By Marcus Long
On Thursday, Nov. 7, Kutztown University’s Department of Music held the third annual Woodwind and Brass Day. Kutztown students, regional high school students and other musicians who were interested in improving their musicianship attended the all-day event.
“The Woodwind and Brass Day is one of the many ways the Department of Music reaches out and serve the greater musical communities of the surrounding areas,” said Dr. Soo Goh, Kutztown University’s assistant professor of clarinet. “Our aim is to bring world class performers to KU not only to perform, but to share their expertise with students and band directors.”
The event featured performers such as the award winning Bala Brass Quintet from Boston, and Cleveland’s Ars Futura, which is a mixed wind and strings ensemble. Artists also included Alan Ferber, an expert jazz trombonist; Joe Hallman, a young composer from Philadelphia who has been named one of the top composers under the age of 40; and Dr. Susanna Loewy, KU’s flute professor who presented workshops on Eurhythmics, a method of learning rhythm through movement.
Woodwind and Brass Day also featured instrument vendors who offered valuable maintenance advice. Student ensembles performed throughout the day as well, including some ensembles that did not receive the sheet music they were set to perform until the day of the event.
“Reading sheet music on sight is an important part of learning music,” said Dr. Goh. “The high school and college students that came in were eager to learn, and all the musicians were well disciplined. They had excellent performances.”
“Overall, the day went well. We had about 160 people registered, including an entire section of students from Virginia Commonwealth University,” said Professor Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of KU’s Marching Band.
The event began at 8 a.m. and lasted until 10 p.m. Master classes, ensembles, and coaching sessions were held throughout the day. Both Goh and Neuenschwander felt proud of the event, but have some changes to make next year.
“The pros we had this year were incredible. I’d like to see if we can get more pro options for students,” said Neuenschwander. “We also opened up this program to music educators and high school band directors. I hope to see more come out in the coming years.”
“We had to cut some pieces out of the student/faculty recital. This was due to the length of some pieces and the logistics of setting up,” said Dr. Goh.
Schaeffer Auditorium’s renovation also played a large part in this event. “In the past, we have held Woodwind Day and Brass Day as two separate events. Thanks to the completion of Schaeffer Auditorium’s renovation, we are able to combine both events for the very first time,” said Dr. Goh.
“It helps in recruiting potential students,” said Prof. Neuenschwander. “When high school students come into the brand new Schaeffer Auditorium, they see how Kutztown University is committed to music education.”