Originally created 02/08/98

Musicians deserve attention



I wish I hadn't quit band and packed up my clarinet in fifth grade.

I wish I didn't quit piano lessons a few years later.

Furthermore, I wish I had paid more attention to the music my college mates performed in recitals and ensemble concerts.

My senior year I was talked into attending a piano recital by my fraternity brother Bobby -- the most annoying individual on the planet.

Whatever social skills he lacked, he more than made up for on the ivories. I was amazed and thoroughly entertained by his performance.

"I should do this more often," I thought to myself.

But I never did.

College music majors, like Bobby, spend countless hours practicing and performing, often to small audiences. They definitely don't get the exposure of their athletic counterparts.

And financial aid for music majors is spread thin.

"There's not a whole lot of money to go around," agreed Angela Morgan, director of Augusta State University's student orchestra. Of the university's 85 music majors, between 25 and 30 receive some financial aid, including HOPE Scholarships, she said.

So Augusta State's music department has scheduled a Gala Concert featuring its student performance groups at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre. The concert is designed to increase exposure of the student musicians and raise money for music scholarships.

The performance will feature the school's brass, percussion and jazz ensembles, along with the chamber choir and concert choir, and the orchestra will close out the evening.

"We feel that our students are our best assets. Our students work very hard, and we want them to be showcased," said Dr. Morgan.

In the past, the music faculty performed at the annual music department fund-raisers, but those were poorly attended, according to Dr. Morgan.

Tickets for the event are $10 and are available at the door. Augusta State students get in free with a valid student ID.

"It would be wonderful if we are able to make $1,000 -- or more," said Dr. Morgan.

Banking on the success of this event, next year the concert will be staged along with the university's tree-lighting ceremony and will include a silent auction, she said.

Tuesday evening, each ensemble will perform a short set and the orchestra conductor said she would be surprised if the whole program lasted an hour and a half.

"The concert itself is not going to be a monster concert," she said.

But it could make a monster of a difference in the education of a future Mozart or Wynton Marsalis.