Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bigger and Better at COD

by Michael Folker
Applied Music Coordinator

Student Music at COD….it just keeps getting better and better….bigger and bigger.

I’ve been associated with the music program at COD for over 20 years. Wow….can it really be that long?

During my time with the music program I’ve seen most of the ensembles and recital offerings start from ground up. I personally started the Percussion Ensemble many years ago back in the old portable buildings by building K. They no longer exist but I still refer to them as the old “army barracks”.

When we moved into the MAC, I again initiated an ensemble figuring on an enrollment of about 5 or 6. Thus, I assumed we could meet and rehearse in my studio. However, the first semester had around 14 sign up and we quickly realized that there was no way we would be meeting in my office. We regrouped and started officially in the large rehearsal room. Our first concert was given in the lobby of the Arts Center. Now, we’re on the mainstage.

Last spring’s Percussion Ensemble concert hit a new high in attendance…nearly 150. My former instructor from DePaul University attended the concert and commented that he had never seen that many people attend a percussion ensemble concert. Likewise, he and his wife commented that it was one of the most enjoyable percussion concerts they’ve ever attended. That truly speaks volumes not only for the percussion ensemble at COD but also for the caliber of all of our musical offerings.

Over the years we’ve been treated to wonderful performances by the guitar ensemble, chamber orchestra, jazz ensembles, choirs and now our new Faculty Showcase series.

What many may not know is that we also offer noontime recitals 2 to 3 times per semester. One of the newest is the student voice recital. This came about from the fact that we have so many talented student performers that we couldn’t fit them all in just one “end of the semester” recital. I recall the last time we tried to do that. Nearly a 2 ½ hour recital marathon. To their credit, almost everyone in the audience actually stayed to the end. I realized it was time for me to create a new program and thus initiated the vocal recital.

It’s always a treat to hear the variety of styles, repertoire, and talents. Many of our students have gone on to professional careers in music. I’m always delighted to receive a phone call, email, or even personal visit from one of my own past students who has gone on to make it in the music biz. That’s a wonderful testimony to what we do here. I know I speak for all of our faculty when I say how proud we are to see these kids go on to carve out a successful career in music.

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