KWU Music Festival; Why be hype?
Written by Jameson Shaughnessy on January 22, 2020
In the coming weeks Kansas Wesleyan University’s music department will host the February “Fusion: KWU Festival of Music.” I had the opportunity to sit down with the man in charge of “Fusion,” Dr. Milt Allen. He is very enthusiastic about the exciting changes surrounding the festival this year. Dr. Allen says, “It’s a revamped festival, and we’re building onto what the international music festival used to be, but I wanted to go a little bit deeper and reflect what we value here in the department and the kind of outreach that we do as well as what we want to say, so our rebranded festival is “Fusion”. The reason we use the term fusion is because now, rather than focusing maybe on one style of music, we’re expanding that focus to all genres, different types of performers that every year will morph into something different.” This festival is distinguished from KWU Music festivals of years past by providing students the opportunity to become involved in the action themselves; pairing them with Kansas Music Hall of famers, Internationally renowned guests and local bands.
So why should we on campus and off be excited about the KWU “Fusion” events? The first day of festivities incorporates elements of Americana music seeing two local Salina bands take the stage. Everyday Lights and The Radicles each will be performing in Sam’s Chapel at 7:30 pm Tuesday, February 4. The Everyday Lights are a local band made up of several KWU alumni and have their roots in Jazz and folk music. The Radicles are a newly formed rock band that does covers and originals alike.
The following day brings the KWU Wind Ensemble and Festival High School Choir will each be performing with guest trumpeter Dr. Courtney Jones of Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Jones has performed in the United States and internationally on trumpet, sometimes on stage with the likes of BB King and Stevie Wonder. This event also begins at 7:30 pm in Sam’s chapel.
Perhaps the most exciting events come on the 6th with KWU students being allowed to perform their own music at Ad Astra Books and Coffee house, a well-known shop in town that also does open mic nights throughout the year. Also, on the 6th is an event known as Jazz Jam which will take place in the Old Chicago taproom. The Jazz Jam Event will feature prestigious faculty member and recent Kansas Music Hall of fame inductee Dean Kranzler.
The final Event of “Fusion” is the KWU Presidential Concert, featuring guest maestro Carolyn Watson and bass Dr. Nicholas Miguel. This event will also be featuring Kansas Wesleyan Universities very own Philharmonic Choir who have been rehearsing for this event since the semester began. Some notable events the choir has participated in within the last few years are “Christmas by Candlelight”, the Salina Symphony Christmas Concert, the production of Hunchback of Notre Dame, and a concert at the Kansas Music Educators Association Day last year. Members of the choir are active both on and off campus with many of the students also participating in band, the Salina Community Theatre, football and basketball teams, and other various activities.
This year’s KWU Festival of music is sure to be a thrill to anyone who participates. With opportunities in and around the Kansas Wesleyan Campus for students to be active within the local music scene. It is plain to see the love of music that KWU has from the activities and concerts that are made available this year during the festival. Whether it be blues, jazz, classical, or folk, we have a style of music for just about anyone. Other upcoming events to be involved in are the February 13th Wind Ensemble and Highschool honor band concert, and a March 17th choir concert lead by Dr. Anne Gassmann. Dr. Milt Allen is also excited to announce that next semester there will be a new athletic band called the Howl and a new praise band. With so many new and exciting upcoming events and activities there has never been a better time to be a coyote singer, player, or participant.