The University of Portland’s Undergraduate Conducting Associates Program (UCAP) is an innovative musician training program that allows UP students to conduct the University’s Wind Symphony. Conducting Associates conduct pieces at every UP Wind Symphony concert, and have conducted nearly 20% of all pieces performed over the past five years. Students are selected based upon ability shown in MUS 331 (Fundamentals of Conducting). Upon invitation from Dr. Patrick Murphy, students then take private lessons and lead weekly rehearsals of the Wind Symphony. Students in the Program receive podium time and lessons that make it similar to a master’s degree conducting program, and gives them a unique learning experience not available to most undergraduates in the United States. All of their rehearsals and performances are recorded for critique and the development of a video portfolio. This year’s Associates are Amanda Pilcher and Tim Blaydon.
Amanda Pilcher is a senior history major and music minor from Florence, OR. A flutist, Amanda was a drum major in high school and traveled to Europe with the Oregon Ambassadors of Music. Since arriving at UP, she has performed with the Wind Symphony, Orchestra, and Flute Ensemble, and has been a UCAP student for over a year. When she graduates in May 2013, she will have conducted more pieces than any other student at UP. Among her conducting credits to this point are pieces by Richard Strauss, Julius Fučík, Leonard Bernstein, and movements from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Her highlight, however, was conducting the World Premiere of Julie Giroux’s West Wind Overture this October. Commissioned by the College Band Directors National Association, the University of Portland was privileged to present the very first performance of this piece, and Amanda led the ensemble through rehearsals and a highly successful performance.
Tim Blaydon is a senior music major from Vancouver, WA. As a trumpeter, Tim is extremely active and performs in the Wind Symphony, Orchestra, Pep Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Brass Quintet. In addition, he has been a member, section leader, and trumpet soloist with the World Champion Oregon Crusaders Drum Corps. This year he has also taken the responsibility of serving on the marching band staff at Tigard High School. Since joining UCAP in January 2012, Tim has conducted pieces by Eric Whitacre and Julie Giroux, and is also preparing movements from Carmina Burana.
Since 2009, the following students have conducted the Wind Symphony through UCAP: Leslie Eddy (class of 2010; now teaching through Teach for America in San Antonio, TX), Isaac Rains (class of 2010; percussion performer), Alex Fiori (class of 2011; substitute teacher and marching band staff member), Louis Piano (class of 2011; US Navy), Peary Webster (class of 2012; graduate teaching assistant and Masters in Wind Conducting student at Southern Illinois University), Amanda Pilcher (class of 2013; current student), and Tim Blaydon (class of 2013; current student).
Submitted by Dr. Patrick Murphy, music