Monday, July 30, 2012

Justin Smith, director of Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, interviewed by local TV Station

UW alumnus, Justin Smith (2010), is currently program director for the Milwaukee Symphony Youth Orchestra and its mission and upcoming tour to Europe.  Check out the interview here:

Justin Smith Interview

Music Educator, Sue Halloway, retires after 33 years

Sue Halloway has taught for 33 years, and all of them were in Sauk Prairie. After attending Whitefish Bay High School, Halloway spent a year at Indiana University and then took a semester off to travel and bowl in the AMF World Cup in Singapore. She returned to complete her music education degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also earned her master’s degree.
“I think the most challenging situation occurred two years ago when budget cuts threatened teaching positions in our district and we cut our fifth-grade band program and musicals,” she said. “Fortunately, we have been able to maintain all of those programs through parent and community support.”
Halloway repeated her often stated philosophy to students: “ It’s the journey, not the destination. Take risks!”
She wouldn’t offer words of advice to colleagues, however.
“There are just too many unknowns,” she said.
“I have enjoyed everything and every minute (of teaching in Sauk Prairie). The kids have been great; I have had the opportunity to work with an amazing parent group; have been fortunate enough to work with a wonderful staff and administration and have appreciated the wonderful support of the music program by the community,” she said. “Every year I tell my students that they don’t know who they haven’t met yet that will make a difference in their lives. I have begun every year with those very thoughts and am thankful to all of the people I have met along the way that have made a difference in my life and the lives of my students. Thank you for 33 wonderful and memorable years.”
Halloway said she plans to do some private teaching and might work with the fifth-grade band. She also might want to perform and judge, but golf, bowling, travel and time with her parents also are on her list.
“I think I can finally identify with all of the seniors. I have had 33 years to decide what I want to do when I grow up and graduate from High School and I’m not quite sure where that path will lead,” she said.

Thomas Kasdorg, recent piano alum, featured in Wisconsin State Journal

Freelance pianist believes in music as a universal language.

People know me as: Thomas Kasdorf, freelance collaborative pianist, coach and musical theater director.
Coming up next: I’ll be performing Mozart’s Concerto in A Major with Middleton Community Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Middleton Performing Arts Center at Middleton High School. Tickets are $10; free for students. Tickets are available at Willy Street Co-op West or at the door.
Don’t miss it because: The Middleton Community Orchestra is a fantastic community ensemble, made up of so many highly talented amateur musicians. I’m very excited to be working with them again, having worked with them previously with the Perlman Trio for last year’s performance of the Beethoven Triple Concerto. For a collaborative musician, working with an orchestra is really the highest form of collaboration, and the Mozart concerto is a superb vehicle for large-scale ensemble playing. The elegance, lyricism, brilliance and poise of the piece create a great canvas for both soloist and orchestra.
Your training? I graduated last summer with my bachelor’s of music in piano performance from UW-Madison, studying with professor Christopher Taylor.
Favorite place to perform: I’d have to declare a tie between the Middleton Performing Arts Center and the Bartell Theatre. Both are radically different, but I love the impressive grandeur and richness of the PAC and the attitude, warmth and sense of community that the companies working at the Bartell give to their venue. I’ve worked on many different kinds of performances at both venues and have so many fantastic memories of each place.
Most inspiring moment on stage: I played the final movement of Oliver Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” with violinist Eleanor Bartsch at a house concert. After we finished, there was an intense solid minute of silence, and we slowly looked up at our audience, each member of which was sobbing. It reaffirmed clear beliefs of mine that music not only expresses what cannot be fully comprehended in any other manner, but also that music is a universal language, understood and felt by absolutely everyone in some way.
Worst moment on stage: During a performance of “Cabaret,” with the band positioned in full view of the sold-out audience. I fell asleep during a really long scene and woke up playing in the middle of the musical number “Mein Herr.” I was so stunned and terrified, but I guess no one knew anything was wrong. It gave new meaning to being able to “play something in your sleep.”
Who or what inspires you?: I’m constantly inspired by my collaborative partners. I feel so blessed to be able to learn so much from every individual that I work with, and that insight carries into all of my future collaborations.
— Interview by Gayle Worland

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UW Marching Band stalwart 'Badger Bill' Garvey succumbs to cancer

"Badger Bill" Garvey was an icon in both McFarland where he taught music for 31 years and among the UW-Madison community who shared his passion for all things Wisconsin.
On Thursday, Garvey passed away after a bout with cancer. He was 60.
In addition to teaching music in McFarland, Garvey was also field assistant to the UW Marching Band for 35 years.
Longtime UW Marching Band director Mike Leckrone said his close friend was a figurehead for the organization, helping to organize the alumni band and the annual "Band Day" celebration of high school musicians from around the state.
As a freshman at UW-Madison 43 years ago, Garvey played trumpet in Leckrone's first band. He began his teaching career in Kenosha, but after being hired by McFarland he spent his evenings after school rushing to campus to assist with the UW Marching Band, Leckrone recalled.
"I don't know of anybody who was more of a Badger than Bill Garvey," Leckrone said. "We all admired that loyalty he had."
Over his career, Garvey coached sports, served as president of the McFarland Federation of Teachers through five teaching contracts and served as a guest conductor for several state music festivals.
"The guy lived for everybody," McFarland Superintendent Scott Brown said.
In January, despite health concerns, Garvey participated in his fifth New Year's Day Rose Parade, marching with his daughter Jessica, a UW-Madison senior.
Upon his retirement from McFarland in 2008, Garvey said the legacy he wanted to leave was continued cooperation between the music and athletic departments.
"There is a mutual respect and admiration for each other's accomplishments. There is also a concerted effort made to not force students into making choices between one activity or another," Garvey said. "There is a hope and desire on my part for this fine relationship to continue."

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Matt Schlomer named new band conductor at Interlochen Arts Academy

Interlochen Arts Academy is pleased to announce Dr. Matthew Schlomer as the next band conductor at Interlochen Arts Academy. Dr. Schlomer is currently adjunct professor at Luther College and assistant conductor of wind ensemble at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, Dr. Schlomer has twelve years of experience teaching at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School and Sheboygan North High School.
Dr. Schlomer studied wind conducting with Scott Teeple and dance with Kate Corby. He holds a doctor of musical arts degree and master of music degree in instrumental conducting with a minor concentration in dance from the University of Wisconsin, a bachelor of music in education from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a gold medal in saxophone from Bordeaux Regional Conservatory in France. In February of this year, he presented his research, “Essential Movement Lessons from Dance Pedagogy,” at the College Band Director’s National Association.
In addition to his outstanding conducting background, Dr. Schlomer has worked extensively as a saxophone performer, dancer and visual artist. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Matthew Schlomer to Interlochen.

UW Doctoral Student - Frederick "Fritz" Schenker receives Mellon Fellowship

Frederick "Fritz" Schenker, a doctoral student in ethnomusicology at theSchool of Music, has received one of 17 Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources.
He will use the fellowship to pursue research in Manila and Singapore for nine months beginning in September 2012 for his dissertation topic, "Performing Empire: Music and Race in Colonial Asia's Jazz Age."
According to the Council on Library and Information Resources, which administers this program, the fellowships are intended to help graduate students in the humanities and related social science fields pursue research wherever relevant sources are available and gain skill and creativity in using primary source materials in libraries, archives, museums and related repositories.
In a summary of his dissertation, Schenker begins with the observation that in the early 1920s, American jazz proliferated in southeast Asia in tandem with the expansion of American empire, and that the convergence of the two developments had far-reaching ramifications for both.
He writes, "Jazz moved along the same routes and circuits as U. S. empire, on the same ships that carried soldiers, goods and capital to port cities worldwide. ... Wherever colonialism and global capital traveled, jazz seemed to follow, and wherever jazz appeared in these Asian contexts, Filipino musicians were conspicuously present."
Schenker will spend eight months in Manila and the final month in Singapore, attempting to contact local collectors who may have photos, recordings, newspaper articles, letters and diaries, and others who are descended from those who lived there in the 1920s for their personal recollections of their forebears' accounts. In addition, he will examine newspapers, recordings, playbills and photos at museums, libraries and archives. He will receive a total of $19,000 from the Mellon fellowship to cover travel, living and research expenses.
Schenker is concluding the second year of his Ph.D. degree program, having received the M.A. in ethnomusicology at UW-Madison in 2010.
He has done considerable research into his topic at UW-Madison's Memorial Library and Cutter Collection, reviewing historical newspapers on microfilm and travelogues of American and European tourists to southeast Asia. Last summer, he studied Tagalog for eight weeks through the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute.
Shenker's dissertation adviser is Ronald Radano, professor of musicology and ethnomusicology; he has also worked with R. Anderson Sutton, professor of ethnomusicology and former director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.