The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College provides students and faculty with opportunities to attend conferences and conventions to continue participating in the academic conversation of their fields. This semester, Associate Professor of Music Dr. Sarin Williams was selected by the American Choral Directors Association to share her latest research at the organization’s national convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Williams’s project, “Jazz Elements in the Choral Music of Iceland,” focused on work by Gunnar Reynir Sveinsson, an Icelandic musician who has combined choral and jazz music for his compositions. Williams said American troops stationed in the Nordic lands during World War II either took recordings of jazz with them or played it themselves, causing the genre to become very popular throughout the region. She said she enjoys attending the convention because there is always something new she and her students can learn.
“Going to a conference for a performance art is a great way to learn more about what’s new in the field,” Williams said. “This is a great way to network with other directors from across the country, as well as reconnect with former classmates and see where their careers have taken them. Everyone gets to share different ideas and research, so I really enjoy going to the convention and letting some of my students take part in the experience. I’m so appreciative our administration supports these types of conferences with the students.”
Three students from the School of Arts and Letters, Jordan Lombardo, Kyle Fannin and Taylor Brewster, attended the conference with Williams. Fannin, a multi-age music education major from Jackson, said he enjoyed the experience of the conference, as well as getting the opportunity to see a professor at work outside of the classroom setting.
“The conference is very eye-opening to the possibilities there are in the music fields. I was able to take a lot of information from the sessions and incorporate it into my classes. It was also great to see what we learn at Rio, such as sight-reading, put into practice in a setting outside of the classroom,” Fannin said. “So many conductors from all over the world go to this conference, so I thought it was very cool that Dr. Williams was chosen to give a presentation on her research. I felt privileged to be there as she gave her lecture.”
For more information on Rio’s music department or the School of Arts and Letters contact the Office of Admissions at 740-245-7208.