From the Chair: Music@Webster

From the Chair of the Department of Music, Webster University in Saint Louis

Opera scenes

Here are some stage photos from our wonderful Opera Scenes performances last month!

An esoteric group


Paul DeMarinis

Congratulations to Professor Paul DeMarinis on his award from the Missouri Association of Jazz Educators!

Music printing

I visited this museum last summer, and am awfully glad to see this video!


Photos from Friday at MMEA . . . .


Our students are grieving today.  Not as much as three of their classmates, but the heaviness in the building at noon today was palpable.

Two of our vocal performance majors have each lost a parent in the last 36 hours.

One of our songwriting majors lost a best friend over the weekend, as a result of a car accident.

None of these deaths were expected.

None can be explained.

But they are very real, and our closely-knit family of students, especially our singers and our freshman class, are hurting for their friends.

Losing a parent. It’s never easy, and no matter how expected, it’s a blow.  For a college student whose mother or father was apparently in good health, this blow is enormous. Our two students will need our love and support.

One of the harsh realities of common lives is that we share, quite often deeply and meaningfully, but not at the same pace or in the same way.  Our nature is to want to do something in the immediate moment, to help the griever, and then to move on, all while the person closest to the loss is trying to cope with a new reality. We don’t know what to say, and we don’t know when to say it, and so we are often silent.  This can come across as a lack of caring, and the person who is grieving most may be angry that others don’t recognize his or her pain.

This page from Cornell provides some really helpful insights and hints about students and grief:  This is a good read for adults and students alike.

In addition, a colleague sent me today a very helpful article: How not to say the wrong thing.

And my advice before bed this evening?  Hug someone you love.  Pay forward. Entwine your part of the world with love and happiness.  Be the light in the darkness.

Jazz concerts

The Spring 2016 Jazz at Webster series starts Monday evening, January 25.  From our friend and jazz pianist Carolbeth True, here’s a reminder:

Two great concerts the next two Mondays at Webster University on the Monday night series:

This Monday, January 25th, 7PM, The Randy Holmes Quintet plays great jazz tunes seldom heard, along with some originals at Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 East Lockwood (at Bompart).  Randy Holmes–leader, trumpet and flugelhorn; Larry Smith–saxophone; Carolbeth True–piano; Eric Warren–bass; Kevin Gianino–drums.  General public–$7  Senior–$5   Students Free.  For more information: 314.246.7032 or

Next Monday, February 1st, 7PM, Debby Lennon’s 15th Anniversary Concert at Moore Auditorium, same information.  Vocalist Debby Lennon presents a wide array of her musical endeavors with many musicians including the Webster Jazz Singers trio: Carolbeth True–piano; Jeremy Pfeffer–bass; Kevin Gianino–drums; The Paul DeMarinis Group and the Kim Portnoy Group; also a vocal jazz group with whom she will sing.  General Public–$7   Seniors–$5   Students Free.

We hope to see you the next two Mondays at Webster University!

Scenes from a day

Friday, January 22, 2016.

At Thompson Music Building and at Nerinx Hall Heagney Theatre.

Jazz Singers wrap up their rehearsal:

Kathy Gaynor, University Archivist, presents a seminar about the history of our music department, and students enjoy the old yearbooks and course bulletins:


Opera Scenes goes up on Friday evening:

Opera Scenes continues on Saturday at 7, and Sunday at 2!  Tickets are $10 at the door.

Christine Brewer

One of our seniors put me onto this video last week.  In celebration of our first day of Spring 2016, here’s our colleague and friend Christine Brewer recording “Somewhere over the rainbow” with John Williams conducting! And Lynn Harrell is on the cello.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

At the office

carter2016-1This is day four at the office since returning from 10 days away.

And on this day, finally, I am hearing lots of life in the building.  Paul is practicing across the hallway.  Kim at his desk.  John is teaching a guitar lesson down the hall.  Someone is tuning a piano somewhere. Carla is upstairs in her office.  Three people are working in the departmental office.  And I keep hearing noise in the hallway.

This is wonderful…..

We have MUCH going on this semester!  I am posting here the calendar for Spring 2016, minus the student degree recitals. SP16 grid This spreadsheet is current as of today, but the official departmental calendar is always posted at  Seek complete information at the on-line calendar!

We have also just announced the visits of three candidates for the open voice position.  These visits all take place in the next two weeks.

And this semester we welcome three new students who have officially declared a music major, plus one new graduate student.

And now back to work . . . .



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