Emmy-winning alumnus to speak

Stetson University’s School of Music and Office of Career Development will present Daytime Emmy Award winner Wesley Whatley in a special lecture Monday, Feb. 6, 3:30-5:30 p.m. The presentation, “If You Can Make It There: The Business of Making It in the Big Apple,” will take place in Presser Hall, Room 132, 419 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand. The event is free and open to the public.

A Stetson alumnus, Whatley is associate creative director for the Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group. He won a Daytime Emmy Award on June 17, 2011, for the Outstanding Original Song, “Yes, Virginia (There’s a Santa Claus).” Whatley composed the music, and William Schermerhorn wrote lyrics for the song, which was featured just before Santa appeared in the 84th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November 2010. It was part of a float performance promoting the DVD release of Macy’s “Yes, Virginia” animated feature. Schermerhorn is creative director/VP for the Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group, which produces the parade and Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks in New York City.

In 2008, Whatley composed the song, “I Believe,” with lyrics by Schermerhorn, which was performed by Kermit the Frog in that year’s Macy’s Parade and was nominated for a 2008 Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award. It was published by Walt Disney Music Publishing and released as a holiday single. “I Believe” made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2009, performed by the New York Pops orchestra. The song later was featured in Macy’s Puppet Theatre production of Miracle on 34th Street.

An honors graduate of the Class of 2002, Whatley received Stetson’s 2010 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award and currently serves on the School of Music’s Board of Advisors. He is the former student of Professor Russell Franks of the Stetson University School of Music. Whatley was an Edmunds Scholar at Stetson who majored in music with business as an outside field and minored in French. He worked briefly in the entertainment departments of both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando before joining the staff of Macy’s Entertainment Department.

At Macy’s, Whatley is responsible for developing and producing new music and performance programs, as well as handling casting and stage direction for the company’s iconic national events. Often in the recording studio, he has worked with many stage and screen professionals, from opera greats Renee Fleming and Deborah Voight, to Broadway stars Betty Buckley, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Victoria Clark and Anika Noni Rose, to Emmy Award winner Jane Krakowski.

In addition to his work with Macy’s, he is an active songwriter and performer. In January 2010, he was a teaching artist in the inaugural “We Are the Song – After the Storm” songwriting workshop in New Orleans, La.

For more information on the Feb. 6 session, please call Career Development at (386) 822-7383.