UTPB sets variety of music events, audition day

A number of University of Texas of the Permian Basin musical events are coming up, including an opera and audition day for students interested in admission to the music program.

The University Choir has been asked to be the chorus for the Permian Basin Opera Company’s production of “Tosca,” set for 7:30 p.m. today at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.

About 30 UTPB students and 10 to 12 high school students will take part, Director of Choral and Vocal Studies Frank Eychaner said.

Eychaner said this is the first time UTPB singers have been asked to collaborate.

“Our folks in March learned all the choruses. Then we started rehearsing with the professional staff they bought in. The students are really enjoying working with Rolando Salazar, who is the music director. They are, of course, enjoying singing with the professional actors singers that they brought in,” Eychaner said.

A Jazz Ensemble contest is set for 4 p.m. April 22 in Rea-Greathouse Hall. The String Quartet concert is at 7 p.m. April 23, also in Rea-Greathouse Hall; and a Brass and Woodwind Ensemble Concert is set for 7 p.m. April 30 in Rea-Greathouse Hall, which is in the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.

Associate Professor of Music and Music Coordinator Dan Keast said Audition Day is coming up April 28.

“Most universities have an audition day, or three or four in the spring where they have interested students come to the campus, meet the faculty, tour the facility and they play an audition to see if they can get into the school and/or a scholarship,” Keast said.

UTPB tried audition days last year, but had individualized try-outs for some years before that, he said.

Keast said individual appointments will be set up for students to perform for faculty.

Students will sing for Eychaner.

“We want to make sure they get a chance to hang out on our stage. I know that one of my strengths out here at UTPB is that stage. It’s one of the greatest acoustical environments on the planet,” Keast said.

There’s also the star power of knowing they’re standing in the same place as big stars like Willie Nelson or Santana.

“They get on that stage and instantly they understand that UT Permian Basin is about business. They’ve got the real deal they’ve got this stage. I always include a facility tour besides the audition. The other thing I like to do is make sure they get a free lesson from our faculty,” Keast said.

This is important because it lets Keast know if the faculty member they learned from can teach them something, whether the student can see themselves learning with that faculty member for an extended period; and then he can talk about scholarships with them.

“I’m looking for teachability. If I have a student come in here that’s not teachable, it’s going to be a rough ride,” Keast said.

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