Music department presents ‘Autumn Overture’ concert series


Mitchell Allred

NMSU Philharmonic Orchestra performs for the annual Autumn Overture concert series on Tuesday. Oct. 8.

The New Mexico State University department of music has commenced their “Autumn Overture” series of five concerts to ring in the new season.

“Autumn Overture” kicks off the Partners for Music Excellence campaign, the music department’s campaign to raise scholarship funds for students in the music department.

Though admission to concerts is free, donations made to the department are where the scholarship funds come from.

“The point ‘Autumn Overture’ is to try and solicit donations from patrons that go to support[ing] costs of the department, which include scholarships and money that helps students travel or pays for different performance opportunities for our students,” said Michael Mapp, director of Bands in the music department.

NMSU senior and member of the Symphonic Band, Jamie Justice, thinks scholarships are essential, especially for arts students.

“Scholarships for arts students are so important. Arts students dedicate so much of their time to the perfection of their craft. Our lives revolve around our instruments and the music we create for our fellow students and the community,” Justice said.

The ensemble groups vary in size, with the Wind Ensemble including “about 45 to 50 people”, the Philharmonic being roughly the same size, and the Symphonic Band can be an even larger group.

“[Wind ensembles are] generally one person per part. A symphonic band might have twelve clarinets, eight flutes,” Mapp said. “So [wind ensembles are] a smaller, more select group.”

He said the ensemble groups rehearse an estimated six hours a week, but that it varies from group to group. The one constant is that the music department takes advantage of as much time possible.

“One of the challenges of conducting an ensemble is trying to use the time you’ve got to create the best possible product,” Mapp said.

Mapp mentioned auditions for musical groups on campus are open to everybody, not just music majors.

“Out of a university of this size, I would bet that there are still hundreds of students that play instruments that don’t participate in the music program, and I think they should know that you don’t have to be a music major to participate,” Mapp said.

Previous concerts in the series included the NMSU Wind Symphony performing “British Invasion: Music Of The 20th Century” directed by Mapp, the University Choirs performing “Sounds of Autumn” and the NMSU Philharmonic performing “We Are El Paso,” dedicated to the lives lost in the shooting in El Paso on Aug. 3.

Mapp is of the opinion that music is an opportunity for the community to unite and share an experience that is outside of our routines.

“What I think the university serves as in a community like [Las Cruces], in addition to being an institution of higher learning, is a place of cultural outreach and knowledge,” Mapp said. “[The university] is a place where the community come to experience things that are different from the main culture in the area.”

Justice agrees, saying music is a “universal language.”

“Music is powerful in the way it unifies people, and although Las Cruces may be close-knit, as divided as society as a whole has recently become, I can’t imagine anything more important than the ability to bring people together,” Justice said.

Upcoming concerts in the series include the Symphonic Band on Thursday, Oct. 10 and the NMSU Jazz Ensemble performing “Four Seasons” on Friday, Oct. 11, both at 7:30 p.m.

All concerts are in Atkinson Recital Hall on NMSU’s main campus at 1075 N. Horseshoe and are free and open to the public.

Facebook Comments