An Emporia State music professor and student wrote a piece of music that will be performed by the clarinet choir at Eastern Washington University and possibly in Spain.

Dawn McConkie, associate professor of music, and Katelyn Dorrell, junior English major and previous employee of The Bulletin, began working on their collaboration in the summer as part of the ESU Undergraduate Research Program.

“It is a really cool project and I think they will go far with it,” said Allan Comstock, music department chair.

The piece was submitted to the National Conference of Undergraduate Research and out of over 3,700 pieces, was selected to be performed.

The piece is in three movements, or parts. The first piece is titled Isolation. A phrase repeated multiple times during the movement is, ‘I’m surrounded, yet alone.’

“A lot of inspiration came from new societal norms when people are sitting right next to each other but are on their phones, maybe typing ‘LOL’,” McConkie said.

Dorrell said the first piece is written in a broken style of writing to fit the theme.

“Hope, the second movement, is kind of like a bedtime story,” Dorrell said. “It’s about what happens to your dreams when you’re not sleeping. It’s like a fairy tale almost.”

The music of ‘Hope’ is supposed to be a lullaby.

The third movement, called Survival contains many words beginning with the letter ‘S.’ Dorrell said “Dark” ‘S’ words show the things that need to be survived and “light” or “happy” ‘S’ words show the way you can overcome things.

“It’s kind of overcoming the difficulties in movement one through the kind of hope you get through movement two,” Dorrell said. “It is kind of written with a dystopian feel.”

The International Clarinet Associate Conference will be held in Madrid, Spain this July. McConkie submitted the piece written by herself and Dorrell along with other pieces, arranged by other students that were already published.

“We will go to Madrid, hopefully, if we can find the funds, with the entire clarinet choir,” McConkie said.

McConkie is still working on finding funds to take the group to EWU as well.

“There is a group that we joined that gives travel grants to people that do research so that you can go to conferences like this one,” Dorrell said.

The first part of the piece was performed in ESU October and the completed piece will be performed in April during the Woodwind Showcase Concert.

“The project being conducted by Dr. McCokie and Katelyn is really outstanding.” Comstock said. “They have received a lot of well-deserved recognition for their work. Collaborative efforts such as this one are not as common as they should be, so I hope that this will serve as a model for similar collaborations in the future.”

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