This afternoon, I decided to go listen to the Concert Band Honors Recital in Sursa Hall. But, on my way, I stopped by to check in on the Drum Major Academy.
I caught the last portion of the Drum Major students’ afternoon, indoor session in Pruis Hall. Students were working on conducting patterns when I walked in.
“Do you see how different styles and patterns can affect the music?” Heidi Sarver, Drum Major Academy Coordinator, said.
It was clear from the couple minutes I observed that conducting styles and patterns really affect the music and the result. Students were working on a lyrical pattern that perfectly matched the feel of the expressive music.
I stopped to chat with Mitchell, a DMA student, on my way out. I asked how his week was going and also what the students had been working on throughout this session.
“I’m having a great week,” Mitchell said. “We’re working on the loop pattern and slide pattern.”
I looked at the time, and I realized I needed to head over right away to the Concert Band Honors Recital. I made it just in time as the first student ensemble took the stage.
Students had the opportunity to form small chamber ensembles – and choose the names for their ensembles as well. First, the Clarinet Choir named “TENIRALC01” took the stage. They performed Chorale: “Awake, Awake, The Voice is Calling” by Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. Lucien Calliet. The ensemble was conducted by Elizabeth Crawford, Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Ball State University, and included 10 students. I especially enjoyed the singing high notes that soared as the ensemble performed this piece.
Next up was the “Brassters Brass Ensemble,” a group of 17 students led by Tom Bough, Associate Professor at the Northern Illinois University School of Music. They performed a beautiful version of Ave Maria by Friedrich Burgmuller, arr. Pelz. The music was extremely lyrical and had a singing quality that was beautiful to listen to.
The “Michigan Wind Quintet” performed Presto by Franz Joseph Haydn. Keith Sweger, Professor of Bassoon at Ball State University, led this ensemble. This woodwind quintet had such a mature sound, especially for such young musicians! View a short video excerpt here.
The “Texas Brass Quintet” was up next and performed two pieces: O Canada and Bossa Nova. Both pieces were lovely and showed musical maturity (and as a horn player myself, I especially enjoyed the melodic horn line in Bossa Nova!) John Ellis, Professor of Music at The Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam, coached this ensemble.
I took a look out at the crowd, and I noticed Dr. Thomas Caneva (Concert Band Division Head and Director of Bands, Professor of Music and Coordinator of Ensembles and Conducting at Ball State University) smiling and nodding as students performed. It was obvious he had a great deal of pride for the ensembles and the students’ hard work this week.
The next ensemble was a flute choir, coached by Mihoko Watanabe, Assistant Professor of flute at Ball State University. This ensemble chose the name “Gelatina de Morra,” which we were informed means raspberry gelatin. It’s a mystery why students chose this name, but it was interesting to learn the meaning! I’m sure it means something to the students who chose it. I had not heard a flute choir in quite some time, and their airy, tranquil and light melodies were lovely and seemed to float on air as the flute choir performed A la Relevée by Claude-Henry Joubert.
To close, the “Michigan Brass Ensemble,” coached by Gene Berger (Assistant Professor of Horn at Ball State University), performed Three Dances by Tilman Susato. This ensemble had a rich, singing sound as they performed the jaunty first movement of the piece. This piece featured three movements, and the third was a Pavane, or a piece with a slow tempo.
I enjoyed every piece on this afternoon’s recital; however, this last piece really moved me. Have you ever experienced a moment when you’re listening to music and the music itself is enough to evoke a mood or emotion? This movement was definitely very stirring, and it reminded me of all the wonderful, musical moments happening on the campus of Ball State University this week. And, it also reminded me that music really is powerful!