Deborah H. Hicks
Director, Professional Entertainment Program and Professor of Music
Professional Entertainment is a distinctive, premier training program for students wishing to enter the field of entertainment. The program offers performance opportunities; internship opportunities; coursework that allows students to articulate to a four year institution in music or theatre; the opportunity to work with professionals who work in the field of entertainment; and a curriculum designed specifically for those wishing to work in the entertainment industry.
Walters State offers the Associate of Science degree in Professional Entertainment Performance and Professional Entertainment Stage Management/Technician. These programs are university parallel programs and coursework is transferable to senior institutions for students who pursue a baccalaureate degree.
Both PEP majors and non-majors are offered the opportunity to become involved in a performing ensemble. The Sevier County Campus offers a concert choir open to all singers. In addition, the campus offers "On Our Own," an cappella ensemble open by audition only for vocalists. "Backbeat" is an audition only ensemble offered for those who are singer/dancers/actors. This is a professional level ensemble made up of students. "Backbeat" currently provides a USO Show as the signature event for the Tennessee Museum of Aviation. The Sevier County campus also offers a jazz band to instrumentalists, as well as private lessons available to those who sing or play in an ensemble.
Backbeat is the Professional Entertainment Program's premiere performing group. This audition-only group is comprised of students with skills in singing, dancing and acting. This group is the signature group for the Tennessee Warbirds Air Museum, presenting a USO Show as a themed event for the museum.
Backbeat's performances include "Chicago," "Rocky Horror Picture Show," "Around the World With the USO," and "A Tribute to Broadway."
The Professional Entertainment Program's choir is open to all students who enjoy singing. The choir traditionally presents a Christmas concert and Spring concert of traditional, classical and contemporary choral music. In addition, the Walters State choral ensembles sing for local civic organizations and regional functions.
Students who enjoy singing in an a cappella choir have the opportunity to audition for that group each semester.
Walters State offers an Associate of Arts degree in Dance. This discipline presents traditional and non-traditional dance styles and provides opportunities for performance.
Walters State students of dance have performed in venues such as the Oak Ridge Symphony's presentation of "Carmina Burana" and "A Night of Dance."
Courses offered in the dance program include Ballet, Jazz Dance, Modern Dance and Tap Dance.
The Sevier County Professional Entertainment Program's jazz band consists of Walters State students and area community members. This band has played with the Air Force Band and Guy Lombardo Big Band. This group regularly performs a variety of big band, swing and jazz music.
This ensemble is open to those who play a big band instrument and read music. Band meets Monday afternoons 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.