YSU ensembles perform at statewide music education conference

The YSU Dana School of Music's Wind Ensemble.

Fifty-seven Youngstown State University student musicians, members of the Dana School of Music Percussion and Wind Ensembles, were among featured performers at the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Development Conference in Columbus.

The YSU ensembles were selected for performance slots at the three-day event from among more than 300 applicants through a highly competitive blind audition process, said Professor Stephen Gage, YSU director of Bands and Orchestras. Just 44 student groups were chosen to perform at the three-day conference, Feb. 8 to 10.

In the blind auditions, Gage explained, a jury of music professionals from across the state collectively reviewed recordings submitted by the applicants and selected the top two or three in each category without knowing the identities of the performing groups until after the choices were made.

The YSU Dana School of Music's Percussion Ensemble.

Both groups, the nine-member Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Professor Glenn Schaft and the 54-student Wind Ensemble under Gage’s direction, performed Feb. 8, the first day of the convention, at the Columbus Convention Center. Dana faculty members Schaft and Stacie Mickens, associate professor, also performed solo works composed by Professor David Morgan as part of the Wind presentation.

Gage said the YSU Wind Ensemble has been selected to perform at the OMEA Convention 10 times since 1998, and the Percussion Ensemble has made four such appearances.

“We are fortunate at the YSU Dana School of Music to have exceptional faculty and students,” he said, “and we always appreciate the opportunity to showcase our students and faculty at this large and prestigious conference.”

Also at the conference, Daniel Keown, assistant professor, Vocal Music Education, presented three professional development sessions. He teaches undergraduate music education courses and his research and creative interests include the psychology of music in multimedia, film music and sound effects design, interdisciplinary approaches in music, music psychology and serving culturally diverse learners in vocal music education.

While visiting the Columbus area, the YSU student musicians also performed recruitment concerts at Brunswick and Dublin Coffman high schools

The OMEA is the principal organization in Ohio promoting music education in elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities and is one of the largest of the 52 federated state affiliates of the National Association for Music Education. About 3,000 music educators were expected to attend this year’s conference.