Music Weekend attracts prospective students

by Andrew Goodell

The Music Department owes much of its ample size to the bi-annual Music Weekend it hosts on campus.

Prospective students who are interested in pursuing a music major or minor at Simpson College will begin a comprehensive exploration of what the Music Department has to offer at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

From that point on, their time at Simpson will be full of music activities, from watching performances to seeing how music students live.

More than 30 high-school seniors will sit in on classes, including Dr. Ronald Albrecht’s musical theory, Dr. Michael Patterson’s music education and Dr. Robert Larson’s music history course on Friday.

“We take this pretty seriously,” Andrew McMahan, director of bands, said. “I truly believe that seeing what it’s like being a music major is a positive thing for our recruitment efforts.”

Much like the Music Weekend held in the fall, prospective students will audition for a chance to earn music scholarships at Simpson.

To earn the scholarships, they will have to prove their abilities to the music faculty. Beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday in Lekberg Hall the prospective music students will each have 10 to 15 minutes to perform for a faculty member.

“We evaluate and give recommendations to Financial Aid,” McMahan said. “It’s entirely based on their talent.”

Potential music students will also have a chance to see solo faculty performances, the Madrigal Singers and the Jazz Ensemble in Lekberg Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

“They get a good chance to hear representatives from the Music Department,” Raeleen Best, instructor of music, said.

One group in the Music Department won’t be performing for the prospective students. Instead of seeing a performance by the Symphonic Band, students will sit in on the group’s rehearsal in Harris Hall at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

“[Prospective] students can go to the rehearsal to get the idea,” Best said.

Senior music student Susan Hoesel is a firm believer in the effectiveness of Music Weekend.

“It provides students with a sense of the traditions and enables them to envision themselves as a part of the department,” Hoesel said.

Living on campus is one of the traditions a majority of students experience while earning their degrees at Simpson. To show prospective music students this facet of college life, many of them will stay overnight with current music students in residence halls and Greek housing units.

“It’s important to make them feel they will fit in,” Best said.

McMahan said the Music Weekend is an effective way to increase enrollment in Simpson’s music programs because prospective students experience the current music students’ talent face-to-face.

According to McMahan, the sucessful performances by current students at the Music Weekend are a result of a strict practice regimen.

“They have to be prepared,” McMahan said. “It’s a well-oiled machine and it seems to be very successful for us.”