Over 150 of Eastman’s alumni will be back at their alma mater this coming weekend, remembering, reliving, relearning, exploring and celebrating. Tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday, unfamiliar faces drinking in the sights and sounds of their old campus will become familiar sights for Eastman’s current students. While most events are geared toward the graduates, the performances are open to both current and past students ? River Campus’ certainly included ? as well as interested members of the surrounding Rochester community.

However, many Eastman students will be participating in the program Friday afternoon on stage rather than in the audience. Eastman’s Wind Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra, along with Chorale and Musica Nova, will each have rehearsals on Friday in which alumni are invited to participate.

The first day of Alumni Weekend will also include faculty presentations designed to teach and inform as conversations rather than lectures. Leadership faculty from many of the school’s departments will discuss current issues, curricula and program development.

Friday evening, Director and Dean James Undercofler will discuss Eastman’s future at a dessert reception. Undercofler himself is celebrating a milestone this year, as this year is the 35th since his graduation from Eastman.

“It’s incredible to think that my wife and I were graduated from Eastman 35 years ago and that we remain so close to so many of our classmates,” Undercofler noted.

“We’re both excited to think again and share memories about our crazy Eastman undergraduate years,” he said.

Friday is just the beginning. On Saturday, numerous events are taking place that should intrigue both the young and the less young. In the afternoon, alumni can choose to take a tour of Eastman’s old dormitories, today’s School of the Arts on Prince Street. This year is the first in which such a tour will be possible, according to weekend organizer Kerri Melley.

“In the past, the schedule [for this tour] hasn’t worked out,” Melley said. “It’s happening this year, and it should be fun.”

Melley, whose official title is Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving, has been working over a year organizing Alumni Weekend along with Christine Corrado and Felicity Democko because Eastman does not have a Director of Alumni Relations.

A discussion entitled “Career Trends in Music,” will also take place that afternoon, and will be tailored to a younger crowd more apt to be both unfamiliar with the old Prince Street campus and more interested in learning how to find a niche in the post-college world. Distinguished Eastman alumni Angela Myles Beeching, Nancy Christensen, David Mancini, Neal Melley and Margaret Quackenbush, now holding important musical and administrative positions, will discuss how they used their Eastman education to open doors.

That evening, esteemed alumnus Mitch Miller will perform with the Eastman Virtuosi and Chamber Orchestra in the Eastman Theatre where he spent time as a student decades ago. Miller, who played piano and oboe, was also a conductor, arranger and one of the most successful recording artists of the 1950s and ’60s. His performance Saturday evening will certainly attract people beyond Eastman alumni.

Eastman’s organ department will host a special organ festival this weekend as well, as part of its Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative. Chamber Music America will also be extremely visible, offering “Insights into Outreach,” a program for chamber ensembles featuring interactive workshops and lecture demonstrations.

The weekend will be big for alumni, current UR students and the surrounding community. For more information, visit www.rochester.edu/eastman/alumni.

Weiss can be reached at jweiss@campustimes.org.



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