Music Department Partners with Johnstown Symphony Orchestra to Support Regional Music Education

Posted on 10/26/2018 10:40:20 AM

For the second year, the IUP Music Department and Johnstown Symphony Orchestra have teamed up to support music education in the region. Under the umbrella of the newly formed JSO Education Committee, several new initiatives have been established to provide more opportunities for IUP music students as well as young musicians in the area. IUP faculty members involved in the JSO Education Committee include Stephanie Caulder, Kevin Eisensmith, Colleen Ferguson, and Linda Jennings.

Beginning in fall 2017, Jennings was invited to coach the Honors String Quartet of the Johnstown Symphony Youth Orchestra. The JSYO Honors Quartet was a new initiative established by JSYO Director David Anderson to enhance playing experiences in the JSYO for high school string players. In addition to performing on the JSYO annual concerts, the Honors Quartet also performs on outreach concerts at area public schools. The JSYO season for fall 2018 began with a three-hour workshop on August 22 on the IUP campus for the Honors Quartet members led by Jennings, who continues to coach the ensemble this year.

In another initiative, the IUP String Area and the JSYO joined efforts to host the first IUP/JSYO String Chamber Orchestra Festival on Saturday, September 22, 2018, in Cogswell Hall on the IUP campus. This event was designed to promote string playing in the area by bringing string players in the region together for a festive, non-competitive day of music making. The day featured high school string players under the baton of Ferguson, IUP violin/viola professor and orchestra director, and Anderson. The program was organized by Jennings and supported by the IUP String Area, JSYO, and the IUP String Project.

Further collaboration between the Music Department and Johnstown Symphony Orchestra will take place with a joint performance of Handel’s famous “Messiah,” directed by JSO conductor James Blachley, on December 9 at 3:00 p.m. in Fisher Auditorium. The performance will feature the Johnstown Symphony, the Johnstown Symphony Chorus, the IUP choirs under the direction of Ryan Beeken, and guest vocal soloists Kathryn Mueller, Meg Bragle, Oliver Mercer, and John Brancy.

Colleen Ferguson playing with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra