Townsend to be honored, actors performing at Friday Phi Kappa Phi program

The Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) academic honor society chapter at California State University, Stanislaus will present a special award to Townsend Opera Players Director Erik Buck Townsend, a pair of actors will team up with a University History professor for an on-stage performance, and new members will be inducted this Friday, April 25.

The annual initiation program activities will open with a 3 p.m. reading of the Lee Blessing play "A Walk in the Woods" in the University's Studio Theatre by Los Angeles actor David Razowsky and CSU Stanislaus Professor of Theatre John Mayer. They will be joined by special faculty guest Samuel Regalado of the History Department during the performance that touches on Cold War negotiations and friendship. The performance is open to the public and admission is free.

At Friday's 7 p.m. program in the CSU Stanislaus Dining Hall, Townsend will be recognized for his artistic contributions to the Central Valley, and 36 CSU Stanislaus students will be initiated as new Phi Kappa Phi members. Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society.

Townsend is the Founding and Artistic Director of Townsend Opera Players in Modesto where he has produced 74 full operas during a long and successful career as a singer, actor, director, and teacher. A Modesto native, Townsend has performed more than 40 leading roles and a large selection of concert songs, oratorios, and orchestral works in seven languages all over the U.S. and Europe.

Townsend has received a number of honors, including the prestigious Stanislaus Arts Commission Lifetime Achievement in Arts Award and the Modesto Area Music Association Lifetime Achievement in Music Award.