Category: Music News

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Finding Your Rhythm at Caldwell University: Pedro Liriano

A picture of Pedro Liriano ?

Pedro Liriano received the 2020 Trustee Recognition Award during honors convocation May 7.

Pedro Liriano of Plainfield, New Jersey is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. But he knows he is taking much more with him from his Caldwell University experience than a degree. When he looks back on his time here, he acknowledges not just his education in music but also his education in life skills.

“During my time at Caldwell University, I experienced many different lessons that helped form me into the man I am today…but the greatest lesson I took away from Caldwell was a lesson in how to be more open to meeting new people and learning how to network,says Liriano who received the prestigious 2020 Trustee Recognition Award and Music Department honors at a virtual honors convocation May 7.  

A large part of being a teacher is being open to students and communicating with them effectively. Liriano knows that his time at Caldwell has allowed him to sharpen those social skills in a way that will make him a much more effective educator. Coming in as the only student from my high school [at Caldwell] freshman year really forced me to open up and talk to new people, which in the end I am grateful for, because now as a future music teacher I have the skills necessary to be communicative and open towards my students and parents.” 

Liriano proved to be adept at opening up and sharing his talents with the Caldwell community. His participation in campus activities was far-reaching. He contributed his musical talents to a multitude of music groups: the jazz band, the marching band, the wind, clarinet, flute, and pop ensembles and the choir. He identifies the highlights of his music career as his senior recital and his time performing with Clueless, a band featured at many campus events. He is also very proud of being a part of the Theatre club in its first play performed at Caldwell in many years.

And if that were not enough, he was also a member of the cross country and track and field teams. That experience added a ton to his time at Caldwell. “I cherish the memories made with all my teammates at every practice and every race,” Liriano says. A picture of Pedro Liriano's experience in Caldwell University

It is always a special honor when your professors encourage you to participate with students from other colleges in your area of expertise. So it was a great credit to Liriano that his private instructor and jazz ensemble director, Music Department faculty member, Rob Middleton directed him toward the New Jersey Intercollegiate Jazz Ensemble, in which he participated for two years. Liriano also volunteered as the pianist for his grandfather’s church and worked as the music director at his own church in New Brunswick.

Not only did Liriano participate in many activities, but he also was a great role model for incoming freshmen. During his time at Caldwell, he served as a freshman orientation leader, and his excitement for the school was contagious. “I found joy in meeting new incoming freshmen and telling them all about my college experience as well as telling them how they can make the very best of their experience whether they lived on campus or commuted as I did.”

Perhaps the reason Liriano was such a strong influence on these new students was that he understands the importance of creating close bonds while attending school. When he thinks of what Caldwell has given him, he puts the lifelong friendships he has developed at the top of the list. Having been involved in so many extracurricular activities, he was able to meet a variety of people, including some who were pursuing majors other than music education. 

Through his many outlets, he created strong, lasting bonds with a diverse group of fellow students. And he plans to have those relationships last for life. Liriano hopes to secure a job as a music teacher soon. Down the road, he would also love to become a high school band instructor. With the impressive resume he has built at Caldwell, his future is certainly bright. His experience is strong and his plans for the future are inspiring.

“I plan on being a teacher, role model, a leader, and a person in whom my students can put their trust and go to with any problem they have.” 

  • Nicole Burrell – ’09  
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World Premiere of “Illuminations: A Concert of Music Inspired by The Saint John’s Bible”

Flyer for birth of christ

Birth of Christ, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Music faculty member Nan Childress Orchard has commissioned two original works from New Jersey composers Caroline H. Newman and Rob Middleton to celebrate Caldwell University’s Year with The Saint John’s Bible. The works will be premiered in a concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 26 in the Caldwell University Alumni Theatre. The snow date is Sunday, Feb. 2 at 3 p.m.

Performers include Childress Orchard, piano; Music Department faculty members Rebecca Vega, flute, and Rob Middleton, clarinet; and Jacqueline Stern, violoncello.

Eight illuminations from the Gospels and Acts volume have inspired the two composers. Each illumination will be projected on a screen during the performance of the music. A “Meet the Composer session” will follow the concert where audience members will be encouraged to ask questions.

Childress Orchard says the event will be a fabulous opportunity for audience members to experience this world premiere and have the opportunity to speak to the composers. “Patronage of the arts is vital to our culture. Caldwell University is promoting and supporting the humanities and in particular the performing arts through a dynamic event.”

The Saint John’s Bible is the first illuminated, handwritten Bible of monumental size to be created in more than 500 years. It was commissioned by Benedictine Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota and the creative director was Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office.

The Heritage Edition of the Gospels and Acts volume will be on display before and after the concert on the 26th. (It will not be there on the snow date.)

General admission is $15 and students are free. For more information contact Nan Childress Orchard at nchildress@caldwell.edu 973-618-3587.

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8th Annual Summer Intensive Percussion Camp  at Caldwell University


March 7,2019 – Caldwell University will hold its 8th annual Summer Intensive Percussion Camp July 15-20 on the beautiful campus of Caldwell University located 20 miles west of New York City.

During the week-long camp students are immersed in the percussion world through their participation in ensembles, clinics, and masterclasses with internationally recognized drummers and percussionists.  Previous artistsinclude Grammy Award winners Andres Forero (Hamilton) and Mark Guiliana (David Bowie),Tommy Igoe (performer, author),Joe Bergamini (Doo Wop Project, Broadway),Chuck Burgi (Billy Joel),Dom Famularo (The Global Drum Ambassador),Rolando Morales-Matos (The Lion King, Ron Carter), Payton MacDonald (composer, performer, film maker) andDennis DeLucia (DCI Hall of Fame).

Daily activities include drum set, world drumming, classical percussion, percussion ensemble, and masterclasses and technique classes. Both group and individual instruction are offered throughout the week. The camp runs daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with some extended activities including a trip to New York City to attend a live performance.The week culminates with a concert on Saturday, July 20 for family and friends. The camp is open to students 13 and older and no formal audition is required.

Camp tuition is $725 and includes lunch, snacks, and transportation and admission to the New York City performance.   For those who would like to stay on campus overnight, a residential option is available for $1,275, which covers camp tuition and room and board. Early bird discounts are available. For more information see the pricing chart on the camp brochure.  

Download the brochure and application form on the Music Department page.

For additional information contact Alex Bocchino (Camp Director) at abocchino@caldwell.edu.

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CU Chorale performs in Harmonic Convergence Concert at Carnegie Hall

CU Choral members in a group photo
CU Chorale in Harmonic Convergence Concert at Carnegie Hall
Caldwell University Chorale Director Dr. Laura Greenwald with composer Dr. Rosephanye Powell.
CU Chorale student performer Harmonic Convergence Concert at Carnegie Hall
Group photo of CU Chorale members
CU Chorale in Harmonic Convergence Concert at Carnegie Hall

Caldwell, N.J., April 16, 2018 – Performing at Carnegie Hall is a musician’s dream. “It takes years of hard work to get there,” said Eric Dieterle, a member of the Caldwell University chorale, who had the thrill of taking to the stage in the 2018 Harmonic Convergence Concert at Carnegie Hall on April 6.

Dieterle and the other members of the chorale, led by music faculty member Dr. Laura Greenwald, took part in the concert, the culminating performance of the Choirs of America (COA) Nationals for Top Choirs. Caldwell’s chorale was one of several ensembles that performed a mix of massed choir and individual choral repertoire. The evening concluded with all of the singers performing in the finale, a world-premiere COA-commissioned choral piece by Dr. Rosephanye Powell. “I’m so proud that the Caldwell University chorale was able to rise to the occasion and to perform at such a prestigious venue,” said Dieterle.

Caldwell’s chorale is comprised of students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members. They spent the day before the concert being adjudicated at the Aaron Copland School of Music by Joshua Habermann, chorus director of the Dallas Orchestra Chorus and artistic director of the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, as well as meeting other choirs and hearing them perform. They also rehearsed the premiere, “Get Busy,” with the composer. Greenwald was delighted to greet Powell, a classmate from her days at Westminster Choir College. On Friday all of the ensembles had the opportunity to rehearse briefly and to have photos taken on the Carnegie Hall stage, a joy for all the members.

Caldwell chorale member Alison Self, who works in the English Department, said it was inspiring to share the stage and to create music with friends and colleagues and many talented singers from across the country. She said that “the opportunity to work under the tutelage of renowned composers and conductors was both educational and fun.”

Dieterle, a communication and media studies major with a music minor, said the Caldwell music faculty made it happen. “Dr. Greenwald did such a fantastic job organizing the trip as well as preparing us for the occasion. She made the whole experience feel professional while keeping it fun and lighthearted at the same time. Mr. Helms, our accompanist, also played a vital role in helping the choir learn the music for the concert; we couldn’t have done it without him. Professor Vega also helped us keep everything organized and prepared at our rehearsals and Carnegie Hall on Friday.”

Miriam Edelstein, a recent music education graduate, was happy to share the experience with her professor, Greenwald, a talented singer who has helped Edelstein shape her singing and music education goals. It was amazing “to sing next to her on stage,” said Edelstein, who is looking forward to pursuing a career in music therapy. “I know I can make a difference in someone’s life with music.” She had thought it was time to give up her performing days, but being on stage at Carnegie Hall made her realize she wants to continue singing while also pursing music therapy.  Greenwald is helping her as she makes graduate school plans. “I’m very grateful and fortunate to have had her as a professor.”

Greenwald was thrilled to provide this opportunity for her students and to have sung with them on stage. “That is definitely a bucket-list moment, to stand on the historic stage of Carnegie with my students and colleagues. I’m so very grateful to our accompanist, Warren Helms, to my students, alumni, and colleagues for their dedication in making this happen.”

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Nationally-Known Percussion Clinician Thom Hannum to Give Drumline Clinic at Caldwell University

Thom HannumCaldwell, N.J., Dec. 15, 2016 – – Thom Hannum, one of the nation’s foremost percussion clinicians, will give a Drumline Clinic at Caldwell University, 4 to 9 p.m., Thursday Feb. 9.

The free event will include master classes for indoor drumlines, marching percussion technique break-out sessions, and group performances, as well as a demonstrations by Hannum. It will be held in the Student Center and a free dinner is included.

Hannum is associate director of the Minuteman Marching Band at University of Massachusetts Amherst and is well known in the percussion world for his work with The Cadets and Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps. He was a member of the design team for the Tony Award-winning shows Blast! and CyberJam. In 2001 he was inducted into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.

If interested in participating individually or with your indoor drumline, please contact Music Department Professor Rebecca Vega at rvega@caldwell.edu or 973-618-3446.

Percussionists will need to bring their marching instruments. Space is limited so register soon.

 

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Coming soon: The Caldwell University Marching Band

Caldwell University is adding a marching band to support its new sprint football team. Come fall of 2017 Caldwell will be one of three universities in New Jersey with marching bands. Music faculty member Rebecca Vega will direct the band, and she is looking for non-music and music majors who would like to contribute their talents in brass, percussion, woodwind, or color guard. Marching band will be a one-credit course that will meet twice a week, and members will perform at all three home football games, open houses, Homecoming and other school events.

Music faculty member Rebecca Vega

Music faculty member Rebecca Vega will direct the Caldwell University Marching Band being added for the new sprint football team.

Vega has experience with marching bands. She was in marching bands in high
school and college, oversaw the marching band when she taught high school for three years in California, and worked with the marching band when she was a graduate assistant in the Music Department at Eastern Michigan University. Now her son marches in the Verona High School Marching Band. “I’m super-excited to teach marching band again. I’m a marching band geek,” Vega said, noting she “drags her husband” to see marching bands at competitions even six hours before her son competes.

Vega says Caldwell will build its marching band over the next three to five years, starting with a small group and simple uniforms and then making it a larger ensemble with more instruments and more elaborate uniforms. Marching band scholarships will be available. For information, contact Professor Rebecca Vega at rvega@Caldwell.edu or 973-618-3446.

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Caldwell University Music Department Holding Auditions for Children’s Choir Program

Caldwell, N.J., July 20, 2016 – The Caldwell University Music Department is announcing its sixth year of the Caldwell Children’s Choir Program. Auditions for this program are scheduled for Thursdays, August 4 and September 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Applicants should come prepared to sing one verse of either “America” (My Country ‘tis of Thee), “America the Beautiful” or “Happy Birthday”.

This educational program is open to children ages 8 through 14 in grades 3 through 8. The choir meets weekly beginning September 8 with scheduled concerts in December and April. Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of music through choral study and performance.

Audition appointments are required and can be scheduled by contacting Dr. Nan Childress Orchard atNChildress@caldwell.edu. For further information please visit www.caldwell.edu/academics/academic-departments/music and click on the Children’s Choir brochure link.

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World Premiere Performance at Caldwell University

Composer Edgar F. Girtain IV

Caldwell, N.J., April 15, 2016 – The Caldwell University Wind Ensemble and the Tri-State Brass Society Quintet conducted by Music faculty Rebecca Vega will perform the world premiere of “Sorrow of the Earth” by composer Edgar F. Girtain IV, 8 p.m. Monday, May 2, in the Student Center Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

Girtain is an emerging American composer whose music is frequently performed at universities and concert halls around the world. He is known for his lyricism, versatility of style and command of color. He has been commissioned by the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, the Arapahoe Philharmonic, Sinfonietta NOVA, the Voorhees Chapel Choir and John Rojak of the American Brass Quintet. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and an M.A. in composition from Rutgers University. Learn more at www.edgarfgirtainiv.com.

The Tri-State Brass Society is an active chamber music ensemble based in northern New Jersey. Founded in 2015, the society is committed to the performance of a high-quality chamber brass repertoire and to education. The ensemble plays a wide range of musical styles, including but not limited to classical, jazz, funk, pop and world music. Over the past year, the Tri-State Brass Society has shared its eclectic taste with the public by performing educational outreach concerts, church services, recitals and weddings.

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UpTown Flutes to Perform at the National Flute Association Convention

Professor Rebecca Vega with the UpTown Flutes prior to the Performance

UpTown Flutes will perform at the National Flute Association Convention in Washington DC.  Professor Rebecca Vega will be performing with the UpTown Flutes on August 13, 2015 at this convention.  They will be premiering a work entitled Elegy that was composed by Valerie Coleman, founding member of the Amani Winds.  Elegy was written to honor the legendary Maya Angelou and will feature internationally acclaimed flutist Alexa Still and the UpTown Flutes.   UpTown Flutes will also be performing at the Mahwah Library concert series on June 27 and at the New Jersey Flute Fair on October 11.  For questions regarding these programs, please contact Prof. Rebecca Vega at rvega@caldwell.edu.