Music at Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfrid Laurier University. Non-denominational university at Waterloo, Ont, with origins in the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary (founded 1911) and the Waterloo College of Arts (founded ca 1924 and affiliated 1925-60 with the University of Western Ontario).

Music at Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfrid Laurier University. Non-denominational university at Waterloo, Ont, with origins in the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary (founded 1911) and the Waterloo College of Arts (founded ca 1924 and affiliated 1925-60 with the University of Western Ontario). It became Waterloo Lutheran U in 1959 and Wilfrid Laurier University in 1973. At that time the Lutheran church relinquished its sponsorship of the university but maintained control of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, which federated with Wilfrid Laurier University. The university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Ulrich Leupold taught church music at the seminary and organized choral ensembles at Waterloo College. During the early 1960s Martin Dolbeer and Charles McClain were active in an extension program which included sacred music instruction and annual tours by the university choir. In 1967 a Music Dept was established under Walter Kemp, who held the university's first full-time appointment in music and was department chairman 1967-75. In 1975 a Faculty of Music was established with Christine Mather as dean. Mather was succeeded by Gordon Greene in 1979 and Ann Hall in 1989. In 1991 an honours B MUS and a BA with a music major, a diploma in performance, and a graduate diploma in opera were offered. In 1986 an honours bachelor of music therapy program was introduced, making Wilfrid Laurier University the first English-language university in Canada to offer such a degree. In 1989 student enrolment was 276, 240 full-time and 36 part-time. At that time there were 16 full-time and 60 part-time faculty members. Among the regular staff were Barrie Cabena, Garth Beckett, Glenn Buhr, Gordon Greene, Peter Hatch, Boyd McDonald, Victor Martens, and Jan Overduin. Many of the part-time faculty were members of the Canadian Chamber Ensemble.

In 1976 the music faculty moved to MacDonald House, coming under one roof for the first time, and in 1988 it moved again to the John Aird Centre. In 1990 the faculty's facilities included a 350-seat recital hall, separate studios for percussion, early music, and organ, two studios for electronic music, a music therapy clinic, 36 practice rooms, and two rehearsal halls. The music library houses performance parts, while the major collection of books, recordings, and scores and the listening booths are located in the main university library. The faculty owns a fine collection of instruments, including grand pianos, organs, and early music instruments.

The Faculty offers many opportunities for performance. Groups include the WLU Choir, the Laurier Singers, the Chapel Choir, the WLU Orchestra, Contemporary Players, and a variety of woodwind, percussion, jazz, baroque, chamber, and operatic ensembles. Several concerts are sponsored yearly: the ensembles give three to four concerts; guest artists, faculty, and alumni perform at Thursday Noon Hour Concerts; and there are numerous student and graduate recitals. The opera students have presented Floyd's Susannah, Vaughan Williams' The Pilgrim's Progress, Thomson's The Mother of Us All, Weill's Street Scene, Benjamin's A Tale of Two Cities, and Williamson's Dunstan and the Devil, among other works; many of its productions have been Canadian premieres.

From 1970 to 1981 the Faculty of Music offered its Summer Voice and Opera Workshop on the WLU campus. In 1982 it moved to the Orillia Opera House and until 1984 was known as the Couchiching Summer Music Theatre. In 1985, renamed Intensive Studies in Voice and Vocal Accompanying, it returned to WLU, where it is presented annually. Other workshops are offered in baroque and classical music, and Orff and Kodály methods. Workshop directors have included Raffi Armenian, Carrol Anne Curry, Jean Lamon, Christina Mahler, Philip May, Jacqueline Richard, and Colin Tilney. The faculty has sponsored three major conferences: one on C.P.E. Bach (1988); The Fifth Stream festival-conference (1989);.and the 17th annual conference of the Canadian Association for Music Therapy (1990).

Among graduates of Wilfrid Laurier are Theodore Baerg,.and Leonard Enns, Guy Few, and Victor Martens. Honorary doctorates have been awarded to Garfield Bender (D MUS 1973), Elmer Iseler (LLD 1985), and Jan Narveson, founder-president of the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society (D LITT 1989). Maureen Forrester holds an honorary doctorate (LLD 1975) from WLU, and also served as Chancellor of the university 1986-90.

See also Libraries; Archives.