Saturday, April 5, 2008

UMW Centennial

The University of Mary Washington, founded in 1908, is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. As usual, my birthday greetings are late (just ask anyone in my family), since the actual big day, Founder’s Day, was March 14. For those not in the know, the school’s original name was the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Fredericksburg. Catchy, no? At any rate, the university scheduled a line-up of events throughout the 2007-08 school year in celebration.

While some of the events are new, quite a few seem just like the usual events with the word “Centennial” in front of them. In that spirit, last night we went to the Centennial Concert of the UMW Wind and Percussion Ensemble. In keeping with the theme, one of the guest conductors was James Baker (no, I didn’t mean to imply he’s 100 years old), chair of the music department at Mary Wash from 1970 to 1998. He’s as emeritus as it gets.

I’m not an expert on music, so I won’t review the concert. I’m the type who likes things to be familiar and snappy and preferably hummable, and I get nervous whenever I open a program and see the words “world premiere.” Of which there were two last night, one by current department chair David Long, and the other by conductor of the ensemble, Craig Naylor. I will also admit that after a long day of work on a Friday, you might catch me occasionally closing my eyes to “appreciate the music” just a bit once the house lights go down.

Today is one of my favorite events of the year, the UMW Multicultural Fair. If the weather is nice, it’s the most delightful day outdoors, flitting from concert stage to ethnic food vendor to craft booth. If it rains, it becomes a much less festive indoor event, so I have my hopes high that when I get there this morning, the rain will have held off and the booths and stages will be set up outside. But even though this is listed under the “Centennial Calendar of Events,” there’s not a thing centennial about it. It will be back next year.

Post-concert trip to Carl's:

No comments: