Dr. Brandon Boyd, piano; Josh Chism, Marques Ruff, Meaghan Neel, Kiernan Steiner, Aubrey Smith
In December 2017, several School of Music teaching assistants (Joshua Chism, Meaghan Neel, Marques Ruff, Aubrey Smith, and Kiernan Steiner), accompanied choral directors Dr. R. Paul Crabb and Dr. Brandon A. Boyd, on a trip to Italy to present lecture concerts on Italian madrigals and on Afro-American music. In 2012, the MU School of Music formalized an agreement with the Conservatorio “Domenico Cimarosa” in Avellino, Italy which encourages faculty and students from both institutions to perform, teach, and study at the collaborating institution. In addition to the two seminars, the students gave two full concerts. and two shared concerts with a choir from Salerno, Italy.
Josh Chism, an MM choral conducting student, said, "This trip was eyeopening to me. Collaborating with musicans and students from the conservatory was so rewarding. I learned that no matter how large the geographical distance between two peoples and cultures might be, quality music and music-making experiences instantly fill that gap. This experience changed who I am as a musician and as a person." Kiernan Steiner is a graduate teaching assistant in choral conducting and works with the School of Music jazz chamber choir, Hitt Street Harmony. She comments, "Throughout the trip, we had the opportunity to engage with people from all around the world and connect with them through music. Traveling and performing with my choral conducting cohort was an experience I never thought I would have while working towards my Master’s degree, but an experience I will take with me wherever I go." Master's student Meaghan Neel was also able to go and writes, "When choosing Mizzou for my choral conducting master's I never dreamed I'd get the opportunity to travel to Italy. I've always considered myself a teacher first and musician second, but this collaboration with the Conservatorio "Domenico Cimarosa" in Avellino, highlighted us as not only as musically informed conductors but as soloists and international clinicians. This experience has reminded me how influential and unifying music can be and to keep pursuing opportunities for myself and my future students."
Dr. Crabb was invited to Avellino, Italy several years ago and has developed relationships there that have become the foundation for visits by faculty and students just like this. Two years ago, clarinetist Jeremiah Rittel graduated from MU with two Master's degrees and went to Avellino to pursue an additional degree at this Conservatory. Thank you to Roberto Maggio with the Avellino Conservatory and all the new friends we have as part of this partnership!