by ALEXA SCHMIDT, Asst. A&E Editor
It’s the start of a new semester for the performing arts department at Manhattan College. The department is composed of students who can sing, dance, act or play an instrument.
Andrew Bauer, director of music and coordinator of performing arts, said that the groups expect to hit the ground running and continue with energy and enthusiasm throughout the year.
Bauer said, “We are very excited about our growing jazz program at Manhattan College. In our big band, we are only losing a couple of people due to graduation. This is significant because it will allow us to explore advanced repertoire, building upon an already solid ensemble. We fully anticipate the big band to be the best it’s ever been.”
“Our jazz small groups will continue to represent the college proudly in professional engagements off and on campus. One of the major events for the small group this semester is to provide music for the DFI Educational Trust Gala, an organization that provides scholarships to engineering majors. Our small groups are held to very high standards by our extraordinarily talented director, Geoff Mattoon. We are fortunate to have a musician of his stature leading our jazz program,” Bauer said.
MC also has other music groups like the Orchestra and Pep Band.
“Orchestra will be also be hosting a fall concert as well as assuming an integral role in our annual Festival of Lessons and Carols in the Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers. The Pep Band, and director Jake Robinson, are pumped for cheering on the Jaspers for our home men and women’s basketball games in Draddy. They are looking forward to kicking off the season by putting on a great show at Manhattan Madness on Thursday, Nov. 1,” Bauer said.
In addition to these groups, there are multiple choral groups on campus, including Singers, Manhattones, and Music Ministry.
Senior Erin Plitt, a performing arts scholar at MC, is the president of Singers.
“My typical week is pretty packed musically. Singers rehearse Wednesday night and Music Ministry is every Sunday night. I also try to put on Coffee House once a month and that takes about a month’s worth of planning. I also work for Andrew Bauer, so even if I am not in a music group I am helping them prepare, hanging out, and working to make the department great,” Plitt said.
“Because its my last year I really want to make sure that the department, particularly Singers, is left in a place where they can continue to improve and grow,” she said.
Bauer said, “In Singers, we are discussing the possibility of a major performing trip. A number of potential destinations are under consideration, but all will include a concert featuring a major work from the choral repertoire.”
In addition to Singers, MC has Music Ministry, which performs every Sunday during mass.
“Music Ministry says farewell to David Cartolano, who magnificently presided as president over an explosion in our roster over the past two years. Naomi Uy is our new president. She looks forward to growing music ministry further, continuing to expand our repertoire with contemporary engaging music at Sunday evening masses,” Bauer said.
Alexis Salerno, a sophomore scholar talked about her experience with performing arts.
“A typical week for me is pretty straight forward, I go to class during the day and only have singers once a week on Wednesday nights which is great because since most of my online deadlines fall either on Tuesdays or Thursdays. The weekends are where it gets a little tricky because I visit home, so I have to make sure I take an early enough train out of the Ronkonkoma station to make music ministry rehearsal at 6 p.m.,and with construction always being done on the LIRR it can get a bit stressful, but I love music ministry so much so I always try my best to get there on time,” Salerno said.
Performing arts also includes the MC Players, who perform shows in Smith Auditorium each semester.
“Players and director Marty Marchitto is pleased to offer a wonderful show for the fall, Present Laughter, a delightful comedy written by Noël Coward, along with a late semester cabaret” Bauer said.
In addition, Bauer said, “Other performing arts groups include Pipes and Drums, Pit Orchestra, spring only, and Brass Quintet. Also, students can take certain ensembles for academic credit. When a student registers for an ensemble for credit, they receive 10 private lessons per semester on their instrument or voice, it’s an amazing program.”
Performing arts is very present on MC’s campus, and has an even bigger impact on both Salerno and Plitt.
Salerno said, “I hope to become even more involved in performing arts here at Manhattan. If there’s anything that being apart of musical groups at my high school and in my hometown taught me it’s that the people who you can make music with are an incredible group of people, I look forward to getting to know other performing arts students better, both new freshmen and upperclassmen, all while being more active in the groups.”
“I think when people start college it’s hard to find where you fit in right at first. Being apart of performing arts right from the start of my experience here at Manhattan has helped me make some of the most amazing friends I could ever ask for. Not to mention the community itself is very laid back and full of people who simply appreciate and love music. Being welcomed into such amazing performing groups right away completely changed my perspective for sure, and I am so grateful for the experiences it has given me.”
Plitt said, “I can say without a second thought that I would not be the person I am today without the performing arts department and the people I have met here. When I think of home on campus I think of hanging out in Andy’s office talking about our next big project. I have learned to be a leader here, how to relax a bit, and most importantly I have discovered more about myself; who and what I want to be.
“There is no way to put into words what the performing arts community has done for me and I will forever be thankful I had the opportunity to be a part of it. As I graduate I hope that I leave the performing arts the way I found it; a place full of opportunity, friends, and love.”