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Two Students Named State Officers for College Music Association

  • February 2014

Dr. Brent Yorgason, assistant professor of music theory at Marietta College, successfully defended his dissertation at Indiana University on August 11, 2009. His dissertation is entitled “Expressive Asynchrony and Meter: A Study of Dispersal, Downbeat Space, and Metric Drift.”

Two Marietta College Music Education majors, Emma Burger ’14 (Mansfield, Ohio) and Patrick Specht ’16 (Glenview, Ill.), have recently been selected as state officers for the Ohio Collegiate Music Educators Association.

Burger, last year’s president elect, is now state president, while Specht will be serving as state treasurer. While two may seem like a small number, OCMEA only has five officers total from the entire state. This means Marietta College students currently make up 40 percent of its executive board.

“For a small school, that’s pretty amazing,” says Marshall Kimball, Director of Bands and Instrumental Activities.

Kimball is currently in his fourth year as OCMEA state adviser. He presides over the approximately 30 chapters in Ohio, which include larger schools like the University of Cincinnati, Ohio University and Ohio State University. Because the range of schools involved in OCMEA is so wide, becoming an officer is a competitive process. However, Burger and Specht have accomplished this through their outstanding interpersonal abilities, Kimball says.

“They’re also very bright… very articulate, and they display really wonderful leadership and organizational skills,” he says. “As the state adviser, I really need the officers to have (these qualities) because I depend on them to get things done.”

Specht says his and Burger’s election as state officers serves as a “testament” to the dedication of Marietta College’s Music Education majors.

“While we are a smaller institution, the students here are as engaged — if not more so — on a state level than students at some of the larger state schools,” he says.

Burger, as state president, is the leader of hundreds of music education students across Ohio. She says this is “challenging at times,” but the position has given her valuable opportunities for leadership development. Burger has met and spoken with the President of the Ohio Music Educators Association, and she plays a large role in the behind-the-scenes leadership of OCMEA.

“My biggest goal as state president is to strengthen communication between all of the OCMEA chapters,” Burger says. “I’d like to implement a reporting system so that I know who’s in charge and that they’re being active.”

The new officers will also be in involved in helping program the state OCMEA conference in February. This conference is attended by “around 4,000” people, and is the “third largest music conference in the U.S.,” Kimball says. The officers will be coordinating the portion that caters specifically to the circa 900 collegiate music education majors in Ohio.

Kimball says that although it is small, Marietta College has one of the more active OCMEA chapters in the state.

“(The officers) know there are things I expect them to do to set an example for other chapters in the state,” he says.

Specht, like Burger, has gladly taken on this active leadership role.

“I enjoy being in this position because it gives me the chance to network with educators from a different background than I have,” Specht says. “It is a great way to also maintain contact with other colleagues I have met through performing ensembles and other conferences.”

Theatre, Music Departments Team Up for "The Music Man"

  • November 2013

The Theatre at Marietta College continues its 2013-14 Season: Caught in the Act with Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, starting Nov. 7.

A joint production with the Edward E. MacTaggart Department of Music, The Music Man begins with a special public preview matinee at 10 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Hermann Fine Arts Center's Friederich Theatre. The seven-show run opens at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, and continues on Saturday, Nov. 9 with performances at 2 and 8 p.m.. There is also a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday, Nov. 10, an 8 p.m. showing on Friday, Nov. 15 and two closing performances at 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16.

When Professor Harold Hill, an infamously sly traveling salesman of boys band equipment, jumps off the train and into the stubborn Iowa town of River City, with its infamously prim librarian and piano teacher, Marian Paroo, he realizes he will need to combine fast talk with fancy footwork or risk facing the music. The Theatre Department is excited to bring this American musical classic to the Marietta river city with a score featuring favorites like “Seventy Six Trombones,” “Till There Was You,” “Gary, Indiana,” “Ya Got Trouble,” and “Shipoopi!”

The mainstage production involves a cast of 38 college students, including all of the members of the Marietta College Concert Choir. They are joined on stage by seven wonderful young actors from the Marietta-Parkersburg area, notably Lyanna Smith, who plays “Winthrop Paroo,” and Ellie Marie Yeater, who plays the mayor’s youngest daughter, “Gracie Shinn.”

The Department also welcomes its new dance instructor and choreographer, Rachel Romage, with this spirited, soft-shoe-friendly show. The pit orchestra for the production (23-plus members strong) is comprised of Marietta College Wind Ensemble students and six professional string musicians from the region. This level of integration and collaboration between departments and community on The Music Man is a new adventure for Music and Theatre.

The Theatre at Marietta College production is directed by Director of Theatre, Jeffrey M. Cordell (2013’s The Arabian Nights and 2012’s The Seagull). Of the production, Cordell says: “I have loved The Music Man since I was 5 years old and wearing out the public library’s vinyl record of the 1962 film version, driving my mother loopy with ‘Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little’ and ‘Lida Rose.’ I have thought about the show so often that directing it this fall feels like coming home. The musical is honest about how imperfect human beings can be, how cruel and how beautiful love is when we least expect it to enter our lives, and just how fun and fulfilling it is to feel like you belong to something greater than yourself. As a boy with a speech impediment, I identified with the young, lisping Winthrop Paroo. Living and working in this fine river city of Marietta, I can now identify with happily-settled-in-a-small-town Marcellus Washburn. But what if we are all most like Harold Hill? After all, every moment of performance is a con game of some sort, isn’t it?”

The Music Man is under the musical direction of Dr. Daniel Monek. Of the production, Monek says: “The Music department is extremely excited to join with the Theatre department in this collaborative production effort. In addition to being a story of love and human understanding, the show also provides an important message about the impact music can have on our lives and especially it's value in the lives of our children and communities. At a time when we are trying so many ways to 'fix' our educational system, we hope the show also serves as a reminder that sometimes playing in a band, as it does for the character of Winthrop, or singing in a choir can completely change the educational outlook of a child and deeply impact the quality of their life.”