Michael D. Crump
(Rock Hill, S.C.) — On a cold and rainy Friday night, trumpets and trombones echoed through the corridors of the Barnes Recital Hall on the campus of Winthrop University, as the school’s Brass Ensemble performed for a packed house Oct. 26.
Suddenly, the smooth timbre of “Ave Maria” shifted to the stout kicks of a bass drum and Kansas’ instantly recognizable 1976 tune “Carry on Wayward Son” washed over the crowd.
“That was my call,” said Dr. Justin Isenhour, an instructor of music theory and a co-director of the performance. “I thought it would be a nice way to end a program.”
The performance also featured more traditional works such as “Le carnaval des animaux” and “Back to the Fair,” which was a reimagining of the classic folk ballad “Scarborough Fair” that became a hit for Simon & Garfunkel in 1968.
The concert showcased a range of talent from different disciplines in the brass category.
Isenhour said the show featured more than 30 students performing across the trombone choir, brass quintet and trumpet ensemble.
Aaron Milner, a sophomore member of the trombone choir, said the challenge of putting on a program includes more than just practicing the music.
“It takes a lot of coordination,” he said. “We have to figure out a time where we can all meet together and have us all come to rehearsals every week so that we can then perfect what we do.”
The show featured the original work of one of its members, as the trumpet ensemble debuted “A Road Leading Nowhere” by student Jessy Collins.
It also gave students an opportunity to conduct, including senior Alex Dudek who conducted a piece called “Within Sacred Walls.”
His sister Emma Dudek, who said she was proud of her brother, was in the crowd to watch the show. “He did a really good job,” she said.
“The idea is to showcase student work,” said Isenhour. “In your science class we’re going to post your lab in public and a hundred people are going to come check that out, it is sort of like that.”
The ensemble series runs through the beginning of November and features many disciplines taught at Winthrop.