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EIU Department of Music

Spring 2015 Newsletter

Message from the Chair:

Shellie GregorichAt the beginning of the spring semester the Department of Music received some great news from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the National Association of Schools of Music—our applications to begin offering a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music was approved. Currently the Department of Music only offers the Bachelor of Music degree with the following options: 1) Teacher Licensure, and 2) Performance. Because these options are designed for students with highly specialized interests in performance or teaching, students with broader interests in music have had limited opportunities within the department. The Bachelor of Arts degree, with the many possibilities in either the Open Studies Concentration or Music Theory and Composition Concentration will provide the flexibility to allow students to design a degree program that maintains relevancy in a rapidly changing world. The program also serves as a springboard for further curricular innovation for students of music and technology, music and business, or other interdisciplinary studies. We believe this new degree program will attract more music students the Department of Music and to EIU and better serve current students with more varied interests. To learn more about this program, please visit our website in the coming months as we prepare to admit students into this program for the fall 2015 semester.

Shellie Gregorich, Chair

Departmental News

Eastern Music Camp will welcome students to campus this summer for a week of fun and music making. Camp is open to middle and high school students who enroll in one of five programs: choir, band, instrumental jazz, piano, or strings. The 2015 camp will be held July 12-18. Please click here for more information.


NAfME AttendeesThe NAfME Collegiate chapter continues to provide professional development opportunities to its members and serves local music programs with outreach projects. The officers are organizing an instrument repair workshop and have scheduled a variety of speakers for upcoming spring meetings. Twenty-one chapter members attended the Illinois Music Educators Conference in Peoria that took place January 28-31.  For more information, please visit the EIU NAfME Collegiate website.


The EIU Piano Studio is hosting several visitors this semester to enhance student learning:

  • On January 31, Dr. Pei-I Wang gave a master class and played an outstanding solo recital (including Mozart K. 330, Rachmaninoff Sonata No. 1, and Gershwin/Wild Concert Pieces).
  • On February 28, Kurt Hansen will present a master class and solo recital featuring the works of Franz Schubert (the 8 Impromptus and Moments Musicaux).
  • On March 25 EIU alumnus Jim Litzelman (now teaching at The Catholic University of America) will present a solo recital and master class.
  • In addition, in late February the piano studio will travel to the Illinois State University to participate in a piano workshop.

Trombone/Euphonium Studio News: In the fall of 2014 (Oct. 31- Nov. 2) the Trombone/Euphonium studio hosted the inaugural Midwest Trombone Euphonium Conference (MTEC) held at EIU in the Doudna Fine Arts Center. The conference welcomed several guest artists, including: Brian Bowman (Euphonium, Professor at the University of North Texas), Alex Iles (Trombone, L.A. Freelance Artist), Chris Davis (Bass Trombone, Chicago Freelance Artist), and Yoko-Yamade Selvaggio (Piano, Chicago Freelance Artist). The festival also featured numerous visiting faculty artists from other universities throughout the Midwest. The Studio Trombone/Euphonium Ensemble (The Eastern CrossBones) was recently invited to perform at the January 2015 Illinois Music Educators' Conference in Peoria, Illinois. The group performed a variety of selections to a receptive audience under the direction of EIU Tuba Instructor, Dr. Todd French. The program also featured graduate assistant conductor Michael Pond-Jones, several student soloists, students Michael Livingston and Nick Arnold on tuba, and a collaboration with low brass students from Metamora High School. On March 29th 2015 members of the trombone/euphonium studio will visit Millikin University and collaborate with their students and Millikin Professor Gary Shaw in a rehearsal, shared dinner, and 6 PM Concert in Kuyper Hall. The studio will finish off the year with a "field trip" to the Getzen/Edwards factory in Elkhorn, WI, to tour the factory and spend a morning play testing horns. Plans are underway for MTEC 2015 and dates and artists will be announced soon.

In the fall semester 2014, the students of the EIU Trumpet Studio continued to work toward higher musicianship in many areas of their playing. Most students are working through a progression of "French school" method books that include challenging etudes by Brandt, Bousquet, Vannetelbosch, Charlier, and Bitsch. Etudes from these books present a series of progressively organized technical and lyrical challenges for students to master, and also introduce them to standard trumpet literature that they may one day pass on to their own students. Studio members also continue to work on mastery of scales, multiple tonguing, flexibility exercises, and buzzing.  Also during the fall semester, two students presented degree recitals. Mitch Weakley gave his junior teacher licensure (music education) recital and performed Eugène Bozza's Rustiques, a typical French conservatory piece in two sections (slow-fast), written for C trumpet. Mitch also performed the fiendishly difficult Golden Concerto by Václav Nelhýbel, a 12-tone piece for trumpet and piano. Logan Andrews gave a wonderful performance in his senior teacher licensure recital and played Hindemith's famous Sonate. This is a very long and challenging piece for trumpet that ends with a beautiful but exhausting chorale. Also on Logan's program was a piece for five-member trumpet ensemble by Erik Morales entitled Metallic Fury. This semester will feature four degree recitals in all – by Noah Chubb, Michael Eckardt, Chris Fryer, and Matt Parker. Please watch the Department's calendar for these recitals and come join us!
Finally, this semester the students will be working on a reinvigorated "strength training" regimen through the use of methods by famous trumpet pedagogue and teacher James Stamp. Students are working to develop the elusive qualities of consistency through registers, endurance, and clarity of sound with this holistic program of buzzing and careful flexibility studies. We will also continue to work on trumpet ensemble music and, in general, playing together as much as we can.
If you are on Facebook, please check/like out our studio page.

The EIU Wind Symphony and Concert Band have been doing great work both on and off the EIU campus during the 2014-2015 academic year. In December of 2014, both groups hosted guest composer in residence, Carter Pann, from the University of Colorado. Over three days, both the Wind Symphony and the Concert Band collaborated with Pann on two of his works for winds, Richard and Renée and Hold This Boy and Listen, respectively. Pann's campus visit provided one hundred woodwind, brass, and percussion students from EIU the opportunity to collaborate and make music with a renowned, living composer. On February 23-24, 2015 the Wind Symphony will travel with the EIU Jazz Ensemble to perform at Collinsville, Belleville West, and Alton High Schools near the East-metro St. Louis area. Save the date—Friday, March 27, 2015! The EIU Wind Symphony and new EIU faculty pianist, Dr. Jonathan Bowman, will present a Gershwin Gala Concert to kick off the Earl Boyd Friends of the Band Scholarship Fund. Additionally, former College of Arts and Humanities Associate Dean and EIU Alumnae, Dr. Patty Poulter, will return to Charleston to perform for the Gershwin Gala Concert. Since 2012 the number of students in the EIU Concert Band, both majors and non-majors, has increased by almost fifty percent. Additionally, the performance level of the group is improving by leaps and bounds as each semester progresses. During this academic year the Concert Band will share concerts on the EIU campus with the Effingham High School Wind Ensemble and the Centralia High School Band.
For Wind Symphony or Concert Band concert tickets, visit the Doudna website
To make a financial contribution to the Earl Boyd Friends of the Band Scholarship Fund, contact Dr. Alicia Neal.

The Panther Marching Band enjoyed another successful season of performance and spirit in the Fall of 2014. Under the direction of Dr. J. Corey Francis, the ensemble grew to 115 students in membership, the highest in his three years as director, and performed at the Naperville Central Marching Classic in September. Musical selections included arrangements from James Bond to Danse Bacchannale from "Sampson and Delilah" and music of Led Zepplin. In 2015, the ensemble looks to take a new step forward by creating the Panther Rock Band, a front-line ensemble that will perform with PMB. But, with every step forward, PMB looks to uphold the standard and traditions set by the amazing alumni that have been part of the PMB Family. Recordings of traditional works are now available for listening on Soundcloud.

Faculty News

Anna Cromwell (Violin and Viola) presented the session "Beautiful Basics: Building Violin and Viola Technique" in February at the Kentucky Music Educators Conference. This March she is attending the American String Teachers Association National Conference and assisting with both the studio teachers' roundtable meeting and the pre-conference adjudicator training for the ASTA Certificate Advancement Program. She joined the ASTA CAP national committee this fall and is assisting with the development of a live and online training program for adjudicators. In addition, she will be presenting a session at the ASTA conference titled "Getting from Here to There: Violin Pedagogy in the Intermediate Years."

Brad Decker (Composition and Music Theory) has been selected for a week-long residency at the Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (CMMAS) to create an interdisciplinary digital audio and sonic arts project with EIU colleague Dr. David Gracon (communications) in the video arts. They will work with students at the CMMAS institute in two 3-hour long workshops, and present a capstone concert of our combined works. This will take place in Morélia, Mexico, June 1-5, 2015.  The focus of this collaboration will be in the field of live performance of digital audio processing, and film music scoring.

Stefan Eckert (Music Theory) just published "Friedrich Erhard Niedts Musicalische Handleitung (1710–21) als Anleitung zur Improvisations- und Kompositionskunst für den „rechtschaffenden Organisten und Musicus," Musiktheorie und Improvisation Kongressbericht der IX. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie, 2009. Herausgegeben von Jürgen Blume und Konrad Georgi (Mainz: Schott, 2015), 194–204.

Corey Francis (Assistant Director of Bands/Director of Athletic Bands) was a contributing author in the book Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Vol. 10, an educational resource through GIA Publications. The book, published in December of 2014, includes articles on band works from Grade 2 to Grade 6. Additionally, Dr. Francis has maintained a busy schedule as an adjudicator and clinician, including guest conductor at the 67th Annual Quad-State Senior High Band Festival at Murray State University, and concert and marching adjudicator for USBands.

Paul Johnston (Jazz Studies, Jazz Piano) gave recitals with Dr. Magie Smith (Clarinet) in Alabama and Georgia in January. In February, he was a guest artist at Marshall University's Jomie Jazz Series.  He looks forward to premieres of new works for voice and piano, for two pianos, and for saxophone and orchestra this spring.  His recent composition Mountain Sketches for Horn and Piano was the Featured Division winner in the 2014 International Horn Society Composition Contest.

Rebecca Johnson (Flute) started off 2015 with a recital and presentation at the Kentucky Flute Festival, which quickly moved onto several performances and recordings with the orchestra Sinfonia da Camera and other central Illinois ensembles. She will travel with EIU colleagues Cara Chowning, Magie Smith, and Elizabeth Sullivan for recitals and masterclasses at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville in April, and start the summer performance season with a recital and masterclasses at the Festival Internacionál de Flautistas in Quito, Ecuador.

Danelle Larson (Instrumental Music Education) presented joint research on February 5 at the Suncoast Music Education Research Symposium/Music and Lifelong Learning Conference in Tampa Florida. She and Dr. Amy Spears (Nebraska Wesleyan University) presented "Using Small Ensembles to Promote Meaningful Music Making in Band." Dr. Larson conducted the District V Junior Band in November, and her current research on feedback styles for pre-service music teachers has been accepted for presentation at the Instrumental Music Teacher Educators Colloquium in May.

Jemmie Robertson (Trombone) recently completed a one-day guest residency at the University of Delaware and performances with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. On February 21st he will present a joint recital at EIU with professor of percussion Jamie Ryan. In March 2015, Dr. Robertson will join musicians from North, South and Central America, and Europe to perform in the biennial Santo Domingo Festival in the Dominican Republic. This coming summer he will join the Southeast Trombone Symposium Professors choir in Columbus, Georgia, and return for his 15th season as a trombonist with the Breckenridge Music Festival in Breckenridge, CO.

Student News

From Alex Braun – On January 12th I played for the Illinois Governor's Inauguration. This was a one-of-a-kind experience. The weekend leading up to this day, though, was intense with rehearsals. The 144th Illinois Army National Guard Band was combined with the 566th Illinois Air National Guard Band. We rehearsed for 12 hours over Saturday and Sunday preparing for the concert for this event. During these rehearsals I got to know a lot of great musicians all over the state of Illinois and neighboring states. As well as becoming a stronger musician, I also got promoted from Specialist to Sergeant, which I think is pretty cool. After rehearsals and dress rehearsals we got the opportunity to meet Jim Corneilson, Governor elect Rauner, and other high-ranking officials of Illinois. After meeting with these very important people our band also premiered two new pieces of music written/ arranged by a member of the 566th Air National Guard band. One was Airlifters March and the other was an arrangement of Illinois with a singer. Overall, this was an extremely fun event to play for and I learned a lot about rehearsal time management as well as performing in such a great, professional ensemble.

Rose Cloud has been selected as one of the recipients of the Livingston Lord Scholarship.  This scholarship was established by the Alumni Association in honor of Eastern's first president, and for decades has been considered the University's most prestigious award for academic excellence. It is the only scholarship for which the recipients are honored annually during the spring commencement ceremony.  A maximum of five awards are presented annually."

Congratulations to Kristin Stine (violin, Teacher Licensure) and Rebecca Warfel (flute, Teacher Licensure) for being selected to present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) this April at Eastern Washington University.  They were chosen from more than 3,700 submissions throughout the United States.  Kristin worked with Dr. Anna Cromwell in developing her project and Rebecca was advised by Dr. Danelle Larson.  More that 25 EIU students will be presenting at NCUR this year and the Department of Music is proud to be represented by Kristin and Rebecca's excellent projects.  You may read more about NCUR and EIU's involvement in this program here.

Kristin Stine: Technique For Transportation: Shifting on the Violin
String players must travel around a fingerboard without frets or a roadmap. Moving up and down the neck of the instrument is a specialized technique that takes years to master. The motions the violinist makes to move around the instrument are defined by the term "shifting." Shifting is a concept that takes years for students to master, even with constant practice. Besides being an extremely difficult aspect of playing the violin, shifting is also very difficult to teach. I will provide a list of crucial fundamentals that should be in place prior to the student advancing to shifting. I will provide an ordered list for teaching shifting on the violin using systematic books and exercises from beginner to mastery levels. In this oral presentation, I will demonstrate exercises, different types of shifts, and offer helpful points teachers can use in lessons. I will provide sequential shifting excerpts from pieces, and exercises from shifting method books that will be helpful. A graded approach to teaching shifting creates a successful transition from the beginning to advanced shifting exercises found in Sevcik (one shifting pedagogy approach). I have introduced shifting to my own students, and will present the results of my graded teaching plan. I will also provide a list of useful teaching points to help with shifting coordination and aural training for shifting intonation.

Rebecca Warfel:  The Benefits of Teaching Fife to Beginner Flute Students,"
The flute can be a difficult instrument for beginners to master. The instrument itself often presents challenges that can deter students. Some of these include initial embouchure development, sound production, breath support, and counterintuitive fingerings. Beginning a student on a fife before playing a metal flute can aid in learning these necessary skills and introduce music theory elements required to play the instrument. The fifes used in this study are also much less expensive than a traditional flute, which can alleviate some of the financial burden that comes with participating in instrumental music. The purpose of this action research study is to identify and evaluate the potential benefits of teaching fife to a beginner flute student prior to introducing the traditional metal flute. This research will address the question of whether or not teaching fife aids instruction and facilitates that transition. The eight participants are volunteers who have expressed an interest in learning to play the flute. Males and females between the ages of seventeen and forty-eight will be included in this study. Participants will be divided into two groups. One group will begin with metal flutes and the other will begin with plastic fifes. The fifes that will be used in this study are eight holed transverse instruments (Yamaha YRF-21). A series of approximately ten to twelve individual lessons will be taught to students of both groups. The fife group will transition to metal flutes after specified learning goals have been met while the flute group will continue to learn on metal flutes. Both groups will learn the same musical content. Data collected will include audio and video recordings, surveys, and lesson notes. Information from both groups will be analyzed to track each student's progress and to identify the benefits of learning fife and transitioning to the traditional flute. Additionally, any drawbacks or negative results from teaching with fifes will be recorded and analyzed. Results from this study will inform music teachers and will specifically enhance flute pedagogical methods.

Mitch Weakley's composition "Nexus" won the 2015 Allen Strange Memorial Award by the Society of Electroacoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS). The Strange Award is an annual award to celebrate the best undergraduate or high school electro-acoustic composition. The winner receives a cash prize of $250 and recognition at the 2015 SEAMUS National Conference. This composition also was selected to be presented at the Bowling Green State University National Student Electronic Music Event (N_SEME), which showcases student work in electroacoustic media from around the country.

Alumni News

Loralee Coleman Cooley '65 (piano performance) Loralee has been living in Oklahoma since 2009, and in 2014 lost her husband Ed of 46 years.  She is currently music director (read: organist-pianist) at Clinton, OK First Presbyterian Church.  In 2011, she published a children's biography of Barack Obama's childhood, entitled "Island Child," which is available on Amazon.

Bob Good '76, Retired in May 2012 after 36 years of music education. Served as Director of Bands for 33 years at Argo Community High School, where the music facilities have been named in his honor. Married 39 years to Linda Wilson Good (EIU '74). They have 2 daughters, Heather Wakefield (EIU 2000) and Holly Schwider (VanderCook '02), who are also music educators.

Jerry Ulrich '77 (B.M.) has over 30 compositions and arrangements in the catalogs of seven publishers in the US and abroad. His music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and on national radio and television, as well as throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia. He has composed commissioned works for professional choirs and orchestras, including the Grammy-award winning Orchestra of St. Luke's, and has written music for colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad. Dr. Ulrich is currently Director of Choral Activities at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Ulrich came to Atlanta from LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (the Fame school) in New York City, where his choirs were featured in major NYC concert venues and on national and international television and radio. Dr. Ulrich's prior teaching experience includes university positions in Ohio and New York. During 1990-1991 he was Visiting Fulbright Professor of Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland. His early training included four years singing with legendary conductor Robert Shaw in the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Chamber Chorus.

Jeff Pellaton BA Mus Ed '78, MA '79, retired from 35 years of teaching (thirty three years of Government Service with the Department of Defense Schools overseas) in June 2014.  He has returned stateside from Germany and settled in Mesa, Arizona.  In August Jeff was selected to the staff of the 2014 American International Schools Jazz Festival Staff (AMIS) and traveled to Beijing, China for a four day seminar with American students from all over the world.  He was privileged to play in both the big band and a combo as one of the festival drummers was unable to attend at the last minute.  In January he traveled back to Germany to work the Dodds Jazz Seminar at Ramstein Air Base.  Darmon Meader was the guest clinician and Professor Jiggs Whigham a guest artist on trombone.  Jeff coached the rhythm section and performed behind the Jazz Choir on drums.  He is busy now developing half day and full day percussion clinics to be conducted at International Schools across Europe in conjunction with the 2015 AMIS Jazz Festival to be held in the Netherlands in October.  He is currently exploring playing and mentoring opportunities here at home with the very fine Mesa Community College Fine Arts Department (when his Golf schedule allows).

Virginia Schoene '79 Currently teaching K-12 general music, band and chorus at Mulberry Grove CUSD #1 in Mulberry Grove, IL.  She is also the library/media specialist for the district.  Virginia will be retiring at the end of this school year after teaching 26 years at Mulberry Grove, 1 year at Putnam County CUSD #535 (Granville, IL), 3 years at Ohio Districts #505 and #17 (Ohio, IL), and 4 years at West Richland CUSD #2 (Noble, IL). Her retirement plan at this time is simply to enjoy the time off! She's sure she will be able to find enough to keep her busy.

Yvonne Schiller Newlin '89 received a TSA to complete her Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude. She received the Outstanding Music Student award, the Music History award, was chosen to perform on Honors Recital, and accompanied numerous faculty and student recitals.  She then was granted a graduate assistantship and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in 1990. Yvonne was hired as a full-time faculty member at Lincoln Trail College in 1991, receiving the PROUD award for faculty in the Illinois Eastern Community College district.  She became the Director of Music and Coordinator of Performing Arts.  Under her direction, the music department grew to have the respect of many universities in the Midwest who were seeking transfer students.  She re-organized the Statesmen Singers vocal jazz ensemble, receiving numerous awards for their performances in Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and performing at Disneyworld , New Orleans, for state education conferences in Springfield, riverboat cruises, Caribbean Cruise, and on the stage in Carnegie Hall.  They also performed the National Anthem at Comiskey Park and many times for Cubs/Cards games at Busch Stadium. Mrs. Newlin gives many presentations for grade schools, middle schools, high schools and is an active adjudicator, guest conductor, and advocate for music education in public schools.  She was seated on the state panel for the Humanities and Fine Arts for several years as part of the Illinois Articulation Initiative.  She has been the Principal Conductor for the Terre Haute Community Band for eleven years and is now retired from full-time teaching, but is serving as adjunct faculty at LTC. Yvonne resides in rural Hutsonville with her husband, Doug, and twin sons, Jess and Will.  She also has a son, Rod, Robinson, and daughter, Jodi, who resides in Dayton with her husband, Joey, and GrandGirls, Brooke, Claire, and Gracie.

Gregg Lohman '98 has been the drummer and musical director for country artist and American Idol finalist Kellie Pickler for the past 8 years.  While playing for Kellie, Gregg has had the opportunity to play on many television shows including: The Tonight Show, Ellen Degeneres, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Dancing with the Stars, and American Idol as well as tour extensively throughout the world.  Since 2006, he has also been the Adjunct Percussion Instructor at Tennessee State University in Nashville where he resides.

Chad Mathis MA '12, relocated to Boulder, Colorado, in January 2015, where he works as a Customer Success Manager for MakeMusic, the company behind Finale & SmartMusic. Prior to that, he was gigging regularly on bass with various rock, pop, jazz, and funk groups in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. He will be featured on the forthcoming sophomore album by singer/songwriter and EIU alumna Pamela Machala (M.A. 2011), which will be released in the spring of 2015.

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Contact Information

Music Department

Doudna Fine Arts Center
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

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