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Award Winning Music Department

CWU Orchestra Performing Carmina Burana in Beneroya Hall, Seattle WA

When we talk about the quality of our music program here at Central Washington University and the high level of performance that our ensembles achieve, we can back up these statements with the number of awards and performance invitations that our performing ensembles receive each year.  These performance invitations and awards were in direct competition with other programs from across the country, just to receive one invitation would be an honor, but to receive so many invitations in one year is truly an honor that reflects the talent and dedication of our students and music faculty.  Another point to make about these invitations/awards is the fact that they represent every performing area in the music department; vocal, jazz, orchestra, wind ensemble, studio ensembles, opera, etc.  this fact demonstrates our department’s commitment to give equal status to all styles of music in a variety of genres.   Congratulations to the following groups and their directors:
Regional Invitations

Performing at the 2011
MENC Northwest Division Biennial Conference
Bellevue, WA

Dr. Gary Weidenaar conducting Chamber Choir

National Invitations

CWU Wind Ensemble

National Awards

CWU Opera production of the "The Tender Land" by Aaron Copland, directed by Dr. Gayla Blaisdell won the first place award in the National Opera Association's Opera Production Competition

Aaron Copland's The Tender Land

In addition to our ensembles, our Central Washington University music students also compete at various competitions at the regional and national level.  Here are just a few of our award winning students:

  • Jeremy DesChane, Brooke Scholl and Vanessa Moss won the Collegiate Division of the state chamber music competition of the Washington State Music Teachers Association competition and will go on to compete in New York City
  • Members of Central Washington University’s Horn Studio and Horn Ensemble (Jeffrey Snedeker, director), had a fine showing at the 2012 Northwest Horn Symposium, sponsored by the Northwest Horn Society and Pacific Lutheran University. The event, held this year March 30-April 1 at PLU, featured performances, masterclasses, competitions, and lectures with regional and national (French) horn artists and teachers. CWU junior John Geiger won the Low Horn Mock Orchestral Audition for the second year in a row, and six other CWU students were selected to perform in masterclasses led by Hill and Seattle Symphony Associate Principal Horn Mark Robbins.
  • Kathryn Kibbe and Vanessa Moss have recently been accepted to one of the most prestigious college music camps in the nation-Brevard Music Institute.
  • Both CWU trumpet ensembles made the semifinal round of the 2013 National Trumpet Competition, Tristan Hurd and David Hinckley are semifinalists in the solo division, and Skyler Floe is a semifinalist in the Jazz division. John Harbaugh is the Professor of Trumpet.
  • CWU opera scenes students presented a performance at the National Opera Associations conference in Portland. This was a national competition where our opera scene was selected to perform at the national conference. Gayla Blaisdell is the director of the CWU opera scenes.
  • Amanda Kunz won the Opus 7’s 2012-2013 Student Choral Composition Contest
  • John Geiger won the most prestigious award offered by the International Horn Society, the Jon Hawkins Memorial Award.
  • Voice Students who placed at the 2012 Inland Empire NATS competition:
    • Musical Theater, Emily Salisbury, 1st Place
    • Musical Theater, Sarah Hemenway, 2nd Place
    • Division IA, Bonnie Blanchard, 3rd Place
    • Division IB, Natalie Parks, 2nd Place
    • Division IC, Gemma Koreski, 2nd Place
    • Division III, Sarah Hemenway, 2nd Place
    • Division IV, Joe Sacchi, 1st Place
    • Division V, Lydia Gross, 2nd Place


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The Department of Music at Central Washington University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.