MUsic Alive series invites students, local community to experience music performances

The MUsic Alive concert series, featuring different guest artists and university faculty, has been playing music in the Huntington community for 14 years. 

“MUsic Alive: Guest Artist and Faculty Collaboration Concert Series was initiated 14 years ago, as an ongoing university chamber series, but I wanted to expand that,” Şölen Dikener, director of the concert series, said. “I contacted local organizations and First Presbyterian Church was very interested. They said they would co-fund the program.” 

During the first years there were only five or six programs, but after a few years Dikener said it was decided to expand to ten concerts a year to have one a month for the academic calendar.

The concerts were only performed at Marshall University and First Presbyterian Church until four years ago when Dikener said she reached out to Woodlands Retirement Community to play for their residents.

February’s performance, which took place this past Wednesday and Thursday, featured a program “Strings Attached” and was played by Dikener on the cello, Elizabeth Reed Smith on the violin and Júlio Alves, who is also a professor of music at Marshall, on guitar. 

“Students seeing professors play in concert is very important; it is an opportunity for them to see if what we are teaching works,” said Smith, a professor in the School of Music.

The three are a part of the series as regular performers, but Dikener is also in charge of planning the 10 concerts with a variety of different artists, some from out of state and even international guest.

Smith said her favorite part of the series is the diversity in the in the music. 

“I like that it pushes me to perform pieces that I wouldn’t normally play,” Smith said.

Dikener said she thinks it is very important for the students to see performers in concert.

“It’s essential for us in the music department, at least for our music students. We love to have them there to be a part of this series,” Dikener said. “That’s part of the reason that some of the programs throughout the year are repeated on campus so that our students have the opportunity to come and listen.”

The next program,  “From Wien to Berlin,” will take place on Thursday, March 12 with two shows, one at First Presbyterian Church at 12 p.m. and one in the Smith Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Emily Hayslett can be contacted at [email protected]