in a national audition, Sam won the position as principal percussionist/drummer of the Disney All-American College Band. He earned degrees in Classical Percussion and Jazz Studies from California State University, Fullerton. is designed and maintained by Shane W. Cadman © 2003 - . All Rights Reserved.