Attending the annual South Carolina Music Educators Association (SCMEA) conference in Columbia was an opportunity that went well beyond networking for Lander University music education major Jordan Bowen of Lexington. "At the conference, we were able to hear some of the best musicians in our state and get vital insight and advice from music educators about how they succeed and continue to improve."
Bowen, a junior, was one of 17 Lander music education students to take part in the conference, held in Columbia Feb. 15-17. All participants are members of the Lander student chapter of the National Association for Music Education.
Conference participants were able not only to network with district elementary, middle, and high school representatives, but also to enjoy performances by middle, high school, and collegiate choruses, bands, and orchestras from the state of South Carolina. Legendary jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, an Augusta, Georgia, native, presented a clinic called "Sing It!" and performed during the evening Jazz Social with the South Carolina Jazz Directors Big Band, directed by Lander professor Robert Gardiner.
According to Lila Noonkester, associate professor of music/voice and Chair of Lander's Department of Music, the SCMEA conference is beneficial for current and prospective college students. "During the conference, we talk with middle school and high school students about what separates Lander's Department of Music from other music departments across the state. We have found that many students prefer our small class sizes and the associated support and comfort of one-on-one instruction available to music students here at Lander," she explained.
"Our upperclassmen, who are preparing to embark on careers as music educators, are able to observe methods of music teaching at different levels. The ability to speak directly with a music educator about all aspects of a music program is extremely important to the growth of our student musicians."
Other Lander students who participated in the conference are Amber Anderson, of Laurens; Taylor Baxley, of Andrews; Brittany Gionakis, of Catawba; Victoria Lauren Haulbrook, of Greenwood; James Herrin, of Johnston; Daisy Horne, of Saluda; Aamen Johnson, of Clinton; Bryan Keefe, of Fort Mill; Elizabeth Klump, of Lexington; Jacob Mitchell, of Summerville; Absalon Richardson, of Anderson; Jacob Roten, of Enoree; Jalisa Simmons, of Long Ridge; Destinee Simpson, of Anderson; Stephen Underhill, of Greenwood; and Avery Wise, of Johnston.