News Release

REF NO.: 201

SUBJECT: Memorial University integral part of Festival 500

DATE: May 24, 2007

Preparations are well underway for the return of one of this province’s most prominent musical events.
And, just as they were a decade ago when the curtain rose for the premiere of Festival 500: Sharing the Voices, a group of musicians with strong ties to Memorial University is once again playing a key role in the event.
Dr. Doug Dunsmore, School of Music, Dr. Andrea Rose, Faculty of Education, as well as Ki Adams, School of Music and Faculty of Education, are current faculty members at Memorial, while Susan Knight, who is on leave from the festival this year, is a graduate, past instructor and alumna of the year. She was also awarded an honorary degree from Memorial in 2004.
The festival’s executive director, Peter Gardner also received an honorary degree in 2001.
Together with the help of the festival’s current committee members, several of whom teach at Memorial, as well as the 300 community volunteers organizers rely on for help – many of them are also graduates of the university – a jam-packed program is set for this year.
This year, Festival 500 runs from July 1-8 and participants will celebrate the influence of Celtic music.
Close to 1,600 delegates from 31 choirs from around the globe will participate in this year’s activities, a biennial non-competitive choral celebration. They’re hailing from places such as Australia, Finland, Ireland, Mexico and around North America, while local choirs, directed by Memorial graduates, are also set to perform.
The city – and Memorial – will be abuzz with activity. In fact, several other major events, some of which are sponsored by the university or are taking place on the St. John’s campus, are taking place in conjunction with Festival 500.
They include:
• The Pan-Canadian Music Education Think Tank II - June 25-27.
Location: School of Music
• The Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium VI - June 28-July 1
Location: School of Music
• Fifth International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education - July 2-5
Location: Education Building
• MUN/Festival 500 Choral Institute - June 28-July 8
Location: School of Music
It all adds to a busy few weeks.
“Festival 500 and the other events taking place this year involve a substantial number of professors and students in the Faculty of Education and School of Music,” said Dr. Rose. “It is huge commitment to undertake the planning, hosting and organizing of these events but each of us is very committed to showcasing the excellent work being done at Memorial. Our programs in music and music education are highly regarded worldwide so many researchers, teachers and performers do want to come here to check out the university, the people and the place.”
Dr. Alice Collins, dean of Memorial’s Faculty of Education and one of the supporters of Festival 500 and the International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education, said this year’s schedule of activities is really a breeding ground for musicians and music educators.
“Festival 500 and the music education symposium provide opportunities for sharing music and knowledge of teaching music,” she said. “It is an educational, social and cultural experience connecting musicians and music educators to each other and to a broader community to whom they reach out. In many ways, it is a model for good pedagogy where music educators share practice and theory in a supportive and creative setting.”
With thousands of delegates converging on the capital city and the St. John’s campus, music lovers will have a prime opportunity to appreciate Memorial’s commitment to music and music education.
“The School of Music is thrilled to be support and collaborate once again with the organizers of this year’s Festival 500 and indeed all the other events taking place around it,” said Dr. Tom Gordon, director of the music school. “Memorial is a big supporter of this event and indeed educators and students from our School of Music are heavily involved in the festival. Our participation underscores Memorial’s first-rate music school and indeed our university.”
To learn more about Festival 500 and the other events taking place on the St. John’s campus, visit www.festival500.com.

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