Annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert at Oakland University

Young Artists Concert to Feature Oakland Symphony Orchestra Student Performers

Four Oakland University (OU) music students will perform with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra (OSO) during the 21st Annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert, which takes place at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 11 in Varner Recital Hall on OU’s campus.

The students are the winners of the 2017-2018 Oakland University Concerto Competition and were selected to reprise their performance with the OSO.

“The concerto competition is always fiercely contested and all of this year’s finalists demonstrated great maturity, poise and artistry,” said Dr. Gregory Cunningham, music director of the OSO and professor of orchestral and wind conducting at OU.

Photo of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and conductor

Music, Theatre and Dance, students, performance, music, voice, instruments, Detroit, Orchestra Hall, Oakland Symphony Orchestra, Oakland University Symphony Chorus, Adam Sparkes Photography,

The Young Artists Concert program will feature four solo student performances:

  • Jamie Blair (mezzo soprano) – Se Romeo t’uccise un figlio from I Capuleti e I Montecchi (1830) by Vincenzo Bellini
  • Brant Ford (alto saxophone) – Prelude, Cadence et Finale (1956) by Alfred Desenclos, orchestrated by Russell Peterson (1993)
  • Gillian Tackett (soprano) – Maritza’s Aria from Countess Maritza (1924) by Emmerich Kálmán
  • Luke Halkey (piano) – Piano Concerto in C Minor, op.37 (1800), I. Allegro con brio by Ludwig van Beethoven.

In addition, the OSO will perform Capriccio italien by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Bolero by Maurice Ravel.

Tickets for the February 11 performance are $20 general admission or $10 for students, and can be purchased in advance without service fees at Star Tickets or by phone at 800-585-3737. They can also be purchased on OU’s campus at the Varner Hall Box Office.

Directions and complete ticket information are available at

For more information about Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance programs and performances, call (248) 370-2030 or visit

About the Artists

Photo of Jamie Blair

Jamie Blair

Mezzo-soprano Jamie Blair is in her final semester of her master’s degree in vocal performance at Oakland University, studying with Edith Diggory. Previously, she taught elementary and middle school general music and choir in Lima, Ohio. Blair holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Ohio Northern University, where she studied voice with P. Lance Ashmore and saxophone with Vernon Neeley. Her opera credits include the choruses of Carmen and I Pagiacci, Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, and Nancy in Martha. She has also performed with the Lima Symphony Chorus, the Columbus Symphony Chorus, and Fior Angelico, an early music chamber ensemble.

Photo of Brant Ford

Brant Ford

From Henderson Ky., Brant Ford is currently in his first year at Oakland University, where he is studying saxophone performance with Dr. Jeffrey Heisler. Ford is a member of the VASH Saxophone Quartet, and with this group, he has performed at several venues including the 2018 United States Navy Band Saxophone Symposium. Ford was recently named a winner of the 2018 YoungArts National Competition, and he has performed in master classes with Timothy McAllister and Otis Murphy. Ford intends to continue his music education and pursue a master’s degree.

Photo of Gillian Tackett

Gillian Tackett

Gillian Tackett is a sophomore vocal performance major at Oakland University, studying with Alta Dantzler. Last winter she appeared as the First Lady in the university’s production of The Magic Flute, and this January played the role of Martha in the university’s production of Martha. In 2017, Tackett placed first at the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Michigan Chapter, in the Second-Year Women category. She plans to pursue a career in opera while teaching the next generation in her private studio.

Luke Halkey began formal piano study at age six with his father, who soon recognized his son’s love for the instrument. Luke has been a diligent student ever since, studying with Rebecca Harding-Mayer, Faye Mao, and Christopher Brent. He has achieved High Awards for his distinct musicality, and Superior Ratings at venues such as NFMC in Oxford, MMTA/MTNA at Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor, Albion College, Grand Valley State University, and American Guild of Music Contests, in Romulus and Troy, Mich. He is proud to be pursuing his passion as a piano performance major at Oakland University, where he has been studying with Dr. Tian Tian, a world-renowned concert pianist and assistant professor of music in piano.

About the Oakland Symphony Orchestra

Now in its fifth decade of providing the OU community with outstanding live performances and symphonic repertoire, the OSO is comprised of professional musicians from throughout Southeastern Michigan and Northern Ohio, OU students, and OU faculty.

The OSO performs most of its concerts on the OU campus in Varner Hall, with its final annual performance held in Orchestra Hall in Detroit in collaboration with the Oakland University Symphony Chorus.

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