New music director is looking sharp

Rachel Dvareckas, Features Editor

The sound of music on the RWU campus is getting a new twist. The instrumental ensemble is a small but passionate group of students on campus who recently welcomed a new music director to the program. Douglas McRay Daniels, a veteran music director with a lot of experience, will now lead the ensemble.

 Daniels has been in the music directing world for over 20 years, during which he has led many collegiate ensembles. He has held the role of music director for the chamber orchestra at Bentley University, the pep band at Tufts University and the Fall River Symphony Orchestra. He also teaches instrumental ensemble at Gann Academy, a high school in Waltham, Mass. 

 Daniels spoke with the music faculty at RWU when he was told about the potential of a job opening. He attended one of the ensemble’s rehearsals and was able to locate areas where he could help them improve, bringing a new perspective to the program. 

 “The ensemble, when I interviewed them, they wanted to do new literature. They wanted to do jazz, musical, pop music,” Daniels said. 

 Daniels is very familiar with creating his own compositions. He feels prepared to help the ensemble achieve their wishes of playing different music literature. He is open to all kinds of music compositions and wants the ensemble to perform pieces that are relevant and interesting to all kinds of people. He is looking forward to utilizing other types of musicians in the compositions, like singers and electronic music makers. 

 Although he has only been to one instrumental ensemble rehearsal, Daniels is excited about the potential and growth of the student performers. He believes he has a talent for bringing out the best in people, and he plans to use his love of music to make these student performers the best musicians they can be. 

 “We are not just a top ensemble on campus, but really a top ensemble in the community. I want to grow the ensemble to [the point when] people hear the ensemble, they will say ‘wow that’s the Roger Williams University ensemble. That’s pretty great,’” Daniels said. 

Students can register to join the ensemble for a music credit that can be applied to a music major or minor. Those passionate about performing music can also join without the course attachment. The instrumental ensemble plays in the Performing Arts Center on campus and in the larger community of Bristol and surrounding areas.