The Hartt School Community Division Alumni Newsletter November 2016
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The Compass: November 2016

November 2016

In this Issue

Save the Date for alumni weekend 2017!
MAY 12–14, 2017

at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, Conn.

HCD Alumni Weekend 2017

Featuring the Connecticut Youth Symphony
and the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble

Please mark your calendar and join us for the second annual HCD Alumni Weekend! Each year we will celebrate the accomplishments of the various HCD departments as well as honor notable faculty anniversaries. There will be opportunities and activities for alumni and current students to reconnect and interact, as well as performances for everyone to enjoy.

This year the spotlight will be on the Connecticut Youth Symphony (CYS) and Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble (GHYWE), as well as Dan D’Addio, who is celebrating his 30th year of teaching.

JOIN US ON STAGE!

Alumni from our large ensembles program are invited to perform on stage with the Connecticut Youth Symphony, under the direction of Daniel D'Addio, and the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Glen Adsit. Sheet music will be provided in April to those who sign up. Please RSVP here.

SCHEDULE

FRIDAY

  • Alumni Social Event (off-campus food and fun)

SATURDAY

  • 3–5 p.m.: Open rehearsal and alumni rehearsal for 
the Connecticut Youth Symphony evening concert
  • 5:30–6:45 p.m.: Alumni Dinner (on campus)
  • 7:30 p.m.: Concert at Lincoln Theater

SUNDAY

  • 3–5 p.m.: Open rehearsal and alumni rehearsal for the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble evening concert
  • 5:30–6:45 p.m.: Alumni Dinner (on campus)
  • 7:30 p.m.: Concert at Lincoln Theater

Join the Facebook event page for future updates.

HCD Faculty Spotlight

Glen Adsit

Glen Adsit, the music director of The Hartt School Community Division's Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble, took time out of his busy life to talk about the various roles he holds at The Hartt School.

Glen AdsitI hold a rather unique position in the Hartt Community Division for multiple reasons. I am the Director of Bands in the collegiate division of The Hartt School in addition to directing the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble (GHYWE) for the Community Division. Most importantly, I am a parent of a sixth-grader who has been involved with the Suzuki cello program for the past seven years.

As a part of my position in the collegiate division, I get to travel around the country conducting honor bands and All-State Bands, and it’s always nice to come home to GHYWE and The Hartt Wind Ensemble. Since I do a fair amount of travel, I get to see other community music schools, and I have come to realize that HCD is one of the finest in the country. The expertise and commitment of the faculty is extraordinary. I am grateful for the wonderful teaching my son is receiving and am appreciative to be in the company of great colleagues as a teacher in the Community Division.

This is my tenth year conducting GHYWE. I have always enjoyed working with young people, and GHYWE is truly a wonderful experience. As the conductor I see it as my job to broaden the musical world for all the “stars” that make up the ensemble. These students come from very good programs, and we at HCD are grateful for the support we receive from the public school music directors. One of the differences between the students' school band programs and GHYWE is the level of literature that we are able to perform. In many cases, the repertoire that we are performing is at the collegiate level. Over the past ten years the level of performance has risen consistently to one that now rivals many collegiate bands.

Glen Adsit on tour with GHYWEIn addition to some very memorable concerts, GHYWE has had some unforgettable experiences. In 2008 we took a tour to Europe where we played in one of the finest music halls in the world, the Musikverein in Vienna. The looks on the students' faces when we walked into the hall was worth every dollar we spent on the trip. On the tour we also played in a very small church in a little town in Austria. Ten minutes before the concert was to begin there was hardly anyone in the church, which left us wondering if there was going to be an audience. Our tour guide asked me to come outside for a moment and that is when I saw the entire town walking up the road for the concert. Needless to say, we had a full house and it was one of the most appreciative audiences (three encores) I have every played for. In addition to performing an all-American program, we were able to feature two of Hartt’s faculty members (Ben Toth, percussion, and Carrie Koffman, saxophone), who are both internationally known artists on their instruments. What a trip!

Last spring we also had a very special experience. GHYWE was invited to present and perform a concert for the College Band Director’s National Association Eastern Division Conference at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. In addition to performing a concert for over 120 high school band directors and 60 collegiate band directors from all over the country, GHYWE was the clinic band for a rehearsal techniques session. Leading the clinic was Frank Ticheli, one of the world’s most famous composers, and Eric Rombach-Kendall, one of the most well-known collegiate band directors in the United States. Many of the collegiate band directors came up after our performance and said that they wished their collegiate band was as good as GHYWE. It was so great to play in a beautiful hall and the group sounded fantastic. Again, it was so gratifying to see and feel the energy and excitement of the students that day.

I am blessed to have had some extraordinary assistant conductors with the ensemble in the past ten years. All of them have gone on to be extraordinary collegiate band directors, and our present Assistant Director, John Hart, will no doubt be a terrific addition to a collegiate faculty somewhere in the near future.

Lastly, I really look forward to my rehearsals with GHYWE and enjoy planning, not only our regular concerts, but future international trips, campus showcases, guest composers and performers.

—Glen Adsit

Photo: Glen Adsit (top) and GHYWE tour (bottom)

Our HCD Family

Benjamin Dix, alumnus

Benjamin Dix, a native of Bloomfield, Conn., has led a very full musical life during his years at HCD. Between 1981 and 1992 he studied piano with Jane Bradley, Margreet Francis, and Luiz de Moura Castro, violin with Martha Knieriem, and trombone with Marshall Brown and David Kayser. He also participated in Piano Honors Concerts, the Hartt Summer Youth Piano Program, and the Honors Music Theory Program. 

Benjamin Dix with Maggie FrancisBenjamin Dix (BD): After graduating from Bloomfield High School in 1992, I went to The Hartt School from 1992–96. My major was Instrumental Music Education, and I graduated magna cum laude. I taught Piano at Bethwood Suzuki School and The Neighborhood Music School from 1997–2002. In that time, I also received a Masters in Special Education from the University of Hartford with a concentration in Secondary Transition Programming and Gifted and Talented Identification and Programming. I then received a Sixth Year Degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University in 2007. I have served as an Assistant Principal, Assistant Director Of Education, Director of Student Services, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, and am currently a Special Education Coordinator with the North Haven Public Schools.  

We asked Ben if he felt that his studies at HCD shaped his life in any way.

BD: Studying trombone allowed me to perform in the Connecticut All-State Symphonic Band and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, All-Senior Honors Symphonic Band. I also played the trombone in the Capitol Symphonic Band during college at The Hartt School.

Studying violin at Hartt allowed me to be skilled in a string instrument. 

Studying the piano hit the lotto, though! It allowed me to discover my inner world and be content in life. I do not need anything else to be happy in life. Jane Bradley taught me that even though I wouldn’t play soccer or football, I would always be able to play the piano. Luiz de Moura Castro taught me that life is like a piano: what you get out of it depends on how you play it. And Margreet Francis taught me that playing the piano is an explosive expression of humanity. Maggie [Francis] taught me that playing the piano well gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, and life to everything. I can still perform the “Heroic” Polonaise, Op. 52, by Chopin well thanks to Maggie.

Of his memories from studying at HCD, Ben picked this as the one that stands out the most:

BD: It's when I realized the difference between just playing the piano and performing well. I believe all three of my HCD piano teachers combined helped me with that through their unique and welcoming teaching and musical styles.

Benjamin is the son of Douglas Dix, who is in his 37th year as Professor of Biology and Clinical Laboratory Science at the University of Hartford's Department of Health Sciences and Nursing.

Please read Ben's tribute to Jane Bradley, his first piano teacher, who passed away this fall.

Photo: Benjamin Dix with Maggie Francis

COMPASS InitIative: Special Initiatives, Berkman Recital Hall

COMPASS InitiativeIn the first issue of The Compass, the COMPASS Initiative was introduced. This new Initiative is comprised of three areas: Alumni Network, COMPASS Committee (project-based volunteer support), and Development.

In each issue, we feature development opportunities, which include four areas that allow donors to support their specific interests: 

  • Access: need-based financial assistance
  • Scholarship: merit-based scholarship
  • Special Initiatives: support for facilities, equipment, and faculty development
  • Programs: general support for Community Division programming

This issue provides another update on Special Initiatives.

Berkman Recital Hall

Berkman Recital Hall 2016

HCD is home to more than 2,800 students, nearly 200 faculty and staff, and dozens of programs. Serving this population and supporting our innovative and unparalleled instruction requires appropriate equipment, instruments, facilities, faculty development, and continuous upkeep. 

During the summer of 2016 Berkman Auditorium received some acoustical treatments. Most notably, movable dampening curtains were installed that can change the liveliness of the hall to suit the needs of the performers.

Named after Samual Berkman, one of the original founders of the school in 1920, Berkman Auditorium is a 79-seat hall housed in O'Connell Hall. Completed in 1966, it originally functioned both as a performance space and a classroom, with a traditional stage at one end of the room and blackboards along the sides. In the 1990s, after The Hartt School added and developed its dance and theatre departments, Berkman Auditorium was remodeled into a “black box” theater, which included a black dance floor and a wall of mirrors and a barre that could be hidden during performances. And in the late 2000s, after the completion of the Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts Center and the relocation of the dance and theatre programs to that facility, Berkman Auditorium was remodeled once again, this time to a fixed-seat concert hall with tiered seating and an expanded backstage area.

In addition to his founder status, Berkman (1893–1987) was appointed  Dean of the Julius Hartt School of Music in 1938, Vice President for Educational Administration in 1957, and Dean Emeritus in Residence in 1966.

The next room scheduled for renovation as part of Fuller@50 is Millard Auditorium. Work on that space is set to begin in May of 2017. Please consider making a contribution to these important and needed renovations.

From the stage

DEC. 9–18: THE NUTCRACKER BALLET

Tickets for The Nutcracker on sale at hartford.edu/tickets

The Hartt School Community Division’s annual tradition of The Nutcracker ballet continues this year with performances opening December 9, 7:30 p.m. in the Alfred C. Fuller Music Center’s Millard Auditorium at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. Tchaikovsky’s glorious score provides the backdrop for this full-length, family-friendly holiday production. The magical story of Clara, her Nutcracker Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy is beautifully staged and performed by the HCD dance department.

Tickets are on sale now. Admission is $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, $20 for students with ID, and $15 for children 12 and under. Please call the University Box Office at 860.768.4228 or 800.274.8587 or visit hartford.edu/tickets to purchase tickets. Contact the dance office at 860.768.6000 for more information.  

Nutcracker Performances

  • Friday, December 9, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 10, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 11, at 2 p.m.
  • Friday, December 16, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 17, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 18, at 2 p.m.

Read more at hartford.edu/nutcracker.

Share Your Story

If you are an HCD alumnus and are interested in being featured in a future edition of The Compass e-newsletter, email hcdpr@hartford.edu. Thank you for sharing your accomplishments with us!