Junior music major Tyler Simpson feels humbled that this will be his third consecutive year to perform in the President’s Honor Concert.
In Simpson’s first semester at Texas Wesleyan University, he was one of two freshmen invited to perform.
“I was informed of its importance early on in the semester via other returning students,” said Simpson, a multi-instrumentalist. “It was best described to me at the time as a way to demonstrate the department’s talent to a number of parties, including but not limited to past alumni, potential donors, and potential Texas Wesleyan students.”
The President’s Honor Concert will be held April 7 at Martin Hall. The annual concert is a showcase by Department of Music students, who audition in December for the honor of performing and only a fraction of those who audition are chosen to perform, Simpson said.
“The concert holds a traditional audition process in which the department invites faculty from other universities in order to eliminate any potential bias and obtain diverse feedback in order to hand select the department’s finest musicians,” Simpson said. “Students are encouraged to prepare a piece of repertoire that best represents the respective student’s individual strengths as a musician.”
In addition, the student is required to submit a letter of recommendation from their respective instructor detailing competence within the selected piece of musical literature. On average, 10 to 13 students from the department as a whole get selected to perform in the concert.
The concert was created with the idea of showing off the best the department of music had to offer. The idea was was favorably received and the tradition was born, department coordinator Jenna McKinley said.
The 21st annual concert will have 14 performers from various musical concentrations in everything from piano to voice to instrumental music.
Simpson said he naturally experienced a lot of pressure from the performance as well as a fantastic and diverse crowd.
“Knowing that the concert is a tribute, not only to the university’s president, but to those who support the department in various ways,” Simpson said. “This is easily the most important concert of the year that the department hosts.”
Sophomore music major Alan Whetsel, a vocalist, is also performing this year. He said he had no idea what to expect for his first President’s Honor Concert last year.
As a freshman, he discovered what a privilege it was to perform with talented musicians and is looking forward to this year’s concert.
“President’s Honor Concert is a great opportunity for growing musicians like us to practice our craft and to share our love of music,” Whetsel said. “It’s also a wonderful way to see just how much our music department is growing. People can look forward to a wide variety of music from opera to theatre to instrumentalists and vocalists.”
Simpson said attendees can look forward to an evening of diverse music performed by the department’s finest instrumental and choral students, as well as a reception following the performance.
“My peers/fellow performers are beyond musically talented and have all put in an abundance of work toward the music that will be performed during this concert,” Simpson said.
Sophomore music major Alicia Smith, pianist, said she was shocked to see her own name on the list of performers for this year’s concert.
“Last spring was my first semester as a music major so I didn’t know many music majors at the time, but I did attend the concert,” Smith said. “My piano instructor, Dr. Ilka Araujo, told me to audition. We worked on a couple of pieces to audition with. I was so excited, I texted Dr. A.”
Smith said she heard a lot of great talent at the 2016 concert.
“I love the conversation with my peers about what we liked about the concert,” she said. “It’s going to be different for me watching the concert knowing I’ll actually be performing in it, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity for students who are not music majors — besides the many other concerts the music department puts together — to see what their peers are working on as a music major.”
The President’s Honors Concert will be held April 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Martin Hall. The concert is free and open to the public, with a reception to follow at Lou’s Place. For more information, please call the Department of Music at (817) 531-4992.