Engaging the community that surrounds a given higher education institution has long been a part of the fabric of U.S. colleges and universities.
College of Music alumni know well the importance of community engagement in the fine and performing arts. Without the support of our greater communities, many arts organizations would cease to exist. Not only does the College of Music invite the public to participate in music experiences on campus, but music faculty and students take music out into the community to reach people of all ages. Keep reading to learn about a few of our great partnerships.
The University Musical Associates
Since its inception, the College has engaged the community by opening to the public its concerts, recitals, lectures, master classes and guest performances. Founded in 1987, the University Musical Associates was formed to engage the greater Tallahassee area with a select group of ticketed concerts and recitals each year. The UMA series enhances and deepens each member’s relationship with the college and university and funds raised through the UMA directly support music students in their educational endeavors.
Westminster Oaks Monday Night Music
Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee is one of 21 Continuing Care Retirement Communities owned and operated by Westminster Communities of Florida. This active senior community has many residents who regularly attend performances at the College of Music and are members of the University Musical Associates. Founded more than two decades ago, current leadership is provided by Patsy Kickliter (BME ‘54). The Monday Night Music program enables residents the opportunity to attend concerts and recitals in the 300-seat auditorium on their own campus. Music performance faculty members have taken over 200 students to perform at Westminster Oaks this past year in about 15 concerts and reaching more than 2,700 residents in attendance.
Medical Music Therapy at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare
The College of Music recently expanded its Medical Music Therapy program at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) thanks to funding provided by an FSU Dance Marathon grant to FSU’s College of Medicine Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Dr. Jayne Standley said the expansion of services to families’ homes coincides with the 20th anniversary of FSU’s groundbreaking music therapy research benefiting newborns. “It’s a very productive partnership between the College of Music and TMH. The hospital gets cutting-edge medical music therapy for patients, and FSU gets research and training opportunities for students who are some of the most sought-after graduates in the nation.”
FSU Capital Children’s Choir
Some 60-80 local children (K-8) participate in the Capital Children’s Choir under the direction of Dr. Suzanne Byrnes assisted by 15-25 music students who gain valuable experience in working with young children. This program has provided arts enrichment, music instruction, and community goodwill over a 30 year period.
Since 2003, the Florida State Opera Outreach Program has toured public and private schools throughout Leon County reaching on average 5,000 students annually. Led by Professor Matthew Lata, the program has been supported in part by a Cultural Grant Award from the Council on Culture & Arts (COCA), the non-profit organization that serves as the facilitator and voice for the arts and cultural industry in Florida’s capital area. Opera Outreach helps teachers by bringing productions to the classroom, providing a docent to schools, and supplying study guides. In addition, the Florida State Opera Outreach Program provides performance opportunities and practical experience for FSU music students.
Summer Music Camps
Under the direction of Dr. Steven N. Kelly the FSU Summer Music Camps continue to be one of the nation’s oldest and largest summer music camp programs. Founded in 1942 as the Florida State College for Women Summer Band School, the camps continue to attract elementary through high school students drawn from Florida and all around the world. Last summer, over 170 staff members created 14 different camps that performed over 30 concerts during the five weeks of camps. Campers have the opportunity to experience life as a ‘Nole, meet FSU faculty and students, and interact with some of the very best music educators and conductors from across the country. Last summer, over 1,400 students attended the camps. Over 70% of eligible campers ultimately choose to attend FSU as college students, representing virtually every major on campus.
Raa Middle School Program
The Florida State University College of Music has partnered with Leon County Schools for decades. FSU music education students are assigned field experiences in the schools where they observe expert teachers, teach mini-lessons, and practice the behaviors that make a successful teacher. Augusta Raa Arts Magnet Middle School has a special relationship with the College of Music that was initially developed by Drs. Clifford Madsen and Judy Bowers. Their efforts helped the school become a designated Performing Arts Magnet School. Upper level choral music education students work with Raa Singers (a before-school volunteer choir) and Raa Chamber Choir. Raa and FSU also host a Treble Honors Camp for Leon County middle school students each spring semester. In addition to the long-standing choral and band programs, Raa now has classes in orchestra, guitar, steel pan, and keyboard. For over 20 years this partnership has helped FSU students experience the joy of teaching.
Tallahassee Community Chorus
This “town-gown” chorus provides community singers with the opportunity to perform choral masterworks under the leadership of new faculty member Dr. Michael Hanawalt and his graduate choral music education students. The chorus has been in existence for over 30 years and was formerly conducted by Dr. André Thomas, who recently retired. In addition to a large contingent of community members, 30-60 FSU students are involved annually as choristers, soloists, accompanists, or conductors. The musical outcome is very high quality, resulting in four public performances in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall annually.
Tallahassee Senior Singers
The College of Music has a 40-year partnership with the Tallahassee Senior Center where music therapy and music education students work with Dr. Kimberly Van Weelden in offering a choral experience for older adults. The Senior Singers perform 13-15 concerts per academic year in the community. Performances are held at local nursing homes, adult day cares, assisted livings, memory cares, and retirement communities. The ensemble also performs two times per year at the Senior Center.
Piano Classes for Children and Adults
Adults have the opportunity to learn to play the piano at the College of Music through small classes taught by piano pedagogy students. These classes are offered free of charge as a way of saying thanks to UMA members who support the College of Music. In addition, children may take piano lessons from experienced graduate students under the supervision of Dr. Diana Dumlavwalla. Each week, the children receive a 30-minute private lesson and participate in a 30-minute group class. These popular offerings have been developed over the past five years and are taught in an encouraging environment for learners at any age or ability level.