The Hillsdale College Faculty Woodwind Quintet will perform Nov. 12 at 7:00 p.m. in Conrad Recital Hall.
The quintet will feature five adjunct instructors of music: Jaimie Wagner (flute), Kaycee Ware-Thomas (oboe), Andrew Sprung (clarinet), Cynthia Duda-Pant (bassoon), and Al Taplin (horn).
James Holleman, professor and music department chairman, said this quintet is unique because they are a professional group that rehearses on a weekly basis and performs every semester.
“The idea of that is to serve as an example to the students they teach and to also get them even more connected to the department,” Holleman said, “so instead of just showing up and teaching, they also have a professional, aesthetic, artistic outlook here, which is pretty unique of schools.”
Holleman said there has not been any personnel change within the quintet over the past five years. This will be their fifth year performing together, and Holleman said that consistency has been nice.
“One the things that’s really beautiful about that is a lot of small schools have a real rotation in their adjunct faculty,” Holleman said. “We’ve had very consistent adjunct faculty because they are such a core part of our department, and they’re so connected in our department.”
Ware-Thomas said she is glad the ensemble has been able to rehearse with one another over the past five years.
“It’s been good for all of us to build that friendship because we all work together at the college,” Ware-Thomas said, “and working together that long, we play much better together, and we know each other’s tendencies.”
Sprung said it is often difficult for ensembles to learn each player’s style in a short period of time, saying the consistency of players has allowed the quintet to develop cohesiveness, which has proved to be helpful for performances.
“We’ve explored most of the standard repertoire together,” Sprung said.
Sprung said this program will feature works by Malcolm Arnold, Darius Milhaud, Walter Piston, and Paul Taffanel. He said most woodwind quintet pieces have been written from 1900 onwards, but the performance will feature a wide variety of music in terms of style.
“We have one piece from 1876, that sounds very much different from the most recent piece that was written in 1956,” Sprung said. “They are very obvious stylistic differences.”
He also said the pieces will differ in length.
“We have large pieces that are more absolute music in nature, meaning music for its own sake,” Sprung said, “and then we have shorter pieces depicting specific characters, scenes as well. It’s a fair amount of variety, more so than you might expect just looking at the surface.”
Ware-Thomas said she looks forward to the performance and hopes many people will come to hear the standard repertoire of a woodwind quintet ensemble.
“Most of the repertoire are pieces the students could play,” Ware-Thomas said. “It’s good for them to hear it so they can play it.”