We have finally hit one of my favorite times of any school year at NCSSM. That is, of course, Miniterm. Mini-term is a 9-day short session when all other classes stop and students are able to take a single, intensive class for that period of time. Many students use Mini-term as an opportunity to travel, do intense research, or explore topics that they otherwise don't have time to pursue. I the music department, that is also the case.
Coincidentally, the NCMEA Eastern Regional Orchestra is held on the weekend of Mini-term. So, I offer an Eastern Regional Orchestra course to the orchestral musicians at NCSSM. As part of this Mini-term course, students that are selected for ERO can prepare for and participate in the event as part of the course. Since there are 5 days of the course following the event itself, we have some time to do some fun orchestral activities as a group that we would never have the opportunity to pursue otherwise. So, each night this week, my 12 student and I have been attending concert performances around the central part of North Carolina. All of the performances are on college campuses (we will spend time at Duke, UNC-Greensboro, and Wake Forest University) and are, for the most part, free to attend.
On Monday evening, we attended three wonderful recitals at UNC - Greensboro. These included performances by violist, Gizen Yucel, saxophonist Peter Salvucci, and vocalists, Andria Williamson and William Britto. All three of these performances were exceptional, bringing variety and virtuosity to the table. My students were particularly impressed with the virtuosity of Salvucci as he concluded his performance with an encore of four Turkish folk songs with a guest percussionist.
Last night, on Tuesday evening, we headed to Duke University for a concert of the music of composer Bill Robinson. (http://billrobinsonmusic.com/) Bill is a physics professor at NC State University and a fantastic composer. It was great to hear the likes of Eric Pritchard (Ciompi Quartet) and Bonnie Thron (Principal cellist, NC Symphony) and others perform his Grand Serenade, Ananda Sonata, and Clarinet Sextet. What a great experiences for our students. They heard fantastic contemporary literature, saw magnificent virtuoso performers, and witnessed a clinic on exceptional chamber music technique and performance. All of this was done in the fantastic setting of the Nelson Music Room on Duke's East Campus. Students had the opportunity to talk with performers and composer following the program. How cool!
Today, we will be heading to a masterclass by bassist extraordinaire, Edgar Meyer. I can't wait to let you know about it tomorrow.