School of Fine and Performing Arts

Silver Melted Into Sound

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About Silver Melted Into Sound

May 5, 2023
Wright State Dayton Campus

Silver Melted Into Sound is a music festival for concert band, vocal ensemble, and string orchestra designed to support the programming of diverse composers. This year's event will be held on May 5, 2023, on the campus of Wright State University.

Performing Ensembles will have 20 minutes on stage in Schuster Hall or in the Festival Theater to perform for feedback from a panel of adjudicators. This 20-minute block will include time to enter and exit the stage. Directors may decide how they wish to use their performance time from the following options:

  • Perform one large work by an underrepresented composer
  • Perform two works, one of which must be by an underrepresented composer
  • Perform three works, two of which must be by an underrepresented composer
  • Underrepresented composers are defined as people of color, women, or other marginalized gender identities

After their performance, ensembles will receive a performance clinic on the repertoire of the underrepresented composer. Students will also meet with guest artist and composer, Katahj Copley, for an interactive discussion about the importance of having many voices represented in music literature and the value of performing works by underrepresented composers.

In the News

2023 Resident Composer

Sonia Morales-Matos

un/HEARD | Sonia Ivette Morales-Matos's Tropical Overture

Sonia Ivette Morales-Matos (b. 1961) is a Puerto Rican composer, performer, and educator who belongs to a family of distinguished musicians. She has a BM degree from Berklee College of Music, where she studied composition and jazz, and a MM degree in both Composition and Jazz Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. While in Indiana University, she studied with distinguished professors such as David Baker, Juan Orrego-Salas, Claude Baker, and John Eaton. She was the 2016’s recipient of the Dr. Herman Hudson Alumnus Award presented by the African American Arts Institute of Indiana University for her excellence as an educator, performer, and composer. In June 2019, she received recognitions from the City of Santa Ana, the House of Representatives of the United States Congress, and the Mexican Consulate in Santa Ana, CA, for her participation in the “Latino Masters Concert” as a composer, performer, and educator, and for her contribution to the community of the City of Santa Ana, California, USA.
Her compositions explore a wide variety of styles and genres such as chamber music, the concerto, choral music, Latin Jazz, pop, sacred and/or contemporary Christian, and Latin or Tropical music. International artists and orchestras in the United States and other countries of the world have performed some of her compositions including the Dayton Philharmonic, the Clermont Philharmonic, the Central Ohio Symphony, the Puerto Rico Symphony, the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de la República Dominicana and the Symphony Orchestra of the Casals Festival. Her works have been commissioned by various ensembles and for festivals such as: Festival Casals of Puerto Rico, the International Clarinet Festival, and the International Choral Festival of Havana, among others. Recently, some of her compositions performed in the International Music by Women Festival, sponsored by the Mississippi University for Women, included Divertimento Caribeño.1, in its version for alto sax and piano, and Nostalgia for clarinet and piano. Recent com missions by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra include Fiesta no.1, for string ensemble and Tropical Overture, for full orchestra. The latter was premiered live on March 15th, 2022, by the CSO. Some of her orchestral works are Paisajes, for cuatro/viola and orchestra, Alma Mater Salute, Divertimento Caribeño no. 4, for cello and orchestra, Tembandumba’s Court Dance, and Recuerdos, for violin, cello, and orchestra. Many music critics have identified Mrs. Morales-Matos as one of the most promising female composers from Latin America. 
Sonia Ivette resides in Cincinnati, Ohio where she pursues her career as a composer, performer, and educator.  At the present she is working in other commissions, including one for the Dali Quartet and the Stamford Symphony Orchestra to be premiered in March 2023.

Musicians and Artists

Nathan Nagir

Nathan Nagir's Bio

Avious Jackson

Avious Jackson's Bio

Shelley Jagow

Shelley Jagow's Bio

Jerry Noble

Jerry Noble's Bio

Ginger Minneman

Ginger Minneman's Bio

Gretchen McNamara

Gretchen McNamara's Bio

Amy Kollar Anderson

Amy Kollar Anderson's Bio

Bill Jobert

Bill Jobert's Bio


$50 Registration Fee per ensemble

Registration Deadline: April 21, 2023

Silver Melted Into Sound Composition Contest

Composition Contest Rules and Regulations

In alignment with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant awarded to the School of Fine and Performing Arts in 2022, the music festival, Silver Melted into Sound again calls for compositions designed to increase repertoire written by underrepresented composers including people of color, women and other marginalized genders, or persons with a disability and/or draw attention to leading minority poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar.

The composition must be written for one of the following ensembles and at the performance level of a high school, Grade 3 ensemble:

  • Concert Band – standard instrumentation
  • String Orchestra
  • Chorus – SATB

The composition must be inspired by the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar.

  • Priority will be given to people who consider themselves to be part of an underrepresented population
  • There is no entry fee

Entry Information

  • Entries must be received via email to by April 17, 2023, and will not be considered without registration using the link above. In your email submission, please include your name and your diversity qualifications. 
  • Entries must include a PDF score and a .mp3 or .wav sound file of the composition.
  • The winning composition will be announced at the Silver Melted into Sound Music Festival on Friday, May 5, 2023.
  • The winning composition will receive a $250 cash prize sponsored by Theta Eta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity and a world premiere performance by a Wright State University music ensemble during the 2023-2024 academic year.

Paul Laurence Dunbar poems (PDF) have been pre-selected for use in this Composition Contest.

2022 Festival Recap

Composition Winners

Congratulations to the winning compositions from the 2022 Silver Melted into Sound Composition Competition. All entries were adjudicated by Wright State faculty members with finalists selected by composer Katahj Copley.  All four pieces will receive programmed performances at Wright State during the 2022-2023 school year. In addition, the Silver Medallion winner has received a stipend.

  • Silver Medallion Winner: Elillian Daugherty – "I Wake in the Morning to Sing with the Larks" For String Orchestra
  • Aster Kanke – Tone Poem in G Major "Rain Songs" – for string orchestra
  • Victoria Malawey – "Invitation to Love" for SATB Choir
  • Whitney Perez – "Sing with the Lark" – for SATB Choir

Photo Gallery

Collaborative Partnerships

Silver Melted Into Sound and the celebration of diverse artists have created partnerships across the Wright State University campus. Collaboration of ideas and the sharing of resources have come from faculty, students, and administration to make this event a reality.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Born in Dayton, Ohio, on June 27, 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African American literary figures to garner critical acclaim on a national scale. Although he lived just thirty-three years, Dunbar's contributions in a variety of genres left a legacy that endures today.  His poetry has a lyricism and rhythmic pulses that feel like music. With his connections to Dayton and Wright State University, it seemed fitting to draw our inspiration and festival title from a line of Dunbar’s poetry. 

Paul Laurence Dunbar poems (PDF)







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