Music, Theatre and Dance Students, Alumni Honored at 19th Annual Matilda Awards

The Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance (MBT) recently honored some of its top student performers and distinguished alumni during the 19th annual MaTilDa Awards, which took place in April in the Oakland Center Banquet Room. The “red-carpet” event included dinner and music, theatre and dance performances, as well as award presentations recognizing exceptional service and performance by Music, Theatre and Dance students.

Banner image of a red curtain and the words MaTilDa Awards

19th annual MaTilDa Awards

2018 MaTilDa Award honorees

Alumni and Community Members:

Distinguished Community Service Award

Adeline G. Hirschfeld-Medalia – Professor Emerita Adeline G. Hirschfeld-Medalia founded the Communication and Theatre program at OU in 1972. She worked there from 1966 until her retirement in 1986. In 1972, she became the first female chair of a department (the Department of Speech Communication) at OU and had an enormously influential role in the development of the university’s theatre program, a discipline which faced considerable resistance when she first came to OU in 1966 and was told to “keep a low profile.” In addition, she established the Ruth and Alex Gittlen Endowment, which was created specifically to support theatre in an academic setting, in honor of her late parents. The endowment has provided OU students with scholarships for the last three decades. Adeline wrote about her years at OU and the development of the theatre program in a 2004 article in the Oakland Journal, noting that “when I look over Oakland University’s current catalog, I am stunned to see how the kernel planted back in 1966 has mushroomed, with all elements of my discipline represented — communication, theatre, journalism, and even some mass communication.”

Alumni Achievement in Theatre

Travis Walter – Travis is an alumnus of Oakland University and has been an employee at Meadow Brook Theatre since graduating in 2002. In May of 2010, Travis was named artistic director of Meadow Brook Theatre. He previously held the position of interim artistic director at the theatre during the 2009-2010 Season. He continues to enthrall audiences by bringing Michigan, North American and world premieres to life on Meadow Brook Theatre’s stage. In 2013, he was named one of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s Elite 40 Under 40, professionals from various business, government and non-profit sectors charged with giving recommendations to improve quality of life in Oakland County. Travis has won numerous awards for his directing at MBT and this season will mark the milestone of having directed 50 productions at the theatre. Travis was the youngest person to be appointed as artistic director of MBT and has currently held the position the second longest.

Alumni Achievement in Dance

Matt Wagner – Matt received his B.F.A in Dance from Oakland University. His movement background is in gymnastics, baseball, martial arts, modern dance, and ballet. Matt has participated in international competitions for trampoline and tumbling and artistic gymnastics. In dance, he has worked with artists such as Laurie Eisenhower, Bryan Strimpel, Meg Paul, Chien-Ying Wang, Pascal Merighi, Sean Greene, and Jacques Heim. He has also had the privilege of studying dance in Berlin at the Tanzfabrik and the Freie Universitӓt. Matt performed one year with the DIAVOLO Institute and just finished his second season with the DIAVOLO touring company. Some of his other interests include musicals, choreography, stage combat, costume construction, and costume design. 

Group photo of the winners

Music, Theatre and Dance Students, Alumni Honored at 19th Annual Matilda Awards

Student Honorees: 

  • Distinguished Musicianship Award Garrett Klaus, Ian Lester
  • Outstanding Student in Voice Performance (undergraduate) Robert Skylis
  • Outstanding Student in Voice Performance (graduate) Jamie Blair
  • Outstanding Student in Piano Performance Paige Broadworth
  • Joyce Adelson Piano Ensemble Award Paige Broadworth, Harrison Lavins
  • Outstanding Students in Music Education Caitlyn Bramble, Noah Cherry
  • Outstanding Student in Jazz Lawrence Trice
  • Outstanding Students in Chamber Music VASH Saxophone Quartet
  • Brant Ford, John Hallman, Andrew Hemphill, Garrett Klaus 
  • Gittlen Theatre Award Jordan Taylor
  • Gittlen Achievement Award in Acting Lucy Price
  • Gittlen Achievement Award in Theatre Design and Technology Emily Christenson
  • Gittlen Achievement Award in Musical Theatre Andrew Muylle
  • Pat and Mercedes Nicosia Meadow Brook Estate Award Lily Talevski
  • Distinguished Dance Students Abbey Smith, Alyx Winship
  • Maggie Allesee Choreography Award Jasmine Brewington
  • Outstanding Dance Performance Lillie Hamilton
  • Outstanding Student Service Award – Music Brandon Thibault
  • Outstanding Student Service Award – Theatre Kristin Rebera
  • Outstanding Student Service Award – Dance Samantha Lamer, Shaela Owens

The MaTilDas are named to honor Matilda Dodge Wilson who donated the land on which Oakland University is built.

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