Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

King Creativity at Southwestern

The Composers’ Collective

by Christopher A. Kersten
Major: Music with an Emphasis on Vocal Performance

In the spring of 2000, I approached a fellow student (at the time) composer, Paul Etheredge, Class of 2000, with an idea of staging a concert of compositions written by students from Southwestern University. Immediately, he was interested in the idea, and told me to keep in touch with him, so that he could participate. That single conversation began a six-month process of finding students willing to have their own music performed on stage. The response wasn’t overwhelming, but it more than gave me enough for a full concert.

Finding students to play this music wasn’t much of a problem, either. The music students here at Southwestern were extremely open-minded about the music, and very generous with the time that they had. The hardest part of this whole endeavor was finding time for rehearsals, around everyone else’s already-busy schedules. Never having done anything like this before, I found it very difficult to try and organize rehearsal schedules for six different groups of performers. However, once everything fell into place, everything went extremely well - each player took his or her part in this concert very seriously, and gave more time and effort than I ever could have hoped for.

There were a few minor setbacks along the way. I didn’t think to have the most mundane details of this concert taken care of - having instruments moved from the Band Hall to the stage, and letting the TA’s know about the stage layout for this concert. I had a great deal of help from both my musicians and the TA’s, and this project couldn’t have gone nearly as smoothly as it did without their help.

On March 25, the Composers’ Collective performed its concert, the combined efforts of four composers and twenty-two student performers. In the end, it could not have gone any better. Because of its overwhelming success, plans are already being laid to make this an annual event, so that we might help to encourage students to create new music for the world.