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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Music at Umass:

Part 1 of a 2 part series

Some while back, I reviewed a CD entitled Live at the Millennium. That CD was the result of a group effort on the part of the UMass music department. This last Wednesday, that effort was appreciated at a release party held in the University Club in the Healey Library.

Before the ceremonies began, I spent some time mingling among the crowd, trying to get a sense of what this project meant to the people involved. As we spoke, the ethereal sound of the Chamber Chorus, warming up in a nearby room, flowed gently beneath our conversations.

The crowd, mainly faculty and students of the music department, seemed genuinely excited to be there.

Jeffrey Mitchell, a performer in the Chamber Orchestra, praised the faculty of the department, saying, “Boston is a musical city, and they [the members of the UMass music department] are first rate people who are fully connected with the musical life here… Jon Mitchell is a terrific conductor who knows how to handle the complexities of changing personnel and people with different ranges and abilities…its a treat to be involved in it.”

He went on to express his satisfaction with the CD project. “I’m very happy that the music department people got themselves together and made this.” He said, “It’s heartening for anybody who cares about music and wants the music dept. to prosper and I’m also happy that the university has decided to recognize that kind of effort…I’m awful happy about that.”

His sentiments were echoed by others. Bistra Bogdanovna and Vanessa Ortega, also members of the Chamber Orchestra seemed at the appearance of the CD (apparently, the performers were not aware at first that their performances were going to end up on an album). “It was a nice surprise,” they agreed. “It’s great that people are actually honoring that, that people care…about music and the whole program.”

They also informed me that the Orchestra will be performing on May 10 at 8 p.m. at the Marsh Chapel on Commonwealth Avenue.

Several administrative members, most notably Dean of Students Stephanie Janey and Chancellor Gora, were in attendance to show their support for the music department and its accomplishments, a support that hopefully will stay strong throughout the ongoing changes taking place on campus.

Officially introducing the event, Dean Janey said, “This is a time of celebration for UMass Boston. Today, we are celebrating the faculty, staff and the many students and friends who participated in the production of the music Ddepartment’s CD, “Live At the Millennium”…We are especially proud of our students for their musical accomplishments as demonstrated on this CD, which I hope many of you will purchase to support the future activities of the music department.”

The CDs will be on sale for $10 in the music department offices.

Jon Mitchell, Chairman of the music department, took the podium for short while to speak about the development of the project. As Mitchell tells it, it took a long journey to get to this day.

More of how it got there in Part 2.