Naz Edwards is an actor and singer who has graced many stages throughout the U.S. and Canada, from Broadway to National Tours, Regional Theaters and Cabaret. Some of her favorite roles include:  On Broadway, ZORBA as the Leader, opposite Anthony Quinn, and ANNA KARENINA (the musical) as Dunyasha; National Tour, ZORBA and Ken Hill's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, as Madame Giry; Regional Theaters, Dennis DeYoung's THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, as Mahiette, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, as Drowsy, MAN OF LA MANCHA, as Aldonza, SHE LOVES ME, as Ilona, ONCE UPON MATTRESS, as The Queen, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, as Yenta, FUNNY GIRL, as Mrs. Brice, THE BAKERS WIFE, as Denise, OTHER DESERT CITIES, as Polly, MY NAME IS ASHER LEV, as Mother, NOISES OFF, as Dotty, as THE CLEAN HOUSE, Woman/Ana, SOUVENIR, as Florence Foster Jenkins, and WOMAN BEFORE A GLASS, as Peggy Guggenheim.

Naz has also worked with Michael Feinstein and his Great American Songbook Competition, and now his Songbook Academy, since 2012, as a teacher/clinician and mentor. She also has a private voice and acting studio, where she puts together all aspects of performing, including preparing students for University auditions, melding together voice, acting, interpretation and presentation. Along with her private voice studio, Naz teaches Musical Theatre and Vocal performance workshops. Those workshops include musical theatre, solo vocal performing and Cabaret performance.

For anime' fans, Naz is the voice of the wicked Queen Beryl on SAILOR MOON!

Naz released her first solo CD, If The Waiting Takes Years, which is a compilation of standards and Broadway tunes available for download on

Tex Arnold, a native of Texas, holds a master's degree in music composition from Michigan State University.  He began his professional career in the late 1960's as a staff arranger for the United States Military Academy Band at West Point.  After leaving the military, he moved to New York City, where he pursued a career as a pianist, arranger, music director and composer.

For over twenty five years he was musical director for the legendary Margaret Whiting, arranging and conducting for her performances on radio, television and recordings, and with major symphony orchestras.  He has written orchestrations for the Linocln Center American Songbook series and for Carnegie Hall tributes to the song-writing teams of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Betty Comden and Adolph Green.  As a pianist, he has accompanied Broadway stars Melissa Errico at the Cafe Carlyle in New York City, and Barbara Cook in concerts throughout the country, including performances at the Los Angeles Music Center and Carnegie Hall.

His concert music has been commissioned and recorded, including performances of a trumpet concerto by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and works for the New York Saxophone Quartet.  In early 2005, his "Texas Our Texas" Variations was performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in a series of concerts. Later that year, A Festival of Carols was premiered by the New Jersey

Thursday, September 20 - Saturday, September 22, 2018

Centenary College of Louisiana

Hurley School of Music - Anderson Auditorium

*visit the Event Registration page for details

Songbook South Inspiration Weekend:

Workshops, Master classes, and High School Vocal Competition

Great American Songbook Edition

City University Symphony of Winds and Percussion.  Two commissions, the Rhapsodies for Clarinet and Piano and Tax Dodge for Five Doctors, a saxophone quartet, garnered Mr. Arnold the ASCAP Plus Award for 2009 and 2010.  In late, 2011 he was awarded a third consecutive ASCAP Plus Award.

More of his work can be heard on "Hallways" (LML Music), a CD of songs by composer/lyricist Carol Hall (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), for which he acted as producer/arranger.  The album CD won the Bistro Award as Best Album of 2008.  In 2010 , they collaborated to write the song cycle Olimic Peninsula Pilgrimage.  Recent recordings feature his work as arranger and pianists for the vocalists Laurel Masse' ("Once in a Million Moons") and Maud Hixson ("Don't Let a Good Thing Get Away").

In February of 2013, he was a pianist and music director for Michael Feinstein's concert at Zankel Hall honoring the songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen.  Additionally, Mr. Arnold has served as an musical director/mentor for many years at the Micheal Feinstein's Songbook Academy, headquartered in Carmel, Indiana.

Learn more about Tex's career at

Ross E. Smith is Associate Professor of Piano at the Hurley School of Music of Centenary College of Louisiana. He received his bachelor’s degree in piano from Brigham Young University, and earned his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

While in graduate school he taught piano and music literature at the University of Michigan All-State Summer Camp at Interlochen for three summer terms. He has been an active soloist, giving recitals throughout the United States and in Italy. He traveled to Italy on a research grant from Centenary College to study the life and music of Alfredo Casella at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome, and has given lectures and recitals based on his findings there. Dr. Smith is also an active clinician, offering lecture recitals that include a variety of topics including a dramatization of Chopin’s Ballade in F Minor, the transcendentalism of Beethoven’s Sonata Op.111, Rachmaninoff’s “Faust” Sonata, and advanced pedaling techniques. At Centenary College he has taught Film Music, Music Theory, Intro to Music History, Applied Piano, Senior Seminar, and has been a regular guest lecturer in a wide variety of Centenary’s religion courses. In the Fall 2009 semester he co-taught the course “Joseph Smith and Early Mormonism” with Dr. Peter Huff in the

Religious Studies department. Dr. Smith also sat for many years on the Advisory Board for the Christian Leadership Center at Centenary and during the summer of 2012 he taught a five week seminar sponsored by CLC titled, "The Mormon Moment: a Look at What Sets the Latter-day Saints Apart."

In 2018 he was called to serve a 10-year term as the Shreveport Louisiana Stake President (ordained ecclesiastical leader over 11 churches throughout the Ark-La-Tex) in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his wife Luisa have been married since 1990 and have two children, Kayla and Nathan.

Dr. James Eakin was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana.  From an early age, he was drawn to his native blues and jazz as well as classical and film music, playing everything he heard by ear on the piano and experimenting with his own compositions. It wasn’t until years later that he began formal music studies.

He earned a Bachelor of Music from Centenary College (2000), a Master of Music from Southern Methodist University (2003), and in 2007, received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Music Composition at the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City.  James has had the privilege of studying with some of music’s most prominent composers: John Corigliano, Jeff Rona, Jack Smalley, George Tsontakis, Bruce Broughton, Zhou Long, and Chen Yi.

Eakin's music catalog is prolific and spans genres from Concert Hall to Pop/Rock. He has composed works for Maya Angelou’s 80th Birthday celebration, the President’s Christmas Gala at the White House, and the Aspen Music Festival to name a few. James’ hour-long “Flowers over the Graves of War” for Chorus, Soloists, and Orchestra premiered to a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall and most recently, his “#twitterlieder: 15 tweets in 3 acts,” premiered by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus at Davies Symphony Hall, has taken the choral world by storm.

On his philosophy of composing James says, “I don't draw lines in the sand; music is music, regardless of the genre. If it's got melody, harmony, or rhythm, I can write it.”

James composes with the speed of a film composer and the attention to detail of a concert composer. His grasp of today’s current music technology, his extensive knowledge of various musical styles, periods, instrumentation, and orchestration techniques makes him uniquely qualified for any project that comes his way.