The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) recently announced the addition of two new staff members.
Doug Cummins will serve as full-time associate director, and Ben Harris will serve as a part-time production manager. The two join Maestro Paul Haas, along with Music Librarian Marc Facci, Orchestra Contractor Ronnamarie Jensen, SoNA Singers Director Terry Hicks, Accountant Courtney Madden and Executive Director Karen Kapella.
“I’m pleased to share that, thanks to the support SoNA has received from our community, we have been able to add two key staff positions – an exciting sign of growth as we continue to strive to bring the highest quality musical experiences to Northwest Arkansas,” said Kapella. “I speak on behalf of our board of directors and staff in saying how thrilled we are to bring these talented individuals to the SoNA team. We all look forward to working together to serve our community at the top level – both artistically and operationally.”
Cummins holds a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Fine Arts in Theater degrees from TCU, a Master of Divinity degree from Brite Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Fine Arts from Texas Tech. After teaching theatre arts for 25 years at The University of Texas Pan American and 13 years at Furman University, where he was Chair of the Theatre Arts Department, Doug retired to Fayetteville, where he lives with his wife Jacquelyn Brandli. He has directed more than 100 plays, musicals and operas and has performed more than 30 dramatic and musical roles. He performed his one-man show Shakespeare Lives! all over the Southwest United States, in Singapore, Canada, and in a two-week residency in Belo Horizonte, Brazil under the auspices of the Fulbright Foundation.
Harris is a professional musician, college music professor and booking agent. Originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Ben studied classical guitar at Western Kentucky University and jazz at the University of Arkansas (Little Rock) where he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Music Composition from the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) in 2008. Ben has an active teaching career with experience at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the Benton County School of the Arts, the University of Arkansas and currently, Northwest Arkansas Community College. He is an active member of the Fayetteville Jazz Collective and owns his own booking agency, Porter Jones Entertainment.