Centennial Kick-Off Concert begins School of Music’s anniversary celebration

A book compiling personal, historical accounts related to the School of Music will be released later this year.
A performance at the Centennial Kick-off Concert celebrating the School of Music's 100th anniversary.

Over 50 MU student and faculty musicians performed “Happy Birthday” as the audience joined in to celebrate the 100-year-old School of Music at the Missouri Theatre on Sept. 25.

The Centennial Kick-Off Concert featured the brass choir, saxophone ensemble, graduate student string quartet, percussion ensemble, cello choir and several vocalists. The performance was the first of many events the school will host this year to celebrate the anniversary of the first academic year in which music classes could be officially written on the transcripts of MU students.

“It’s really interesting to see how far we’ve come with the quality of the new music that we create here, to see how many music teachers we’ve turned out that are across the state of Missouri and across the country and even in other countries as a result of our music education program,” Music Education Director Wendy Sims said.

Sims has been with the school since 1985 and MU remains the only university she has taught at. Sims said she chose the university for the opportunity to work with a wide age range of different students on a beautiful campus.

“It’s pretty amazing to think that I’ve been here for almost a third of the history of the School of Music,” Sims said. “It’s great to see how we’ve progressed.”

Michael Budds, the curators’ teaching professor of musicology, has been with the school for 35 years and for the last two years has been working on a compilation of the school’s history to be published sometime before Christmas of this year.

The work compiles alumni, faculty and student memories along with photographs and factual information that is featured in a centennial timeline.

“A lot of people think that the only kind of history that should be written addresses great men, great events and world-changing episodes,” Budds said. “Everything has history. We must concern ourselves with local history as well grand-scale subjects. This project is my small contribution.”

The book will also list all of the theses and dissertations that have ever been accepted by MU’s School of Music as well as all of the books, publications and recordings made by both faculty and students. However, the book’s main focus is personal accounts and anecdotes.

“There’s all kinds of wonderful little stories,” Budds said. “Here’s someone’s memory that says, ‘I played trombone in 1946 up until my horn was stolen from the music room above the boiler house.’”

Senior Paige Wakefield is working toward a bachelor’s degree in music with a focus in voice performance and chose the school for both its size and faculty.

“I don’t think many people know this, but our professors are amazing,” Wakefield said. “They’ve worked and have gotten their education from some of the best music schools in the country and they’re bringing that to the Midwest.”

The school will host its official celebration the weekend of April 7-9, 2018, and will discuss more events and aspects of the centennial celebration in its weekly segment on KMUC 90.5 FM on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s exciting,” Wakefield said. “These past four years have been filled with a lot of memories for me, and it’s cool to think about all the other memories that have happened over these past hundred years to lead the School of Music to where it is now.”

Edited by Olivia Garrett | ogarrett@themaneater.com

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