**For Immediate Release**
Saunders Strikes the Right Note
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 11-02-07
By Laura Hays
Goodwell, Okla. - Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s new Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands brings enthusiasm and energy into his new role and plans to expand the music programs. Dr. Matthew Saunders, who completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Composition at Ohio State University in June 2007, directs OPSU Mariachi and the Concert Band and plans to add a jazz ensemble and perhaps a second concert band.
In order to realize his goal, Saunders encourages the entire student body to join the band, targeting those who played an instrument in high school. He also opened it up to the community as a whole, providing everyone with the opportunity to make music. In addition to a regular recruiting schedule, Saunders also intends to become known in area high schools by serving as a guest conductor. He hopes to get more music students by stressing the idea that students can take music as an elective and keep music important in their lives.
Composing is Dr. Saunders’ first love, and in fact, he is working with the OPSU Centennial Committee to create an original piece of music celebrating the university’s 100th birthday. But, he puts his teaching first, emphasizing that it is more important; he currently teaches theory and composition in addition to his directing duties.
Saunders received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Trombone Performance from the University of Cincinnati College in 1998, graduating summa cum laude. He then moved to Columbus, Ohio for his master’s work, completing his Master of Music in Composition at Ohio State University in June of 2005. He and wife Becky have been married 3 years, and she currently works at Memorial Hospital of Texas County in the records department.
Dr. Saunders believes OPSU is situated in an excellent location, being the only 4 year institution within a 100 mile radius. He also appreciates the well-equipped facilities, commenting, “We have plenty of instruments that are currently not in use and I would like to find a performer to use each one.” He also looks forward to his first OPSU holiday concert, planned for Tuesday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Hughes-Strong Auditorium. Plan now to enjoy this free concert that will feature OPSU Mariachi, the Concert Band and the OPSU Choir. If you would like more information about OPSU’s music program, please contact Dr. Saunders at 580-349-1483 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.