Two new ensembles showcased in upcoming concert
The USAO music department will show off two of its three new ensembles — a woodwind ensemble and a specialized percussion group — along with the USAO Concert Band at an upcoming performance scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 27 in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium.
The event is free and open to the public.
The Drover Drumatic Percussion Group is one of the two new ensembles being showcased at the concert. The six musicians will play a wide-range of percussion instruments including the marimba, the glockenspiel and timpani.
The marimba and glockenspiel are specialized versions of the xylophone, made of wood and metal, respectively. Timpani are large, kettle-style drums played with wrapped mallets.
[The Drover Drumatic Percussion Group under the directiion of Dr. Dan Hanson]
Dr. Dan Hanson, professor of music, has enjoyed the process of selecting material and rehearsing the ensemble.
“Many people think of percussionists as the guys in the back of the band who like to bang on things,” Hanson said. “While this is probably true to some extent, people sometimes miss the precision and intense musicality that goes into playing an instrument like the marimba.”
“I think people will be blown away by how musically these percussion instruments can fit together.”
The percussion group performs under Hanson’s direction and includes Nathan Allen, a music sophomore from Chickasha; Brian Glass, a music junior from Chickasha; Jessie Merritt, a music senior from Minco; Ariel Morgan, a music senior from Enid; and Zev Stein, a music freshman from Oklahoma City.
Also featured at the upcoming concert is the newly-created Woodwind Ensemble under the direction of Lori Jech, adjunct instructor in music.
Jech, who is in her third year of teaching at USAO, is excited to provide her students with this special opportunity.
[The USAO Woodwind Ensemble under the direction of Lori Jech]
“Woodwind players are accustomed to playing in large ensembles, often providing color rather than taking the lead,” Jech said. “This has been an ear-opening experience for them as they’ve been able to listen more intently to one another and respond musically.”
The ensemble will perform pieces by Franz Joseph Haydn, Robert Schumann and Ludwig van Beethoven among others.
Jech, who holds a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music from the University of Oklahoma, taught band in the Duncan and Marlow school systems for more than a decade.
The ensemble includes Tyler Cypert, a business freshman from Purcell, who plays the clarinet and bass clarinet; Sara Fugate, a psychology freshman from Midwest City, who plays the flute and the clarinet; and Lindsay Robbins, a sophomore flautist from Moore who is a music major.
Not to be upstaged by the younger ensembles, the USAO Concert Band has an exciting set of contemporary and classic band pieces in store for attendees.
Highlights will include “Lassus Trombone,” a jaunty, ragtime piece by composer Henry Fillmore; Leonard Cohen’s moving “Hallelujah”; Howard Hanson’s timeless “Interlochen Theme”; and a new work from Oklahoma composer Ed Huckeby.
The USAO Concert Band serves a special function at the university.
“Our band is not made of just music specialists,” Hanson explains. “As part of our liberal arts mission, the band is there to allow students from every course of study have an outlet for their creativity.”
“The result is a versatile group with an impressive range of talents.”
Band member and sophomore Sara Gibbs, a biology and business student from Claremore, describes the experience of playing as “a welcome break from the routine of classroom studies.”
All three ensembles serve to educate, entertain and recruit future students while helping students meet artistic expression credits required for graduation, according to Hanson.
Scholarships are available to each performing member, often helping students pay for their education without taking out extra loans.
More information about the concert or USAO’s music department can be obtained by calling 574-1297 or visiting the university’s website at usao.edu.