Michaela Woodward – Staff Writer
Those on campus this weekend will have the opportunity to attend concerts, concerts, and more concerts.
Instrumental ensembles on campus will be showcasing their fall concerts this weekend, including: Gustavus Symphony Orchestra (GSO), Gustavus Wind Orchestra (GWO), Gustavus Wind Symphony (GWS), Gustavus Chamber Winds (GCW), Gustavus Jazz Ensemble (GJazz), Adolphus Jazz Ensemble (AJazz), as well as Vocal Jazz Ensemble and jazz combos.
Associate Professor of Music and conductor of GSO Justin Knoepfel notes a change in the atmosphere as the concert approaches.
“There seems to be a renewed sense of energy and excitement this year as we put together a challenging and rewarding program,” Knoepfel said.
The energy may be because of the lack of restrictions during this concert that students experienced in the past as a result of the pandemic, including distanced rehearsals and playing with musician masks.
Senior Mad Chase, an oboist in GSO, is excited to be playing a live, large-scale concert once again.
“We’re back in Björling, baby! This weekend is the first big concert that GSO is going to be able to put on since my first-year, first semester three years ago. It is a little nostalgic, a little exciting, and a little nerve wracking. Of course we have been playing for the last three years but before this semester we were miles apart in the Chapel, masked, and bell-covered. Now we are in a more familiar configuration, back together, and in our old music hall,” Chase said.
She also highlights the pieces “Finlandia” and Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony,” for audience members to look out for, as well as Mozart’s clarinet concerto featuring Professor Karrin Meffert-Nelson.
Students in ensembles have been putting together the concert programs since the beginning of the semester, and their time and dedication is not going unappreciated.
Professor of Music and conductor of GWO James Patrick Miller enjoys working with students and faculty to present an exciting program of music.
“Our students have been working extremely hard to prepare an artistic, diverse, and engaging program. I am always awed by seeing all 160 of our band students in the Chapel together celebrating and making music. The Gustavus Chamber Winds and Wind Symphony sound amazing, and I am so proud of those students and so blessed to be colleagues with Drs. Karrin Meffert-Nelson and Heidi Johanna Miller,” Dr. Miller said.
First-year Chloe Lee, a saxophonist in GWO, GWS, and GJazz is in for a busy weekend, but is ready to perform a variety of pieces.
Lee and Miller are both excited to share Joe Hisaishi’s “Spirited Away” during the GWO concert.
“I love playing pieces that are truly engaging for every member of the band so ‘Spirited Away’ is among my favorites pieces that I have ever played,” Lee said.
Lee cites her fellow musicians and engaging music as the most valuable part of being in multiple ensembles.
“It can be a little overwhelming at times to be in so many ensembles [as a first-year], but it’s all worth it for the amazing musicians that I get to perform with,” Lee said.
Lee urges audiences to listen for “Incantation and Dance” by John Barnes Chance during the GWS concert, and highlights songs by Charles Mingus, including “Moanin’”, during the GJazz concert.
“Playing [“Moanin’”] is really exciting for me because I play the bari sax which is the featured instrument. The best part about it is that I get to share this feature with Moriah Jensen as we trade off for solos and play the iconic bass line,” Lee said.
Visiting Assistant Professor in Music and the conductor of AJazz and Vocal Jazz Ensemble Masa Ishikawa reflects on how important the Fall Concert can be.
“Preparing for the fall jazz concert is always exciting as this is the first time of the school year that all the jazz ensembles perform. I also know that this concert will be the first performance at Gustavus for some of the first-year students. To think of that also makes me feel excited and emotional. I am looking forward to hearing all the ensembles perform,” Ishikawa said.
The excitement for those performing this weekend is clear.
“I have loved every minute that I spend playing in these ensembles and I am so excited to share our music with the students, faculty, and families at Gustavus!” Lee said.
The Fall Band Concert featuring GCW, GWS, and GWO is on Nov. 12 from 1:30-3:30 in Christ Chapel. The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra Fall Concert is on Nov. 12 from 7:30-9:00 in Bjorling Recital Hall. The Jazz Fall Showcase is on Nov. 13 in Björling Recital Hall, featuring AJazz and GJazz from 1:30-3:00, and Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos from 4:30-6:00.