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New voice block class prepares students for academic, professional success

MSUChoraleIncoming voice students now have the opportunity to focus on special topics within their field of study with a weekly voice block class.

The music department introduced the Friday Foundations program this semester to help voice students in degree programs such as music, music education, voice performance and musical theatre get to know their professors and peers.

Students work with faculty to hone skills

Topics include how to practice effectively, tips to accessing library and online resources, health and wellness, professional decorum and more.

thompsonVoice Coordinator Dr. Chris Thompson said the 8 a.m. class has been well attended, and students are accessing a wealth of information they will use in school and their careers.

“In essence: knowledge creates individual empowerment, power instills confidence, and confident students ask questions, seek help, and are less fearful of the unknown or failure. We hope that this class creates better artists, citizens, and does wonders for our retention!”

‘Takes great craft to become superlative artist’

Each voice professor takes on a different topic which helps students become acquainted with faculty and their expertise.

“Each class is quite specific and essential for success,” Thompson said. “However, just as essential for incoming students is their connection to caring faculty, their sense that MSU faculty work well together and have students’ best interest at heart, and the notion that it takes great craft to become a superlative artist.”

Meet for Friday Foundations

The class will meet at 8 a.m. each Friday through Oct. 2.

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Music department on track to become All-Steinway School

Missouri State’s music department will soon be among the prestigious colleges around the world to be deemed an All-Steinway School.

To earn the designation, Missouri State will need to replace its entire piano inventory with Steinway & Sons pianos.


MSU’s first new Steinway grand on its way

Music students’ lesson fees have already purchased 10 Steinway-built Boston upright pianos and one Boston 7-foot grand. The University will soon purchase its first new Steinway grand piano due to a recent significant gift by Sam Hamra, chairman of Hamra Enterprises.

Hamra-Gift-300x169“Mr. Hamra’s generosity will provide the industry standard in grand pianos for not just our piano majors to perform on,” said Dr. Julie Combs, head of the music department. “Every music student who performs a junior degree recital or takes part in a master class will also be accompanied by this instrument.”

The grand piano will be placed in the recital/lecture room at Ellis Hall —soon undergoing renovation — and the room will be named for his wife, June Hamra, who was a member of the Board of Regents from 1979-85 and actively involved in the arts community.

Combs said an estate gift this year from Al and Rosemond Clapp will also help secure the All-Steinway designation: “They love their Steinway grand piano and want to be sure it is re-homed at a later time.”

Learning on the gold standard

Combs said becoming an All-Steinway School demonstrates MSU’s dedication to making certain students have the opportunity to learn on the gold standard of instruments. This will help in recruiting efforts, as well.

“Great teachers, facilities, and equipment are major factors in students choosing a music school,” she said. “We have the great teachers; our facilities are going to be renovated, and we are aiming to replace our piano inventory. These steps will help with our recruiting and retention and move the MSU music department to a new and higher level.”


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COAL announces Homecoming master class schedule

The College of Arts and Letters will host its annual master class series on Oct. 16 as part of its Homecoming event schedule. Presenters include alumni from music, theatre and dance, and media, journalism and film. The master classes are free and open to the public. The schedule is as follows:

Sarah Tannehill Anderson

Sarahtannehill andersonBMus, 1996

Sarah Tannehill Anderson is an accomplished singer, pianist and violinist. She lives in Kansas City and performs with the Bach Aria Soloists, Lyric Arts Trio and the Kansas City Chorale. She is a featured soloist on the Chorale’s Grammy-winning album “Life and Breath.”

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

Susan Hiland

Susan-Fox-NewsBS in speech/electronic media, 1981

Susan Hiland is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She co-anchors FOX 4 News at 5 and 9 p.m., and has worked at WDAF-TV since 2000. Before that, she was the morning anchor at WTNH-TV in New Haven, Connecticut, and worked at news stations across the Midwest.

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 12:45 to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

Jennifer Moore

SU15JenniferMooreStandingGraduate student in international relations, emphasis in diplomacy

Jennifer Moore is an award-winning journalist and writer based out of West Plains. She is the coordinator of theatre and events for MSU-West Plains, and she recently gave Missouri State’s 2015 summer commencement speech. Moore is getting her graduate degree from MSU in international relations.

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 2:15 to 3:30 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez

paolaBFA in dance/performance, 2008

Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez is a dancer, teacher, activist and community organizer who has travelled throughout the U.S., Colombia, Brazil, Cyprus, France, Canada and Mexico to share her craft. An intersection between art and personal experience, her work explores issues such as relationship, gender, race, identity, awareness, kinesthetic listening and touch.

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 3:45 to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

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Pride Band camp concert debuts this year’s repertoire

DSC_0283Bears and band fans can get a preview of this year’s band performances at the annual “Concert-On-The Green” Aug. 16 at the Plaster Sports Complex.

The Pride Band began their week-long camp Aug. 9 to drill and rehearse their 2015-16 repertoire which will include jazz, Latin, patriotic, classical and pop hits. The free concert is an opportunity to hear some of that music.

Event details

Date: Aug. 16
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Plaster Sports Complex
Admission: Free and open to public

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Music faculty gears up for year ahead

With new additions to the music department and interesting projects and concerts on the horizon, here is a preview for what to expect from the music faculty this year.

This is only a partial list of the exciting news across the department. To submit faculty news for the departmental or College of Arts and Letters blogs, please contact COAL by email.

Visiting musicians to teach, perform with Chinese instruments

MSU-ChineseMusicEnsemble-Blog-FeatureThe music department will host several visiting musicians who are teachers and students from Qingdao University in September. The group will participate in a residency program to teach MSU students to play traditional Chinese instruments.

They will also perform a concert with instruments such as the dizi, erhu, pipa, guzheng and yangqin. The event will be at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at Ellis Recital Hall. The music will range from traditional Chinese melodies to more recently written arrangements, including “Xiao Hong Mao,” the Chinese version of “Little Red Riding Hood,” arranged for Chinese ensemble by MSU Professor Dr. John Prescott.

How do you say love in German?

chapmanDr. Carol Chapman is coordinating a festival in October to pay tribute to 19th century German poet Heinrich Heine. The event, called “Heinrich Heine: German Poetry in Music,” is part of the music department’s bi-annual recital series.

This two-day festival will take place at Ellis Recital Hall Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m. and Oct. 25 at 3:30 p.m. Audiences will have the opportunity to hear songs, piano transcriptions and chamber music that reflect Heine’s influence, and a German professor will speak briefly about the poet and his works. Composers Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert will also be represented.

Chapman, an assistant professor in voice, said various faculty, guests and students will perform. The event is free and open to the public.

AnnMarieWilcox-DaehnOpera covers world of speed dating

Dr. Ann Marie Daehn will debut Michael Ching’s “Speed Dating, Tonight!” Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 8 at 2:30 p.m. in Ellis Recital Hall.

Dr. Amy Muchnick will conduct while students of Missouri State’s Opera Workshop and Chamber Musicians will perform the popular American opera.

“Speed Dating Tonight!” was written in 2013. It is a witty and endearing peek into a sometimes romantic and often ridiculous speed-dating event. The attendees include a cat lady, a guy who loves his muscle car, a triathlete, and many more.

MSU’s opera students were national finalists last year in the National Opera Association scenes competition.

The event is free and open to the public.

Payne to play Louis Armstrong

Dr. Richard Todd PayneDr. Richard Todd Payne has been selected to perform the role of “Hero/Louis Armstrong” in Dave Brubeck’s Jazz production of “The Real Ambassadors” during Rhodes College’s jazz week April 5-11, 2016, in Memphis, Tennessee. The production is a collaboration between Rhodes College, Opera Memphis and Stax Records. It will take place in Memphis’ Playhouse on the Square.

Rhodes College music department chair Dr. William Skoog has also invited Payne to be his bass soloist in Dvorak’s “Te Deum” at the 2016 Prague Festival in the Czech Republic.


hammJazz chart donation spurs digital publishing

Randy Hamm, director of jazz studies, has received a donated collection of Les Brown and His Band of Renown instrumental and vocal jazz charts.

Hamm will work with the Missouri State library to make digital copies of the charts and form a digital publishing company, where the charts will be made available for purchase. Proceeds will be used to endow the jazz studies program.

New faculty member joins department

Louisiana native Dr. Craig B. Davis will be the interim associate director of bands next year while also leading the University Wind Ensemble. Davis was recently an assistant instructor at the University of Texas-Austin.


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PRIDE band alumni to return to campus for Family Weekend reunion

Former PRIDE Band members have an action-packed reunion weekend scheduled Sept. 11-12 to commemorate their time on campus and meet the new faces of Missouri State’s band. Their Facebook event shows more than 500 alumni are planning to attend.

pride band reunion

What’s on the agenda?

Friday, Sept. 11

  • “Meet & Greet” for past and current band members (to take place at the end of rehearsal on the PRIDE field)
  • Mixer at the DoubleTree Hotel, followed by “generations” break-out sessions
The PRIDE was the honor band in the 2008 Rose Bowl parade.
The PRIDE was the honor band in the 2008 Rose Bowl parade.

Saturday, Sept. 12

  • Saturday morning rehearsal (like the old days!) to practice for the Reunion Alumni Band’s 5th Quarter performance
  • Tailgating before the game at BearFest Village on the lawn between Carrington Hall and Strong Hall, where the PRIDE Band will march in four separate “neighborhood bands” and then come together to perform a short rally
  • Attend the first football game of the season and watch the PRIDE perform pregame & halftime
  • During the 5th Quarter, the Reunion Alumni Band will perform
  • Past and present PRIDE Band members will be dismissed by Mr. Hoover: “Heels – Together…Toes…Apart…etc.”

Make your reservations

If you’re a former PRIDE Band member and your contact information is on file with the MSU Alumni office, a printed invitation has been sent to you in the mail. Return the registration form in the mail with your check.

You can also register and pay online or visit the Alumni Association’s website. Note: Each person registering to participate in the Alumni Band will need to complete a separate registration.

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Calling all new arts and letters students!

COAL BearWear StudentsCOAL kicks off convocation day with New Student Lunch

The College of Arts and Letters will be welcoming its newest members to campus with a free lunch on the Craig Hall patio from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 16.

Who says there’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’?

The luncheon will give new students the opportunity to mingle, find out about student organizations and engage with the college’s faculty and staff. In case of rain, the event will be moved inside Craig Hall.

COAL alumnus to give convocation speech

After grabbing a bite to eat, students can head over to the JQH Arena to hear from one of COAL’s successful alumni, actor Kyle Dean Massey, at the New Student Convocation starting at 2 p.m.

Massey, who plays Kevin Bicks on ABC’s “Nashville,” graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre. He is known for his starring roles on Broadway in “Pippin,” “Next to Normal,” “Wicked” and “Xanadu.”

Come out to the New Student Lunch!

Date: Aug. 16
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Location: Craig Hall patio
Contact: Associate Dean Mark Biggs by email or at 417-836-4984


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July choral camp to end with free Hammons Hall concert

Reid_BW_webHigh school musicians from across the region will be on campus next week for the Missouri State University Choral Institute summer choral camp. The culminating camp concert will be held at 6 p.m. on July 16 at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts. The concert is free and open to the public.

Singing, seminars and scavenger hunts

The camp, taking place July 13-16, offers students the opportunity to work with Director of Choral Studies Dr. Cameron LaBarr and gain ensemble singing experience and musicianship skills, while making lifelong friends.

Students can participate in a variety of choral experiences including:

  • Ensemble singing
  • Solo voice study with MSU voice faculty
  • Seminars on topics such as college audition prep, conducting, history of popular music and more
  • Recreational activities such as talent shows, scavenger hunts and trip to a Springfield Cardinals’ baseball game

LaBarr_BWRegister today!

High school students from incoming freshmen to recently graduated seniors/incoming college freshmen are invited to register for the camp. Students can choose to live on campus or commute during the camp. Students are responsible for transportation to and from camp. The Choral Institute has a limited number of partial-tuition scholarships available to qualifying students. Go to the website for registration and scholarship details.


Contact us with questions

If you have any questions regarding the MSU Choral Institute, contact Lead Coordinator Jake Mauk by email or call (919) 215-6381.

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New piano to debut at choral camp

PianoKeyboard-Blog-FeatureThe music department has a new instrument in its repertoire: a 7-foot Boston grand piano. Currently housed at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts, the piano will make its debut during the upcoming Choral Institute summer choral camp on July 13-16.

Community benefits from MSU’s investment

The camp offers an opportunity for high school musicians across the region to work with Dr. Cameron LaBarr and gain ensemble singing experience and musicianship skills, while making lifelong friends. About 50 students have already enrolled. They will be the first of many to enjoy the piano.

LaBarr said having the piano available to Missouri State and the Springfield community is a great opportunity.

“We’re thrilled about this new piano for use by the MSU department of music, which gets us one step closer to becoming an all-Steinway school. The sheer number of students who will benefit from having this exceptional instrument available is huge. During the fall and spring semesters, hundreds of music students (both music majors and non-music majors) and members of the Springfield community work and learn in HHPA 305 each week.”



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