By Alec Matuszak
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Four students took center stage on Thursday, Mar. 9 in the Great Hall of the Winnick Mansion for a flute performance. The venue was a perfect spot for this type of performance. The old feel of the mansion makes whatever is happening inside the walls feel prestigious and noteworthy. Before the performance, the small, intimate, low-lit room filled with approximately 30 to 40 people, waiting to hear the end result of something that students had been practicing for weeks in advance. Accompanied by professor Christine Dore were flutists Celine Hong, Carolyn Lau, Alyssa Rust, and Linck Rossano.
From the first piece, it was evident that a flute concert is unlike most concerts familiar to students. The flute has its own distinct sound, and the audience must be very quiet to pick out each individual note while still listening to the pianist in the background. Dedicated practices are required for pieces like these, as each performance could last up to several minutes. Whenever the audience believed the song was completed, the performer would begin playing once more. Breath control and endurance are especially crucial when playing this type of instrument. It is obvious when a performer is running out of breath as the notes lack the usual “oomph” that they would otherwise have on a full breath of air. Several times throughout the performances I lost track of time but that wasn’t a bad thing at all.
The performers kept the audience intrigued with the constant changing of notes and octaves, and provided that familiar “fluttery” sound that flutes tend to produce.
Some of these performers were practicing for NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) competitions. A NYSSMA competition brings the finest performers of all instruments from New York, together for a music competition that is to be critiqued by judges. Scoring well in NYSSMA competitions is very difficult, so doing well is an achievement.
Kevin Dolan, a flute concert newcomer and freshman business major enjoyed the concert thoroughly and was particularly impressed with the level at which the performers played, considering their age. “A lot of these performers seemed to be very young, but they were very talented,” he said. “The best part was at the end when the whole ensemble came together [to perform at once],” he said.
Susan Deaver, an adjunct music professor who teaches flute, music history, in addition to coaching chamber music, gave some insight as to how a performance like this comes together, and the preparation needed. “I sent out parts to everybody ahead of time, and we rehearsed in small groups,” she said. “Tonight we [put it all together].” This concert was a showcase of talent and handwork but also practice for possible auditions for some. “Some are preparing for NYSSMA…some [of the high school students] are preparing for auditions for colleges and universities,” she said.
Deaver had advice for young musicians aspiring to move to the professional level. “Practice a lot, go to a lot of concerts, expose yourself to as much music as you can,” she said. The most important tip of all is to find a good teacher.
With the right amount of hardwork and guidance, achieving even the loftiest of goals seems possible.
Members of the complete flute ensemble: Maris Albinder, Jessica Barenzano, Leah Cherenfant, Samantha Clarke, Celine Hong, Sarah Kadtke, Carolyn Lau, KaraAnn Leone, Alexandra Michaelis, Michael Roberts, Linck Rossano, Alyssa Rust, Sophia Sheinin, LiWen Xu, Jennifer Zhao.