What’s New and Noteworthy in the music department

Dr. Keith Talley

Dr. Keith Talley

The halls of the Fine Arts Complex are usually filled with music during the fall and spring semesters. 

After a mostly quiet summer, marching band students began arriving two weeks before classes started to get everything prepared for the marching band camp that happens the week before classes start each fall semester. 

The marching band is the largest it has been in decades and rehearsed for about 40 hours the week before classes start. The first few days after classes start are filled with students practicing for select ensemble ensembles in the instrumental, vocal, and jazz areas. 

This year was no different and before too long, ensembles were formed, and rehearsals began in earnest for this semester’s concerts and recitals. 

As is common, the music department has planned 30-40 concerts, recitals, and performances this semester. 

Primary ensembles such as the Concert Chorale, Chamber Singers, Madrigal Singers, Southern Symphony Orchestra, the Lion Pride Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, several Jazz Combos, and about six other chamber ensembles all perform several times each semester. Students also prepare for junior and senior recitals, studio recitals, solo competitions, and regional and national conferences in addition to time in the core departmental ensembles each semester. Practice space is scarce, but students are flexible and find a place to prepare.  

This year we have several new faculty members joining the Music Department. Dr. Elizabeth Robinson has taught adjunct Mflute for MSSU the previous year, but this year we are privileged to have her as a full-time Assistant Professor. 

She will be teaching all our applied flute students, conducting our flute ensemble, and teaching freshman Music Theory. 

She is an engaging teacher and we are looking forward to great things she will offer our students.  

Taking over the Southern Symphony orchestra is Dr. Canes Nicolas as Assistant Professor of Music. Originally from Haiti, Dr. Nicolas comes to MSSU most recently from Southern Utah University. 

He brings a freshness and energy to the Orchestra and a different perspective on how this community/university hybrid ensemble will operate. 

We are thrilled to have a faculty member from a different country and look forward to him bringing his life experiences of growing up outside of the US to our students. Dr. Nicolas will also be teaching Music Theory classes in addition to teaching applied strings. 

Our final new faculty member this year is Dr. Diana Allan. In Dr. Allan’s case, she was in the right place at the right time. 

We had some challenges in a full-time replacement search this past summer. 

Dr. Allan recently retired to Joplin from a career of teaching applied voice at the University of Texas – San Antonio. Dr. Allan is originally from Joplin and was interested in extending her teaching career in higher education. 

We were very blessed to have someone of Dr. Allan’s experience and talent available for a Visiting Assistant Professor position this year. 

These new faculty members will bring new ideas to our already strong department. Our students have been impressed so far with each one’s contributions and are excited for what the future holds. 

All of our music performances are free and open to the public. I would like to invite all students, faculty, and staff to a concert or recital. 

You can find concert times and locations each week on the university calendar. You can also follow our department on Twitter @MSSUMusic for up to date information. We are looking forward to a great year and want you to be a part of it!