Notre Dame College Spotlights Spirituality, Diversity in Free Performing Arts, Alumna Gift

Notre Dame College is elevating its esteemed performing arts to even higher levels with an emphasis on spirituality in its in fall 2017 series of diverse campus music concerts and arts education experiences, made possible by a gift from an alumna star of the California stage.

The Joan Cronin Reagan #NDCPerforms Series at Notre Dame premieres with a blockbuster weekend of free events October 6-9, headlined by an international operatic tenor who will perform a free concert of spiritual music and provide a lecture mixed with song on Mendelssohn’s Elijah. The series also features a hip hop workshop led by a global expert who fuses dance, gender studies and social justice. Joan Cronin Reagan ’52 earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Notre Dame and has been active as a singer, dancer and artist on the West Coast as well as in the Cleveland area.

Alexis Piñero will perform vocal music from “Scripture, Sacred Text, Prayers and Spirituals” in concert at 6:30 p.m. Friday, October 6, and provide a guest lecture as part of an “Arts Approach to the Bible” class at 2:15 p.m. Monday, October 9. Both events are free and open to the public and take place in Christ the King Chapel in the Administration Building on the College campus.

Chris McMillan, who earned a doctorate in theology from Kings College in London, will conduct a Hip Hop Contemporary Dance Fusion Workshop from 6-8 p.m. Sunday, October 8, in Regina Gym. The workshop, which will feature foci on footwork and balance applicable even to student-athletes, also is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Reservations are required by email to Timothy Little, M.M., executive director of performing arts, assistant professor of music and director of vocal studies at the College.

McMillan, an associate professor of dance, gender studies and theology at the University of Iowa, also will present the campus address with Piñero. Their co-lecture is part of a theology course at the College taught by Sr. Karita Ivancic, SND, D.Min., associate professor of theology and director emerita of choral studies for Notre Dame.

Ron Ixaac HubbardThe Joan Cronin Reagan #NDCPerforms Series continues its spotlight on spirituality and diversity in October with a free Gospel Music Workshop led by the Rev. Ron Ixaac Hubbard from 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, October 16, in the Regina Chapel of the Regina Hall Complex on the College campus.

Reagan, a 1952 graduate of the College, is known for her stage performances, most notably in productions at the Palos Verdes Performing Arts Norris Theatre in California. She also is an international author of two educational books, Where Is My Doll? (2013) and Where is May Ball? (2014). Both are from CreateSpace Independent Publishing. The two publications are elaborately illustrated mystery story, game and coloring books for children who are beginning to learn English as a second language.  

After developing her performing arts interests singing, dancing and acting in campus productions as a student, Reagan worked as a teacher and arts coordinator in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

In addition to the gift from Reagan to name the performing arts series, Piñero’s weekend artist in residence is made possible by a contribution from Jeanette Nauman Van de Motter ’51A. Van de Motter was active in theater and Glee Club at Notre Dame, where she studied English and speech. She also has performed with the Gates Mills, Ohio, Players and served on the board of directors for the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.

The gift from Van de Motter also helps support McMillan’s dance fusion workshop, which is being presented by Notre Dame’s Arts & Leadership Living Learning Community. In addition, McMillan and Piñero’s co-lecture is sponsored in part by the College’s Office of Mission Effectiveness.

About the "Scripture, Sacred Text, Prayers and Spirituals” Concert

In his Joan Cronin Reagan #NDCPerforms Series recital at Notre Dame, Piñero is expected to showcase his vocal talents with three different versions of “Ava Maria” in addition to excerpts from Mendelssohn’s Elijah. The three variations of the Hail Mary are by Franz Schubert, Bach/Gounod and from Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni.

He also is scheduled to perform “Alleluia” by Ferdinand Hummel and four spirituals: “Give Me Jesus,” Moses Hogan; “Plenty Good Room,” Roland Hayes; “Witness,” Hall Johnson; and “Ride On, King Jesus,” John Carter.

Piñero’s program also lists the following performance pieces: “Pieta Signore” by Alessandro Stradella; “Dank sei dir Herr” and “Comfort ye … Every Valley shall be Exalted” from Messiah, both by George F. Handel; “Then Shall the Righteous Shine Forth” from Elijah, by Felix Mendelssohn; and “2 Mélodies hébraïques” by Maurice Ravel.

During the campus recital, Piñero will be accompanied on piano by Irwin Shung, DMA, adjunct instructor in piano and music history at Notre Dame. Piñero also is assisting with music coaching and an opera workshop at the College.

McMillan, a performance-related artist and scholar, wrote the program notes and forward for Piñero’s concert of sacred music and spirituals at Notre Dame.

About the Joan Cronin Reagan #NDCPerforms Series

TheJoan Cronin Reagan #NDCPerforms Series for fall 2017 continues to focus on spirituality and diversity with a second Gospel Music Workshops led by Hubbard, gospel music instructor at the College, from 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, November 6, in the Regina Chapel of the Regina Hall Complex on the Notre Dame campus.

The month of October concerts concludes with a free #NDCPerforms Faculty Recital from 7:30-8:30 pm. Friday, October 20, in Christ the King Chapel of the College’s Administration Building. Several Notre Dame performing arts faculty are expected to present music and theatre in their areas of expertise. Details of the programming are forthcoming.

The complete fall performing arts series also features a free Notre Dame Falcons Marching Band Halftime in Review show from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, November 3, in Regina Auditorium and a Notre Dame theatre production of The Awesome 80s Prom in November.

Series highlights in December are the Notre Dame Candlelight Choral Concert and College Wind Symphony Holiday Celebration. All events are free and open to the public. Initial information is available online.

About Alexis Piñero

Alexis PiñeroA New York City native, Piñero, by invitation, toured Robbiate, Italy, during summer 2017 as the tenor soloist for Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Bassi Burggnatelli Singer and Conductor Symposium. He also took part in several Italian song recital series and in opera scenes in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

Piñero debuted this year with the East Coast Chamber Opera of New York and with the Cambridge Chamber Ensemble based in New England. Past performances and previous engagements include in numerous roles with the Miami Lyric Opera, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Loudon Lyric Opera in Virginia and Belcantanti Opera in Maryland.

He received a Master of Music and Bachelor of Music in Opera Studies from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Va. His bachelor’s degree included a minor in collaborative piano, and Piñero was a recipient of the Jackson H. Sheats Endowed Scholarship of Music. He continued his studies with the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, Shenandoah Performs Music Festival and abroad in Bologna, Italy.

Piñero is also a lifetime member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity and maintains his own private voice studios in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

About Chris McMillan

Chris McMillanMcMillan has a joint appointment between dance and gender and women's and sexuality studies at the University of Iowa. He received his Bachelor of Arts in dance, social justice education and theology from Hampshire College; his MFA in experimental choreography from the Laban Conservatoire, London; and his doctorate in theology and religious studies from King’s College, London.

At the university, he was a Five College Fellow for the 2013–14 academic year and the recipient of the McGreggor-Girand Dissertation Fellowship for the 2014–15 academic year. His writing has been published in The Journal of Dance, Movement & Spiritualities, Kinebago and Contact Quarterly.

McMillan’s academic interests concern choreography in an expanded field, through experimental practices and creative processes in multiple formats and expressions. He also uses video, performance, photography and oral storytelling to explore themes of race, memory, sexual orientation, religion, personal and public mythology.

His performance works have been seen at venues such as the participatory event Beyond Text, London; Bates Dance Festival of Bates College in Maine; Providence, R.I., International Arts Festival; and The Dance Complex and Green Street Studios in Cambridge, Mass.

September 2017

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or



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Friday July 27, 7:30pm
Regina Auditorium
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E.g., 07/23/18