WELCOME MUSIC ALUMNI!
Happy New Year! We hope that you have had a wondrous Holiday Season and are embracing the New Year with excitement and hope. This is the second edition of the new School of Music newsletter. To those of you receiving this for the first time our goal is to keep you up to date with events at the JMU School of Music, spotlights on former faculty members, information on streaming concerts and other events that may be of interest to you, your colleagues and your students.
We would like this newsletter to reflect some of the aspects you are interested in reading about. Have an idea? We have a dedicated Music Alumni email that you can use to contact us! Let us know your thoughts, questions or just plain saying hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can help us reach out to as many former Music students as we can by reaching out to alums that you know. Many are not connected to us by social media, so a quick phone call or email will bring an old friend together with the folks already connected. We would also like to encourage you to take a moment and “Send Us Your Story”! We’d love to hear what you have been up to since you left JMU, some fond memories, some funny memories or even how the School of Music has impacted your life.
John Little Retires!
After 44 years, Dr. John Little is going to retire from the School of Music. Over his tenure at JMU John has taught countless voice students, directed operas, musicals and ensembles, been an academic advisor, served on innumerable committees, and even played tuba in the graduation band a couple times! We say a heartfelt THANKS and wish John a happy, well-deserved retirement!
Come join us on Monday, Feb. 26th at 8:00 p.m. in the Recital Hall (Forbes Center of the Performing Arts, JMU) for a special Tribute Concert for John Little!
National Presbyterian Church Concert
Over the past few years the School of Music has been presenting a concert at the beautiful National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. The Madison Singers, the Chorale and the Symphony Orchestra have all performed in this beautiful neo-gothic cathedral to enthusiastic audiences. We will once again be performing this concert on Sunday, February 18th at 4pm, and the concert will feature our choral ensembles and several of our instrumental chamber ensembles. JMU President Jonathan Alger will once again be the host and will provide greetings from your alma mater. If you live in the Washington Metropolitan area or are within an afternoon’s driving distance please plan on joining us in this concert put on by our outstanding young musicians and meet President Alger.
Junior Audition Clinic
For several years now the School of Music has hosted a free Junior Audition Clinic, giving current sophomores and juniors (freshmen are welcome too!) a chance to do a live, mock audition for our faculty. This experience helps to lessen the normal anxiety that goes along with an audition for entry into a university music program, or any audition for placement. Our faculty will do masterclasses covering topic such as auditioning, what to expect as a music major and general skills questions. Auditionees will learn what techniques/concepts they may wish to focus on in order to be successful. While we would be thrilled to have all of these young musicians elect to come to JMU, this audition is purely for the experience, and will be helpful to the student no matter what school they choose to attend. The date for this year’s Junior Audition Clinic is March 24, 2018. Pass it on!
Marching Royal Dukes
As many of you have heard, the Marching Royal Dukes have once again been invited back to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for a fourth time in 2018. Mark your calendar to either be in New York to see the MRDs live or watch them on TV.
In addition to this honor, the MRDs once again travelled to Frisco, TX to support the JMU Football team in the FCS Championship game. While the team lost, the MRDs put on their usual exciting performance and cheered the team on to the last minute.
And if that isn’t enough, the MRDs were invited to march in the 73rd Virginia Governor’s Inaugural Parade on 13 January in Richmond, VA. The Dukes were one of six bands in the parade honoring Virginia’s new Governor, Dr. Ralph Northam.
Many of our concerts are now being streamed from the Concert Hall at the Forbes Center. We streamed seven concerts last semester, and have identified five concerts to present this semester. You can access these concerts by visiting this page. Come back to a concert though technology! Spring streamed concerts will be announced in January.
Piano Faculty to be Featured at Steinway Hall, NYC
Members of the JMU piano faculty (Gabriel Dobner, Lori Piitz, Eric Ruple, Paulo Steinberg) will be performing a concert at Steinway Hall, New York City, on Friday, March 2nd at 7:00 p.m. This concert is presented as a tribute to the late Terrance (Terry) Walsh, who was the JMU piano technician and longtime senior piano technician and North American Tonmiester (sound master) for Steinway & Sons. If you are interested in attending this free concert, please contact Jeff Bush.
JMU SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Mahler’s epic Second Symphony does no less than confront the meaning of life, death and even what lies beyond mortality. Subtitled the “Resurrection”, this monumental work calls for a huge orchestra of well over a hundred instrumentalists both on and off the stage, an enormous choir, and two soaring solo voices. During its nearly 90 minute span, the piece offers a breadth of emotions from shatteringly dramatic moments to reflective passages of transcendent beauty.
Students from the JMU Symphony Orchestra, Madison Singers, and Chorale will join together with the choir and orchestra from the Governors School of the Arts in Norfolk to bring Mahler’s epic Symphony No.2 to life. Performances will take place on Saturday April 21 at 7:30PM at the Sandler Center for the Arts in Virginia Beach. and at 4:00PM on Sunday April 22 at the Forbes Center for the Arts on the JMU campus. JMU Director of Orchestras Foster Beyers will share the conducting duties with Jeff Phelps, conductor of the GSA Orchestra while Jo-Anne Van der Vat Chromy, JMU Director of Choral Activities, and Stephen Cook from the Governor’s School will collaborate to prepare the choirs.
Beyers recalls how the idea for this partnership began.
“I visited the Governor’s School for the Arts in December of 2016 in order to become acquainted with a program that was by all accounts, an excellent one. I had lunch with their director Jeff Phelps and we hit it off right away. We began talking about repertoire and collaborations he had done in the recent past and he mentioned wistfully that he would love to do Mahler 2 someday. After lunch I visited his rehearsal and was mesmerized hearing the GSA students master Lutoslawski’s 4th Symphony, a very difficult and complex work not typically undertaken by a high school orchestra. I knew then that not only would Mahler 2 be possible but it could be a very special, possibly once in a lifetime opportunity to perform this fantastic masterwork. As soon as I returned to Harrisonburg I spoke to my wonderful colleague Jo-Anne Van der Vat Chromy who enthusiastically agreed to include the Chorale and Madison Singers in this project and we were off and running!”
Before the Mahler, each concert will open with a special performance by the JMU Chorale and The Madison Singers under the direction of Dr. Van der Vat-Chromy. In order to give special perspective and context to themes of the Mahler, Dr. Van der Vat-Chromy has chosen to include two works by Italian/Swiss composer Ivo Anognini, War and Peace.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see and hear 250 young performers join together for this visceral and vivid work. Tickets for the Virginia Beach performance on April 21 can be obtained by visiting Showtix4u.com or at the door. Tickets for the Forbes Center performance can be obtained by visiting the box office or via the web at http://www.jmu.edu/forbescenter/.