Bringing new energy to music department


Dr. Canes Nicholas, professor of music 

Training in orchestral conducting helped Dr. Canes Nicolas land a position within Missouri Southern’s music department.

Nicolas’ specialized experience with stringed instruments and his conducting skills sets him apart from previous orchestra professors.

Nicolas’ background is unique. Originally from Haiti, he moved to the states for college.

He received his bachelor degree in Minnesota, a master’s degree in Ohio and a doctoral degree in Nebraska.

“In a way I’ve always felt like the midwest is my second home,” said Nicolas, professor of music.

One of the music department’s goals is to attract more student members –specifically more string players, since Nicolas is a violinist himself.

While the community members, are a vital part of theorchestra, department officials would like to see an increase in the number of students taking part in the orchestra.

“We don’t have a lot of string majors as students,” said Dr. Keith Talley, music department chair and professor of music. “So we hope that with him coming here over a long period of time, that we can attract more student string players.

“[This] is going to help raise the level of musicianship for the ensemble and allow them to perform more challenging works.”

Encouraging students to join is one of the main priorities, but Nicolas has another objective for Missouri Southern’s or-chestra.

“My big goal is to take the orchestra even further,” Nicolas said. “By that I mean a national or international tour, and maybe play in performance halls like Carnegie Hall.”

Nicolas encourages students to travel as much as they can.

He studied in Europe with teachers that have inspired him, which Nicolas said, was the best experience of his career. 

“Life is too short, so you try to enjoy it as much as you can,” said Nicolas. “If possible, get out of this country. Try to travel as much as you can and explore. There is a whole lot more to see in this world than the United States.”

Talley said Nicolas brings a lot to the music department. He hopes Nicolas can reach more students with his experiences. 

“I think it’s fantastic we have someone that is not native born in the U.S,” said Talley. “We think that adds a lot of depth to our faculty.

“He brings a unique experience from his childhood and early education. We are looking forward to the great things that brings.”

The orchestra’s first concert will take place at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12, in Taylor Performing Arts Center.

Nicholas said the orchestra will multiple pieces from Pirates of the Caribbean to fit the Halloween spirit, along with Haitian and Nordic themed pieces.

“It’s a potpourri concert,” said Nicolas. “It’s a mix of everything. That concert will have every period of classical music rep-resented in it.”

For more information concerning the orchestra, persons interested may contact Nicolas as [email protected].

Nicolas Fun Facts

Favorite book:

Jacques Roumain Gouverneur De La Rosee

Favorite piece to conduct:

Die Fledermaus Overture by Strauss

Favorite music genre outside of classical: R&B

Can’t live without:

“I don’t try to get addicted to anything. Back home I used to really love my coffee.

If I didn’t have my coffee I couldn’t function. I try to stay away from that,

but I still enjoy a cup of coffee.”

Surprising Facts:

Speaks English, Spanish, French and Haitian-Creole

Favorite futbol team:

“Brazil, but they’ve been breaking my heart lately.

 If I wasn’t doing music I’d definitely would be

a professional soccer player: the real futbol.”