BGSU alumni to strike up bands at 50th annual music clinic

Homecoming weekend was in September, but for a dozen BGSU music alumni, Thursday-Saturday (Jan. 24-26) will be the next best thing.

The alumni are returning to campus to join high school musicians and band directors at the College of Musical Arts’ 50th annual Band Music Reading and Directors Clinic in the Moore Musical Arts Center. One of the University’s foremost outreach events, the clinic has introduced about 7,000 high school students to campus over its history.

The event will include performances by BGSU’s Wind Symphony and Concert Band and conclude with a concert by the clinic’s two high school honor bands. All three performances are open to the public in Kobacker Hall.

"The clinic has a long and illustrious history, attracting hundreds of students and public school teachers to campus each January,” noted Dr. Bruce Moss, director of band activities. “This year, to honor the 50th anniversary, we have invited four distinguished BGSU graduates (all now college band directors) back to campus to conduct our high school honor bands.”

Directing the honor bands in the 4 p.m. concert on Saturday will be Dr. Vincent Polce, a 1966 graduate now at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne; Dr. James Saker, a University of Nebraska-Omaha faculty member who received his bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green in 1967; Dr. Donald Ryder, a 1985 graduate now at the University of Tennessee, and Dr. Frederick Speck of the University of Louisville, who earned his bachelor’s degree in 1978 and added a master’s degree in music from BGSU in 1982.

Also instructing the high school students, on Friday, will be the Tower Brass Quintet, comprised of five local BGSU music alumni. Brian Bushong received his bachelor’s degree in music in 1980, and both he and fellow trumpeter Larry Herman earned master’s of business administration degrees, in 1992 and 1983, respectively. Trombonist Daniel Saygers and horn player Bernice Schwartz each graduated in 1981 with music degrees—Saygers with a bachelor’s degree and Schwartz with a master’s—and Saygers went on to earn a master’s degree in guidance and counseling in 2004. His twin brother, David, a tuba player, received his master of music degree from BGSU in 1988.

The quintet acquired an international reputation in 1986 with a prize-winning performance at the International Brass Chamber Music Competition in Barcs, Hungary. Since then, the Tower Brass has collaborated with several of the world’s premier brass ensembles and has released seven recordings. Its music has been heard, among other places, on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and on Voice of America.

Three more BGSU alumni are bringing their Ohio high school bands to campus to perform for their peers who are participating in the clinic. David Maroon, a 1977 graduate, directs the Princeton High School Symphonic Band, while David Harbart, a 1985 graduate, is director of the Strongsville High School Wind Ensemble, and John Kustec, who earned Bowling Green degrees in 1977 and 1979, directs the Perkins High School Wind Ensemble.

Directed by Moss, the BGSU Wind Symphony will perform at 8 p.m. Friday. The concert will feature world-premiere fanfares by Dr. Burton Beerman, music composition, and Distinguished Artist Professor Dr. Marilyn Shrude. Tickets are $7 for students and senior citizens and $10 for other adults in advance, and $10 and $13, respectively, on the day of the concert. For tickets, call the Moore Center box office at 2-8171.

A BGSU Concert Band performance will begin at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. That band is directed by Dr. Carol Hayward, music education.

Sponsoring the clinic is Rettig Music Inc. of Defiance, Lima, Toledo and Westlake.

January 22, 2008