Open house lets students journey into music department

La Verne junior music major Mark Estrellado plays “Megalovalia” on the piano inside the music library in Founders Hall. Estrellado performed as part of the music department’s display of talent at the open house on Feb. 6. / photo by Brandi Peters
La Verne junior music major Mark Estrellado plays “Megalovalia” on the piano inside the music library in Founders Hall. Estrellado performed as part of the music department’s display of talent at the open house on Feb. 6. / photo by Brandi Peters

Rebecca Keeler
Staff Writer 

Music is in the air at the University of La Verne as students and faculty of the Music Department embark on a new semester full of ambition. They seek to spark an interest in music for current and future students. 

Students attended the music department’s open house on Feb. 6, to meet the staff and fellow music students, and received information on all the department has to offer. 

Unlike larger private universities, ULV’s music department provides many opportunities for students and community members regardless of their major or enrollment at the institution. 

“I started choir my freshman year, and enjoy it because it is somewhere I can continue singing and receive a musical education without having to major in music,” Julieta Del Toro, senior theater major and president of the ULV Choral Organization, said.

Those interested in the music department can experience and immerse themselves in different genres of music from the western art tradition, American music and the music of diverse cultures. 

“Class lectures and group ensembles are open to all students who are interested in music and want to learn or advance their skills,” Nikolai Galvan, manager of the music department and Morgan Auditorium, said.

Galvan said the University Chorale and Chamber Singers, among other ensembles, are always looking for new talent, and both are especially in need of tenors and basses. 

Besides music theory and history classes, ULV offers several ensembles and private lessons for all to explore and express their love for music. Choir, orchestra, jazz, guitar and pep band are just a few of the ensembles offered this semester, with many more expected in the near future. 

“We are planning on bringing back the Cajón ensemble next fall, where students will have the opportunity to learn how to play this Latin percussion instrument,” Galvan said.

Among other ensembles reappearing in the near future, Galvan said that the department is looking into creating a drum ensemble, potentially blending the West African drum class into a wellness class and creating chamber group classes that combine instrumentalists and vocalists together.   

The music department was hit hard by the effects of the pandemic. Now that the post-COVID rebuilding process is underway, the department is again regaining its strength. 

Michael Boos, senior adjunct professor of music, teaches a variety of classes in the music department, ranging from core requirements such as Music History and Appreciation and World Music to the jazz ensemble and private lessons with a focus on the electric guitar. 

“I love being able to teach the jazz ensemble in person again, as well as working with students directly and watching them grow and learn as musicians,” Boos said.

Students who want to expand their musical interests into a possible career have the chance to major or minor in music, with major concentrations available in performance, history, and theory and composition.

“I attended one of Michael Ryan’s guitar concerts recently, and it inspired me to get involved in the music program here at La Verne,” Joseph Iriye, freshman music major, said.

A lot is in store for the music department this semester. March 12 is the annual “Spirit of Ireland” show featuring guitar professor Michael Ryan. 

May 7 is the choir concert, featuring both the University Chorale and Chamber Singers. A special preview performance by the Chamber Singers will be on May 14. The setlist from that concert will be performed in Germany this summer.  

The University’s guitar ensemble concert will be held May 19, with the La Verne Symphony Orchestra concert the following day. 

For more information, visit the music department’s Instagram page at @ulv_music

Rebecca Keeler can be reached at rebecca.keeler@laverne.edu

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