Woodwind ensemble channels the greats

Last Wednesday evening, the College’s woodwind quintet showcased its amazing skill and poise to a captive audience in Kendall Hall.

The quintet is comprised of junior music major Katie Ambacher on flute; junior music major Gregory Marsh on clarinet; senior music major Bethanie Schultz on oboe; senior music major Timora Hartwig on bassoon; and junior music major Kristina Gannon on French horn.

The performance began with a Mozart piece, followed with a more dissonant piece composed by Bernard Heiden and a work by Paul Hindemith. Saxophonist A.J. Falisi, junior music major, joined the quintet for Heiden’s “Intrada.”

Deborah Knox, interim dean of the School of Science, regularly attends these programs. She was present at Wednesday’s performance, accompanied by her daughter, Susan. “The students are so talented,” Knox said. “It’s a jewel of a program.”

Following a brief intermission, the quintet continued with an impressive work, entitled “Sextour,” composed by Francis Poulenc. Marvin Blickenstaff, professor of music, accompanied on piano. The technically difficult and texturally complex piece frequently changed its tempo and tone, allowing it to sound both dramatic and lively.

“Sextour” was a favorite among the members of the quintet, largely due to their respect and admiration for Blickenstaff. “It was an amazing opportunity to play with (him),” Gannon said. “It was fun but really challenging.”

Marsh agreed. “It was very fun to work with Blickenstaff,” he said. “His knowledge helped us through the piece.”

The program concluded with a piece by German composer Franz Danzi. The quintet then returned for an encore and played Morton Gould’s “Pavanne” from American Symphoniette #2. This jazzy and less traditional piece “let (the quintet) show their playfulness,” Knox said.

The range of the selected pieces allowed the quintet to demonstrate its versatility. Although the casual classical music listener may not have recognized them all, it did not detract from the experience.

“It was a lot of fun music,” Erin Jorgensen, senior music education major, said.

At the end of the night, the quintet earned a well-deserved standing ovation. Cheryl Glitz, sophomore music major, expressed her awe of her peers. “It was incredibly awesome,” Glitz said. “They’re like professional musicians. I want to be like them when I grow up.”

Each musician’s love of music and performing allowed the quintet to come together and provide a stellar program. “This year’s ensemble had a natural chemistry,” Marsh said. “It all came together when it had to. Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience.”