Music department takes unique approach on heels of Dunn’s outreach initiative

Samantha Villanueva
Staff writer

The Murray State Department of Music is taking a unique approach at early recruitment as part of President Randy Dunn’s new initiatives for regional outreach.

Students in surrounding schools have been entertained with private concerts by the University’s instrumental students and faculty.

Since last fall, the concerts are part of a $25,000 grant to the music department, provided by the office of regional outreach. The grant is funding the music department’s first of many outreach initiatives.

Christy D’Ambrosio, coordinator of the project said the music program would not have been able to happen without the support of the president and the rest of the administration.

“The Regional Stewardship and Outreach initiative, started in 2006, supports the university’s efforts to focus its mission on improving quality of life in the region and President Dunn’s imperatives of fostering excellence, building partnerships, and creating community supported the university’s ability to build academic excellence,” she said.

D’Ambrosio said the music outreach program was created to achieve a number of goals stated by the music department.

“With these concerts we are accomplishing many goals providing educational and cultural experiences to regional students, teachers and administrators,”she said. “We are also making and maintain partnerships with regional teachers and administrators and recruiting future students to the University and the music department.”

D’Ambrosio said the program introduced the University’s music department to many schools in a short time frame. There is a large percentage of the University’s service region that is not being reached through our on-campus performances.

Eric Swisher, associate professor in the department of humanities and fine arts, said the music program was just another example of how Murray State is giving back to the community.

“The instrumental music faculty is taking our chamber music ensembles (small groups of four-20 players) into regional elementary and secondary schools in order to enhance the music education of students, teachers and administrators,” Swisher said. “Through music students can learn creativity, cooperation, world cultures and history.”

Swisher, who is part of a group of advisers in the program, said the schools have three options as to how their visit from the music department will take place: a concert, a concert with a lecture, or a concert with private lessons for secondary Band/Orchestral musicians.

Swisher said the concerts are composed of a variety of instruments including of a flute duet, a saxophone quartet, a tuba-euphonium quartet and a guitar ensemble.

Bentley Utgaard, the project specialist in the office of regional outreach, said the grant money the music department received was well received and went to a great cause. He said that Swisher achieved the grant through competing and winning a competitive grant program.

The grant was awarded to provide performance opportunities for current University music students. Utgaard said the office of regional outreach also awarded the grant to strengthen the instrumental programs in Murray State’s service region and helped sustain the Music Department by providing additional resources to purchase instruments.