John Bell Named Chairman of Performing and Fine Arts at DeSales University
John Bell, arts administrator and educator with nearly two decades of experience in higher education, has assumed the post of chairman of the DeSales University Department of Performing and Fine Arts. The department, the largest at the university, has more than 300 students majoring in theatre, dance and TV/Film programs, and 32 full-time faculty and staff members. It also hosts the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.
"I'm overjoyed to begin this new chapter of my life at DeSales University," said Bell. "As an arts educator, I am aware of the department's outstanding reputation as a high-quality training program. Its excellent performing and fine arts faculty and staff have achieved something very rare—a successful lamination of the liberal arts mission with rigorous, professional standards. With programs in theatre, dance and TV/Film and its partnership with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, the department offers a unique and exciting combination of creative energies."
Prior to DeSales, Bell served as director of the master of fine arts musical theatre program at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Earlier academic appointments also included director of musical theatre and opera at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and head of the dance program at the University of Michigan-Flint.
"The Lehigh Valley is absolutely beautiful and offers an amazing cultural life," said Bell. "The area is thriving. There are so many active, vital arts organizations, from the symphonic groups and the ArtsQuest initiatives, to theprofessional theatre and dance companies and the numerous college and university arts programs. It's clear that the people of the Lehigh Valley value art and its importance in a civilized society."
According to Bell, he was drawn to DeSales University's mission of Christian humanism, as a firm believer that higher education must play an increasingly urgent and necessary role in the development of the whole person - the mind and the character.
A professional director, choreographer, conductor and actor, Bell's professional credits include the lead role in the national tour of Tommy Tune's Broadway musical My One and Only and work at the Tony Award winning Old Globe Theatre, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Meadowbrook Theatre, the Orlando Shakespeare Festival, the Virginia Opera and the Michigan Opera.
Bell is a published scholar on the life and work of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim and interned on the world premiere of Sondheim's Into the Woods. He has recently completed a new book, Score: Music Theory for Musical Theatre, which will be published by Scarecrow Press.
A composer and librettist, Bell is committed to the development of new musicals and is a member ofthe Dramatist Guild, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and the Music Theatre Educators Alliance. His musicals Rivers Run Deep and Making Home have been produced regionally.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Bell earned a master's of fine arts in musical theatre from San Diego State University and a bachelor's degree in music education from Ohio Wesleyan University. His wife, Andra, is an elementary school teacher specializing in reading and literacy education, and a competitive ballroom dancer. Bell currently resides in Allentown.
DeSales University, in Center Valley, Pa., is a private, coeducational, four-year liberal arts university affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Founded by the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales in 1965, the 350-acre suburban campus is located 50 miles north of Philadelphia and about 90 miles south of New York City. A total enrollment of nearly 3,000 includes undergraduate day and evening students and graduate students. DeSales has 90 full-time faculty members and offers 33 bachelor's degrees and six graduate programs in a wide range of disciplines. The university also offers the ACCESS Program, the region's leading accelerated degree program for adults.
For more information, contact Roseann Damico Schatkowski, director of marketing and public relations for performing and fine arts at DeSales University, at 610-282-1100, ext. 1547, or at Roseann.Damico@DeSales.edu.
Press Release: John Bell Named Chairman of Performing and Fine Arts at DeSales University | Posted on: 7/15/2006
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu