Music Program crescendos to new highs at UCCS

Sept. 2, 2013

Dezarae Yoder
dyoder@uccs.edu

The UCCS Springs Music Program looks to develop a stronger university image while climbing obstacles characteristic of a relatively new department.

The Music Program within VAPA was originally founded eight years ago. Prior to 2005, performing arts was nonexistent at UCCS.

Glen Whitehead, the program’s director, is eager in his approach of development. “What was seen is the opportunity,” said Whitehead. “There are new connections to be made that fuse creativity, music as an art form in the 21st century and professionally … we’re trying to tackle this opportunity.”

Whitehead cites the lack of an arts building as one of the largest issues in making the Music Program stronger and looks forward to 2017, when the new building should be completed.

Currently, the Visual and Performing Arts shares the University Hall with the Beth-El College of Nursing and the Nursing and Health Sciences Departments.

The little space that we do have is the result of huge efforts … to secure and create the space for us in a campus that does not have the space for music traditionally,” said Whitehead.

Jane Rigler, an associate professor in the Music Program, also spoke of the space issue. “We don’t have the correct facilities for a proper music program,” she said. “We definitely need more positions open. We need more lines. We need more instructors and assistant professor type positions.”

“Eighty percent of our classes are taught by lecturers,” said Whitehead, commenting further on the topic of personnel, “but if we want the arts to really shine and make a dent in this region, we need faculty positions.”

Outreach has been a large part of the dedicated effort to spring the program forward, according to Whitehead.

Hosting events associated with UCCS and VAPA encourage individuals to take part or at least take an interest.

“We’re visiting high schools, we’re giving concerts downtown, we’re advertising everywhere we can, we’re expanding our outreach opportunities, we’re engaging students with the community through courses,” said Whitehead.

Rigler attributed the positive advancements to the passion of individuals within the program and support from within university, namely Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak.

“The chancellor has been super supportive of us and we’re super excited about the future,” said Rigler.
As a part of the innovations within the program are the two new majors for Fall 2013: Composition and Sound Design and Creative Music Practice, Performance and Technology.

Colin McAllister joined the program in July of 2012 as the VAPA Music Program Coordinator and lecturer, and students should expect updates from him regarding the program throughout the year.