You probably never imagined you could travel back to the early 20th century, then to Colorado’s gorgeous landscape and then to the tranquility of Avalon, N.J., all in one night. You surely never thought you could visit all three in the comfort of the Zug Recital Hall. But what if you could? On Monday Oct. 24th, your imagination will carry you away as these vivid images are expressed through music at the Faculty Wind Quintet.
Each year, the music department selects a variety of faculty members to perform. The five professors selected for the Faculty Wind Quintet are Paula Nelson (flute), Jill Marchione (oboe), Faith Shiffer (clarinet), Cheryl Staherski (horn) and Gail Ober (bassoon). All are instructors at Elizabethtown College.
Audience members will delight in the unique sound of woodwind instruments and the variety of compositions. “The different tone qualities in the selected woodwind instruments blend to create a beautiful sound,” Dr. Douglas Bomberger, chair of fine and performing arts, said. The quintet will feature an original work created by Etown College professor Dr. Jim Haines, as well as works by composers Debussy, Klughardt and Ewazen.
Haines manages to embody a place and associated emotions in his original work, “Avalon Suite.” The premiere of “Avalon Suite” will encompass a collection of movements, portraying a day at the beach. Haines’ inspiration is Avalon, N. J., where he vacations with family. “The wind quintet will sound like dawn appearing over the sand dunes, walking on an uneven boardwalk, Sanderling birds feeding hungrily, the Sealark Victorian Cottage, a dance on the beach, and dusk by the bay,” Shiffer, adjunct instructor of clarinet and saxophone, said via email. The contemporary rhythms and harmonies of Haines’ piece will be very relatable to audience members.
Further representing imagery through music, early 20th century French composer Debussy focuses his work on impressionism, through the impressions of sound and scenes. The quintet will be performing an arrangement of his piece “Bruyeres,” which translates as heather, which is a type of pink and purple flower. “I think the piece works perfectly for our instruments because our tone colors can blend together, just like an Impressionist painting. That is the great thing about a woodwind quintet. Each instrument has its own color or sound. We can choose to bring that out individually, or blend in with each other and create a new color,” Nelson, adjunct instructor of flute, said via email.
“We each take turns with the melody which provides different tone colors to give the listener the impression of a breezy meadow of heather glistening on the hill,” Shiffer said. Furthermore, in Shiffer’s opinion, Klughardt’s quintet can be compared to a Tchaikovsky or Schumann Romantic period work.
Meanwhile, Ewazen is a living composer, currently considered one of the hottest young composers of today. Ewazen’s 1997 piece “Roaring Fork” will be played, transporting audience members to vivid locations. The different movements of music suggest different places in Colorado, such as Maroon Creek, Snowmass Lake and Buckskin Pass.
Musical performances such as the Faculty Wind Quintet are seen as essential to students’ education and growth. Bomberger commented on the importance, stating that music students are required to attend 18 concerts per year. The music department wants to present a goal for students to aspire toward. The faculty and professional concerts set the standard of what students should expect from themselves. Bomberger said the best way for a student to learn how to be a performer is to hear others perform.
Meanwhile, students of other majors and community members would also benefit greatly from attending musical performances. “Listening is entertainment and intellectual stimulation. It’s as simulating as reading a novel or visiting an art museum,” Bomberger said. Commenting on the aspect of community, Shiffer said, “Music brings us together to strengthen our collective human experience.”
Moreover, the Faculty Wind Quintet is a part of the Department of Fine and Performing Art’s Monday Series Concert for Fall 2011. This series features concerts of professional musicians, both faculty and guest artists. The series’ intention is to provide students, faculty and the community with a taste of high-quality professional performance, through both instrumental and vocal performances. “The series exposes listeners to a broad repertoire, both familiar and new, and encourages the listeners to expand their musical preferences and understanding of music,” Shiffer said. The Monday Series Concerts are always free and open to the public.
Students, faculty and community members should look for more information regarding the two final Fall Monday Series Concerts. Guest artist bass trombone player Christian Behrens will be on campus Nov. 7. On Nov. 21, guest artist Michael Lippard will perform a clarinet recital with Professor Justin Badgerow accompanying. Both performances will start at 7:30 p.m. in Zug Recital Hall.