Salute to American Music, Stories and Folktales

Post Published On:

The next performance in the Sundays at 4 series will be a lesson in American heritage with the presentation of “American Music, Stories & Folktales” featuring pianist Jim Amend and vocalists Karl Barton, Courtney Fitzgerald and Rick McDonnell. The event will be held at 4 p.m. Nov. 10 in the Flowers Foods Executive Classroom inside Smith-Bonvillian Hall on TU’s Forbes Campus.

Dr. Amend is a composer, songwriter, poet, and performing musician based in Tallahassee, Florida. He completed his undergraduate studies at Michigan State University, with degrees in both Composition and Piano Performance, and received both Master’s and Ph.D. Degrees in Musicology with an emphasis in Ethnomusicology from Florida State University. Dr. Amend is an Adjunct Professor of Music at Thomas University, a keyboardist for the Thomas University Jazz Ensemble and accompanist for the Thomasville Singers.

At Thomas University, Dr. Barton is Professor of Music, Chair of Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies, and Coordinator of ACTU. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Thomasville Entertainment Foundation and is a past president of the Florida Flute Association. Barton earned a D.M. in Flute Performance along with a Master’s degree in Historical Musicology and certificates in early music and world music from Florida State University. He regularly performs in Thomasville and Tallahassee as a soloist, with chamber orchestras and other small ensembles.

Fitzgerald is a graduate from the University of North Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Classical Vocal Performance. She has performed abroad both in Portugal, a part of UNF Chamber Singers 2016 Tour, and in Czech Republic, with the European Music Academy, performing in “Le Nozze di Figaro” (Barbarina) and “La Traviata” (ensemble). Some of her other credits include Jo March in “Little Women: the Musical,” The Witch in “Into the Woods,” Madame Thenardier in “Les Miserables” and Mrs. Shields in “Christmas Story: The Musical.” She has also held many other positions such as assistant director, stage manager, section leader, choral scholar, assistant choral manager, and is currently the Assistant Choral Director of Thomasville Singers. 

McDonnell has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Voice Performance from Pensacola Christian College. He has enjoyed performing several roles in musical productions, including Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Ruddigore” and “The Pirates of Penzance,” the Broadway musical version of “Jane Eyre” and Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love.” Some of McDonnell’s most enjoyable experiences include singing with quartets and choruses, including barbershop groups, church choirs and other community music groups. He is also a member of the Sons of Jubal, a men’s chorus and brass ensemble of music ministers and other church musicians from Georgia. McDonnell and his wife, Bethany, teach music students in their home studio.

Sundays at 4 is part of Arts for the Community at Thomas University (ACTU). For more information, call 229-227-6964 or email

Thomas University

Education that Engages

1501 Millpond Road
Thomasville, GA 31792
Contact Us