Fostering non-competition through collaborative performance: wind ensembles take the stage


VHS Wind Ensemble Honors tubist senior Kirk Mellring warms up before the concert. Photo by: Lola Bobrow

Lola Bobrow

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, the Ventura High School auditorium hosted the 2018 fall concert for VHS’s Wind Ensemble, Honors Wind Ensemble and Buena High School’s debut Honors Wind Ensemble.

BHS junior Wind Ensemble Honors baritone saxist Morgan Carson waits backstage for the concert to begin. Carson also named Clark’s Da Vincian Visions as his favorite piece he would perform that night saying, “It covers a bunch of different styles that I just find fascinating to play because one moment it’s like a regal fanfare and the next it’s tribal African drumming.” Photo by: Lola Bobrow

VHS’s Wind Ensemble began the concert, performing Samuel Hazo’s “Arabesque,” Alfred Reed’s “Greensleeves” and Robert Sheldon’s “Cape Fear Chronicles.” Junior VHS Wind Ensemble alto saxist Daniel Kim described the rehearsal process for Wind Ensemble by saying, “We mostly just go through a piece initially and then we start to actually practice it, make adjustments to it and we have a lot of fun while we’re doing it, as well.”

Following the Wind Ensemble, the BHS Wind Ensemble Honors performed Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide,” Larry Clark’s “Da Vincian Visions” and Gustav Holst’s four movement “Second Suite in F.”

VHS Wind Ensemble clarinetists, senior Veronica Keigwin (left) and freshman Juliet Roberto (right), stand for applause after their performance of Alfred Reed’s Greensleeves. Photo by: Lola Bobrow

James Rumenapp, who has directed the BHS music department since 2012, shared his inspiration for the pieces he chose for the ensemble to perform, stating, “I played [the Candide] when I was in high school and I’ve always thought that every high school [musician] should get the opportunity to play it. Same with the Holst second suite. This is just a staple of wind ensemble literature… We’ve kind of been doing all the English folk song composers in order. Every year we’ve done a different one. This is now the next one in the logical sequence.”

Rumenapp also commented on the rehearsals leading up to the concert: “It’s been great. We’ve been having a lot of time to work beyond notes [and] on the musicality of different phrases and it’s been wonderful working at that level of musicianship, especially with the new honors class.”

VHS Wind Ensemble Honors percussionist Quinn Gunderson shared that he was most excited to play the fifth movement of Giroux’s “Bookmarks from Japan.” Photo by: Lola Bobrow

The VHS Wind Ensemble Honors closed the concert with Jack Stamp’s “Gavorkna Fanfare” and Julie Giroux’s six-movement “Symphony No. 4.”

According to one musician, the ensemble had rehearsed the concert music for four weeks. VHS music department director Paul Hunt described the rehearsal process in one word: intense. VHS Junior percussionist in the Honors Wind Ensemble, Quinn Gunderson, agreed, saying, “We’ve procrastinated our parts, so we’re finally getting a hold on it when we should’ve had it ready last week.”

Hunt shared his reasoning behind the concert pieces: “[The pieces] sounded enjoyable to the audience and I thought [the players] would like it. It’s stuff the audience will like, the bassoons will like, stuff that I like and then at the same time it teaches [the musicians] different ways of playing and different styles.”

Senior VHS Wind Ensemble Honors trumpetist Makenzie Jones named her favorite piece of the night to be the fifth movement of Giroux’s “Bookmarks from Japan” symphony, titled “Evening Snow at Kambara.” Junior VHS Wind Ensemble Honors soprano saxist Malia Matthews agreed, adding, “The groups have progressed a lot and we’ve gotten a lot better even though it’s not the end of the semester and I’m really proud of all our musicians.”

VHS senior Wind Ensemble Honors tenor saxist Naiya Larimer warms up before dress rehearsal. Photo by: Lola Bobrow

Hunt shared his aim for the concert to be “sharing music as a positive experience between two schools, which is nice considering the rivalry that usually exists.”

“Music doesn’t have that,” he added. “We try to encourage [non-competition] this way.”