Riverland instrumental ensemble needs participants

Published 10:23 am Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Community members are familiar with Riverland Community College’s music, vocal performance and theater programs, but many may be less familiar with the College’s growing instrumental program — the instrumental ensemble. Audiences have two upcoming opportunities to hear the instrumental group: the Fall Semester Fine Arts Showcase today at 7:30 p.m. and the holiday concert “Christmas at Riverland” on Friday, at 7:30 p.m. Both events will be held in the Frank W. Bridges Theatre on the Austin Campus.

The Fine Arts Showcase will feature various small groups performing musical selections ranging from a classical violin piece to cover songs from The Dave Matthews Band and Coldplay to an original instrumental piece composed by students in the ensemble. “Christmas at Riverland” features the entire ensemble performing jazz combo music. Several students will be featured in solos. Showcase admission is free. Admission for “Christmas at Riverland” is $5 for adults, $3 for 18 and under and free for Riverland students.

Private instrument lessons have always been available to students, but the recent development of an instrumental ensemble provides students the opportunity to play and perform with one another.

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The instrumental ensemble, directed by instructor David Hovland, includes 12 students this semester. Beginning this year, participating students have been able to earn college-level credit.

The Spring 2009 semester is set for students to continue their involvement in the growing instrumental community at Riverland.  Students registered for “College Band” this spring will again have an opportunity to earn college-level credit, perform and rehearse two times a week.

“The instrumental ensemble has been appealing to musicians with an instrumental, rather than vocal, focus,” Hovland said. “Some vocal students have found that they can supplement instrumental involvement with their vocal studies. Regardless, the opportunity to earn college credit for instrumental involvement has made the program more popular.”

Credits earned may be applied to an associate in fine arts-music degree, which is awarded to students completing credits in music and general education courses. It is designed primarily as a transfer degree, fulfilling the first two years of study of a bachelor’s degree in music.

This degree allows students to complete the standard four semester sequence of theory/sight singing/ear training, focus on developing performance skills in the major instrument, attain ensemble experience, demonstrate piano proficiency, and to complete three-quarters of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum for general studies. Music students have the choice to focus on a traditional AFA degree, designed primarily for education, performance, and transfer interests, or they may complete an AFA that focuses on music business.

Students may enroll now for Spring Semester 2009. Classes begin Jan. 12. For more information contact the Riverland admissions department at (800) 247-5039.