Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Winona State University Band Invited to MMEA Annual Conference

Lilia Barrett
Photo taken outside of the WSU DuFresne Performing Arts Center.

The Winona State University Band Program has been invited to the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA), an annual state conference. This three-day event takes place at a convention center in downtown Minneapolis, and this year, Winona’s band, choir and orchestra will be performing on Friday, Nov. 16th, 2024.

Dr. Melanie Brooks, the Director of Bands at Winona State, talks about the journey of practicing music this school year and how hard the students and faculty worked to be able to go to the conference.

Brooks mentions that this is the first time Winona State’s wind ensemble has been able to go to the state conference. The students will perform for 60 minutes, performing pieces that they have been practicing for months, some since the very beginning of the school year. Brooks discusses the importance of this full-length performance.

“It’s kind of a chance for us to tell our story as a band that over the past six years, we have done a lot of work with living composers from around the world,” Brooks said. “So, six out of the seven pieces we are playing are written by composers, and some are coming to the conference who are out of state, and one coming all the way from Finland.”

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Brooks explains one of the pieces that the band is performing at the conference, while it may be a more advanced piece, has a compelling story behind it.

“The other piece that we’re playing is like this mega difficult piece called Traveler, and that is all about the journey of someone’s soul going through chaotic moments and then finding peace and so it’s like a really kind of spiritual powerful piece of music,” Brooks said. “It ties together all of these different journeys that we’ve been on with different composers.”

During the performance, the Winona State band is featuring a saxophone soloist as well. About 56 Winona State band students are attending the Conference, including around 15 music education majors.

Allegedly, Scott Olson, (previous Winona State president), CLA Dean Kara Lindaman, the department chair, others within the PAC music community, as well as the administration will be attending the Conference in support of Winona State’s performance.

Rachel Engelsted is a first-year student involved in orchestra at Winona State. She describes how special this opportunity is for Winona State University.

“Everyone in the band puts a lot of work into all of the pieces they play, so it is exciting to be able to show it to the state at this conference,” Engelsted said.

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About the Contributor
Lilia Barrett
Lilia Barrett, News Reporter
Lilia Barrett is a Photographer and News Reporter for The Winonan and started in Spring 2024. Barrett is a first year at Winona State University majoring in Nursing and minoring in Child Advocacy Studies. In addition to working for the Winonan, Barrett is also involved in various clubs throughout campus and enjoys volunteering at nearby food shelves in Winona.  Outside of school, Barrett is a Water Safety Instructor (WSI) where she teaches children, ages 1-14, how to swim. Her favorite hobby is to go on walks with friends around cities, parks, lakes, et cetera. Barrett enjoys road trips with family, her favorite being a trip to Colorado Springs a few summers ago. 

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