Musica Viva! raises money for student scholarships

Holly Koenitzer

The UW Oshkosh music department hosted the fifth annual Musica Viva! on April 11 in the Arts and Communications Music Hall to raise money for music scholarships. Faculty, students and alumni of UW Oshkosh’s music department performed a broad range of instrumental, vocal, solo and ensemble compositions, which included a special guest performance by Chancellor Andrew Leavitt. Along with raising money for music scholarships, Musica Viva! was also paying a tribute to UWO professor Wally Messner, who plans to retire at the end of the spring semester after an impressive 41-year career. “He’s a really great teacher and has many stories from recording sessions,” UWO student Erin Liston said. “He gives good insight on what the industry looks for.” According to Leavitt, supporting the University’s music program provides life-changing opportunities for UWO students. “Scholarships are a critical need, especially for music students who have additional college expenses in maintaining their instrument and building their audio and sheet music collections,” Leavitt said. According to Alison Shaw, chairwoman of the music department, this year’s Musica Viva! was a huge success for the department. “All of the performances were exceptional and the audience loved it,” Shaw said. “We had record attendance this year, including a lot of our alumni. The music department had a wonderful time visiting with everyone during the event and really came away with the feeling that there is strong support for music and the arts at UWO.” Mary Morelli, an Oshkosh community member, said her husband used to work with Messner. Morelli and her husband are glad to honor Messner, along with helping raise money for the music department. “The University of Oshkosh puts on a variety of music: that is what is so interesting,” Morelli said. “Music is not just singing or instruments or piano. We are getting so much variety in one night.” Morelli said she enjoyed the performance of the song “Agony” from the movie “Into the Woods,” performed by Nathan Krueger and Sean Lynch. “The presentation was delightful in such a short span and it’s very modern and up-to-date presentation,” Morelli said. According to Shaw, the members of the community who helped to support the event and contribute to music student scholarships showed great generosity, and it is the music department’s hope that the event will be even bigger and better next year.