Family, friends and flute aficionados gathered last week to support four students as they tested their flautist performing skills.
Last Wednesday, March 14, the department of music presented a flute ensemble concert in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. There were approximately 70 people in attendance.
Four music education students played pieces. The students included Vanessa Newman, Stephen Poleni, Breanne Kerner and Jane Jaksa.
In addition to playing ensemble pieces with visiting high school students, each flautist also played one individual solo throughout the evening.
Lauren Rongo, adjunct instructor of music education, said that performing solo and ensemble concerts is part of all music education students’ programs.
“I think it’s very beneficial for students, in the long run, to have the extra experience that comes with performing,” Rongo said. “It looks impressive on a resume and it speaks to their abilities as musicians.”
“I’ve been taking flute lessons for nine years, so it was great to see that work pay off,” said Jane Jaska, special education freshman. “I thought things went very well tonight.”
Music education sophomore Stephen Poleni also said that the performance was a success. Poleni played a solo piece, “March of the River Weser” by Gordon Jacob, with a piccolo.
“You’d think that playing the flute would be very similar to playing the piccolo,” Poleni said. “Sure, there are times where it can be similar, but sometimes the higher notes can be a little trickier to hit.”
Poleni said he’s been playing the flute since he was in sixth grade, but he only recently started learning how to play the piccolo. Overall, he said it has been a good, but challenging experience.
For music education senior Vanessa Newman, this will be her last recital for the foreseeable future, because she plans to graduate this year after completing her student teaching.
“I thought the concert went very well tonight,” Newman said. “It was nice to see all of our hard work pay off.”
Newman said she has been playing the flute since middle school.
During the recital, Newman played four pieces by Charlie Koechlin with a bass flute.
“The bass flute has pretty much the same fingering as a normal flute, just an octave lower,” Newman said.
However, Newman said the piece she spent the most time practicing was her ensemble performance of “Tarantella,” by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Camille Saint-Saëns was a French composer in the nineteenth. He composed “Tarantella Op. 6 in A minor” for flute, clarinet, orchestra and piano. He also transcribed the piece for two pianos.
“I’ve been working on the ‘Tarantella’ piece since last fall,” Newman said. “I started the rest of my work with the bass flute at the end of that semester.”
Newman said that one of the best things about this recital was working with her fellow flautists. She said that the solo pieces were obviously very individualized, but performing the ensemble pieces correctly involved working together with a bigger group as a whole.
“I’ve been playing with Stephen and Breanne for a while now,” Newman said. “And this was the first year that I got to work with Jane.”
Newman went on to praise the variety of twists and turns that a recital can take.
“It’s great because every concert is always going to be a very different experience from the last one,” Newman said. “But it’s always so much fun.”
Newman said that she is really looking forward to student teaching because she draws her inspiration from trying to help other people learn.
“One of my students from the marching band was here tonight,” Newman said. “So that right there was a great motivational booster.”
Newman also thanked Rongo for her mentorship and advice over the years.
“Lauren has been a fantastic mentor and helper,” Newman said. “It’s been awesome working and studying here at SVSU.”