Music students present free concert
Fairfield High School graduates Shannon Cochran and Michael Gookin will return to the hometown they love for a night of music and thanks Saturday.
“The Soprano and the Piano: An Evening with Shannon and Michael” is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Fairfield Arts & Convenion Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.
“In Fairfield, the arts are loved and encouraged here like in no other place,” said Cochran. “We would just like to say thank you to the town that told us we could pursue our passion.”
The duo will show their gratitude in the best way musicians can — with a free concert.
The concert will feature the two performing a wide range including Debussy, Bernstein, Liszt, Verdi, Rachmaninoff, Meredith Wilson and Puccini.
Admission is free, but they are taking donations for the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.
Cochran has long delighted Fairfield crowds with her voice. She was selected to sing in the Iowa All-State Choir for four years — an honor few high school students achieve, and she has been very active in local theatrical productions.
In high school, she played Dolly in “Hello Dolly!” and Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” She has appeared several times with Way Off Broadway, most notably as Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray,” and with Two Roads Educational Arts and Theatre in “Pinkalicious” and “Freckleface Strawberry.”
Cochran will begin her junior year at Northern Arizona University where she studies opera and vocal performance under FHS alumna and Wall of Honor recipient Deborah Raymond.
Cocharan is a member of Shrine of Ages, which is the top choir at NAU, as well as a vocalist and beat boxer for the all-female a cappella group, The Axecidentals.
Cochran also was a featured vocalist with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2013, she performed in Italy as Annina in Verdi’s La Traviata with the Flagstaff in Fidenza program. Her roles with NAU Opera include, Sesto in Giulio Cesare, choreographer and Velma in Scenes from Chicago, and Nerone in L’incoroniziane di Poppea. Cochran is the daughter of Terry and Sarah Cochran of Fairfield.
Gookin began studying piano at the age of 7, moving quickly from Chopsticks to Debussy and Chopin. He started lessons with Betty Mayer and then began with Joel Brown, piano professor at Iowa Wesleyan College at the time, in high school. Gookin was one of the top three Iowa high school pianists in 2010 when he was selected to perform with the Iowa All-State Band and in 2011 when he was recalled for the Iowa All-State Orchestra.
He now studies under Sean Botkin, an alumnus of the Julliard School of Music, at the University of Northern Iowa where he is pursuing a degree in vocal music education.
Gookin has sung with the Men’s Glee Club and the UNI Singers, has accompanied more than a dozen vocalists for performances and juries and the UNI Singers, and will be the accompanist for UNI’s top choir, Concert Chorale, this fall. He has been a rehearsal accompanist for TREAT and for Way Off Broadway’s 2013 summer season. Gookin is the son of Ann and Myron Gookin of Fairfield.