Mitchell, S.D.—The music emanating from the Dakota Wesleyan University practice rooms and at concerts and performances will be a little jazzier this fall, thanks to two new instrumental offerings for students. Added to the roster of performance groups will be a jazz band and a drumline.
According to Bethany Amundson, director of bands and instrumental studies, students currently enrolled in Wesleyan Band have been asking for a jazz ensemble for the past several years, and the question of a jazz program came up frequently during prospective student visits. Amundson said, “I am looking forward to formalizing this ensemble and bringing the opportunity to study and perform jazz to a larger body of students.”
Jazz is an art form native to the United States, and Amundson feels that for students to receive a comprehensive music education, they need to have the opportunity to study and perform jazz. She noted, “This is especially essential for our music education students, and their participation in jazz band will make them more well-rounded educators.”
The drumline, composed of at least twelve percussionists, is a separate ensemble and was also added due to student interest. Amundson is enthusiastic about the new option. “The drumline is a program that I am very much looking forward to launching. Not only will it add further excitement to athletic events; it is essential in helping DWU music be competitive with other colleges. This drumline will aid our music education students in their future careers, as many of them will be required to teach a marching ensemble at some point.”
The unique thing about both programs is that a student does not need to be a music major to participate. Amundson advises that the “ability to read musical and rhythmic notation is encouraged,” but that both ensembles are open to interested DWU students.
The first appearance of the drumline is planned sometime during the basketball season. The jazz band will perform for the first time publicly at the annual DWU Christmas concert scheduled for December 4.
Jazz band and drumline join established instrumental programs at Dakota Wesleyan including Wesleyan Band, Wesleyan Bells and the LyricWood orchestra.