WMU News

Two students picked to perform in prestigious competition

May 30, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Two music students at Western Michigan University are among a dozen musicians chosen to perform in the jazz division at an upcoming competition during the International Society of Bassists convention.

The convention is being held this year at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va.

Don Sibley, a graduate student from Forth Worth, Texas, and Matt Heredia, a sophomore from Grand Rapids, Mich., were invited to the competition's semi-finals based on submitted compact discs of their playing. The semi-finals begin on Monday, June 2.

The competition is open to musicians up to 32 years of age and is not restricted to students. Both Sibley and Heredia study with Tom Knific, WMU professor of music and chairperson of the jazz studies program.

"They only invite 12 performers and two are from my class, so that's a pretty big chunk," Knific says. "I feel very good about their chances."

Knific says a total of six WMU students have been invited to compete at the convention over the years. Of those, two have won prizes.

"We're a known force," Knific says. "We always say that our students are as good as the best students anywhere, and this competition again proves that to be true."

Knific also is set to perform during the convention. The award-winning bassist will perform with the Merling Trio, a resident faculty ensemble in the WMU School of Music. Among the trio's members is Knific's wife, Renata Artman Knific. The trio's other members are Susan Wiersma Uchimura and Bruce Uchimura.

They will perform a piece written by Frank Proto, one of the world's foremost composers for the bass. Knific and the Merling Trio premiered the piece on April 17 in Kalamazoo as part of the Fontana Chamber Arts series. The day after the convention, they will leave for London and will perform the composition there.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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