ASC music student improvises in music and life


Melanie Hawthorne, Adams State College music major, performs outside average compositions. Unlike most student recitals, which feature either vocal or instrument, Hawthorne, clarinet, and Halie VanIwaarden, vocal, are combining their talents at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 26, in Leon Recital Hall.

"There are not many instrument and voice combo in the recitals," Hawthorne said. "We wanted to mix it up and attract a diversity of music students." "Mixing it up" is an adept phrase when describing Hawthorne, a music education major with a composition and clarinet emphasis, and president of the Colorado collegiate chapter of the National Association of Music Education.

Not satisfied with the average school club fundraising effort of selling burritos or potatoes, Hawthorne realized a better idea for the music education club was hosting workshops for San Luis Valley middle and high school band students. Her idea raised enough money to fund 20 Adams State MENC members to the state conference.

During the 2008 invitational band workshop, college students conducted secondary school bands and the younger students were offered the opportunity to play in a large ensemble. The event provided hands-on experience for future music educators. "All day we worked with sectionals and in the evening the students performed at a concert."

"The music faculty likes to joke about cloning Melanie," said Dr. Tracy Doyle, associate professor of music. "She is just that good at everything she does."

Conducting is a "passion" of Hawthorne's. "To stand in front of a group is an adrenaline rush." She devotes her energy into conducting and composing. Her composition professor, Dr. Matt Schildt, said Hawthorne is one of the most enthusiastic students he has worked with. "She takes great pride in her work and has made amazing strides in her time at Adams State. She always brings interesting ideas and enthusiasm to our discussions in class."

Currently, Hawthorne is composing a piece for the composition recital on May 1. "I love composing anything that challenges or pushes me." Her desire to always learn more is one reason she joined the Rocky Mountain Panhandlers Steel Drum Band. The percussion concert is April 21.

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By Linda Relyea