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Letter to the Editor: Productions offer diverse experiences

Thursday, March 9, 2006

To the editor:

It seems to be appropriate to respond to several Speak Out comments concerning the recent university production of "The Tender Land" by Aaron Copland, a joint endeavor by the Departments of Theatre/Dance and Music.

First, I wish to express my appreciation to our community patrons for their support for this and other productions by our departments. We also appreciate the feedback we get from patrons.

All performances for both departments are scheduled at least a year in advance. In the case of collaborative efforts, a committee of representatives from both departments decides upon specific musicals or operas. In other words, no one person makes a unilateral decision.

Many factors must be considered, including available student talent, royalty fees, materials for sets and costumes, and musician availability.

While it is always good to know that certain Broadway musicals are well-received, both departments are mandated to provide the broadest type of experiences for students. In the case of the Department of Music, our accreditation agency, the National Association of Schools of Music, requires that broad experiential opportunities be made available.

I am sorry that one patron found "The Tender Land" to be less accessible, but our goal must be to present diverse styles. The collaborative musical for 2007 will be "42nd Street!"

As the School of Visual and Performing Arts prepares to move to the River Campus, it will need to continue to offer diversity in programming while striving to achieve the highest levels of excellence.

GARY MILLER, Chair, Department of Music, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau