By DAVID DUPONT, Sentinel News Editor
From the time classes convened at Bowling Green Normal School, music was part of the curriculum.Music historian Vincent Corrigan said that, as a normal school, the institution was charged with training elementary school teachers.At the time “musical skills were required of all teachers,” Corrigan said. So music was one of the 10 founding departments. Corrigan has been working on a history of the Bowling Green State University College of Music. Dean Jeffrey Showell asked him to work on the project a year and a half ago, and it was early in his studies that the department’s centenary came to light. Showell said Corrigan has dug into the archives just as he would if he were investigating any arcane subject.Corrigan will unveil his history, which will be available online, at the College of Music’s Bravo celebration of its 100th birthday, Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. The College’s Bravo event will be held before Bravo BGSU!, the launch of what’s planned as an annual event to raise funds for scholarships in all the arts. The College of Music’s celebration will bring together current faculty and students with graduates and retired faculty members including former deans.From 3 to 5 p.m. receptions and activities for various ensembles and other “affinity groups” will be held throughout the building. Some ensembles may be rehearsing, said Assistant Dean Mary Natvig who is chairing the organizing committee. Old video and photos will also be displayed.The composition area, she said, will offer a make-your-own composition event, a musical buffet that allows visitors to select elements and then have that piece spontaneously composed on the spot by a group of students and faculty. At 5 p.m. Corrigan will present his history, highlighting some of the more unusual facts he’s uncovered. The work, he said, is built on what other former deans including Richard Kennel and Bob Thayer started.This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of what has become the Women’s Chorus, then known as the Treble Clef Club. That the first ensemble was made up of women is not surprising given there were only women on campus. Men arrived on campus when World War I ended.At the celebratory concert that starts at 6 p.m. in Kobacker Hall, the Women’s Chorus will sing a piece by Amy Beach that was on the choir’s very first program.The concert is where Bravo CMA! will overlap with the Bravo BGSU!. Those attending the later event are invited to start their night in Kobacker, Showell said.That the chorus sang a piece by the then-living composer ties to the College’s current reputation as a center for new music. The chorus will also sing the piece commissioned by Libby Larsen to mark its 100th anniversary.Also on the program will be the Wind Ensemble performing a piece by BGSU graduate Ryan Nowland that was commissioned for the university’s Centennial of when the school was first established.The Bowling Green Philharmonia, which traces its roots back to 1917, will also perform.The orchestra, sporting an odd contingent of strings and winds, was the first instrumental ensemble.Corrigan said its fortunes shifted over those early years, and was almost decimated during World War II when its membership dropped to eight members. With the return of veterans, though, the orchestra took full form again and was able to play Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1.That experience is heartening for Corrigan. If the College of Music can weather World War II, it can weather the shifting winds of higher education policy. The college is endowed with, he said: “A whole lot of people with energy and enthusiasm.”The evening will end with an after-party and dance at the Clazel downtown, featuring dancing to the Jazz Lab Band I, the Afro-Caribbean Ensemble and a student rock band Indian Opinion.The cost for Bravo CMA! is $25. Register by visiting www.bgsu.edu/musical-arts/bravo-cma.html.
Sentinel Tribune highlights BRAVO CMA celebration
By DAVID DUPONT, Sentinel News Editor