Soundings, Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 2010
Letter from the Dean
Greetings from the School of Music. Here in the Whalen Center, faculty and students are as busy and industrious, and talented, as I’ve ever witnessed. There is so much outstanding music-making going on, and so many special opportunities for deep musical learning and experiences, that it is quite remarkable.
In this issue of Soundings you’ll read about new major curricular revisions to our degrees in music education, sound recording technology, and jazz studies. You’ll also hear about several tours and honors for our ensembles, such as the magnificent performance put on by our Women’s Chorale this past month at the Eastern American Choral Directors Association conference in Philadelphia. I’d also like to share with you some of the other programmatic efforts we’re making to spread music outwards from our musical home to the communities that support us.
This year we will have several public school ensembles come to campus to rehearse and perform alongside our own music students and ensembles. A few highlights include the Boynton Middle School Brass Choir, the Horseheads High School Band, and the Brentwood High School Band. In the fall we had six wonderful high school choirs join us for our annual Choral Festival and Composition Contest, and we will host another six high school choirs here for the Gospel Festival this spring. Virtually every day, one of our faculty is conducting or teaching somewhere off campus, an IC student is giving lessons to an eager young musician in our area, or an ensemble of ours is on the road sharing great music with others. As we add more visiting artists and young music ensembles to our guest lists, the musical activity coming into and going out of the Whalen Center is almost continuous. When one considers the incredible and myriad ways in which all of you, over 8,000 musical alumni, are engaging the entire world with music, the overall sum effect of the Ithaca College School of Music on this planet is astounding.
If you long for the carefree-yet-engaged days when you were a music student, allow me to cite some of the new initiatives you could be involved with if you were studying here now. We have added the Campus Choral Ensemble to our non-music major ensembles, joining the Campus Band and the Sinfonietta. Over 80 vocalists joined this new ensemble during its first semester of operation. We have added greatly to our offerings and opportunities in creative work for all students, forming a free improvisation ensemble and adding new courses in the same area. We have added required and elective components in world and popular music to our music degrees. And we are studying and creating more intentional concentrations (or tracks of study) in the general education course components of our degrees, as well as exploring new, special music pathways inside the music major degrees. Our hope is to find ways for all music students to complete their traditional music degrees but also to pursue special skills and experiences in more specialized topics, such as jazz studies, composition, music therapy, music business, music and health-related issues, and music and communications. These are all natural paths for us and for the world, and something that our comprehensive college structure allows us to be positioned to offer our students.
I could go on for pages about special events and endeavors at Ithaca—our new jazz and saxophone composition contests, new scholarships in organ and strings, new outstanding faculty, and the early stages of planning for a new preparatory division at our school—you can read about much of this in this issue and on our website.
I do hope to see many of you at our band reunion this June, at Homecoming and Alumni Weekend in the fall, at the winter NYSSMA convention, or on tour—perhaps when we present Bach’s Mass in B Minor in D.C. and Philadelphia next October, with over 70 of our most talented students and faculty members performing Johann Sebastian’s masterpiece. Please stop by, send me an e-mail, let me know what you think, and tell us what you are doing. I am so proud of our talented music alumni and am always so pleased to hear (and brag) about your successes.
All the best to you,
Gregory S. Woodward, Dean