Concert gives music majors some professional experience

Alyssa Sparacino

With a variety of song choices, the Kent Wind Ensemble and the Kent Concert Band will perform their first concert of the season at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Carol A. Cartwright Hall.

“We try to make the choice of music as broad as possible to include many periods of time,” said Wayne Gorder, director of the wind ensemble. “We also base the pieces on each student’s skill level, their maturity level.”

During this concert, both the wind ensemble and the concert band will play four pieces each, all with ranging lengths, speeds and difficulty levels, Gorder said.

Gorder said the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music requires all music majors to participate in at least one major ensemble per semester. One challenge he said both groups face each year, is working with a large number of new members.

“It’s interesting for the conductors to learn to deal with all these different backgrounds, but being a college musician means the expectations are much higher,” he said.

Gorder said the ensemble experience is beneficial to both the performers and the music education majors as well.

“Whether they are performers or teachers, the rehearsals are really laboratories,” he said. “I would compare it to a lab in a science class. They are doing everything.”

Alexa McCleaster, senior music education major, plays the flute and piccolo in the wind ensemble and said the music continues to challenge her.

“The wind ensemble is the top group, and it takes a lot to learn the pieces,” she said.

While music runs in her family — her mom is a flute teacher and her dad is a band director — McCleaster said she feels she can always learn more.

“I’ve learned a lot from professor Gorder,” she said. “I really watch him and what he’s doing, how he conducts.”

Gorder also said he tries to choose music that will provide the students with an experience that will help them in the professional world.

McCleaster, who hopes to become a school band director, has a goal to change the way people view musicians and students in the band.

“I want to share the love of music I have with other people,” she said. “I want students to listen to something so that when they listen, they learn.”

She said Kent State and the ensembles she participated in have pushed her toward that goal.

“Being in Kent State has opened my eyes to a lot of things,” McCleaster said. “All the professors are very inspiring.”

Tickets for Sunday’s concert are free and available at the door.

Contact performing arts reporter Alyssa Sparacino at [email protected].