PSU musicians come together

Tonight, you have the chance to hear from every music ensemble Portland State has to offer in the first ever Music Forward! concert event.

Tonight, you have the chance to hear from every music ensemble Portland State has to offer in the first ever Music Forward! concert event.

Miles sanguinetti/VANGUARD STAFf

Carl Halvorson, applied vocal instructor, performs his choreographed vocal presentation at Tuesday’s rehersal. Halvorson is one of the nearly 30 faculty to be featured at Friday’s event.

“This is like the smorgasbord of all PSU music departments,” said Sydney Carlson, a professor of music at PSU and director of the flute choir performing at the concert. She will also be performing in the
Museau Trio.

Music Forward! is the first concert of its kind at PSU, and will feature nearly 30 professors and
200 students.

At a time when more students are enrolling in the music program with fewer scholarship opportunities to go around, the department will put all funds raised by the concert toward scholarships for music students.

With more than 20 ensembles scheduled to perform, the audience will sample a wide variety of music—from Japanese taiko drums to classical pieces, from holiday tunes to opera.

Miles sanguinetti/VANGUARD STAFf

Elizabeth Flick, a senior piano performance major, performs “E’tude Op. 8, No. 12” at Tuesday’s rehearsal.

Darrel Grant, a jazz pianist, composer and professor of music at PSU, chaired the committee that organized the event.

Carlson revealed that the flute choir is performing the holiday favorite “Deck the Halls,” Santa hats and all.

“It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet of music!” Grant joked. The music will be performed continuously and in several locations throughout Lincoln Hall, rather than in just one spot.

The audience can also expect an array of solos, duets and larger ensembles. But the most unusual
aspect of the concert, as Carlson put it, is the sheer number of faculty and students performing.

“It’s exciting that students and faculty are creating something so artistic and collaborative,” PSU senior Andy Sharma said. Sharma will play the clarinet in a clarinet-flute duet.

Miles Sanguinetti/VANGUARD STAFf

A performance trio practices for tonight’s event. All profits from the concert will fund student scholarships.

With so many participants involved in the concert, planning began in early summer. Grant and the eight other board members met frequently to plan and prepare all the pieces for the concert.

The best part for Grant, he said, was that everyone was more than enthusiastic about showcasing all the musical talent PSU had to offer.

Why put on such a large and collaborative show now?

“For the students,” Grant said, explaining that students’ hard work and dedication is admirable and absolutely deserves the spotlight.

“We have an inspirational story to tell about what PSU does,” he said.

Grant explained that because tuition is increasing, pay and scholarship opportunities are decreasing, and the department felt compelled to demonstrate support for students.

In fact, scholarships are so low that the need for funding is what truly fueled the creation of this event, explained Christine Meadows, PSU vocal area coordinator and a member of the event committee.

“For years the music department faculty has bemoaned the fact that there is not enough scholarship money for our students. Last spring, we decided to do something about it!” Meadows said.

All profits from the concert will fund student scholarships. At the event, five scholarship recipients will perform solos.

“We want to show the public exactly what their scholarship money is funding,” Grant said.

Scholarship funding is in higher demand because of the increase in admissions experienced by both PSU as a whole and the music department in particular in recent years.

Since 2006, there has been a 29 percent increase in undergraduates attending Portland State, along with a 20 percent increase in students with music majors.

Grant attributes that uptick to student success. “Our best selling point is our graduates.”

PSU alums are featured in Grant’s 30 for the 30th blog, which can be found at

The audience must know, Grant said, “that we’re doing this because we are really committed to our students succeeding.”

Grant hopes that the Music Forward! concert will become an annual event.

The concert takes place Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in PSU’s Lincoln Hall, located at 1620 SW Park Ave. Tickets can be purchased for $25 through the PSU Box Office at the door or by calling 503-725-3307.