Wind Ensemble livestreams its first concert of the semester

A wind ensemble chamber group performs socially distanced in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall for a YouTube livestream concert. Vanguard Photo | Audrey Bergey

The music department livestreamed a wind ensemble performance on Thursday, Oct. 8, on the SVSU Music YouTube channel.

Director of Bands Norman Wika chose the repertoire from Giovanni Gabrieli, a composer of the Renaissance era.

“When I chose this music, we were still very uncertain about what the fall would look like and how our regular rehearsal would work,” Wika said.

His choice allowed the ensemble to split into quartets and octets, which accommodated social distancing and flexibility in case a student became unavailable.

In preparation for this concert, many important details needed to be laid out, Wika explained.

“In order to be able to properly distance the players, we had to limit the number of musicians to eight on stage at any one time,” he said. “Normally the wind ensemble would have up to 25 players on stage.”

In the past, the department has done chamber ensembles, which puts “different sets of responsibility on each musician,” Wika said.

Each member was required to wear special face masks and have appropriate coverings for their instruments, along with two wipes placed on the floor for emptying brass spit valves.

Lily Reyes, a music education fifth year, performed on French horn for the concert. She shared the difficulties that came before performance night.

“Playing in a chamber group puts a lot more pressure on the individual part because each line holds more weight,” Reyes said. “The most difficult part of rehearsals was actually the fact that, for many, this is the first chamber experience they have had.”

Kylie Hawkins, a music education senior, performed on flute during the performance.

“It was difficult to stay in tempo during the quartets because we didn’t have a conductor for them,” Hawkins said.

Wika explained that “each musician has to be responsible for their own part and must play with an excellent sense of rhythm and pulse.”

Despite the difficulties, students said they felt the wind ensemble performed a successful, social-distanced concert.

“We got to interpret our own dynamic markings as a group,” Hawkins said. “It was an awesome way to bring up our own agreement on how we should play the pieces.”

Due to the pandemic, music students have been limited in their performances.

“I am really grateful to be back playing music,” Reyes said. “The virus has taken a lot away from others so it feels good to be able to give to others in this way once again.”

The wind ensemble’s next performance is scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Wind ensemble members will be making high quality recordings and learning how to edit them together for a final product.

Audrey Bergey

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