Kent/Blossom Music Festival puts on summer concert series

Neville Hardman

The Kent/Blossom Music Festival began putting on a series of instrumental concerts that will continue until Aug. 1.

 The series features faculty and student concerts, as well as two performances at Blossom Music Center.

 “We have to balance out rehearsal schedules and concert schedules, and make sure the pieces work together,” said director of Kent/Blossom Charles Latshaw. “It’s a lot of planning.”

 Concerts taking place in the Center for the Performing Arts are smaller compared to the last two shows, Latshaw said. At Blossom Music Center, students play one concert with an entire chamber orchestra and the second next to the Cleveland Orchestra.

 Faculty playing in the series are members of the Cleveland Orchestra. Events like this are special for these musicians because they usually play in a big orchestra and now they’re being heard in a closer setting, Latshaw said.

 Students applied for the concerts in March. The application process requires them to submit videos playing pieces specific to their instrument. Latshaw said the program receives applications from all over the world, such as from places like Europe and Asia. Most of the international students playing in the series this year are from China, he said.

 “We get a really high level of students who are terrific musicians,” Latshaw said.

 Out of the 45 students playing, two are Kent State students.

 Justine Myers, a Kent Blossom music graduate student and oboe player, will perform again, as this is her second year in the series. The other student is Samuel Huang, a graduate assistant studying violin performance.

 “It’s really nice to just have the time to focus on the music and get into more detail than I have a chance to at school,” Myers said.

 Myers spends more time being coached during the summer because there are less students around than in the normal school year, she said.

 “It gets easier the more you perform,” Myers said. “I try not to think about being nervous and think about playing the music.”

 Each musician shows up to group rehearsal with their parts already learned, so there’s already been a lot of individual work.

 “Rehearsal is putting musical ideas together, like dynamics and phrasing and communicating artistically as a group before rehearsal even begins so you’ve learned all the notes and you can physically play it,” Myers said.

Concerts last anywhere between 90 minutes to two hours with a different range of music that is easy for an audience to listen to, Latshaw said.

 “What we do is try to balance really good pieces and make a mix of new and old in order to make concerts that have a nice shape to them from beginning to end,” Latshaw said.

 Tickets are $5 for students with a college ID and free for anyone 18 and under. Adult tickets are $15 and $13 for seniors.

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected]