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Music students share talent

Music students are constantly talking about music 21, whether they have enough, whether a certain concert counts for it or who is taking role for music 21 credit. For non-music majors, this can be very confusing.

Though it counts for zero credits, MUS 021 is a required course for majors. In order to pass the course, music students have to go to 15 recitals a semester. They check in before the concert with a member of Sigma Alpha Iota (the professional music sorority here at Drake), and then they check out once the concert is done. If a major misses a concert or two, making only 13 that semester, the missed number is doubled and added on to their 15 recitals for the next semester. For example, they would have to attend 19 events the next semester.

So, music 21 can be fairly stressful for music students. However, it also provides them with great opportunities. This spring semester, there are over 80 recitals. Some are hosted in the Fred and Patty Turner Jazz Center, some are in the Performing Arts Hall in the Fine Arts Center and many are in Sheslow Auditorium. The artists vary from Drake’s jazz bands to visiting professionals to student performers to our very own teachers. Each concert is unique — featuring different pieces, genres and instruments each time — and most are free. Some, such as the Synergy Jazz Foundation Concert this Saturday (7:30 p.m. at the Turner Center) do charge admission. The same is true of the Des Moines Symphony’s Concerts downtown in the Civic Center (Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.).

However, most of the concerts are free. Junior and senior students are also required to host recitals (one per year). These concerts do not charge a fee and often have free concessions after. Almost all student recitals are held in Sheslow Auditorium. Marilyn Dean, fine arts facility manager, said that plenty of work goes into finding a location for concerts.

“Booking a space is a collaborative effort,” Dean said.

The halls that musicians play in have to be available during the concerts time, have to be approved by their professor and have to be accepted by their accompanist.

This weekend will feature a variety of performers. Jason Oelmann is on French horn tomorrow at 7:30 p.m., vocalist Alyssa McKean performs Saturday at 4:30 p.m., and fellow singer Anna Gebhardt will perform Saturday at 7:30 p.m. All three concerts will be held in Sheslow Auditorium. These are not just opportunities for students to pass a requirement, but for them to also show their skills and techniques.

Oelmann described the recitals as “working on your path to excellence.” Also, it is an opportunity for friends and family to come support these musicians and listen to beautiful music.

Yet not all concerts are for music 21 credit.

“It has to do with the level of the music,” Dean said.

Students or professionals usually play in the concerts that are accepted for music 21 credits. However, this does not make the non-music 21 concerts any less enjoyable. Last fall, Dueling Pianos came and played in Sheslow Auditorium. There are also regular coffee nights in the Turner Jazz Center ($1 for a cup or $2 for all you can drink), along with performances such as “Twelfth Night” and “A Little Night Music” in the Performing Arts Hall. Even in Quad Creek Café, we have our very own Bluegrass string group.

Whether a music major or not, there are plenty of opportunities to hear wonderful music at Drake.

“Concerts are a chance to hear new repertoire and open my mind up to new ideas,” Oelmann said.

Between the plays, recitals and concerts, Drake is filled with music. If you are interested in attending some of these events, go to Drake’s calendar and view all of its scheduled activities.


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