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CMU School of Music to showcase top student talent at Opus XVIII

Selected by audition, students to perform in wind, orchestral, jazz and choral ensembles

​​​​Central Michigan University's School of Music has selected some of its most talented student solo and ensemble groups to perform wind, orchestral, jazz and choral ensembles in a collage concert at Opus XVIII.​

The annual gala will take place April 18 in CMU's Music Building, and proceeds will be used to fund scholarships, equipment and travel expenses for music students.​​

Tickets for Opus XVIII are $125, which includes a $75 tax-deductible contribution to CMU's School of Music. To purchase tickets, contact Kathy Baxter at or call 989-774-2324. Corporate and group sponsorships may be arranged by calling Mark Baczewski with the College of Communication and Fine Arts, 989-774-1698, or online here.

For Lake Orion junior and percussionist Elizabeth Milne, Opus XVIII will be her second time participating in the student showcase.

"To me, performing can express unspoken beauty. Music is the universal language that can touch and resonate with people without saying a word, which is why I love to perform," Milne said. "The audience is just as wonderful as every performer and makes me feel incredibly honored and thankful to play at Opus again."

Milne will perform in a percussion ensemble with Grand Haven native Cory Spelde, a junior studying bassoon performance.

"It means the world to me to have been chosen to represent CMU's School of Music at Opus because I am surrounded by such great talent every day," Spelde said. "When I play my bassoon, my biggest joy is the audience, and the ability to touch their lives with sound is magical."

According to Rachel Rule, a junior from Cass City who studies piano performance, the most important aspect of music is being able to share new ideas and experiences with the audience.

"I feel Opus is a wonderful opportunity to represent CMU's music program alongside many talented musicians," Rule said. "I am honored to have been selected and look forward to the experience." 

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Chosen through audition, the students and ensemble groups and the pieces they will perform at Opus XVIII include:

  • Cass City junior Rachael Rule, piano, Brahms' "Intermezzo Op. 118, No. 1";
  • Chesterfield senior Anna Anger and Bay City sophomore Mikayla Bertelsen, marimba, Trevino's "2+1";
  • Chesterfield junior Jessica Jones, flute, Clarke's "The Great Train Race";
  • Decatur, Georgia, junior Rebecca McCauley, soprano, and Warren senior BethAnne Kunert, saxophone, Laitman's "I Never Saw Another Butterfly (III Birdsong)";
  • Holland senior Alyssa Shepard, saxophone, Wiedoeft's "Valse Marilyn";
  • Lake Orion junior Elizabeth Milne, percussion, and Grand Haven junior Cory Spelde, bassoon, Koshinski's "Get It!";
  • Saginaw junior Alexandria Midcalf, violin, Manti's "Czardas";
  • ACM Brass Quintet: Sanford junior Kyle Tomsich, trumpet; Clarkston junior Charles Fallis, trumpet; Bentley senior Annie Chapman, horn; Hoisington, Kansas, graduate student Nathan Brown, trombone; and Laingsburg senior Drew Jones, tuba, di Lorenzo's "Fire Dance";
  • Bariolage Quintet: Grand Ledge junior Amy Rosendall, flute; Crato, Ceará, Brazil, graduate student Stephen Lounsbrough, violin; Hudsonville junior Joshua Hoffman, violin; Greenville junior Mitchell Demorest, viola; and Troy senior Michael Mahler, cello, Foote's "Scherzo";
  • Bassoon Quartet: Brighton senior Matt Williamsen, bassoon; Troy sophomore Amelia Mansfield, bassoon; West Bloomfield freshman Emily Levine, bassoon; and Midland sophomore Curtis Novak, contra-bassoon, Vivaldi/Hawkins' "Concerto Grosso in B flat major mvts: II. Andante I. Allegro"; and,
  • Perfect Fifths: Grand Ledge junior Amy Rosendall, flute; Lowell senior Kelsey Mankel, oboe; Harbor Springs sophomore Ashley Green, clarinet; Grand Haven junior Cory Spelde, bassoon; and Grand Ledge sophomore Jessica Boyd, horn, Blumer's "Op. 52 1. Sehr Frisch und feurig."

Additional entertainment of the evening will include vocal performances by the Chamber Singers directed by Nina Nash-Robertson, the Central Wails, an opera scene and the CMU Symphony Orchestra conducted by José-Luis Maúrtua.

Opus XVIII will begin with a strolling reception at 6 p.m. followed by the student collage concert at 7:30 p.m. Dancing, a martini bar and dessert reception with the featured students will start at 8:30 p.m. and conclude the evening.

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