The University of Saskatchewan music program is one of the most active groups on campus. With its many concerts, student organizations and events, the program offers a much needed dose of culture for slow campus days.
Even as one of the most unnoticed groups on campus, the music program has a lot to offer for musicians and music lovers alike. For fourth year vocal major Erica McFadden, the program means opportunities and experiences that were valuable.
“I think that I have become much more of a performer and much more of a musician than I really could have imagined,” McFadden said. “I’ve changed a lot as a person because of how I’ve learned to look into music. There is the parallel of how I look at music and how I look at the rest of my life now. ”
The way that she feels this personal growth was achieved was with hands-on interaction with instructors — an opportunity that comes with the smaller college, where each class contains about 10 to 14 students on average.
With the changes to funding, programs like music tend to be swept under the rug. There are too many students who don’t even know about the many productions that the music students have to put on as a part of thier program.
Each student has to be a part of certain amount of groups throughout their time in school in order to graduate. Many groups operate on an audition basis, meaning they have to meet a high performance standard.
Collectives like the U of S jazz band hold many concerts throughout the year in a variety of settings: Quance Theatre, Louis’, the Bassment and even holding their own big band dances, such as their recent swing dancing extravaganza, Switch In Time.
There are a lot of other unique programs that the department of music has to offer as well, with McFadden being involved in musical theatre. The program functions like a normal class and is part of students tuition. What musical theatre has done is help facilitate McFadden‘s training in opera singing. A type of production that often goes unappreciated in in the city.
The first term of musical theatre focuses on the opera that was capped off with a medley performance. The next year brings on more on Broadway Musicals for the focus and a completely different spectrum of music. For this portion of the class they will be holding a performance of The Beggar’s Opera.
This variety that the program offers showed McFadden a new world of music that she can explore. For a long time she dreamt of being a music teacher, but soon found it was not for her.
“For me, by the end of my time [at the school] I just couldn’t comprehend that I couldn’t make all of the children absolutely love music. It was very unrealistic of me, but I couldn’t stop that,” McFadden said.
There is a lot more the music program has to offer and it helped McFadden discover a fondness for the world of opera.
She was able to explore opera in her own way and wants to take it away from the stiff feet-planted singing common today, adding theatrics as well as emotion back to opera singing. Even if people cannot understand the words she is singing, they can get the feeling from the emotion she conveys as majority of opera is written in other languages.
Music education provides valuable learning for those who want to continue to create and spread their love of music.
When going to one of the ensemble shows, this passion for what they are doing is evident in the U of S Wind Orchestra — who are known for their brilliant marching music having just performed a concert of old band standards.
The U of S Greystone Singers who have done choral performances around the world, including China and Europe.
For those who are interested in music, but aren’t necessarily professional or majoring in the subject, there are still other options like the University Chorus — open to all who like to sing as part of a large choral group.
There is also the Concert Band for individuals whose musical talent strays away from singing.
The music department has something to offer everyone and greatly deserves more attention. As McFadden said when asked about her hopes for the program itself, “I just hope it stays. With what’s happening with the university, music, drama and art are needed to continue the development of culture and creative minds.
“The creative minds think out of the box, and I think that is very much needed in the positive development of society.”
Graphic: Cody Schumacher/Graphics Editor