LUWE satisfies the soul

Sonia Emmons

The evening of Saturday, Nov. 4 offered a variety of impressive acts, but the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, in their elegant black attire, undoubtedly stole the show.
The group delivered a shining performance in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel under the direction of Andrew Mast and guest conductor Craig Kirchhoff.
The repertoire was stylistically and geographically diverse, ranging from Morten Lauridsen’s pensive “O Magnum Mysterium” and Aaron Copland’s majestic “Emblems” to Michael Gandolfi’s lively “Vientos y Tangos.”
A highlight of the concert was the world premier performance of “The waters of speech are silent,” composed by Lawrence professor Joanne Metcalf.
While enjoying the definite success of the concert, the musicians acknowledged the difficulty of the repertoire, specifically the Copland and Metcalf pieces.
Trombonist Rachel Freedman related the particular difficulty of “The waters of speech,” saying, “The part was technically challenging, as was matching our articulation as a section. Professor Metcalf had many helpful suggestions, and the final performance of her piece was very rewarding.”
Metcalf, for her part, says she loved working with the wind ensemble.
“It was exciting to work with the group as both a teacher and a colleague,” Metcalf said. “As with any new piece of music, there were small changes made during rehearsals. The students who took part in this process were flexible and professional.”
The other featured guest of the evening was conductor Craig Kirchhoff. Working with Kirchhoff proved to be an invaluable experience for the musicians, who praised the clarity of his conducting.
Ellen Frisbie remarked, “He was very clear in showing the emotion he felt the pieces should convey.”
The oboist continued, “He was also helpful in bringing out the longer lines and the choral aspects of ‘O Magnum Mysterium,'” which was originally composed for choir.
Flutist Lindsay Semph added, “His clear, fluid style is exactly what we are taught in conducting class.”
The music was equally exciting to hear as to play. The musicians especially enjoyed “Vientos y Tangos,” during which more than a few were spotted grooving in their chairs. Semph happily recounted the piece’s “sassy, spunky, spicy” nature.
Professor Mast explained the variety of the program’s music by way of a tasty analogy.
“Planning a good program is like planning a fine meal,” Mast said. “The main course must work well with the appetizers, the wine and the dessert.”
“This particular program differed from most, because it featured lots of medium courses,” continued Mast. “Particularly in college, having a variety is both enjoyable and educational.”
And, he forgot to mention, delicious.