Last Saturday, I hosted our annual Clarinet Day at TTU. Although I face a multitude of challenges each year planning for the event, I feel tremendously fortunate to have wonderful colleagues, students, sponsors, and community to make it possible. This year, I asked my student Delaney to write a report to submit to our upcoming Clarinet Magazine issue and other newsletters:
A Report by Delaney Naffziger (pending publications by ICA Clarinet Magazine and WKA Newsletter) - published in this blog with the permission by the author
On April 18th, 2015, Tennessee Technological University held its annual Clarinet Day on campus in Cookeville, Tennessee. The event was led and coordinated by the university’s assistant professor of clarinet, Dr. Wonkak Kim. In the past, this event has primarily consisted of local clarinetists of all ages coming together for a day dedicated to choir ensemble playing; however, when Dr. Kim took the assistant professorship in 2011, he began to reconstruct the event, keeping its community choir foundations but gradually expanding the event to contain guests artists, master classes, and a wide range of clarinet products available to be enjoyed by all participants.
The event kicked off at 9AM with opening remarks made by Dr. Kim and was immediately followed by the Clarinet Day Artist Recital. Dr. Kim opened the recital with the beautiful works Deuxieme Sonate pour clarinette et piano by François Devienne and Introduction et Rondo, Op.72 by CH-M Widor and was accompanied by Dr. Eunhye Grace Choi on piano. The program continued with guest artist Matthew Miracle performing Shovelhead for Clarinet and Electronics by Steven Snowden. The recital concluded with the day’s main guest artists Jonathon Russell and Jeff Anderle, members of the San Francisco bass clarinet duo Sqwonk, who performed stunningly their works KlezDuo by Jonathon Russell and Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Bach (arr. Russell).
The day immediately continued with a full clarinet choir rehearsal consisting of all participants under the direction of Dr. Kim. The choir played Tarantella, Op. 102/3 by Mendelssohn, Introduction and Rondo by Gordon Jacob, and Clarinet Polka arranged by Eric Osterling.
After a brief lunch break, participants reconvened to watch a master class led by Sqwonk members featuring TTU students Sarah McMichen, Anjali Sivaainkaran, and Michaela Cundari. Jeff Anderle and Jon Russell worked with these students addressing many key issues which affect all players. Sarah McMichen played excerpts from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (Scherzo) and was encouraged not to get carried away with technical passages and to always remember that the goal is to make music, regardless of passage difficulty. Anjali Sivaainkaran performed Minuet from Bach’s First Cello Suite as Sqwonk members worked with her on remaining loose and relaxed even and especially during high passages. And Michaela Cundari played movement one of Sonata no. 2 by Brahms as Mr. Anderle had her and the audience work on projecting an upward airstream while pushing off with legs as well as practicing many different forms of phrasing.
After another brief rehearsal with the choir, participants were encouraged to take a break and enjoy the various booths of the day’s sponsors including Buffet Group USA, Lohff and Pfeiffer, Onks Woodwind Specialist, Just For Winds, Silverstein Ligature, and Vandoren.
At 4PM, the Final Concert began, opening with the Cookeville Community Band Clarinet Choir performing the works Three Baroque Dances by J.S. Bach (arr. Russell Howland), Klezmer Suite by Alexis Ciesla, New Orleans Medley arranged by Charles Rose, and The Chrysanthemum by Scott Joplin (arr. William Schmidt). The concert continued with Sqwonk performing Bass Clarinet Double Concerto by Jonathon Russell accompanied by the TTU Clarinet Choir. The concert was concluded by the Clarinet Day Choir; however, before the final performance, Dr. Kim presented a plaque of appreciation to Tennessee Tech’s clarinet professor emeritus Dan Hearn for his unending dedication to the studio even after retirement.
Overall, TTU Clarinet Day 2015 was a fantastic event enjoyed by all. Thanks to the diligent work and organization of Dr. Kim, the event came together seamlessly and held diverse aspects enjoyable to all clarinet lovers alike. It was both an enjoyable and educational experience which is sure to have inspired all participants. For information about how to partake in this annual event, please visit the website at www.wonkak.com/clarinet or contact Dr. Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org).