Chapman University College of Performing Arts announced its scholar awards for the 2019/2020 academic year via virtual awards galas in each department. Please join us in congratulating the awards recipients.

Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music

smiling Asian female in black suit seated and leaning forward with music baton in hand

Gemilene “Gemi” Acupan

The recipient of the Conservatory of Music Award, given in recognition of outstanding achievements in the areas of performance, academics, and service, is Gemi Acupan. Gemi graduates with a bachelor of music performance instrumental emphasis (woodwind and brass) and a bachelor of music performance in conducting, with a minor in leadership studies. In addition to playing in the orchestra, wind symphony, and various small brass ensembles while at Chapman, Gemi has served as the Wind Symphony manager and has also tutored in music theory, aural skills, and music history. She took up the mantle of past Chapman trumpet majors to contribute to the wider community as bugler for the Orange Plaza Patriots, performing every Wednesday evening in the Old Towne Orange circle. She has been accepted into the very competitive UCLA Herb Albert School of Music MM/DMA Conducting program with a full scholarship. 

person holding snare drum in front of their face with snow and trees in background

Jared Murphy (aka Mared Jurphy)

The 2019/2020 Jerry Thomas Memorial Award recipient is Jared Murphy. This annual award is made possible through a generous donation by CoPA parent Lexie Ek in honor her father, Jerry Thomas, a Bay Area big band and jazz musician active in the 1930s and ’40s. Recipients are selected by the Dean and Conservatory of Music faculty who evaluate junior- and senior-year candidates active in the big band or jazz genres and who demonstrate good citizenship and outstanding talent within the Conservatory. Jared will receive $5,000 to use towards auditions, professional travel or other related expenses. Jared graduated this spring with a Bachelor of Music, performance instrumental emphasis (percussion).

smiling young Caucasian male with short dark hair and black-rimmed glasses in burgundy striped shirt

Aaron Zimmer

This year’s Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award goes to Aaron Zimmer. Aaron is a composition major and will begin his senior year this fall. The award is presented to an outstanding student majoring in music at the end of the student’s junior year solely by consideration of excellence and merit, is selected by the music faculty, and carries with it a $4,000 award to be used towards expenses normally incurred in pursuit of a degree or for additional enrichment and musical advancement opportunities which are not normally provided in a university or conservatory setting.

Named after Theodore Presser, who was a respected music teacher and publisher, the Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the deeds of trust and will of Theodore Presser. The Foundation supports music performance and education through undergraduate and graduate scholar awards, and operation and program support for music organizations. The Foundation’s purposes are set forth to promote primarily the cause of musical education and musical philanthropy as follows:  to provide scholarships for promising students; to increase the value of music education by erecting suitable buildings; and to administer aid to worthy teachers of music in distress.

young smiling Caucasian woman in floor length sleeveless gown holding flower bouquet next to grand piano

Madeline Barrett

The Burghardt Award for Academic Excellence was presented to Madeline Barrett. Madeline graduates from Chapman with a Bachelor of Music in Composition, and Honors Program minor. During her time here in the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music, she has been honored for her academic excellence and music composition skills and is an accomplished pianist. Her next stop is UCLA where she begins work on a Master of Arts in Music Composition.

Department of Dance

young smiling Latina in off-white camisole top

Allison “Alli” Esposito

This year’s Donna Cucunato Award recipient was Alli Esposito. The award gives special recognition for outstanding contribution and achievement in dance by a graduating senior.

Alli graduates with a BFA in Dance Performance, a B.A. in Psychology, a minor in philosophy, and is part of the University Honors Program. In her junior year, she received the Fannie Kalis Award for outstanding contribution and achievement in the Department of Dance. She has been on the board of the Chapman Dance Alliance student group since her sophomore year, and is currently president of the organization.

After graduation, Alli plans to move to Los Angeles, CA, to pursue a career in concert dance, choreography, and teaching. She plans to work as a freelance dancer and choreographer, and will continue to tour with Hollywood Connection Dance Convention and teach at local studios. Alli is very passionate about dance being more than just movement and is interested in how people can communicate with dance and what dance can cultivate in those who participate in it, beyond just dancing. Eventually, Alli would like to go back to graduate school to earn her MFA in Dance and teach at a collegiate level.

young smiling Caucasian woman in burgundy camisole top

Mara Hancock

The Academic Excellence Award, given in recognition of academic excellence in all areas of study for a graduating senior, went to Mara Hancock. Mara attended Chapman University as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in English, focusing on modern, jazz, and ballet. She performed in Chapman University’s Fall Faculty show twice, as well as choreographed and performed in various student produced performances. She performed in Chapman’s site specific dance concert, and she performed at a Laguna Beach art festival, under the direction of Julianne O’Brien. She also has produced video dance work, choreographing, directing, shooting, and composing music for her own projects and collaborating with filmmakers, choreographing/dancing in dance multiple student thesis films. She hopes to pursue a performance career where she can collaborate with other artists in interdisciplinary fields, contributing passion for storytelling, innovation, and expression. She later plans to pursue a career in Dance Movement Therapy, using dance as a mechanism for healing trauma. Her ultimate goal is to spread the infectious joy of movement and storytelling as reminders of the gifts of being alive and connected.

Department of Theatre 

young smiling Asian woman with long dark hair in navy long sleeve top in front of ivy covered wall

Rin Mizumoto

The Henry Kemp-Blair Award, given to a graduating senior for outstanding achievement in theatre, was presented to Rin Mizumoto. Rin graduated this spring with a BA in Theatre Technology and a minor in Entrepreneurship. While at Chapman, she was the Technical Theater Intern at the Musco Center for the Arts. Rin also had the opportunity to intern with a large touring company, Upstaging, Inc., as a lighting technician. There she assisted the crew chief by building trusses; cleaning, updating, hanging, cabling, and testing lights; looming cables; and organizing lighting equipment. 

young smiling Caucasian male with short dark hair in light blue button over-shirt and gray t-shirt

Luke Berger “Anthony”

Luke Berger (stage name Luke Anthony) received the 2019/2020 Kenneth Weston Turner Award, given for outstanding theatrical contribution of the year. Luke graduated with a BFA in Screen Acting and a B.S. in Computer Science. From his first performance as Troy Boulton, to co-designing Orange County’s #1 Escape room, the entertainment arts have always been a part of Luke’s life. His motto is to take whatever is given to him, and roll with it. Luke is proud of his work at Ryan Seacrest Productions. His goal is to motivate, inspire, and create entertainment that spans beyond a single binge, and creates a life long impact in viewers around the globe.

smiling young Caucasian female with shoulder length purple hair in light blue denim jacket with black t-shirt in front of a fountain

Hannah Andersen

The John Stamos Award, given for outstanding achievement in technical theatre, went to Hannah Andersen. Hannah is entering her senior year as a B.A. Theatre Technology major, minoring in production design for film. She specializes in hair and makeup design for live entertainment and film. Hannah is a multi-talented stage technician within the Chapman Theatre department and has designed hair and makeup for numerous department productions, including “Dracula,” “Vinegar Tom,” “Avenue Q,” “Lysistrata,” “Measure for Measure” and “She Kills Monsters.” Hannah has also had the opportunity to design hair and makeup for the Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts (TACFA) and Chance Theatre’s production of “West Side Story.”

In addition to her creative endeavors, Hannah has served as a member of the CoPA Student Leadership Council and a Representative of the B.A. program for the Theatre department. She also worked at Chapman’s Entertainment Technology Center as a production studio assistant and balanced her time with the Chapman chapter of United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) as publicity chair and the Chapman Coalition of Artistic Students in Theatre (CAST) as vice president. Hannah aspires to work in the entertainment industry as a professional hair, makeup, and special effects artist for theatre, dance, opera, film production, or anything else with a stage.