"A rich pool of students." That's how music department chair Tijuana Julian referred to the students who participate in one of Drury's many musical opportunities. Many of the students who participate are not music majors; they are simply students who love music.
From all-inclusive large groups like the concert choir, concert band or concert orchestra which students with interest and ability simply join, to highly selective groups like the Drury Singers or theater productions which require auditions, students can find a creative outlet for those performance needs.
"It is important for college students to recognize early on in their studies that music is something they can participate in their entire lives," Dr. Julian said. "As we go through the different stages of our lives, having that kind of outlet is necessary. We in the arts provide that training and outlet."
In addition to creative outlets, music programs provide a personal link to the university for some students. A normal day in the music department finds many students hanging out between classes, visiting with friends or faculty members and using the department offices as a "home base." Department-sponsored festivals, a city-wide orchestra, jazz camps, an opera workshop and studio teaching allow professors in the music department to make contacts and encourage prospective future students. Through these programs, students also learn this fundamental truth: regardless of skill, and even if it's not a career, music provides a life-long creative outlet.
For students wanting more intensive experiences, Drury's music programs offer opportunities for stage time, travel and fun. Two jazz bands, conducted by Dr. Julian, join together and keep the crowd pumped up at Drury basketball games. The jazz bands also tour each year combining performance with learning and travel. The Drury Singers provide music for special events on campus, serve as ambassadors for the school and also tour. For the first time in Drury's history, the Singers have been selected to sing at the Missouri State Music Teachers annual conference at Lake of the Ozarks in 2002.
Musically-gifted students also find recognition at Drury. Tara Stafford '01 performed a winning recital at the West Central Division of the Music Teachers National Association Voice Competition in January. In addition to performing with the Springfield Regional Opera and Drury theater productions, she also received several other awards and special recognition during her time at Drury.
Stafford studied with Rosemary Jackson, an associate professor of music at Drury. Jackson's work with Drury students knows success. An April 2000 production of The Face on the Barroom Floor won first place in a National Opera Association competition this year. "It was such an honor," said Jackson, "to share the stage with large universities and conservatories - it's an indication of just how well Drury does opera."
"There really is something for everyone here," said Dr. Julian. "If you are at all creative in music, there is a niche for you in one of our groups."