The USM School of Music will be well-represented at this year’s Eastern Division Conference.
The USM Chamber Singers, under the direction of Dr. Nicolás Dosman, have been selected to perform at the 55th National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Eastern Division Conference from April 5-8 in Atlantic City, NJ. School of Music faculty Dr. Michele Kaschub has also been selected to present eight workshops at the conference, three of which will prominently feature undergraduate students at USM.
The NAfME Conference is hosted by a local state Music Education Association every two years, bringing K-12 and college music educators and their students together from thirteen states from Maine to Maryland. This year, 57 USM students will be attending, the largest group from USM ever to attend, 45 of which are music education majors. This year’s keynote speaker is Rita Moreno, one of the most prominent Latina actresses in the country, who played “Anita” in the 1961 film version of the Broadway musical “West Side Story.”
The USM Chamber Singers are the only performing group to represent the state of Maine this year with a feature performance during the conference. They will perform an original work by sophomore composer Saigelyn Green, titled “O Ship that Travelest,” which was premiered by the group last year. This is the first year a group from the School of Music has been selected to perform. “It really puts the School of Music on the map in teachers’ minds about where they might want to send students to study music, so it’s a huge honor for us,” Dr. Kaschub said. The group will also assist Dr. Dosman as his demo choir in a session on vocal technique.
The Chamber Singers will make a stop in South Windsor, CT for a concert, coordinated by School of Music alumna Elisa Haveles ‘05. They will also partner with Fordham High School for the Arts in Bronx, NY for an exchange concert.
Dr. Kaschub and her students were selected to present “Music with Chinese Shadow Puppetry,” featuring Alexander Adams, senior music education major and "What The Kids Taught Me About Teaching Music Today,” a session on film-scoring for beginning band students, featuring sophomore music education majors Sarah Hashem, Evan Viera and Kayley Clark. Kaschub will also present multiple sessions on composition pedagogy to help teachers engage their students in creating original music across K-12 education.
USM will also host a reception at the conference this year, sponsored by the NAfME Maine student chapter, to network with Maine music educators and USM music education alumni who teach across much of the Eastern seaboard.
The process for selecting NAfME conference presenters and performers begins at the state level. The president of the Maine Music Educators Association makes nominations after blind audition recordings and proposals are submitted. After careful review, invitations are then sent. “You don’t see a lot of collegiate students presenting, so it’s exciting that we have undergraduates who are already at that professional level, that they have prepared a proposal and that their proposal has been blind reviewed and accepted,” said Dr. Kaschub. “We want them to learn how to be engaged professionals. So this is what professionals do. They go to their conferences and they see what’s happening and what’s evolving in their field. This is a big part of their curriculum.”
The Chamber Singers’ next concert, titled “Spring of Rebirth,” will take place on April 25 at the Williston-Immanuel United Church in Portland. The performance will feature music that focuses on the growth and evolution that is a part of the human experience, with selections designed to musically explore these aspects of rebirth through many voices.
Please visit the USM School of Music website to learn more about programs and performances.