A chance to shine

Wright State hosts hundreds of young musicians showcasing diversity in music composition

The Wright State University School of Fine and Performing Arts welcomed concert bands, string orchestras and choir ensembles from 15 Ohio high schools and middle schools at the third annual Silver Melted Into Sound festival, which promotes the music of underrepresented composers.

The scholastic performances and accompanying music clinics were held throughout the Creative Arts Center on May 3.

“Through music we can all be one person,” said Bill Jobert, senior lecturer in bassoon and coordinator of music education in the School of Fine and Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts. “Music is a place where we can all come together where it can feel safe to listen to other voices and not be defensive about that.”

In addition to performing a piece by a traditional composer, each participating group performed music by an underrepresented composer, which is a person of color, a woman or a marginalized gender identity.

“Silver Melted Into Sound has given underrepresented composers a chance to really shine,” said Stephan Naylor, a graduate music student and former middle school teacher who was an adjudicator for several groups.

The music performances were judged not for competition points but for comments. After performing, each group participated in a 30-minute clinic with one of the festival’s adjudicators and then met with composer HyeKyung Lee, a Korean-born composer, performer and educator.

“It’s so cool to be in this environment and be around so many other musicians and meeting the composer was great,” said Ruben Baker, a sophomore at Fairmont High School.

The scholastic groups also took walking tours of the Dayton Campus.

“They get to move all the way through the School of Fine and Performing Arts and the Creative Arts Center in order to get to know our facility, get to know our people and our program,” said Gretchen McNamara, D.M.A., senior lecturer of trombone at Wright State.

The high school students also participated in an essay contest that asked them to connect their experience in music to social justice issues.

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