A break in the Monday Blues: MSU Denver’s music department offers free student/faculty concerts to all on Mondays


Posted Mon, Feb 12, 2018

MSU Denver Junior Grant Stringham plays Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1” on the guitar at the Auraria Campus King Center Concert Hall Feb. 5, 2018. [Photo: Khaleel Herbert]

For most college students, Monday is the worst day of the week. They have to urge themselves out of bed from their relaxing or work-filled weekend to commute to campus and start a new week of homework, tests and lectures.

But for MSU Denver’s music department, Mondays are something to look forward to. The music department hosts its annual Mondays at MSU Denver Faculty/Student Recital series practically every week each semester. Performance majors are required to perform at a Monday recital at least once a semester.

Charla Bevan-Jones, the production manager, said the Monday recitals give music and non-music majors a chance to see and hear what goes on in MSU Denver’s music department. Jones said the concert also allows students to see how their peers have grown in their time at MSU Denver. Plus, the free afternoon concert offers a nice break from the daily grind.

MSU Denver Music Department Faculty Alex Komodore and Emily Ondracek-Peterson play Nicolo Paganini’s “Centone di Sonata #1” at Auraria Campus’ King Center Concert Hall for the Mondays at MSU Denver Faculty/Student Recital Feb. 5, 2018. [Photo Khaleel Herbert]

The recital series, which has been here longer than Jones’ 14 years at MSU Denver, is not the only program she plans for. She diligently plans for the Visiting Artist Series, where well-skilled musicians come and play for MSU Denver. In January 2018 Trumpeter Brian Shaw and Pianist Willis Delony from Louisiana State University performed. Trumpeter Randy Gardner and Guitarist Alexander Dunn are only some of talented musicians in the Visiting Artists series for February.

Jones is currently working on the concert and event schedule for 2018-19 school year.

“I try to have the events booked a year in advance,” Jones said. “The trick is working with 90 music faculty members and the other two institutions to create a schedule and climate that works for us all.”

Grant Stringham, a junior who has played guitar for 16 years, was the main student performer at the Feb. 5 recital, playing Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1.”

“I like being able to play in this super nice concert hall. It’s a great space to hear the acoustics and how your instrument sounds in it,” Stringham said. “It’s also a really good experience just playing in front of an audience in a nice venue.”

Faculty of the music department also participate in these recitals. Guitar virtuoso and teacher of 34 years, Alex Komodore played Nicolo Paganini’s “Centone di Sonata #1” with violin veteran Emily Ondracek-Peterson. Peterson has taught at MSU Denver for four years.

MSU Denver Music Department Faculty Alex Komodore and Emily Ondracek-Peterson take a bow after playing Nicolo Paganini’s “Centione di Sonata #1” Feb. 5, 2018 at Auraria Campus’ King Center Concert Hall for the Mondays at MSU Denver Faculty/Student Recital. [Photo: Khaleel Herbert]

“We do enjoy playing together,” Komodore said. “It’s a great way for us to know each other’s passion for the music and share it with others.”

“I love the opportunity that the Monday Recitals give to faculty members to collaborate with each other and take a moment in the middle of the day to play our instruments for real,” Peterson said, “Not simply demonstrating a lesson. Performing in the Concert Hall in the King Center is always a treat.”

Komodore and Peterson agree that performing for students is a big thrill because it inspires them to learn and improve in their chosen art form.

“Instructors who perform set an example for their students,” Peterson said. “It shows students that their teachers actually practice what they preach in lessons, coachings, rehearsals, etc.”

For the full schedule of MSU Denver Music Concerts and Events, visit: https://msudenver.edu/music/events/

About Khaleel Hayes

Formerly Known as Khaleel Herbert, I am a writer/photographer and MSU Denver alumni who majored in Journalism and minored in English. I hope whatever I write–poetry, plays, feature writings, film reviews, etc.,– my words touch at least one person. I believe everyone has a story and I want to be the vessel to tell that story whether through journalism or fiction. Visit my site: The Lens Feature Writer https://thelensfeaturewriter.wordpress.com/

View all posts by Khaleel Hayes

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