By Benjamin Zander
As the conductor’s wand began to dance gracefully through the air, the 11 students on stage started playing their instruments, with audience members perking up as if the music notes bounced off the walls of Mayo Concert Hall and into their hearts.
It immediately became apparent that the College’s Flute Choir Concert on April 10 was going to be a musical experience that would not be forgotten.
The choir opened the concert with “Introduction and Scherzo for Multiple Flutes,” composed by Marcel Frank, followed by two pieces from the set, “Stained Glass Images,” composed by Sonny Burnette.
They then played Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Little Fugue in G Minor” and Crawford Gates’ “Sails, Winds and Echoes for Flute Choir.” As a grand finale, the choir played “Overture to the Opera Nabucco,” composed by Giuseppe Verdi.
At the end of each piece, the musicians received tremendous applause which only increased after the completion of each subsequent song.
“I thought this was one of the best concerts we’ve ever done,” said David DiGiacobbe, who conducted the concert and has served as Director of Flute Studies since 2000. “I think the flute choir has just reached new levels which I am really proud of.”
Sophomore music major Meaghanne McBride was happy to support her peers at the concert.
“I was super excited for (the concert) and had high expectations that were definitely met,” McBride said.
While McBride enjoyed all six pieces, she enjoyed Gates’ composition the most.
“I tend to like contemporary pieces a lot, and I thought this one illustrated the titular sails, winds and echoes in a very cool way,” McBride said.
The choir also impressed the audience with their ability to play multiple instruments, often switching the type of instrument they played between pieces.
“During the concert, I played flute, bass flute and piccolo,” said Marisa Blackman, a junior music major. “I love being able to play multiple instruments because each one contributes in different ways to the ensemble.”
In the Verdi overture, Blackman played a piccolo part that DiGiacobbe considers to be extremely difficult.
“(Blackman) is one of our top piccolo players, so I gave it to her,” he said, thoroughly impressed by her performance.
For Blackman, performing that piccolo part was her favorite moment of the entire concert.
“It’s like the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae,” Blackman said. “Everyone else is playing the melody, harmony and bass parts while my piccolo sound floats on top and emphasizes the main theme.”
DiGiacobbe described the choir as being “family-oriented.” This dynamic was clear to the audience as the choir created harmonies that beautifully echoed through the concert hall.
“Everybody is working together to be a great musician, and there is none of that competitive quality that you find at Julliard,” DiGiacobbe said. “Everybody gets along, everybody has a good time, and we get results like (tonight).”
Blackman agreed that the College’s music program’s friendly atmosphere allows them to put on a more cohesive performance.
“The people in flute choir with me are my best friends,” Blackman said. “I love making music with them because we have so much fun and we know each other so well that we are able to play and blend together easily.”
The other students who performed in the concert were freshmen Katie Cole, Melissa Schaeffer and Emma Schell; sophomores Amandalis Barrood, Yvonne Grashorn, Sophia Isnardi and Mya Lynch; and juniors Caroline Hoynowski, Ashley Krebs and Jessica Richter.
When choosing the repertoire, DiGiacobbe made sure to look for pieces that highlighted the talent of everyone performing, including the three freshmen.
“I gave them solos because they have to play equally to the upperclassmen,” DiGiacobbe said. “Just because you’re a freshman doesn’t mean you get an easy part.”
At the end of the evening, DiGiacobbe talked about the hopes he had for next year’s concert.
“I hope to do a piece for 10 piccolos, and I want to experiment with even more modern music, and maybe some pieces that require the players to go up into the balcony,” DiGiacobbe said with a grin.