Clarinet Day fine-tuned for Saturday

Draven Jackson

Staff Writer

Troy University’s Clarinet Studio will be hosting the tenth annual Clarinet Day on Saturday, March 25 in Long Hall.

Clarinet Day brings together college and high school clarinet players to play in a large clarinet concert, and learn more about the clarinet and playing the clarinet from guest artists and clarinet specialists.

Timothy Phillips, associate professor of clarinet, began Clarinet Day 10 years ago in order to give high school students an opportunity to come to the Troy campus and see exciting clarinet performances.

“Clarinet Day is a good learning experience for the high school students and the college students, and I am personally excited to have all of these students here to see what we do,” Phillips said.

He said the artists that come to Clarinet Day are among the best in the world.

“I am really proud of the high level of performers that come here as guest artists and that to me is one of the best parts of Clarinet Day,” Phillips said, “because some of these students have never heard a professional clarinet player before and they are always totally entranced by how good these people are.”

This year, there will be many different visitors coming to Troy University to be a part of Clarinet Day.

Florent Héau and Gabor Vega, who are travelling all the way from France and Hungary to Troy, are two of the guest performers for the event. Ramón Wodkowski, a mouthpiece craftsman, will be doing a lecture on the history of mouthpieces and mouthpiece acoustics,ww and will also be around to work on mouthpieces for clarinetists at the event.

Some of the other guests playing at Clarinet Day will be Katrina Phillips, Jennifer Fraley, Wonkak Kim, Grace EunHye Choi, Joshua Mietz and Timothy Phillips.

Clarinet Day will begin at 8 a.m. and end with a final concert at 5:30 p.m. The concert will include performances by the Troy University Clarinet Choir, the high school and college Clarinet Day choir, Jennifer Fraley, Florent Héau and Gabor Vega.

Throughout the day, college and high school students will not only rehearse for the final concert, they will also be attending master classes led by visiting guests and attend recitals by guest artists.

According to Phillips, the master class will be an opportunity for students to observe the guest artists and clarinet specialist work with a student. It’s similar to a lesson, but everyone will be able to watch.

One of the students performing in a master class is Megan Roberts, a senior music education major from Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Roberts has attended Clarinet Day as both a high schooler and a college student. She said, as a high school senior, being on the campus and performing with the college students was very intimidating, but also helped prepare her for the transition of coming to the university.

“Coming to Clarinet Day really helped me because I had the opportunity to meet people who were already here, who got to explain to me what it was like, and also, it was cool having a chance to meet really famous people at such a young age,” Roberts said. “But it is also cool being on this side because I get to talk to high schoolers and explain things to them and kind of help them understand what their opportunities are here in the collegiate world.

“And, since I am a music education major, it’s a really good opportunity for me to have one on one time with high school students and learn how to interact with them and see how they understand music when they are learning.”

As of right now, there are 54 high school students registered to participate in Clarinet Day, but Phillips expects to have more register throughout the week.

During the concert, the various clarinet choirs will perform classical and folk music, typically what would be performed in the band. According to Roberts, the large high school and college choir will perform multiple pieces during their rehearsals and the exact pieces that will be performed during the concert will be picked based on these rehearsals.

Phillips said that “The Washington Post March” by John Philip Sousa, performed by the large clarinet choir during the concert as a march, is always performed as the very last piece of the last concert.

The Troy University Clarinet Choir, made up purely of college clarinet players, will perform “Elysium,” an original piece written by Tyler Arcari, a Troy graduate. They will also play with Jennifer Fraley, a professor of clarinet, who will be performing a solo concerto on an E flat clarinet.

Kayla Carr, a sophomore psychology major from Montgomery, plays clarinet for the band and participated in Clarinet Day last year. She said she always looks forward to meeting all the different clarinet players that come to Clarinet Day.

“It’s a lot of fun to meet people from all different walks of life who love playing the clarinet just like I do,” Carr said.  “My favorite memory from last year was helping the high school students learn their parts because there is nothing better than watching someone improve while also having fun.”

Clarinet Day will end with a final concert from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Long Hall Band Room. It will be free and open to the public.

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