Annual showcase at U-M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance goes virtual

The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance's annual Collage Concert, which generally takes place at Hill Auditorium, is one of their most popular events each year. For the first time in 44 years, the event will be virtual. (Peter Smith Photography)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance’s annual Collage Concert will be going virtual this year.

Before the pandemic, the 43-year-old tradition would showcase the talents of students from across the school’s disciplines at a packed Hill Auditorium.

Viewers can tune in to “Collage 44: A Virtual Concert Experience” on YouTube on April 18 from 8-9 p.m.

The show will feature performances by University Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Band, U-M’s choral ensembles, Department of Jazz, the musical theatre class of 2024, the cast of the opera “Proving Up” and more.

For the first time ever, the performance is free and open to the public.

“Watching this Collage Concert come together has been a source of deep inspiration and testimony to the enduring and persevering spirit of our students and their artistry,” Mark Stover, assistant professor of conducting, associate director of choirs and  co-conductor of this year’s concert at SMTD said in a statement. “In a year where so much has been lost, what we have found is how our artistry is a true source of hope and catalyst for us to respond to the moment in which we find ourselves.

“Collage is a unifying experience for all of us who contribute to the rich community of SMTD, and in a year when we have been forced to engage at a distance, this production serves as a means to draw us close and to be reminded of the abundance that is expressed through the immense and diverse talents of our student community of artists.”

Collage co-conductor Richard Frey said that one silver lining of the virtual format is that it has allowed students and faculty to think outside the box.

“Collage has always been a virtuosic spectacle, but the context of our collective past 12 months gives this year’s student performances an entirely new frame,” Frey said in a statement. “Through the varied works included in the concert, the audience will see ‘behind the scenes’ into what dance theater and music-making have been during the pandemic.”

Audiences can expect to see 19 varied performances, including intimate solos shot for the digital frame, performances shot on campus stages using safety protocols and virtual choirs and ensembles.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.