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ercussionist Zachary P. Suchanek ’18 walked onto the stage of Thompson Recital Hall in the Judson and Joyce Green Center for the Performing Arts and was greeted by an exuberant audience of his peers who were clapping and cheering him on. Suchanek was one of four students performing that Wednesday morning during the School of Music’s weekly student recital hour. He introduced himself, talked about his piece, Gene Koshinski’s “Caleidoscopio,” which was written for a marimba solo, and began to play. It was his first solo performance at DePauw. “I was a little more nervous than I thought I would be, but it’s a very forgiving environment, which is why it’s such a great opportunity to play,” he says. D. Mark McCoy, dean of the School of Music, explains that the student recital hour is a vehicle for the 21st-Century Musician Initiative (21CM), which is an effort to create musicians of the future instead of the past. “There are no sidelines in this effort,” he says. “This is everything we do. We create 21st-century musicians. Whether it’s guest artists’ performances, the storefront just purchased in downtown Greencastle, the curriculum we just changed or the performances during the recital hour, they are all designed to help us create 21stcentury musicians,” McCoy says. The recital hour was added to the curriculum in spring 2012 in order for the School of Music to take a pause in the middle of each week and bring the entire school together – faculty, staff and students as well as anyone in the liberal arts college or community who wants to attend. The result is a wide range of experiences on the stage as opposed to performances in the evening for the general community,

which are polished and carefully rehearsed. Unlike performing for the wider audience, students are performing for other students who have to do the same thing they’re doing. “There is a real sense of camaraderie and support because they know they’re going to be up there, too,” McCoy says. “This is a far more supportive environment than I’ve ever seen, frankly, because even the announcements at the end of the recital hour get applause.”

are packed because students have been practicing, and they’re ready to go.” Typically, the recital hour structure is one performance after another followed by announcements from the dean, faculty, staff and students. No programs are handed out. Titles are projected on the wall, which is an effort to force students to interact with the audience. “Often you go to a concert, people walk out in all black, and there are no words spoken,” McCoy explains. “They might perform music you don’t understand, and they leave. Sometimes you’re not even sure when to applaud.” In Thompson Recital Hall, students walk on stage, introduce themselves, and tell the audience why they love the music and what they will perform. They perform it, and then they go. McCoy explains that it’s all part of an effort to get students performing more often and in more venues. In comparison, typical undergraduates might perform in an ensemble, and at the end of their career, they have a senior recital and then graduate. The School of Music has had great success in providing students a plethora of opportunities to perform, including a variety of venues in the Greencastle community in addition to campus. Students are performing pop-up concerts and playing for trustee meetings and dignitaries who come to campus. However, students have also worked to create their own opportunities, which is part of the 21CM entrepreneurial spirit that is encouraged. For example, they started their own concert series and organized performances at the Putnam County Senior Center and Starbucks. “This

“This is everything we do. We create 21st-century musicians.” – D. MARK MCCOY, dean of the School of Music McCoy describes it as being like a big family gathering. “It’s a chance for us to be very supportive of our colleagues who are trying to develop their chops and get their act together,” he says. It’s also an opportunity to hear how students are progressing. An important aspect of becoming a successful 21st-century musician is performing as much as possible. The recital hour provides another, perhaps less threatening, opportunity to get out there and try it. “As a first-year student, you’re not going to put on a recital for all of the community to see, but you could go out and perform a couple pieces for a supportive audience during recital hour,” McCoy explains. Students are not required to perform, but are encouraged to do so. The requirement is that they have to attend. “Our idea is that when you’re ready, we’re ready for you. And as is always the case, at the end of the semester the recitals

SPRING 2015 DEPAUW MAGAZINE 33

Profile for DePauw University Publications

DePauw Magazine Spring 2015  

Jon Fortt, Andrew Cullison and the Prindle Institute, and the School of Music's Recital Hour

DePauw Magazine Spring 2015  

Jon Fortt, Andrew Cullison and the Prindle Institute, and the School of Music's Recital Hour