Message from the Dean

Dean Kendall


“The earth has music for those who listen.”

So wrote The Bard 500 years ago, in an era when the arts and music were experiencing a golden age in Renaissance England.

Five hundred years seems like a long time; now consider 35,000 years. A recent discovery in a cave in Germany provides evidence of a sophisticated flute-like instrument, made from the femur of a griffon vulture. This early instance of music technology, contemporaneous with equally sophisticated cave art, has been carbon-dated from the last ice age when the first modern humans were sharing Europe with the Neanderthal. This was at least 34,500 years before Shakespeare put quill to parchment!

The innately human impulse toward creativity and self-expression, it seems, has been around since the origin of the species. That the arts are integral to our human brains has been demonstrated again and again by recent scientific research. That it is in our blood is undeniable; that it connects us fundamentally is a boon to humanity.

Each January since 1977, we have mounted an ambitious celebration of the impulse toward creativity and self-expression with Collage, the annual concert that showcases the best of what’s incubating at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance in any given year. The efforts that go into presenting the annual Collage Concert—and photos to illustrate the final product—are detailed in the feature article in this newly designed issue of the Michigan Muse (see The Making of Collage).

And on a recent Sunday afternoon, we celebrated the incredible breadth and depth of talent at the SMTD in a mini-collage at our annual Scholarship Showcase, a gathering dedicated to bringing students face to face with the donors who have made their education possible.


This fall issue of the Muse applauds all of the donors whose generous support makes the School go round with a full honor roll of all gifts to SMTD from the past fiscal year. It is just such dedication, foresight, and investment that allow this creativity to flourish and insure that students and faculty are freed to follow their passion, keeping that innate—and precious—instinct alive and thriving.



Christopher Kendall

Dean, School of Music, Theatre & Dance