Each year, the UM-Flint Music Department presents a non-stop immersive musical experience known as MusiCollage to the campus and community.
This year’s show featured three soloists: Jhane Perdue, vocalist; Ben Cunningham, piano; and Elizabeth Schultz, flute. The soloists’ performances blended into those presented by UM-Flint’s Wind Symphony, University Chorale, University Orchestra, Jazz Ensembles, Chamber Singers, and more.
The format of MusiCollage is different from any other concert on campus. Wind Symphony Conductor Chris Heidenreich explained, “We ask the audience not to applaud, and take it all in from the beginning to the end, so that each selection leads itself into the next one.”
“MusiCollage is a great opportunity to hear a whole lot of music in one hour,” added Brian DiBlassio, conductor of the Jazz Combo. “You’ll hear large ensembles, small ensembles, different types of music, too. Even within the jazz performances you’ll hear a variety of music, some fun genres, and some exciting songs.”
Read below as this year’s soloists share their thoughts on being a part of UM-Flint Music and the MusiCollage experience.
Jhane Perdue – Vocal Soloist
Major: Music Performance
Hometown: Flushing, Michigan
I will be performing “Daddy’s Son” from Ragtime—a musical by Stephen Flaherty based on the novel Ragtime by E.L Doctorow. “Daddy’s Son” is a slow, heart-wrenching piece. In the show, Sarah is basically grieving the death of her new born son.
I have been performing since I was 11 years old. Throughout middle and high school, I was very involved with the music and theatre department. I was involved with Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) solo and ensemble, MSVMA 2014 and 2015 All-State honors choir, my high school a cappella choir, my high school’s after school choirs (Beta Chi Theta and Madrigals), and a member of International Thespian Society. I also sang in my church’s choir.
[Outside of the department] I am the worship leader at Trinity Episcopal Church in Flushing, Michigan.
What do you love about vocal performance?
I love that I have a way to express myself. I love that music brings people together from all walks of life. I love the connection between performer and audience. I love how you can get a new piece of music and at first glance it’s just lines, spaces, and notes, but when you’re done with it becomes a part of you.
What do you love about the UM-Flint Music department?
The faculty. We are a small department, and because of it you get one- on-one attention. Our department is full of faculty that want you to succeed. I can personally attest to the outstanding work of our faculty, because of my voice teacher Kisma Jordan-Hunter. She has raised the bar on what it takes to become an amazing musician and leads by example.
What challenges you as a vocalist?
Two things: taking care of yourself and trusting the process. As a vocalist your body is your instrument, so constantly reminding yourself that the voice is constantly changing and if you just keep taking care of your instrument and make a daily commitment to practicing and self-care, you will reach your outcome. My mantra is “The strive for quality is not the same as creating the illusion that our work is perfect.”
Why should people come to MusiCollage?
To see all the talent UM-Flint music department has to offer.
Ben Cunningham – Piano Soloist
Major: Music Education with a focus on Piano; Minor in Horn
Hometown: Hartland, MI
I’ve been playing piano since age 6.
The piano is unique in that I have the colors of a symphony and yet the control of a soloist. To be this connected to such a palate of musical timbres is a unique privilege.
The music department at UM-Flint has provided me with access to some of the best professionals in the field of music today, as well as the opportunity to experiment with an enormous variety of musical styles and genres at a consistently high level. In particular, having had the opportunity to be in every ensemble on campus has allowed me to become familiar with a much wider variety of music than the average student at a larger school.
I can’t single a single professor out as having provided more inspiration or mentorship to me. Rather, I will say that each has brought their unique experiences and outlooks to help shape my musicality.
Without a doubt, memorizing is by far the biggest hurdle as a pianist.
The best thing to come out of being a UM-Flint music student is the chance to participate in so many unique experiences with such a diverse group of people. I have come to appreciate many more styles of music through my time here, and have made close relationships with many people and faculty who I know will remain part of my life forever.
As I said before, the Department of Music at the University of Michigan-Flint has an enormous variety of music. People who come to MusiCollage will have the opportunity to see each ensemble perform a few selections, whetting the palate for the full ensemble concerts that take place later this year. This is the only opportunity during the 2016/2017 school year to hear them all in one place!
Music, and music education, are some of the most important things a person can experience. I am proud to be a student at the University of Michigan-Flint, and I am proud that our town of Flint is home to such a great place of higher learning in the arts.
Elizabeth Schultz – Flute Soloist
Major: Music Performance
Hometown: Flushing, MI
I am playing an unaccompanied flute solo for MusiCollage. I’m also in Wind Symphony and University Orchestra.
I have been performing for 14 years.
I am also a proud member of the Lapeer Symphony Orchestra—our first concert is October 28!
Playing the flute allows me to focus, which can be a valuable thing. I can quiet my mind and spend time working on something I love. When I have a major accomplishment in music, it is the best feeling in the world because I know the work and the passion I have put into achieving this accomplishment.
The UM-Flint Music Department is a fantastic department. We have top notch instructors that care for our success and we have so many opportunities. I have grown tremendously as a musician at their hands.
Everyone should come to MusiCollage because it really shows what we have to offer.
For more information on performances from our UM-Flint Music Department, visit umflint.edu/music or call 810.762.3377.