Music documentary ‘Carry the Tune’ screens on campus

CCT-image_low-resColorado State University is hosting the Northern Colorado screening of Carry the Tune on Sunday, April 19, at 4 p.m. in the Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public, and all donations will go to support

Last spring, a CSU Concert Band rehearsal under the direction of Erik Johnson was filmed for inclusion in the recently released documentary. Initiated by two high school students from Silver Creek High School in Longmont, and aided by their orchestra teacher Paul Trapkus, this inspirational film explores why so many people stop making music after high school.

The Concert Band – a non-auditioned group at CSU –provided commentary and footage for this remarkable project alongside several other organizations and universities, including the University of Colorado Health and Wellness Orchestra, under the direction of CSU Professor Leslie Stewart; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Harvard University; Boston University; Rutgers University; and the University of Colorado.

According to the film’s website, students entering college “are pulled into paths toward economic growth and are unaware of the many musical opportunities in college and beyond.” The 70-minute piece shows “avocational musicians [using their talents] as vehicles for lifelong learning and fulfillment without neglecting their many college and career commitments.” The piece advocates that it is possible to “balance our work with our passions.”

“We are excited to share this special film with the CSU and Fort Collins communities,” said Johnson.

Non-auditioned ensembles at CSU

At CSU, the School of Music, Theatre and Dance is making it possible for more college students to choose to make music for life. As a land grant university, CSU’s mission has always been to engage students through quality education, and that is exactly the benefit being provided by four non-auditioned instrumental and choral music ensembles on campus.

The Concert Band, Concert Orchestra, University Chorus and Men’s Chorus at CSU are open to all majors on campus and do not require an audition to be a member. Undergraduate and graduate students in these ensembles range from freshman to seniors from biological sciences, business, engineering, computer sciences, English, political science, zoology, and music. Additionally, membership in the 240-member CSU Marching Band is open to all majors through a basic audition. The band represents every college on campus, and 80 percent of its members are non-music members.

“The music professors want to get the message out to the massive number of students at our university who participated in high school music that they can get involved in our music-making community at CSU,” said Erik Johnson, assistant professor of music education and conductor of the Concert Band. “This is a very important mission that we all share.”

The positive environment of the Concert Band has provided sophomore Stephanie Lane with many performance opportunities, fantastic memories and chances to meet new people.

“It is incredible that even though we are all studying different majors, we are still united through music and through the hard work we put into it,” Lane said.

Lane hopes more students will discover reasons to continue in music.

“I love band, specially concert band, where it’s low-stress and super fun,” she said. “Continuing music in college is something I encourage everyone to do.”

Jace Spraker, a senior Food Science and Human Nutrition major, found his artistic home in the Men’s Chorus, where the group’s support, friendship, and vocal exercises were integral to his recovery from major surgery last year.

“Everyone in class knows each other’s name, the directors genuinely care about all of the members, and we all teach each other how to be better at what we are trying to achieve,” said Spraker. “I have yet to come across anything like it in any of my other classes and programs at CSU.”

For Johnson and the Concert Band, participating in the film was encouraging and it solidified the department’s choice to continue offering and building the non-auditioned ensembles.

“The film’s message is timely, powerful, and nothing short of profound,” Johnson said after last month’s screening, which was attended by more than 1,000 people. “As an artist and music educator, it has me all fired up about inviting students to join us!”

For more information about joining CSU ensembles, visit