Thirty-one new pieces of music. Sixty presentations. One-hundred and fifty compositions. Five concerts.
The University of Tennessee will host the Joint Regional Conference of the College Music Society Southern and Mid-Atlantic Chapters and the Association for Technology in Music Instruction. The conference will take place Feb. 13-15 and will feature concerts, presentations and renowned musicians.
All events are free and open to the public.
"It's better than we even dreamed when we started this. We're very, very excited about this," said Barbara Murphy, an associate professor of music theory who has coordinated the conference alongside Brendan McConville, assistant professor of music theory, and David Royse, associate professor of music education.
"We wanted to host a grand conference with lots of presentations and expose our students to it, introduce them to new music, composers and performers," Murphy added. "The biggest thing is just opening their eyes to what's out there."
The conference will have sessions and day concerts in the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center. Sessions will address various subjects within the topic of music and will be taught by professionals in the Southern/Mid-Atlantic area as well as a few from other parts of the nation.
Three years ago, UT volunteered to host the conference in anticipation of completing the Music Center. Murphy said the conference would be out of the question without the new building.
"The old building was not able to even house the students and the faculty, let alone extra people doing what we're doing," she said. "Even though we volunteered for it a while back, we were going to do it when the building is here."
The Cox Auditorium in the Alumni Memorial Building will hold the larger concerts because it can accommodate more people. These performances will include the Composers' Concert featuring UT Ensembles on Thursday at 8 p.m. and the Doc Severinsen International Composition Contest featuring the UT Symphony Orchestra and UT Wind Ensemble on Friday at 8 p.m.
The luncheon on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. will be held at the Black Cultural Center and will feature the UT Jazz faculty performing the music of Donald Brown.
Doc Severinsen, famous jazz trumpet player, Grammy Award winner and longtime bandleader of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," will deliver the keynote address for the conference Feb. 14 at 11:15 a.m. in the Haslam Music Center's Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall.
Conference events and presenters have been specifically timed to fit into the student's class schedules, allowing them the opportunity to attend during the week. The History of Rock class, taking place in the Powell Recital Hall, has been canceled Friday to accommodate Severinsen's keynote address. Despite the class cancellation, professor Sean McCollough said it's not a disadvantage.
"I think it's important for universities to host conferences that are doing research and have specialties in areas related to things we teach," McCollough said. "I'm happy to give up my class space for something like that."
The performance Friday evening will feature the winning works from the Doc Severinsen International Composition Contest, a trumpet composition contest open to all composers that closed last August. Winners of the first, second and third place won cash prizes and the chance to have their pieces performed during the conference, alongside professional trumpet musicians Allen Vizzutti and father and son, Vince and Gabriel DiMartino.
During the conference, UT students and faculty will have a chance to perform with professionals. The wind ensemble, symphony orchestra, big band and jazz combos will all perform at various concerts, as well as the UT Jazz faculty and band directors.
Murphy said that it's a policy of the regional conference to allow anyone on campus to come to the conference for free; student attendance is especially important.
"If we're going to have all these people in, we wanted to have our students to be able to come," Murphy said. "If we're going to have all these great people in doing wonderful presentations about all kinds of topics, we should be able to have our students take advantage of it."
Jacob Van Buer, sophomore in geography and student in McCollough's History of Rock class, said he sees the appeal of the free aspect of the conference.
"I think that will definitely draw more people," Van Buer said. "At a large college, free is always going to draw people in."
The conference provides students with another unique opportunity on UT's campus, McCollough reaffirmed.
"Conferences like this bring in some of the best minds who are thinking about interesting topics," McCollough said, "so I think it's a wonderful opportunity for students to be exposed to new ideas and new things."
Although Murphy said the timing of the conference coincidentally aligned with Valentine's Day, Van Buer said he appreciates the opportunity for a night to remember.
"I think it's romantic," Van Buer said. "You can take your girlfriend to a jazz concert for Valentine's Day."
For more information on the conference, click here.