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April 11, 2024

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    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
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    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

Band replaced by quintet for commencement

For the first time in more than 50 years, the woodwind symphony will not play during the College of Musical Arts’ commencement ceremony.

Administrators say the poor placement of the 45-member band in the Stroh Center the past two years and the reallocation of funds are the reasons to replace it with a graduate student quintet.

Because the band is placed in The Anderson Club of the Stroh and not next to the stage, as it had been in Anderson Arena, the commencement committee opted to have the quintet play since it takes up considerably less space, said Provost Rodney Rogers.

“It was crowded [where the band plays in the Stroh] and it was hard to get guests in and out of their seating,” Rogers said.

Other administrators see the quintet as the best fit for all ceremonies.

“They probably won’t be playing [commencement] for the foreseeable future,” said Jeffrey Showell, dean of the CMA, who helped make the decision to replace the band.

Typically, the commencement band played when CMA students graduated, while the Tower Brass Quintet, a professional group of alumni and faculty played the other five commencement ceremonies [two in the spring, one in the summer and one in December].

The CMA’s commencement ceremony is Friday at 7 p.m. along with Graduate College, Health and Human Services, Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering.

Showell said not only is it cheaper to have a quintet, but that students in the symphony would have to stay at school longer and keep paying for food and rent while graduate students would be staying longer anyway for their assistantships.

However, to band director Bruce Moss and other members of the symphony, playing a commencement ceremony is a “time-honored tradition.”

“It’s the whole excitement of the event and what it means to students graduating for the band to be there and support their peers,” Moss said. “The band needs to play these functions because this is what they’ll do [professionally] for audiences; it’s a learning experience for everyone.”

As a graduating senior, band member Kevin Rahrig is sad to not have his peers play for him.

“People look forward to it,” Rahrig said. “A lot of graduating seniors have played in that band and want it there.”

The commencement band also plays for free; the only cost to the University comes from moving the band’s stands, Moss said.

The University gives CMA $4,500 a year to provide music for commencement, which has paid for the professional brass quintet and moving equipment for the band for all six ceremonies, Showell said.

Because the student quintet can move its own equipment and the professional quintet doesn’t have to be paid, the CMA doesn’t have to spend the money for commencement, Showell said.

This allows the $4,500 fund to help pay for two of the graduate assistantships in the brass quintet, Showell said.

The assistantships are also paid with private endowments and departmental funding, he said, noting they pay for tuition and provide a semester stipend of roughly $5,500.

While the band played last year’s commencement ceremony, it was originally not supposed to.

“No one thought to tell us last year and we found out a month before commencement,” Moss said.

Because of the communication breakdown, Deanna Vatan Woodhouse, director of the division of Student Affairs, said the professional quintet and band played, adding an extra $1,800 in costs.

“The last thing I wanted to do is say, ‘Thanks for practicing for half a year but we don’t need you,’” said Woodhouse, who coordinates commencement.

This year, Moss was notified in the summer that the band would not play the following spring.

Moss hopes the replacement isn’t permanent.

“I think if it goes beyond this one year, it will become a new tradition to not play [commencement] and that will be a shame,” he said.

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