Kalamazoo is midway between Chicago and Detroit (two-hour drive to either city) and located in southwest Michigan. Its metropolitan area has a population of 326,589. Kalamazoo is about a 45 minute drive to Lake Michigan beaches. The Kalamazoo Mall, created in 1959, is the first outdoor pedestrian shopping mall in the United States. Kalamazoo was the original home of Gibson Guitar Corporation, which spawned the still-local Heritage Guitars. Three local breweries and brewpubs that produce a variety of beer styles are located in the area, including Bell’s Brewery. Prominent professional music groups and events in the region include the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestras, Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Fontana Chamber Arts Series, and Brass Band of Battle Creek.
Western Michigan University is a dynamic, student-centered research university with an enrollment of 25,000.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching places WMU among the 76 public institutions in the nation designated as research universities with high research activity. U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of American colleges and universities includes WMU as one of the nation’s top-100 public universities. WMU’s campuses encompass more than 1,200 acres and 151 buildings, and feature some of the finest facilities in the Midwest. The main campus, located close to downtown Kalamazoo, is able to house nearly 5,500 students. It includes a large, well-equipped student recreation center and state-of-the-art facilities for business, chemistry, science research, health and human services, and the visual and performing arts.
The School of Music is housed in the Dorothy U. Dalton Center, which offers some of the finest music rehearsal, study, practice, and performance spaces in the world. Adjacent to the nationally recognized James W. Miller Auditorium, the Dalton Center boasts 157,000 square feet of space (equivalent to 4.5 football fields). Its distinctive spaces include two recital halls, a multi-track digital recording studio, an electronic music laboratory, a 10,000 square foot music library, a state-of-the-art multi-media room, a music therapy clinic, a computer laboratory featuring Mac G5 workstations (each equipped with a Korg Triton synthesizer), and one of the world's largest installations of pre-fabricated, sound-isolated practice rooms and teaching studios.
International conferences for the International Trumpet Guild, International Horn Society, and International Trombone Association have been held on the WMU campus and three of our brass faculty members have served as presidents of these organizations (Stephen Jones, trumpet; Johnny Pherigo, horn; Steve Wolfinbarger, trombone). Our tuba faculty professor, Deanna Swoboda, is currently President of the International Tuba and Euphonium Association.