A music-oriented weekend

Students and community members will have the opportunity to learn from and listen to a group of world-renowned musicians this weekend.

Today kicks off a three-day residence from the Grammy-nominated wind quintet Imani Winds.

The group will hold several concerts and work sessions with students from all over northwest Ohio. The quintet will hold master classes and conduct a clinic for Bowling Green’s wind symphony students today.

Tomorrow morning they will perform a concert at the Wood County Library for second and third grade students. Imani Winds will then perform a concert for community members and students as part of the College of Musical Arts Festival Series.

On Saturday the quintet will work with high school and college musicians as part of the University’s Double Reed and Horn day.

Imani Winds band member Valerie Coleman said she hopes the bands visit would inspire students to look at music from a different perspective.

“We like to bring different ways of looking and thinking about music outside the box both musically and visually,” Coleman said.

Students who don’t study music or are not familiar with classical or wind ensemble music shouldn’t be hesitant to attend the Friday concert.

“Classical music tends to be intimidating to some people, but we try to introduce the pieces we perform and convey what the piece is about in different artistic forms so possibly an audience member who didn’t know what a wind quintet was can leave with an appreciation of the music,” Coleman said.

Richard Kennell, dean of the College of Musical Arts, said he feels guest musicians like Imani Winds are what sets apart the University’s music program from other universities.

“It’s easy for us to lose track of musical standards being in northwest Ohio but when distinguished artists like Imani Winds come and work with our students not only are our standards set higher, but the experience elevates our students’ musical abilities to a higher level,” Kennell said.

This is the quintet’s second visit to the University. Deborah Fleitz, director of public events for the College of Musical Arts, said after the group’s 2004 visit, the college was eager to have the musicians return.

“Imani Winds is not a traditional wind quintet. They push the envelope with their music and they want their music to be accessible to everyone – all ages, races and genders,” Fleitz said.

Students can learn about different aspects of being a musician and relate to Imani Winds on a more intimate level, because most of the members of the group are not much older than the college students, Fleitz said.

Imani Winds, whose name originates from Swahili meaning “Faith Winds,” began performing together in 1997.

The five musicians of African and Latin American heritage use music to explore the links between European, African and American traditions.

In addition to performing, the group hosts inspirational outreach and cultural programs to encourage diversity among in the music of new musicians.

They were nominated for a Grammy in 2006 for their recording “The Classical Underground.”

Tickets are still available at the Moore Musical Arts Center Box Office. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall.