music

Drury participates in national citizen science project to study eclipse

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 15, 2017 — Two Drury University physics professors and two of their students will take part in a national effort to observe and document the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

Drs. Greg Ojakangas and Bruce Callen have been tapped to be one of 68 teams to work with the National Solar Observatory’s Citzen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse (CATE) Experiment to document the sun’s inner corona during the eclipse. Along with Drury students Ryan Wedermyer and Katelyn Morrison, they will travel to Hermann, Missouri to be in the path of the eclipse totality and make their observations.

Professors Bruce Callen (left) and Greg Ojakangas

The Citizen CATE project aims to capture images of the eclipse using a network of telescopes operated by citizen scientists, high school groups, and universities. Volunteers are using 68 identical telescopes, software, and instrument packages spaced along the 2,500-mile path of totality. Each site will produce more than 1,000 images, and the resulting dataset will consist of an unprecedented 90 minutes of continuous, high-resolution images detailing the sun’s inner corona – a region of the solar atmosphere typically very challenging to image.

“I have been waiting for this for 38 years,” says Ojakangas, whose previous work with NASA provided a connection to the Citizen CATE project. “I get goosebumps almost every time I think of it!”

“An eclipse of this nature is a rare occurrence,” Callen says. “The chance just to witness it three hours from where I live and work is exciting enough, but the chance to contribute to a big national effort that will possibly advance our understanding of the sun is a great opportunity.”

The Citizen CATE project has been several years in the making. Teams will have no more than 2 minutes and 40 seconds – the time of the total eclipse as seen from the Earth’s surface – to capture their images. Ojakangas and Callen will be available for interviews during practice sessions on Wednesday and Friday morning outside of the Trustee Science Center on the Drury campus, starting at approximately 9 a.m.

ALSO: A Musical Angle

There’s also an artistic angle on this scientific story. Ojakangas’s daughter Celka is a 2015 Drury music graduate who is now studying music composition at the University of Southern California, one of the top graduate schools for music composition in the country. Inspired by her passion for both art and science, Celka and her brothers Kieran (a 2014 Drury alumnus) and Lian will perform a piece of her original music that is synchronized exactly to the timing of the eclipse, accompanied by a computer-generated background tone generated by Ojakangas.

“The tone drops 6 octaves as totality approaches, in precise relation to the rate that sunlight is diminishing, then rises again afterwards. Celka’s composition is a musical palindrome based on a Greek Orthodox chant celebrating the light of Christ,” explains Ojakangas.

Celka, Kieran and Lian Ojakangas will perform as an electric string trio at the site where the Drury team will conduct their CATE observation work. The site is located at Hermann Hill Village, 165 Missouri Hwy 100. More information on the location and festivities sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce are online at http://visithermann.com/2017-solar-eclipse/.

For more information about the musical composition, contact Celka Ojakangas via email at ojakanga@usc.edu.

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Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations: (417) 873-7390 or mikebrothers@drury.edu.

Drury offers new, comprehensive bachelor of music education degree

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 24, 2017 — Drury University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts now offers an innovative new bachelor of music education (BME) degree that comprehensively prepares students for certification to teach all music specialties: general, choral and instrumental.

This single track, comprehensive program is one of the few such programs in the Midwest.

Drury’s music education program offers exceptional undergraduate conducting opportunities, including the yearly production of “Peter and the Wolf,” and participation in regionally and nationally recognized choral and instrumental ensembles.

“So often, music educators are called upon to teach in areas outside of their college specialization,” says Dr. Jim Davidson, director of music education and choral activities.  “For example, it’s not uncommon in today’s job market to see a student who studied to be a band director also being assigned to teach choir. Graduates of Drury’s new BME program will be much more marketable and well-rounded musicians, and prepared for success in all areas of the K-12 music program.”

More information is available at http://www.drury.edu/music/music-education-major  Prospective students can also contact Jim Davidson, director of music education, at (417) 873-4079 or jdavidson005@drury.edu.

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Drury & the Springfield Symphony team up for conducting workshop

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 14, 2017 — The Springfield Symphony, Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra, and Drury University will host a conducting workshop on February 24-25, 2017 in Clara Thompson Hall on the Drury campus. The workshop will provide aspiring conductors the opportunity to work with a professional chamber ensemble of Springfield Symphony musicians in a nurturing environment.

Led by Kyle Wiley Pickett, music director of the Springfield Symphony and Topeka (Kansas) Symphony; and Christopher Koch, music director of the Springfield Regional Opera and Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra, the workshop will offer each participant podium time as well as a preparatory session with the workshop clinicians.

Information is available via www.springfieldmosymphony.org under the Events tab, or via the SDCO section of Drury.edu.

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Contact: Dr. Christopher Koch, Associate Professor of Music: (417) 873-7298 or ckoch@drury.edu.

“Peter and the Wolf” tradition continues at Drury on Thursday, Feb. 16

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., February 14, 2017 — Drury University’s annual production of “Peter and the Wolf” for area third-graders will take place during two performances at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. This year’s performances are made possible in part thanks to a $12,900 grant from U.S. Bank, through the U.S. Bank Foundation.

For more than 40 years, students and faculty from Drury’s music, theater and education departments have collaborated to bring “Peter and the Wolf” to life for an elementary school audience. The 1936 work by Sergei Prokofiev is designed to teach children about the orchestra through an easy-to-understand fairytale about a boy and his animal friends being stalked by a wolf. Each character is represented by a different instrument and musical motif. In 2016, Drury revamped the program to include new emphasis on the humane treatment of animals. Nearly 3,000 third graders from Springfield and the surrounding area are expected to attend the two performances.

“We are very grateful for the support provided by U.S. Bank through its grant program,” says Christopher Koch, associate professor of music at Drury and music director of the SDCO and Springfield Regional Opera. “Not only will the funding help us to continue our 40-plus year tradition of presenting ‘Peter and the Wolf’ to our region’s third graders, it also supports the regionally and nationally acclaimed Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra, a semi-professional ensemble-in-residence at Drury which allows our own students to sit side-by-side with professional musicians, faculty, and students drawn from across southwest Missouri.”

The U.S. Bank Foundation funds projects related to themes of workforce education, neighborhood revitalization, and arts and culture, organized under the umbrellas of Work, Home and Play. Support for the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra falls within Play and is an investment in the arts and culture of our community.

“U.S. Bank makes play possible by investing the bank’s financial resources in community programming that supports ways for children and adults to play and create in venues across the country,” said Steven Fox, Regional President.

Grant funding from U.S. Bank will support a full roster of orchestral events in SDCO’s 2017-18 season. For tickets and information about SDCO, visit www.sdco.drury.edu.

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Drury Wind Symphony to be honored at national band directors convention

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., January 25, 2017 — The Drury Wind Symphony will be honored at the annual convention of the College Band Directors National Association, which takes place in Kansas City in March. Judged to be among the best of its kind nationally, the ensemble will be featured at the CBDNA’s “Small Band Showcase” which identifies and celebrates outstanding performance by schools with an undergraduate enrollment of fewer than 4,500.

Wind Symphony

Music Director and Drury professor Christopher Koch will also present at the conference, sharing concert performances and discussing the Wind Symphony’s path to success.

“I’m thrilled our students are being recognized for their outstanding work,” says Koch, who is also Music Director of the Springfield Regional Opera and Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra.

For more information, visit: www.drury.edu/music.

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Tickets for Drury’s annual Christmas Vespers available Nov. 7

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., October 25, 2016 — Fans of Christmas traditions will want to mark two upcoming dates on their calendars. Tickets for Drury’s annual Christmas Vespers choral concert will be available beginning Monday, November 7. Due to high demand in recent years, there will again be two Vespers performances this year at 3 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 4 in Stone Chapel.

New this year: a live video stream of the 7 p.m. performance will be available online at www.drury.edu/music.

Vespers candles

Tickets to attend in person will be available via the Drury website at www.drury.edu/music. Tickets are free of charge; however, there is a limit of four tickets per order. Tickets must be ordered online and cannot be reserved by phone. Tickets tend to go quickly, so please order early. Guests will be able to pick up their tickets at Stone Chapel one hour prior to the performance. In-town guests are encouraged to attend the 7 p.m. performance, and out-of-town guests, such as parents of Drury students, are encouraged to attend the 3 p.m. performance.

Vespers is based on the traditional lessons and carol service and will include classic carols such as “Silent Night” and “O, Come All Ye Faithful,” as well as more contemporary choral works. The Vespers celebration has been a tradition at Drury for more than 60 years.

Video highlights from the 2015 Vespers performance can be viewed online. For more information regarding the event, please call the Drury Music Department at (417) 873-7296.

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Media Contact: Dr. Allin Sorenson, Professor of Music: (417) 873-7296 or asorenson@drury.edu.

Guest lecturer brings music & marketing expertise to Drury March 31

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 29, 2016 — The Self-Employment in the Arts Lecture Series, sponsored by the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, will bring world-renowned opera singer Michael Spyres to campus for a lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 31 at Carole Lambert Studio in Shewmaker Hall. The talk is open to the public.

Spyres was recently named artistic director of the Springfield Regional Opera. Born and raised in the Ozarks, he is one of the most sought after tenors of his generation and has performed extensively throughout Europe and North America.

During his talk, Spyres will share the story behind his success as a self-employed singer in a dizzyingly competitive industry. The event comes just before he leads the SRO in performances of Mozart’s classic comic opera “The Marriage of Figaro” on April 1 and 3 at the Gillioz Theater.

About the Series and the Edward Jones Center

The Self-Employment in the Arts Series features successful, entrepreneurial artists from across the country for small-group sessions, lectures and the occasional performance on Drury’s campus. The series will bring Drury alumnus and professional opera singer Michael Spyres to campus on Thursday, March 31.

The Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship was made possible by the generous contribution of John and Crystal Beuerlein and Edward Jones, Inc. All parties feel passionately about entrepreneurship and believe in the idea of helping people create new businesses. They are also eager to provide employees of existing corporations with tools to continually refresh and reinvent their organizations as markets and business environments change.

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Alumnus & musician to give talk, host performance March 31

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 23, 2016 — Springfield musician and Drury alumnus Arthur Duncan will give a presentation and host a musical performance at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 31 at the Drury Diversity Center. The Center is located on Drury Lane, just north of Bob Barker Boulevard. The event is free and open to the public.

Duncan attended Drury in the 1970s and studied music. In the decades since, he has led numerous jazz, gospel and R&B groups in Springfield. He is also the minister of music at Higher Ground Ministries under Pastor Larry Maddox.

Duncan, a pianist and songwriter, will talk about his experience as a student at Drury in the 1970s and will lead his jazz trio in a performance of various styles of music from his repertoire. He will also discuss music and the creative process as part of his presentation, including how he writes songs.

The President’s Council on Inclusion is sponsoring the event.

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Media Contact: Rosalyn Thomas, Diversity Support Service Coordinator: (417) 873-6827 or rthomas005@drury.edu.

Guest lecturer brings music & marketing expertise to Drury Feb. 19

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 16, 2016 — The Self-Employment in the Arts Lecture Series, sponsored by the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, will host a lecture and performance by musician and marketer Christopher Burnett this Friday.

Currently the marketing director at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Burnett is also an award-winning composer and jazz saxophonist himself, and has decades of experience in all facets of the music business.

Burnett will host a lecture about his history of success as a self-employed performer at 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19 in Clara Thompson Hall. Burnett will then lead a performance at 8 p.m. that night at Q Enoteca Wine Bar, 308 W. Commercial St. Both events are open to the public.

Burnett

A native of the Kansas City area, Burnett rose to prominence while leading, touring and recording with U.S. military bands from 1974 to 1996. He was an early explorer of the digital music landscape. Through skillful and innovative promotion and marketing, Burnett garnered more than a half million music downloads and sold CDs to fans in 38 countries via the original MP3.com website in the early 2000s. Burnett founded a retail music store business immediately after his military career and served as Acting CEO of the American Jazz Museum for a short time.

About the Series and the Edward Jones Center

The Self-Employment in the Arts Series features successful, entrepreneurial artists from across the country for small-group sessions, lectures and the occasional performance on Drury’s campus. The series will bring Drury alumnus and professional opera singer Michael Spyres to campus on Thursday, March 31.

The Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship was made possible by the generous contribution of John and Crystal Beuerlein and Edward Jones, Inc. All parties feel passionately about entrepreneurship and believe in the idea of helping people create new businesses. They are also eager to provide employees of existing corporations with tools to continually refresh and reinvent their organizations as markets and business environments change.

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Media Contact: Dr. John Taylor, Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship: (417) 873-6356 or jtaylor3@drury.edu.

Third-graders to see revamped “Peter & the Wolf” thanks to Bob Barker gift 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 16, 2016 — A decades-old tradition will receive a revamp next week as Drury University’s Theatre, Music and Education departments present the annual performance of “Peter and the Wolf” for elementary school students at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

Nearly 3,000 third graders from throughout Springfield and the surrounding area are expected to attend the two performances by more than 50 Drury students at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22. Media are welcome to cover the event.

For more than 40 years, Drury students and faculty have brought Sergei Prokofiev’s classic children’s symphony to life for the benefit of local youth. The 2016 edition has a new look and feel thanks to a gift from the Bob Barker Endowment Fund for the Study of Animal Rights and creative input from director Robert Westenberg. The performance will now include some small changes that reflect messages of humane education about wild animals.

The 1936 work is designed to teach children about the orchestra through an easy-to-understand fairytale about a boy and his animal friends being stalked by a wolf. Each character is represented by a different instrument and musical motif.

According to Westenberg, this year’s production will be “completely restaged and redesigned. It will feature new set pieces, costumes, and props.” Photos and brief videos of wolves in the wild will help reinforce “the importance of respecting our fellow animal creatures and how we need to harmoniously coexist within our mutual ecosystems,” Westenberg adds.

Others involved in the revamp include Drury theater technical director Mark Needelman (scene design), Drury theater professor Madison Spencer (costume design), Drury alumna Christine Bass (visual design) and professional choreographer Chyrel Miller. Dr. Robin Schraft will narrate the performance and Dr. Christopher Koch will conduct the orchestra. The Drury Friends of Music Fund helps support this annual musical education experience.

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