Music weekend largest hosted to date

by Tyler Crandell

Over 40 prospective students and their families gathered at Simpson on Feb. 24 and 25 for the Spring Music Scholarship Weekend.

Throughout the weekend the music department hosts a series of concerts, classes and other events that give prospective students a chance to sample the Simpson music experience over the course of a day and a half.

“This is an opportunity for the music faculty to be ambassadors for the college,” said Bernard McDonald, assistant professor of music and director of opera.

Music weekend is an important weekend for recruitment in the music department and for the entire college.

“It is essential,” said Amy Lim, staff accompanist and affiliate instructor of piano. “In a nutshell, music weekend allows prospective students to familiarize themselves with the music department and the entire Simpson campus. Experiencing Simpson College on such a personal level is valuable to these students and valuable for recruitment.”

The weekend is a way for students to get to know music professors and the college.

Tim McMillin, associate professor of music and director of choral activities, feels this spring’s weekend was very successful.

“This spring was a great one in that we had record attendance,” McMillin said. “We heard a number of auditions on Friday and Saturday that were excellent candidates, so overall it was a great weekend.”

Prospective students, who are interested in becoming music majors or just wanting to continue playing music while attending Simpson, came to campus in the morning on Feb. 24 and started the weekend off with “A Morning Musicale.”

McDonald and Lim performed, “Sonata for Piano, Four Hands” by Francis Poulenc.

“It is a three-movement piece requiring two players, thus four hands,” Lim said. “Professor McDonald played the Prima, upper part of the keyboard, and I played Seconda.”

McDonald also played a short opera scene with colleagues Bruce Brown, and Virginia Croskery, both assistant professors of music and voice.

Junior Alicia Suschena performed in the morning concert on Friday with the Chamber Singers and felt good about the performance.

“We sang two beautiful pieces as an ensemble and concluded the concert in conjunction with the College Choir, for which we gave a preview of one of the Choral Masterworks we will be performing at the end of March: Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana,” Suschena said. “It was our first performance setting for the piece, and I felt it was very successful.”

The evening recital had many more performances by faculty and students. McMillin, who directed choirs in “A Morning Musicale,” was in the audience for the evening performances.

“I enjoyed the evening concert in the audience,” McMillin said. “I really enjoyed hearing my colleagues perform.”

The concerts are what really give the prospective students an idea of what they will be able to accomplish if they attend Simpson.

“The key to the success of the weekend is the performances by faculty and students,” McDonald said. “We did opera scenes, jazz band, solos and duets from students and faculty. It is a great weekend and a lot of hard work.”