Raymond Rowell: Gala concert on way

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The reputation of the University of North Texas College of Music is familiar to most Dentonites — we are known worldwide for the excellence of our jazz program, our diverse performing ensembles are widely recognized for their quality, and we enroll more music majors than any other school in the United States.

Perhaps lesser known locally, but of equal importance, are our programs in conducting, music education, composition and many other areas that make us one of the most comprehensive music schools in the nation.

What helps us succeed in so many areas is the support of our donors, who provide scholarships that allow us to compete with other institutions for top students.

Our annual College of Music gala is one of the ways we raise funds for these important awards.

This year’s gala, “The Theatre of Debauchery, Deception and Delight,” will be held on Sunday.

With a range of selections that include music from the opera Carmen, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Les Miserables and even the haunting Italian popular song “Caruso,” this year’s event features favorites from many of the most famous vocal works performed by some of the very best young musicians in the nation along with a few of our internationally recognized faculty members.

If you have heard about us but have yet to attend a concert, I encourage you to come — there is sure to be something on the program with which you are already familiar, and a few works that will become new favorites.

It’s an opportunity to be thoroughly entertained while also knowing that your ticket purchase goes directly into the college’s scholarship fund.

The gala concert event is the very public face of an effort that continues year round — ensuring we have the funds necessary to compete with the world’s colleges, universities and conservatories to bring the very best young musicians and scholars to study in Denton.

And we are having success.

This year, thanks to the generosity of dozens of donors, the college was able to provide scholarships to one third of all students enrolled.

Our scholarship students come from places as distant as Australia and Vietnam and as close to home as Denton, Dallas and Double Oak.

These talented young people are representing UNT in competitions in Hong Kong and presenting concerts in Brazil, as well as finding success on the world’s stages and in recording studios.

They’re also making a difference here at home — teaching the basics of musicianship to the next generation of musicians, doctors and lawyers in school districts throughout Texas, and working in community programs that touch every age group in Denton, from the toddlers in our Early Childhood Music Program to the seniors in the Denton New Horizons Band.

Altogether, the College of Music students, faculty and guests present more than 1,000 events each year, the majority of which are free and open to the public.

The college has experienced the healthy growth of its endowment over the last several years from $6.2 million in 2003 to $16.5 million in 2012.

The generosity of donors who create endowments on behalf of the college is critical to our continued success.

Expendable annual awards, such as those funded by gala concert ticket sales and contributions to the Dean’s Camerata annual giving campaign, represent another important part of our scholarship strategy, providing us with almost 40 percent of the funds available to us for music scholarships on an annual basis.

It’s because of the success of these efforts made by our supporters, dedicated faculty and staff, and talented students that the college has the strong reputation of which you have heard.

The opportunity exists on Sunday for you to become an integral part of that success, while enjoying a concert full of glamor, drama and good, old-fashioned fun. We hope you’ll join us.

For more information, visit www.music.unt.edu; to make a donation, call Pam Acker at 940-369-7979.

RAYMOND ROWELL is assistant dean of scholarship services and external affairs at the UNT College of Music.

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