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Sandwiches and Mozart

By Eamonn Walsh
On February 24, 2014

A benefit of college is the abundance of student-driven performances. But what if you do not have time to make it to a big, formal performance? What if you are worried you won't get a ticket?

Luckily, the Miami University Department of Music is bringing back the Brown Bag Recital Series after a semester hiatus to make music and student performances more accessible to the student body.

Every Wednesday this semester there will be student performances from 12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the Shade Family Room at the Armstrong Student Center while students come and go and grab a bite to eat. The performances are different from the standard performances at Hall Auditorium or Souers Recital Hall in the Center for Performing Arts, as the Brown Bag performances are informal and designed to reach a large number of students, according to Christopher Tanner, music professor and associate chair of the music department.

"The [music] department hopes to reach members of the Miami University Community who may not regularly attend performances in our standard venues," Tanner said.

The Brown Bag Recital Series distinguishes itself from traditional performances in its number of performers. Unlike recitals and concerts that feature a single performer or group, the Brown Bag Recital Series will present several performers per recital.

"For example, our first Brown Bag recital featured five different students performing works for piano," Tanner said.

In the future, Tanner and the music department hope to incorporate a variety of instruments or media into these performances, combining for instance, a pianist a violinist and a flutist, rarther than featuring three pianists. This versatility and originality add dimension to a series already breaking the standard performance mold.

With students always on the move, the Brown Bag Recital Series allows audience members to unwind, put their feet up and truly enjoy their lunch breaks. Because of the casual nature of the venue and the performances, there is no need to be worried about staying seated or using a phone. The audience is free from the restraints placed on its shoulders if the performances were being held in a reserved setting. The liberated audience will allow the music the background to create a relaxed ambience that will make a lasting impression on the listeners in attendance, Tanner said.

The Department of Music hosts hundreds of recitals and concerts each year, yet there are people on campus who remain in the dark. Tanner hopes the Brown Bag Recital Series will shed light for students and faculty members in the department.

"Our students are tremendously talented and they work very hard to excel at their craft," Tanner said. "We encourage everyone at Miami to take note of these performance; they represent an easy, relaxed way for people to enjoy great music."

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