This week has been full to bursting with not only classes, tests, and the normal business, but also many musical events – five in the last week!
To begin it all, last Saturday night my conducting class took a field trip to the Augusta Symphony. Our professor Dr. Nabholz – who is also the director of the Choraleers – met us there, and we enjoyed an evening of four varied pieces by Barber, Takemitsu, Higdon, and Bernstein. One of the highlights of the evening came after the concert, when we got to go backstage and meet the conductor, Shizuo “Z” Kuwahara! It was exciting to be able to talk for a few minutes with someone who is making his living in the “real” world in music, and to be able to see a lot of what we discuss in class applied. The entire evening was great fun, though, from the hour and a half drive to and from (especially the GPS troubles), to discussions of the concert as a class – the five of us and our professor – over frozen yogurt after the event.
After the weekend, the week of concerts began. Monday started with Erskine’s music department hosting a concert by Winthrop’s chorus; we began the event with Erskine’s Choraleers singing a few selections, then we let them take over the stage and sing several of their pieces. As with the Intercollegiate Choral Festival the week before, it was rewarding and enjoyable to share music with and get to meet another college choir, especially in our own auditorium!
Tuesday night we hosted a Czech string quartet – the Talich Quartet. They are professionals who are internationally recognized for their talents, and this showed – the concert was absolutely brilliant! I do love string instruments, and their selections were well-chosen and exquisitely played.
Wednesday was the night off, and Thursday we co-hosted an organ recital with First Presbyterian Church in Greenwood. Our organist was Dr. Craig Cramer from Notre Dame University, who demonstrated his great skill and experience on the instrument in the variety of styles of the pieces that he chose, as well as his expression in playing them.
Finally, Friday was a concert at home featuring our instrumental chamber groups and the Women’s Chorale. Although we have more vocal than instrumental students in the department, it is always great to see what the latter can do! None of the ensembles featured in the concert were very large – Women’s Chorale being the largest, at around a dozen – but they all showed that you do not necessarily need a large choir or symphony to make a great sound.
No one can say that there is nothing to do on campus on week nights!