Alumni Plaza the center of the Dowagiac campus


Dr. Wes King works with Berrien Springs as Director Kelly Rosselit listensS

Dr. Wes King works with Berrien Springs High School Wind Symphony as Director Kelly Rosselit listens

President Dr. Joe Odenwald touts SMC’s AAA status

President Dr. Joe Odenwald touts SMC's AAA Status

SMC Symphonic Band trumpets

SMC Symphonic Band trumpets

Sam Loomis plays baritone saxophone with the SMC Jazz Ensemble

Sam Loomis plays baritone saxophone with SMC's Jazz Ensemble

Christina Baumann's New Buffalo High School Band

Christina Baumann’s New Buffalo High School Band

SMC Welcomes Five Area High School Bands to Clinic Day

Published on February 14, 2022 - 4 p.m.

Southwestern Michigan College’s “Clinic Day” returned Feb. 11 with five area high school bands critiqued just in time for playing their Southwestern Michigan Band and Orchestra Association festival programs the week of March 7.

Clinician Dr. Wes King of the University of Findlay, Ohio, coached the New Buffalo High School Band, the Berrien Springs High School Wind Symphony, the Eau Claire High School Band, the Lake Michigan Catholic High School Concert Band from St. Joseph and the Niles High School Symphonic Band, followed by SMC’s Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble in the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus.

“This is the most people I’ve stood in front of in two years,” said Professor Marc Dombrosky, Visual and Performing Arts Department chairman. Dombrosky teaches art and design classes and was accompanied by Sam Walker, assistant professor of graphic design.

The event, introduced on Valentine’s Day in 2020 and canceled by COVID-19 in 2021, is co-sponsored with Quinlan and Fabish Music Co.

Clinic Day is geared toward high school bands preparing for the SWMBOA District VI festival. Each band receives a similar experience of an hour on stage, playing festival selections, then with the time remaining receiving tips from King, a former middle and high school band director.

For Director of Bands Mark Hollandsworth’s musicians it was an opportunity to tune up for their concert with SMC choirs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 culminating Single Reed Day, which offers master classes with saxophone and clarinet artists — Edwardsburg’s Dr. Lindsey O’Connor of Southern Utah University and the College of Southern Nevada, and Selmer Performing Artists Dr. Scott Campbell and Scott Kurtzeil, SMC clarinet and saxophone instructor; professional development sessions with clinic faculty and master repair technician Sue Shockey; and the latest instruments and equipment from Selmer, Leblanc, Conn and Quinlan and Fabish.

The Symphonic Band previewed “Asylum Lake” from the “Among Us” concert spotlighting living composers. Chris Evan Hass visited the Jan. 25 rehearsal and fielded questions about composition, the creative process and the music industry. “Asylum Lake” was inspired by his observations of a Kalamazoo park.

SMC President Dr. Joe Odenwald welcomed visitors. “I’m really proud of SMC’s arts programs,” he said. “We are a full college with what I call AAA status — excellent academics, excellent arts and excellent athletics. We’re very committed to the arts. At the end of October 2021, I filed paperwork with the State of Michigan to support a major project to renovate the Dale A. Lyons Building into a truly transformational facility.”

Director of Choral Activities David Carew, who has been at SMC for 16 years, echoed Odenwald in saying, “We definitely have a long tradition for excellence in performing arts. Our spring musical, Godspell, opens March 24-27.”

Carew acknowledged numerous “double threats” who sing in choirs and musicals as well as play instrumental music, or in the case of saxophonist Sam Loomis, who recently auditioned for Washington State, ran cross country, too.

Carew also promoted the new Lyons Cup scholarship competition with instrumentalists vying Feb. 26 and vocalists singing March 5 for a top prize of $1,500.