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A new take on the WSU Fight Song

From Devo’s quirky take on the Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” to Daughtry’s acoustic cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” musicians often reimagine popular tunes in their own style. In honor of the WSU Fight Song’s 100th anniversary, the Cougar Marching Band will perform four different arrangements of the beloved tune during the WSU football halftime show on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Martin Stadium.

Troy Bennefield.

Written by two music students in Pullman, the WSU Fight Song was first published in February 1919 and had its home football debut on Nov. 1, 1919, at the WSC game against the University of Idaho, “so this year’s first home game in November is the perfect opportunity to showcase the song along with the arranging skills of our talented music faculty,” said Troy Bennefield, assistant professor of music and director of athletic bands.

The four versions to be performed on Saturday include the original vocal score, a Dixieland jazz arrangement, a Big Band swing version, and an updated 2019 arrangement for the full band.

Horace Alexander Young.

Horace Alexander Young, an accomplished international recording artist and associate professor of saxophone and jazz studies at WSU, arranged the Dixieland score for the Cougar Marching Band. Saturday will be the first time it has been performed live for an audience.

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Center for Arts and Humanities celebrates launch, hosts NEH chairman

Washington State University will celebrate the public launch of the Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH) with two workshops and a reception on Oct. 24. Joining the festivities will be Jon Parrish Peede, chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“The center will serve as a ‘front door’ to the arts and humanities at WSU. Our goal is to nurture curiosity and encourage innovation that crosses traditional scholarly boundaries and supports the public good,” said Todd Butler, associate professor of English and CAH director.

The center will award its first two undergraduate scholarships at the reception and celebrate the work of the current cohort of eight CAH Faculty Fellows, who are pursuing projects ranging from an examination of the links between Ralph Waldo Emerson and Frank Lloyd Wright to collaborations with Native American singers to preserve recordings of traditional Nez Perce songs.

Formally approved by the Board of Regents in May 2019, the center is supported by a University-wide consortium that includes the Office of Research, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School, WSU Libraries, and the Office of the President.

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WSU tuba professor releases third solo album

WSU tuba professor Chris Dickey recently released his third solo album, titled “Inventions” under the Emeritus Recordings label. The album was recorded in the WSU Recording Studio by recording engineer David Bjur. Three fellow faculty in the School of Music, Karen Savage, Sarah Miller, and Martin King, joined Dickey for the project.

Chris Dickey holding a shiny brass tuba in front of a colorful tree.
Chris Dickey

“Inventions” represents Dickey’s ongoing commitment to inclusive programming in art music. The album demonstrates how composers with marginalized identities can be regularly incorporated into recital programs. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby, and is streamed on Apple Music and Spotify. Samples of each track are available online.

In the spring, Dickey will embark on a Midwestern recital tour during which he will perform music from the album written by women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. His tour is funded by a WSU Arts and Humanities Fellowship.

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Dr. Universe: Why do people like different kinds of music?

When I got your question, it was music to my ears. Humans have been experimenting with all kinds of sounds, lyrics, and instruments for thousands of years.

There are hundreds of genres of music, so while you might like one kind, a friend might like something completely different. Or maybe you became friends because of your similar taste in music.

Horace Alexander Young.

My friend Horace Alexander Young is a musician and professor at Washington State University. When I went to visit him, he had been practicing his saxophone and offered to help out with an answer to your question.

Part of the answer is that everybody has an image of themselves in their head and has different ways they express themselves, he explained. Music can be a part of our identity—the set of qualities and beliefs that make us who we are.

At the same time, music can also help us feel like part of a group or a culture, especially one that shares an interest in a certain kind of music. Maybe you are part of a friend or family group that likes pop or hip hop or metal or classical.

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Dr. Universe

WSU tuba professor teaches and performs in China

Washington State University tuba professor Chris Dickey traveled to Tianjin, China, in August to perform and teach at the 2019 JinBao International Low Brass Festival, an event that attracted some 450 performers from throughout China.

Chris Dickey.

Dickey, clinical associate professor of music, participated in an international faculty panel featuring artists from the United States, Denmark, China, Switzerland, and Austria. He worked with Chinese students ranging from advanced high school players to university-level and conservatory-trained students. Throughout the week, Dickey coached students who qualified for the final round of the festival’s prestigious solo competition. The pool of 150 tuba players was whittled down to just six finalists vying for top cash prizes.

“I heard students with incredible skills while in China,” Dickey said. “The students were eager to learn. Our time together was so rewarding because of their commitment to their craft and willingness to embrace new ideas.”

Evenings during the festival focused on solo and chamber music recitals from the guest faculty. For Dickey’s solo recital, he decided to feature music from his third solo album.

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