At Polk State College, students have the opportunity to receive a world-class education in The Arts. With high-quality theatrical productions, gallery exhibits, and musical performances located at the College and throughout Polk County, students receive valuable real-world experiences that allow them to hone their skills and share their talents with the greater community.
And with state-of-the-art studio, theatre, recording, mixing, and sound-stage facilities, Polk State provides countless options for individuals to create products and experience performances that are second-to-none.
Polk State’s Music Department, in particular, enjoys strong partnerships throughout Polk, bringing enjoyment through vocal and instrumental performances at a variety of events and locations. These diverse performance opportunities connect students at a personal level with a broad fan base across the community.
“Thanks to the opportunities our students have on campus and in the community, they are able to step into roles as professionals, and we are able to teach them that their talent has great value,” explains Don West, Professor of Music and Director of Bands. “Whether they are volunteering, such as performing in local nursing homes, or being paid to perform at community events, such as during Polk County Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee each year, the Polk State Music Department is very much a fixture of this community and The Arts in Polk County.”
“It is important to give back to the community that gives so much to us through scholarships, performance opportunities, and overall support.”
— Zyan Busby, Vocal Performance major
Students perform for, as well as in partnership with, a number of organizations including the Watson Clinic Cancer Care Center, Winter Haven Hospital, Relay for Life of Winter Haven, the Women’s Club of Winter Haven, Girls Inc. of Winter Haven, the Lakeland Choral Society, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony Guild of Winter Haven, the East Polk County Youth Symphony, and more. Many of these organizations also generously provide scholarships for Polk State Music students.
“We’re taught early on in this program that it is important to make connections — music is a dialogue between performers and the community,” said Zyan Busby, a student majoring in Vocal Performance who also plays the French horn in the Symphonic Band. “It is important to give back to the community that gives so much to us through scholarships, performance opportunities, and overall support.”
Students sharpen skills, build experience, and gain confidence through participation in a wide variety of ensembles at Polk State, from Concert Choir, Men’s Chorus, and Women’s Chorus, to Symphonic Band, String Ensemble, Pop Music Ensemble, and Jazz Band.
West notes that Polk State Music serves a dynamic group of students, from non-music majors to those who go on to elite music schools. The program’s primary focus is to grow each individual to reach his or her artistic potential.
“This program gives us a professional experience, and I really appreciate how music theory is incorporated into everything we do to give us a strong foundation.”
— Chloe Mayfield, Nutrition major
“This program gives us a professional experience, and I really appreciate how music theory is incorporated into everything we do to give us a strong foundation,” said Chloe Mayfield, a student majoring in Nutrition who plays the piccolo and flute in Polk State’s Symphonic Band. “Paired with the opportunities to perform in the community, this really is a top-notch program for all students.”
Polk State Music’s blend of knowledgeable faculty, broad course offerings, exciting performance opportunities, and real-world curriculum has led to a spike in both enrollment and the number of students who receive university scholarships.
“Connecting with the community is integral to Polk State’s Music Department, and we are always looking to build connections that benefit both students and Polk County,” explains Michelle Manzi, Professor of Music and Director of Polk State’s Women’s Chorus. “The positive response we receive is overwhelming. We invite everyone to come enjoy performances by our very talented students.”
A calendar of all Polk State’s musical performances and Arts events can be found at polk.edu/boxoffice.