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Registration for Orff workshop open until April 1

Orff-2015-Blog-Body Music teachers have one more week to register for the summer Orff certification workshop offered by the Missouri State music department.

The workshop, approved by the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA), will be held June 8-19 on the Missouri State campus. Housing and dining accommodations will be made available. Interested participants have until April 1 to register for the event.

About the workshop

This two-week workshop will teach how to integrate music, movement, speech and drama to build musicianship in students. It involves Level I and Level II Orff certification. It is designed for current teachers seeking professional development or those getting undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education. Credit and non-credit options are available.

For more information about the workshop, credit, housing or schedule, contact Dr. Andrew Homburg by email or at 417-836-6483.

About AOSA

The American Orff-Schulwerk Association is a professional organization of educators dedicated to the creative music and movement approach developed by Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman. The AOSA’s mission is to promote the Orff Schulwerk learning methods, support the professional development of its members and advocate for the creative potential in all learners.


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Professor to perform Vivaldi in Hammons Hall concert

MichaelAMurrayMusic professor and cellist Dr. Michael A. Murray will perform Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos and Strings with Jacqueline Trtan, a Drury University adjunct and cellist, Saturday at the Springfield Symphony Orchestra concert, “European Treasures.”

Murray is the recipient of the 2014 Governor’s Recognition for Excellence in Education and principal cellist for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Trtan is the symphony’s assistant principal cellist. She also the director/owner of the Stanton Strings.

Event Details

Date: March 21
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts
Admission: Open to the public
Tickets: $10-25, available at the HHPA box office

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Choral student earns fellowship with esteemed composer

Gerrit ScheepersGerrit Scheepers, a graduate student in the choral conducting program, has been awarded a prestigious, weeklong fellowship through the Melodious Accord Fellows Program.

Scheepers, an international student from South Africa, is one of six individuals chosen for this week of study with world-renowned composer/arranger Alice Parker at her home in rural northwestern Massachusetts.

About the Program

The Melodious Accord Fellows Program is based on Parker’s philosophies and teachings. Drawing on her experiences as a composer, conductor and teacher, she is able to unite these disciplines into challenging and rewarding classes. The program, now in it’s 20th year, is open by application to mid-career professional composers, conductors, performers, church musicians and others passionate about choral music.

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Student to perform in NYC summer opera festival

walker_webVocal graduate student Kristen Walker will be playing the role of Marcellina in “Le Nozze di Figaro,” a Manhattan Opera Studio 2015 Summer Festival opera to be performed July 19-August 20.

“I have been truly blessed with this opportunity to begin following my dreams,” Walker said. “If it wasn’t for the guidance and tutelage of Dr. Chris Thompson, the support of the vocal department faculty and Dr. Julie Combs, as well as the COAL community, I would never have been able to make it this far.

“MSU has been my home for almost three years and while I am looking forward to graduating in May and embarking on my next journey to New York and beyond, I will truly miss the mentors and friends I have gained on my journey.”

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Jazz master, Airmen of Note to headline this weekend’s Jazz Fest

Area high school, junior high and middle school bands and ensembles will gather at Missouri State this Saturday, Feb. 28, for the 2015 Jazz Festival. Students will divide into competitive and non-competitive groups with divisions such as Big Band, 2nd Bands, Jr Hi/Mid School Bands.

Master classes

MSU jazz studies faculty, band director and guest artists will give master classes Saturday morning and afternoon, giving participants a chance to interact and ask questions to knowledgeable and skilled professionals.


Headline concert

Later that evening, the U.S. Air Force’s Airmen of Note and jazz master Jamey Aebersold will perform at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts in an event co-sponsored by the University’s band and jazz studies programs. All performances are open to the public.

Jazz master Jamey Abersold

Event schedule

Awards ceremony: 5 p.m.
Headline concert: 7 p.m.
Admission: Concert admission tickets are required. To request tickets, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with the number of tickets requested (up to 4) to: Missouri State University Bands // Wehr Band Hall // 901 South National Ave // Springfield, MO  65897.

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Composition Festival will bring notable musicians, composers

Festival features five performances over four days

The 2015 Composition Festival will bring students and faculty together with distinguished performers and composers in a four-day event next month. The events will include recitals featuring guest artists and composers, a composition competition and performances by the many talented Missouri State students and faculty.


Concert I

Pianist Michael Kirkendoll will kick off the festival in a guest artist recital. His performance will feature works of living composers, including selections from American composer Frederic Rzewski’s monumental work “The Road.” Kirkendoll, assistant professor of piano at the University of Kansas, has presented over 100 new works in both solo and collaborative settings. He also the author of the food and wine blog, “The Uncorked Pianist.”

Event details
Time: 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Ellis Hall 217b
Admission: Free and open to the public
Contact: Music professor Michael F. Murray by email or at 417-836-4250

Concert II

Finalists of the 6th Annual MSU 72-Hour Composition Challenge will compete in the second recital of the festival. Music for the competition must be composed and notated within the 72-hour time frame. The pieces that move past the first round of judging will be performed on this concert. Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the concert. The instrumentation and performers will be kept secret until the opening of the contest.

Event details
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Ellis Hall 217b
Admission: Free and open to the public
Contact: Music professor Michael F. Murray by email or at 417-836-4250


Concert III

Guest composer Ingrid Stölzel will join MSU music faculty and students­ — including Ann Marie Daehn (mezzo-soprano) and Hye-Jung Hong (piano­) — to perform chamber music composed by MSU student composers.

Event details
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Ellis Hall 217b
Admission: Free and open to the public
Contact: Music professor Michael F. Murray by email or at 417-836-4250


Concert IV (Main Event)

Guest composers Robert Honstein and Ingrid Stölzel will give a world premiere performance of music by MSU faculty composer John Prescott. The event will also feature performances by MSU faculty soloists Allison Storochuk (clarinet), Julie Combs (oboe) and Cynthia Green Libby (oboe), as well as the MSU Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and Chorale. Conductors of the evening will include Robert Quebbeman, Amy Muchnick and Cameron LaBarr.

Event details
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts
Admission: Free and open to the public
Contact: Music professor Michael F. Murray by email or at 417-836-4250


Concert V

The final festival recital will feature pieces by guest composer Robert Honstein and MSU student composers, to be performed by Robert Honstein (piano) and MSU music faculty and students.

Event Details
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Ellis Hall 217b
Admission: Free and open to the public
Contact: Music professor Michael F. Murray by email or at 417-836-4250


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Symphonic Band asks donors to support tour

symphonic-bandMissouri State’s 80-member Symphonic Band has started a fundraising campaign on the University fundraising platform, MSU Crowdfunding, to raise money for its upcoming “Celebrate America” concert tour scheduled to begin in April.

About the campaign

The group has raised $325 of its $4,600 goal. The campaign has 23 days left. Funds would cover the cost of buses and meals for the students. Concert performance stops include the Missouri State Capitol, the Missouri Military Academy and select high schools to perform patriotic selections.

About MSU Crowdfunding

The Missouri State University Foundation-led initiative seeks to help MSU students, faculty and staff raise money and support for various projects. To begin the approval process, visit the crowdfunding website or email crowdfunding@missouristate.edu.


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One-act opera illustrates segregation struggles, celebrates African-American Heritage Month

Dr. Richard Todd Payne
Dr. Richard Todd Payne

In celebration of African-American Heritage Month, music professor Dr. Richard Todd Payne, baritone, will join featured guest composer Zachary Redler to perform Redler’s one-act opera, “Movin’ Up in the World.” The opera is based on the story of LaFayette Draper and his achievements despite legal segregation.

The recital will also feature music professors Dr. Peter Collins, pianist; Dr. Jeremy Chesman, organ; and Dr. Cameron LaBarr, conductor, as well as MSU student Reid VanEngen, tenor, and Wes Pratt, narrator. Pratt is MSU’s director of the office of institutional equity and compliance.

Lafayette Draper (Credit: Don Perry, BullyRook book launch party)
Lafayette Draper (Credit: Don Perry, BullyRook book launch party)

Event details

Date: Feb. 26
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Ellis Recital Hall

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String Fling offers intense study for middle school, high school string students

2012 String Fling

String Fling, marking its fourteenth year, returns in late July to offer intensive string instrument study to talented students in middle school and high school. Students in private lessons who have completed grade 7 or higher are invited to study on the Missouri State University campus from July 19-22.

Students will be coached by the University’s full-time string faculty, which includes Dr. David Hays, Dr. Amy Muchnick and Dr. Michael A. Murray, and also benefit from guest faculty instruction. They receive chamber music and string orchestra assignments, rehearse with different coaches, and perform a concert at the end of the program.

“Students gain valuable musicianship skills like teamwork, focus, practice techniques, injury prevention, and advice from our faculty as well as great masters (on video) and more,” Hays, professor of violin and concertmaster for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, says. “Chamber music, in which the participants are often alone or nearly alone on their individual parts, emphasizes listening and independence in execution.  Missouri State’s is one of only a few string camps in the U.S. using chamber music at the middle-school level.” Hays adds that many String Fling alumni attend the University and comprise some of the music department’s finest students.

The program fee is $325* per student for tuition and lodging. Students are encouraged to apply and pay online. A nonrefundable $25* application fee is due with the application by June 1, 2015. The application fee is not included in the program fee. A teacher’s recommendation should be emailed to Muchnick at StringFling@MissouriState.edu. Students will live on campus in a University residence hall for the duration of the program; they will also be served three meals daily from one of the residential dining halls. A staff of counselors supervise residential life.
(*A convenience fee of 2.75 percent will be added to all charges.)

Contact the department of music at (417) 836-6958 for more information or email stringfling@missouristate.edu.

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Senior’s composition reaches unexpected heights

TylerDurhamSenior Tyler Durham had never written for wind ensemble before starting his piece, “Flight of the Monarchs.” He is no doubt a talented composer, but he had a lot of catching up to do.

Taking a crash course in wind ensemble

As the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble rehearsed to debut the piece in 2014, Durham studied wind ensemble literature and proper orchestration, as well as the music form’s strengths and limitations.

“It was a lot of work, but it’s always exciting to work on something entirely new and step outside of your comfort zone.”

The hard work paid off. The piece has earned him an elite spot at the Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI) 2015 regional conference in March, an honor shared by few professionals. In fact, he was one of only five to be chosen in this year’s wind ensemble category.

Collaboration key to creativity

Durham’s talents in classical music are matched in his film scoring, a passion cultivated by the College of Arts and Letters’ pursuit of collaboration.

“It’s just really cool to see the cross between the different departments,” he said. “That’s something I really loved about the program. I’ve had a lot of freedom to work on my own projects, which I feel is extremely important being a creative person in a creative art.”

Durham is majoring in music composition and minoring in recording arts. He has won numerous awards for the score he created as a freshman for media, journalism and film’s web series, “Epilogue.” He is also involved in a few other media projects — accomplishments he hopes will give him the opportunity to join composers like John Williams (“Jaws,” “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones”) or Hans Zimmer (“Interstellar,” “Inception” and “The Dark Knight”) in the Los Angeles film scene.

“You can literally go anywhere with the music. That fact is both exhilarating and unbelievably daunting.”

MSU well-represented in conference

Fellow student Jeremy Cuebas and music professor Dr. Michael F. Murray also have compositions in the conference, which will be held at Henderson State University in Arkansas, March 6-8. Cuebas’ piece, “Clare Songs,” will be played by four MSU undergraduates. Durham’s “Flight of the Monarchs” will be performed by the Henderson State University Wind Ensemble.

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