WU held conducting symposium for first time in four years

For the first time in four years, students and professors from college and high school music programs attended Waynesburg University’s Ninth Annual Conducting Symposium Friday, Feb. 2, and Saturday, Feb. 3, in the Marsh Center, located underneath Roberts Chapel on campus.

The Symposium workshop began Friday, and ran from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and continued Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Symposium, where students and professors could learn and compare their conducting techniques, was co-hosted by Volkwein’s Music, along with the Fine Arts Department Music Program and the Symphonic Band officers.

Waynesburg University’s Symphonic Band rehearsed for the event weeks in advance.

Four students from the Music Program’s conducting class: Dorissa Large, Jakob Nyswaner, Lingen Minyem and Thomas Faye, had the opportunity to conduct a piece of music for the band during the event.

“It was a experience and a little terrifying at first,” said Thomas Faye, one of the student conductors.

They rehearsed the Wednesday before the event to prepare, and professors and other stud
ents gave them feedback.

“Invite them to play,” instructed Dr. Ronda DePriest, director of the music program, to students rehearsing
conducting. “You have to set up the style of the piece.”

“The conductor was really helpful in improving my technique,” said Faye.

Those who were involved in the “Clinic Band ensemble” last weekend included members of the Symphonic Band, high school band students, middle school and high school band directors and instrumental professionals from Cleveland, Ohio to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Col. Lowell E. Graham, director of orchestral activities and professor of conducting at the University of Texas at El Paso, was invited to the event by DePriest.

He arrived from Texas the day of the Symposium to serve as the clinician.

Graham served as an advisor, presenter and mentor to those in attendance.

Graham said he hopes he provided prospective on the music industry, teaching, preforming and the technical and musical challenges in the field. The experience of the Symposium, he said, was “rewarding, fruitful, impactful, fun, delightful” and other positive expressions.

Graham said that every conducting event he has been to has differed based on the people who attended.

“It’s different only in that I have now the opportunity to experience your culture of faculty, alumni and students and have a better understanding of what you represent,” said Graham.

Sophomore Harrison Scott, a member of the Symphonic Band, said he had a very educational experience at the

He said the Symposium focused less on the actual musical pieces and more on the relationship between the conductor and the band during a piece of music.

“It wasn’t about the music, or perfecting the music at all,” said Scott. “It was totally, ‘What are the little subtleties from the conductor that tell the band to do this, or what can the band do to learn how to play musically?’ You just don’t realize how complex conducting is, but [the symposium] really showed that.”

The Music Department will be performing a concert of the Symposium repertoire on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 5:15 p.m. in the Marsh Center.

The event will be open to anyone who wishes to attend.