I attended a Middlebury College Orchestra concert this evening. It was fun seeing friends on stage performing (I applauded in loud claps and hollers) but something was missing. The quality of the concert was sub-par, at best. This points to a real issue at the college regarding the music program. While most students do not attend Midd for the music, a school of this caliber should have a program that harnesses the talents its many students. Right now, neither the choral, orchestral, nor jazz programs are well-supported and of high quality. Students here are complaining because all-state instrumentalists are dropping out of the college orchestra. The Chamber Singers, on the choral side, sound mediocre but have little incentive to improve. The jazz program is virtually non-existant, starting just this year. The problem is not the academic portion of the music major which has fantastic faculty (such as my music theory teacher: Sun Lian Tan) but rather the music groups. This is not high school where a school can get away with the excuse of lack of students or lack of funding. This is a college where we must be challenging students to commit to music in a serious way. Directors cannot expect 50% attendance or students that set the rehearsal times.
The school should hire a full-time orchestra and chorus teacher with excellent credentials and experience to kickstart a music program. Jazz may be lost entirely at this point, but it is also worth looking into making a real program in this field too. With a seriousness will come student participation. Right now, there are so many music drop-outs in Middlebury College who could be reinvigorated by a new program. Midd must also continue to recruit high school seniors to help furnish these groups with talent year after year.
You can do it, Midd.