Music@Mason: 2012-06-15 (Director's Message)


School of Music Newsletter

June 15, 2012





Dear students, parents, colleagues and friends,

We hope you are enjoying a terrific summer! Our Mason School of Music has continued to grow artistically across the board throughout the 2011-2012 academic year. On behalf of our entire School of Music Faculty, Staff and Students, I am honored to offer sincere congratulations to our 2012 School of Music graduates. This was a truly outstanding class! I encourage you to read about Dr. Joe Van Riper, our first DMA graduate featured on our Mason web site by clicking here.

In addition, here is a short overview of our School of Music’s featured achievements this past year!  

Allow me to draw your attention to our Academic Award recipients who were recognized at the College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA) Convocation.

Furthermore, key focal points included several outstanding master classes, our Faculty Artist Series, and consistently top notch concert performances by all of our university ensembles.

Click here to view the Post's video of our own Doc Nix's unique musical accompaniment at George Mason University’s Volgenau School of Engineering convocation!

Several of our ensembles were invited to perform for significant community outreach and diplomatic events.  

  • On their China tour, the Mason Jazz Ensemble played to sold-out audiences, including the prestigious Shanghai Concert Hall. Read the Mason Gazette article here.

  • The Mason Symphony Orchestra (MSO) was honored to perform at the International Women’s Forum in the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. last fall.

  • This Spring Semester our Mason School of Music Opera presented beautifully produced performances … and very well attended at that! … of Gilbert and Sullivan’s charming H.M.S. Pinafore!  

  • In April, the School of Music provided an entire evening of musical support for a George Mason University 40th Anniversary gala in honor of university president Alan Merten and his wife, Sally. President Merten is retiring from his presidential role this summer. Guests enjoyed a Mason Music string quartet and jazz trio, the Green Machine pep band, the Mason Symphony Orchestra with the combined choruses and the Mason Jazz Ensemble.

We are also proud of our own Dr. Linda Apple Monson and Professor Rick Parrell, each of whom received university level awards from the George Mason University Alumni Association. Click here to read articles about the 2012 awards.

The Mean Green Drumline garnered 1st Place at the WGI (Winter Guard International) World Championships on April 21 at the Dayton Arena in Ohio!

These are just a few highlights of our many impressive accomplishments in the School of Music in 2011-12. I extend my personal congratulations to all of our directors, teachers, students and staff for your wonderful work this year!    

We want to thank all who make these accomplishments possible. Please allow me to call attention to a few key sponsors and benefactors:

  • Mr. Ed Weiner received the first ever College of Visual and Performing Arts “Patron of the Year Award” at our college Convocation. Ed has been instrumental in working with the Jazz Ensemble to raise funds through our annual Jazz4Justice concert, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Save one of these dates for the 2012 concert: Friday, November 9 at Center for the Arts or November 30 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.

  • In mid April, during a very special evening of ceremony and performance by our fantastic Percussion Department, we dedicated the Fred Begun Percussion Studio. One of the world’s great musicians, Mr. Begun has donated his entire music library from his many years as the Principal Timpanist with the National Symphony Orchestra.  

  • We are grateful to our Friends of Music whose members continued to provide us a consistent source of essential support and generous scholarships. If you are not yet a member, I encourage you to become a Friend.

  • Thank you again to Milton and Carolyn Peterson for their ongoing support for student scholarships.

  • We express our sincere appreciation to the McCarthy Family Foundation, Kevin and Debra McCarthy for their sponsorship of our “Symphony Scholars” program.

  • We thank the de Laski Family Foundation for their ongoing support throughout these many years, even as we mourn the loss of Mr. Donald de Laski.

  • It is worth repeating that in only six months, we exceeded our goal in matching the $100,000 pledged by our anonymous donor creating the Dr. Linda Apple Monson Music Endowment Fund. Please join us for the next Grand Piano Celebration on Sunday, September 16, 2012.

Thank you for attending our many music events and performances this past year. We are in the final planning stages for performances for next season--including our first musical theater performance to be produced in collaboration with the Mason Theater Department! Be sure to mark your calendars for our presentation of Sondheim’s Into the Woods, which runs from October 26 - 28, 2012.

Once again, on behalf of our Faculty, Staff and Students (WE MISS YOU!!!) within the George Mason University School of Music, we thank each of you for your continued support. A most memorable year is now behind us … and we set our sights toward an outstanding 2012-13 academic year. Wishing each and all of you a safe and splendid summer!


Most respectfully,
Dennis M. Layendecker, DMA
Colonel, USAF (Ret.)
Heritage Chair in Music
Director, School of Music




Linda Apple Monson Featured in
Northern Virginia Magazine


Whether a music enthusiast or not, Dr. Linda Apple Monson of George Mason University will ignite one’s interest in music by her sincere and infectious wonder for the art form.


Dr. Monson is driven to teach, perform and lead Mason’s esteemed school of music because she believes so strongly in it. “With music you have emotion, sensitivity, these skills that really make you be able to appreciate beauty. It provides such a sensitive and compassionate way of looking at the world,” she says.


Click here to read the full article.



Ovations Summer Strings Academy
June 24 - June 29, 2012 (full day)


The Ovations Chamber Strings Academy at Mason offers an exciting Orchestra Summer Camp opportunity for our regions string students (rising 7th graders through 12th grade). Program directors Glenn Dewey and Erin Eberlyinvite you to take part in this challenging and enriching summer music experience. Participants will work closely with GMU String faculty, award winning NoVa String educators and professional musicians on challenging string literature in small chamber ensembles. Participants will also perform in one of two string orchestras under the baton of Dr. Dennis Layendecker or Dr. Peter Wilsonwith exciting performances by all of the ensembles at the end of the week. Placement seating auditions will take place on Sunday, June 24th to determine orchestra and chamber group assignment.


Click here for more information about the Ovations Summer Strings Academy and to register.


Summer Jazz Workshop
June 24 - June 29, 2012 (full day)


Join the members of the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra—the Washington, D.C., area's finest jazz musicians and educators—for an intense week of combos, big band, improvisation, master classes, jam sessions, and more in this Summer Jazz Camp. Serious musicians of all ages and abilities are welcome. No one is too young or too old to play jazz. A short and informal audition on Sunday the 24th will place you in a big band and/or combo with musicians of comparable ability.


Click here for more information about the Summer Jazz Workshop and to register.


Later this summer, we offer a Music Composition Workshop, Choral Camp, Guitar Essentials and Classical Guitar Intensive, Oboe & Bassoon Reed-making, Strings Method Workshop, and the Brass Music Workshop. Click here to view the full listing of all the Potomac Arts Academy summer programs.





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George Mason University School of Music

Fairfax Campus