Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 17, 2018

Artists return for ‘Coming Home’ concert

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jul 19, 2018
Brittan Bowman

Talented artists who got their start in the Fairfield area are returning to their roots next weekend for the “Coming Home-Coming Together” concert.

Residents will have two chances to hear the performers. Concert times are 7:30 p.m. July 27 and July 28 at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. General admission tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students.

Following the concert, attendees can meet the performers during a reception in the arts center’s atrium. All proceeds from the concert will support acoustic improvements in the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.

Get to know the performers ahead of time by reading a bit about their background:

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Brittan Bowman will be a senior at FHS this fall and has resided in Fairfield his entire life. He has performed in many community theater productions, choir events, and family vocal performances. He played Benny Southstreet in the FHS production of “Guys and Dolls,” and recently played Gomez Addams in “The Addams Family.” In his free time, Brittan loves fishing, playing video games, and playing on his school’s varsity football, basketball, and baseball teams.

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Jim Edgeton graduated from FHS in 1974. He now lives in Fairfield with his wife LeAnne, the show’s “accompanist extraordinaire.”

“I have been involved in music throughout my education from elementary school through graduate school,” Edgeton said.

Edgeton has taught high school band since 1978, and returned to teach in Fairfield in 1992. In addition to conducting the high school’s band, he was the musical director for nearly all of Fairfield Area Community Theater’s musicals from 1993-2015. He has directed the Fairfield Municipal Band since 1994.

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LeAnne Edgeton graduated from Harvard (Illinois) High School in 1973, but has lived in Fairfield since 1992 with husband, Jim. She works at Cambridge Investment Research as a director in the Partner Support Center. She has her masters degree in music performance from Southern Methodist University. LeAnne is very involved in music here in Fairfield, playing the piano for many events and organizations, including the initial “Coming Home” concert in 2015.

“The Fairfield Arts & Convention Center has been such a blessing to the surrounding community, with all the diverse events. It is an honor to be able to perform here,” she said.

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Rising country artist Mitch Goudy graduated from FHS in 2013. Goudy has been featured in the Rolling Stone as one of the “25 Best Things We Saw at CMA Music Fest,” securing the “Best One-Man Show” and one of Country Music Association’s “New To Watch Artists.” He has now had four songs as a songwriter, and three songs as an artist break into the Top 100 on national country radio.

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Joe Hartman was born and raised in Fairfield, graduating from high school in 1968 and Parsons College in 1973. He lives in the Cedar Rapids area with his wife, Jeanne.

“Music has always been a part of my life, as I watched my father perform in many venues,” Hartman said. “I started music lessons through the Fairfield Community Schools, hoping that someday I might be able to follow that same path.”

He continued to play in college and with the 34th Army Band.

“Within the last couple years, I fulfilled a bucket list item by picking up the bass guitar and jumping back up on the stage,” he said.

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Raised in Fairfield, Brandon Hyde learned to love singing in large part thanks to road trips around southeast Iowa helping his father pick up tires. During those rides, his father’s constant singing of oldies, as well as a trip with his grandmother to see Simon Estes, left him wanting to sing as often as possible, at times to the annoyance of others.

However, this would pay off in the form of several choir and solo accomplishments as a high school student. After high school, he accepted a vocal music scholarship at Simpson College earning degrees in both music and history, as well as gaining his teaching licensure. Brandon is director of the alternative school in Cardinal.

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Jeri Kunkle is a native of Fairfield and graduated from FHS in 1968. She attended Northeast Missouri State University, married and returned to Fairfield and was hired to teach elementary music. She loved that job so much she did it 33 years.

Kunkle has played the role of Anna in the F.A.C.T. production of “The King and I,” and was one of the narrators in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Later, she played one of the narrators in “Children of Eden.”

She said being asked to perform in the “Coming Home–Coming Together” concert was a thrill and a privilege. Many of the performers who have graced the stage have been her former students.

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Robert Mills is a clinical associate professor of Music and the vocal coach/accompanist for Arizona State University’s Lyric Opera Theater. For nearly three years, Mills served as an assistant vocal coach and accompanist for the Opera Institute at Boston University. He was also on the faculty at the American Institute of Musical Studies summer program in Graz, Austria, as a repetiteur/coach. He is now a vocal coach at the Taos Opera Institute Summer Program, in Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico.

Robert has taught throughout the world, including invitations to the Conservatorio Nacional de Música de México as well as the Big Bear Lake Song Festival.

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Soprano Deborah Raymond graduated from FHS in 1970. For the past 18 years she has lived in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she teaches at Northern Arizona University. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and made her critically acclaimed debut as Salomé at the Semper Opera in Dresden, Germany, in Joachim Herz’s production which was televised throughout Europe.

OpernWelt Magazine wrote of her: “Deborah Raymond’s voice culminates in a rapturous top. One has seldom experienced such a sensitive princess since Cebotari.”

Raymond has performed the role of Salomé at other German theaters, Utah Opera, Opera Carolina, Arizona Opera, Des Moines Opera, and covered Catherine Malfitano in Chicago, as well as Maria Ewing in San Francisco.

One of the original honorary board members for the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, Raymond has had the privilege of performing here twice in the past.

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John Turner graduated from FHS in 1965, and now resides in Pueblo, Colorado.

Turner’s musical career began in Fairfield as a piano student of Dorothy Lowell. Lowell played for the Calvary Baptist Church and for the Aristocrats Dance Band under the direction of A.R. “Slim” Gardner. This beginning turned into a career as an Air Force bandsman.

His final assignment was with the U. S. Air Force Academy Band in Colorado Springs. After retiring in 1989, John completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music and became the piano accompanist for Wasson High School in Colorado Springs. Today he performs regularly with his dance band throughout the Pikes Peak region. During this career, he’s performed with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Dinah Shore, the Four Freshmen, and the Shoji Tabuchi show in Branson.

“I’m also a published composer/arranger and am very honored to be performing in the new ‘crown jewel’ of Fairfield on the site of the old Turner Hotel!” he said.

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Dick Hunt graduated from FHS with the class of 1966 and graduated from Parsons College four years later. He lives in Fairfield with his wife Debbie and recently retired from Fairfield Aluminum Casting Company after 40 years of service.

The person most responsible for encouraging Dick to play guitar was Mike Carlson. Hunt joined Carlson’s rock ‘n’ roll band in high school, playing area dances and parties. Dick always loved playing guitar and continued to do so privately until about 20 years ago when he joined his brother, Joe, also a guitarist, and performed at some public events.

Hunt joined the Fairfield First Baptist Church’s praise team six years ago and continues to play and do special music regularly at the church.

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Joe Hunt was born and raised in Fairfield. He graduated from FHS in 1968, attended Parsons College, and continues to live in Fairfield with his wife, Jane. He and Jane have four kids who have all flown the nest and are spread throughout the west coast and Midwest.

“As a teenager, I was very fortunate to have grown up in the fabulous ‘60s,” he said. “This exposure to all the great music of that era was the beginning of a life-long love of music.”

Joe purchased his first guitar around 1970 and has been playing ever since.

“Over the years, my brother Dick and I have had lots of fun participating in local events such as talent night at the Fairfield Golf & Country Club, class reunions at the Cedar Valley Winery, etc.


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