102 parades for the big trombones

Year after year, University students make Homecoming audible

by Katrina Wilber

With 101 years of experience at throwing Homecoming celebrations, imagine how intense this year’s will be.

The University’s School of Music’s annual Homecoming Collage Concert, set for Saturday, includes student and faculty musicians, ensemble performances and an honorary doctoral degree presentation.

This is no small affair. More than 500 musicians in everything from the Percussion

Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and the Symphony Orchestra to the University Opera Theatre and Concert Choir will perform in this concert. The musicians also play a piece by composer Noel Zahler, the newly-named director of the School of Music.

Zahler is the School of Music’s tenth director, and he brings almost 30 years of teaching and administrative experience to the University. He earned a master’s degree in composition from Princeton and a doctorate degree from Columbia, among others, and has taught at numerous colleges and universities.

As a composer, Zahler incorporates electro-acoustic and multi-media elements into his work, as well as the more standard elements of voices and instruments.

Zahler also works to combine music and technology. He has co-authored three computer software programs for music, and earned fellowships and grants that enable him to continue his work.

Zahler isn’t the only headliner at this concert, though.

Dale Warland, University alumnus and famed choral director, receives an honorary doctorate degree at Saturday’s event.

Warland graduated from the University with a master’s degree in music theory and composition, and he’ll be back at the University this year to teach choral conducting.

His St. Paul-based, 40-member a cappella choir, the Dale Warland Singers, had a 31-year career before it recently disbanded. During its long and distinguished career, the choir joined forces with Twin Cities orchestras and dance companies, and was guest-conducted by such luminaries as Neville Mariner and Bobby McFerrin.

The choir’s 2003 recording of “Walden Pond” earned Warland a Grammy nomination this year for Best Choral Performance.

The annual Homecoming Collage Concert is one of over 400 free concerts the School of Music holds every year. It’ll have woodwinds and brass, percussion and strings, basses and sopranos.

And with over a century of tradition behind them, these musicians are pretty darn good at what they do.