School of music ends semester on high note

Benjamin Pickard conducts YSU Wind Ensemble. Photo by Sydney Stalnecker / The Jambar

By Victoria Olayiwola

Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University hosted a series of events like the YSU Wind Ensemble and the Dana Symphony Orchestra where there were presentations of folk music by YSU students that dates back to over a century ago.

The school provides opportunities like these events for students to express their artistic talents and also to serve as a stepping stone to becoming performers or teachers.

Michael Butler, director of bands at YSU, detailed why events such as these are beneficial to students.

“The events offer the students the opportunity to perform together and collaborate with their peers rather than as an individual setting. Both of these settings have its positive traits, but having to work in a collaborative performance is a very important aspect to grow as a musician. These performances are great for community outreach and building relationships with the local community,” he said.

The YSU Wind Ensemble and Dana Symphony Orchestra provide hands-on experience beyond the classroom. Joseph Carucci, professor at Dana, said the students are exposed to important repertoire for each ensemble and rehearsal techniques.

These concerts happen throughout the entire year and there are no less than a hundred performances yearly, both on and off campus. The mission is to bring high-quality art to the greater Youngstown area.

Folk music is the most common genre played at the YSU Wind Ensemble and the Dana Symphony Orchestra. Butler spoke about why folk music is predominant in what they perform. 

“Music from the repertoire for the wind band, which has been dated back to about 100-120 years, is included. Nevertheless, we are also trying to perform new boundaries like new literature because it is important that students engage in varieties of music to grow as a musician and have the exposure as future teachers,” he said.

The students performed folk music from composers such as William Schuman, Frank Kelley, Aaron Copland, Victor Herbert and Francois Borne. Eric Whitacre’s “Goodnight Moon” with the faculty vocalist Misook Yun was also performed.

A great variety of songs from these composers were performed by the students who major or minor in music, and also other majors at YSU. The concerts also featured Kayla Gilmore, senior flutist and winner of the 2021-2022 Dana School of Music young artist.

The final concerts of the spring semester were April 25 and 26 at the Stambaugh Auditorium and were free to children and YSU students. For more information on the Dana School of Music, visit its website.

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