Music weekend hits fun note, engages new students

by Kristen Erickson

Weekends are typically celebrated campus-wide as a chance tounwind, relax and recover from the academic strain we must allendure.

Aside from the occasional paper to write or test to prepare for,most students try to push all thoughts of academia to the waysidein favor of a more enjoyable diversion.

This weekend, music majors will be putting that option onhold.

With approximately 30 prospective students enrolled in thisfall’s Music Weekend, the Simpson music department won’t be doingtoo much unwinding or relaxing. But they will be doing what they dobest-showing prospective students what exactly it is that makesSimpson music so great.

“The purpose of the weekend is to bring prospective musicstudents to campus so that they can be introduced to the ‘Simpsonexperience’ from the music department’s point of view,” said MariaDiPalma, professor of music and department chair.

Reporting early Friday morning and staying until late Saturdayafternoon, prospective students will be introduced to Simpson inseveral ways. Participants will attend classes, rehearsals andconcerts. In addition, they will familiarize themselves with themusic department atmosphere by enjoying Pfeiffer lunches withcurrent students and staying with host students if they sochoose.

“By going to classes and rehearsals with the current students,prospective students can get a feel for the atmosphere in thedepartment, meet students who are here, meet faculty and observeteaching styles,” said Raelene Best, administrative assistant andinstructor of music, who played a large role in organizing theweekend. “The concerts we present showcase the ensembles andfaculty while giving prospective students a sample of theoutstanding quality and superior level of performance that is apart of the Simpson music department tradition.”

Friday’s schedule involves courses in music theory, musichistory and music education. It also offers prospective studentsand their parents an opportunity to hear a wide variety of choraland instrumental performances. Saturday’s program allowsprospective students an opportunity to audition for musicscholarships and attend a musical program presented by currentstudents.

Current students, like senior Kara Lambert, who helped Bestorganize this fall’s Music Weekend, are excited about introducingprospective students to what she refers to as “the tightly-knitgroup of music students.”

Senior Amelia Groetsch said she was drawn to that tight-knitfeeling when she participated in Music Weekend four years ago.

“It really made me feel like the department was close-knit,”Groetsch said. “It felt like a family right away.”

Lambert hopes that attendees will realize that Simpson offers agood music program for those who are dedicated. “It can be a lot offun, but it’s also a lot of work,” Lambert said.

The faculty seem aware of the excitement that current studentsfeel and hope to continue that feeling with the incomingclasses.

“It is our hope that through interaction with the faculty andstudents, [the prospective students] will become as excited aboutour music program as we are,” DiPalma said.