From the Chair: Music@Webster

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

Happy Chair

We are at that spot in the semester, just prior to mid-term and a week break, where concerts are taking place right and left.

And this department chair is very happy this month.

Last week the Webster University Orchestra played a concert that featured idiomatic Johann Strauss, powerful blasts of Shostakovich, and three concerto/aria contest winners — two juniors and an alumnus — in concert.  The orchestra was in very fine form; the audience, wildly appreciative.  And well they should have been.

Tonight we saw three choirs in a season-opening concert.  Students from fourteen states and four foreign countries.  Provocatively themed programming asking serious and difficult questions.  And a large and enthusiastic audience.

One of my joys as department chair is seeing how our students support and encourage each other.  First- and second-year students have been quietly reporting recently that they feel such camaraderie and kinship with their classmates.

This tight bond starts with faculty.  Just this evening several parents said “best choice ever” in sending their kids to Webster University, and two of them specifically mentioned how their children are reporting nurture and care from faculty members that far outweighs what other older children in those same families experienced at other schools.  This is the model at a small, private, residential college — but it’s also the Webster Way.

We have one more major ensemble concert before Fall Break.  I expect to be proud again on Monday.

MI-18-78 DOM Wind Ensemble Oct


Wind Ensemble

The Webster Wind Ensemble kicks off their year on Monday!

MI-18-78 DOM Wind Ensemble Oct


Webster University choirs promise a most moving and engaging concert on Sunday evening!


Sabbatical projects

Four faculty members shared their sabbatical projects last Friday.

We had fun!


Neal Richardson


With heavy heart, I learned yesterday that Neal Richardson died Friday afternoon, surrounded by friends who were singing and praying him away.

His Adrenomyeloneuropathy disease had taken its toll over the last few months, and the end came unexpectedly quickly.

Neal was a prodigiously gifted musician with a huge heart, and a giant love for Webster and for our students. His death is a grievous loss to those who knew and loved him. 

Neal was one of the very first people to invite me out for a meal when I arrived at Webster nine years ago.  He arranged music for my colleagues and I in the Gateway Men’s Chorus.  And he shared unselfishly with so many fellow musicians.

May his soul rest in peace.

I await the day when I can hear the heavenly host singing “You’ll never walk alone” under Neal’s direction!


Picnic photos

All-Department of Music picnic and barbecue, hosted by our student chapters of NAfME, ACDA, and NATS!

Opening Convocation

Fall 2017 Convocation was a fun little gathering today.  We sang the alma mater.  We celebrated, and welcomed, and laughed.

One of the joys of Convocation is naming our new endowed scholarship recipients:

FA2017Convo - 22

Here are some ‘school photo’ shots from the moments before Convocation:


Record enrollment