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DePauw School of Music Soars with USAir During May and June

May 6, 1996

May 6, 1996, Greencastle, Ind. - "Welcome aboard our flight ... this is your captain speaking. We'll be cruising at an altitude of 30,000 feet, and we expect a smooth flight. For your listening pleasure we have the DePauw University School of Music with us today."

The DePauw School of Music will be on board USAir's transcontinental and transatlantic flights for a two-month tour in May and June. Of course, the entire School of Music won't actually be on USAir's planes, but the music of DePauw students and faculty will be propelled to new heights on "Ovation," the airline's in-flight classical programming channel.

During those two months, DePauw musicians will be heard on any USAir craft equipped with audio systems -- usually any flight of three hours or longer. These include all coast-to-coast flights in the United States and the USAir transatlantic flights to Paris and Frankfurt, Germany.

East College shade xzThe 90-minute program of 21 DePauw performances will be listed in the entertainment pages of USAir Magazine that passengers will find in the pockets on the back of seats. The DePauw School of Music will be identified there as "one of the United States' distinguished undergraduate music schools." The classical channel is one of the most frequently listened to on USAir flights.

Orcenith Smith, profesor of music and music director of the DePauw Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Symphony and Opera/Musical Theatre, contacted USAir in December 1995 about the possibility of playing DePauw music on their flights. His idea met with approval, and the project quickly got off the ground.

For the USAir tape, all the works had to be recorded on digital audio tape, recording technology that was installed in Kresge Auditorium and Thompson Rectal Hall in DePauw's Performing Arts Center in 1991. DAT records using bytes and bits, like a computer, and therefore eliminates the "hiss" and increases fidelity. With about four years of outstanding student recitals and faculty concerts taped on DAT, it was difficult for Smith to narrow the initial field down to about 100 hours. And it was even more difficult to determine the final entries for the program.

"What was important to me was that today's listening audience, when listening to classical music, has a very high expectation for performance execution and audio clarity," Smith said. "We also wanted a balance representing all the classical programming we do in the School of Music.Musical notes

"Another important parameter was that the performances be almost entirely student performances with only a sprinkling of faculty. After all, the DePauw School of Music isn't about faculty performances, but about how faculty inspire good performances in students."

One thing is for certain. They all belong in first-class.

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