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BSU students attend music clinic in Chicago

Music education students are seen with keynote speaker Wynton Marsalis at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. In the top row, from left to right, are Jon Crust, Cathy Frenzel, Uriah Keller, Wynton Marsalis, Del Lyren and Jesica Lindquist. In the bottom row are Alex Lyren (left) and Lexie Kruse. Submitted photo

BEMIDJI – Bemidji State University music professor Del Lyren took students to the annual December Midwest Clinic in Chicago.

Founded in 1946, the clinic is the largest conference for band directors in the world.

The keynote speaker for the 66th annual clinic was Wynton Marsalis, artistic director of jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Lyren was able to gather his students for a short conversation with Marsalis at the clinic; a rare opportunity for them to meet and talk with an icon in the field of jazz music.

 More than 15,000 educators and students attended the clinic, which is devoted to the high standards of music education on all levels of ability. An international band and orchestra clinic, this year’s theme was “In Honor of our Mentors.” Such luminaries in the music field like Leonard Slatkin held a lab on Adult Band Rehearsal; Marsalis oversaw the Jazz Band Rehearsal lab and Col. John Bourgeois, director emeritus of the U.S. Marine Band better known as “The President’s Own,” gave a workshop on band marches.

More than 40 groups including grade school through college , military, adult and professional groups performed during the clinic at  McCormick Place West in downtown Chicago.

Lyren commented on the extraordinary opportunities his music students have had during their learning years at BSU. He pointed to the example of trumpet player Lexie Kruse taking a personal trumpet lesson with Marsalis in his dressing room at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis during a different international music convention.

Lyren was with Kruse during the lesson, which he said was an inspiring and motivating moment for her.