By Tye Taylor and Brian Kosek
With much in store for the musical talents of the incoming freshman this next fall, the professors in the Larsen Fine Arts music department refined the current orchestras with new incentives and new ideas for future prospective students.
Over the years, the music department has not had much success in keeping string players to stay in the department, losing many underclassmen.
“This became a problem as it decreased our number of talented students for our orchestra,” said Dr. Neil Woodruff, professor of music and director of the orchestra.
But the department has taken greater steps in bringing forth more students while keeping current ones in the program, allowing them to succeed musically.
One great incentive is Olivet’s scholarship offer for new students who join the orchestra and stay in the music program. Due to Olivet’s tuition and fees increases, finding additional funds to cover the costs is difficult to come by, especially in the dampened economy. Woodruff decided to offer 25 more scholarships on top of the ones already instated to help future students attend Olivet, as well as give better encouragement to stay in the program.
Plans are also being made for additional measures for the orchestra program, including a second orchestra group potentially beginning next fall. The new orchestra would ultimately hold auditions for incoming freshmen and train them to improve over the course of their years at ONU within their areas of interest.
The current orchestra will continue to be the main ensemble, although it will likely be renamed the “Symphonic Group.” This group will be comprised of the more skilled players and work on more advanced pieces of music, while the new string ensemble will focus on getting students prepared for the Symphonic Group.
Most importantly, the amount in scholarships received will be based off of skills and attendance within the two ensembles.
For prospective, musically gifted students, the new plans to produce larger and more adept orchestras will prove to have much in store next year.