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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Clinic attracts musicians

By Maggie Timlin Reporter

Beginning today, close to 2,000 high school student musicians and band directors from all parts of Ohio will flock to Bowling Green for three days to stimulate their musical growth.

This growth will be developed by pushing them to develop and build on their instrumental performance and music-reading skills.

These musically-graced visitors have come to town with their instrument of choice in tow to attend the yearly Band Music Reading and Directors Clinic put on by the College of Musical Arts.

This marks the clinic’s 48th year, and it appears to only be gaining momentum as the years go on, said Bruce Moss, director of bands at the University and a twelfth year organizer of the event.

“This clinic has been around for a long time, so I’ve tried to give it some different directions over the years, a new philosophy and a new look,” Moss said. “We try to tweak it up and make it a little more contemporary and a little more visionary every year.”

While its festivities may only stretch until the evening of Jan. 21, the clinic is crammed full of challenges and opportunities for those present to take advantage of.

Whether a participant is a visiting band director or a high school student musician determines what lessons they take part in at the clinic.

For the band directors, many of whom bring their own students along too, the focus of the clinic is to listen to different bands’ live performances of new music publications showcased at the clinic.

They are able to look at music that has been released in the last year, then sit in a band and play the music that their students will ultimately perform. They can decide what they like and what they do not as a result of this musical “test drive.”

But the event holds something completely different in store for the attending high school students who are missing a few days of school to attend the clinic. Soon after they settle in on campus, they take an audition and are put into one of two bands, which are called honors bands.

After that, the pressure is on said Richard Kennell, dean of the College of Musical Arts. The students must learn new music right as they come, he said.

“They have only four or five rehearsals to master it before they have to give a full performance,” Kennell said. “That makes it really exciting, but also, very fast pace.”

Kennell said the goal of this clinic is to perform at a higher level and accomplish something in a short period of time.

While the clinic involves a lot of work, there is one very big payoff. Participants are given the chance to work with world-renowned guest composers who will teach the students and provide them with helpful feedback.

This year’s guest conductors are David Gillingham, a professor of composition at Central Michigan University, and Paula Holcomb, director of bands at the State University of New York.

Additionally, this year’s special guest is well-known writer and broadcaster Jamie Bernstein, who is the daughter of legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.

Bernstein is scheduled to talk to students and directors directly at an event coined “A Conversation with Jamie Bernstein,” to take place at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow in Kobacker Hall.

Bernstein will then narrate Aaron Copland’s “A Lincoln Portrait” in a Symphonic Band performance tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall, where the band will be accompanied by the Toledo Symphony’s brass section for three songs.

Being able to meet and discuss elements of musical performance with such accomplished guests is a huge highlight of the event for participants, and the payoff for all the effort the students put into the clinic.

“For high schoolers and college students alike, the reading clinic allows us to simply meet a famous person,” said Felelcia Tchen, a Symphonic Band oboe player and a second year clinic participant. “If you were going to acting school, it would be the equivalent of meeting Steven Spielberg or someone of that caliber.”

But the excitement the clinic has to offer is not limited simply to those with a knack for musical comprehension. The clinic’s performances are open to the public.

All events are free with the exception of tomorrow’s Symphonic Band concert. Tickets for the concert are $8 for adults and $5 for students.

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