The following report was written by James Rutledge, my student and a Freshman Clarinet Performance Major at Tennessee Tech University:
On April 23rd, 2016, Tennessee Technological University held its annual Clarinet Day on TTU’s campus in the Bryan Fine Arts Building. The event was hosted by the TTU Clarinet Studio & Society of Clarinet with Dr. Wonkak Kim, Assistant Professor of Clarinet, as the event’s coordinator and leader.
In years past, Clarinet Day was dedicated to local clarinetists of all aged coming together to participate in clarinet choir ensemble playing. However, in 2011, when Dr. Kim joined the music faculty at Tennessee Tech, Clarinet Day expanded and began to include performances from musical artists from around the country, master classes, recitals, guest conductors, clarinet technitions, and products from well-known clarinet manufacturers and accessory manufacturers.
The event began at 9 AM with a word of welcome from Dr. Kim followed by guest recital given by Dr. Kim and Jeffery Brooks with Dr. Eunhye Grace Choi as their pianist. The trio gave a world premiere performance of Jeffery Brooks’ superb Life’s A Celebration! for two clarinets and piano. The program continued with an exciting performance of Marc Mellits’ Black for Two Bas Clarinets performed by TTUstudents Anjali Sivaainkaran and Nicholas Dickinson. The morning recital concluded with guest artist Dr. Jeremy Reynolds, Professor of Clarinet from the University of Denver by giving a phenomenal performance of Louis Cahuzac’s Cantilene, Bela Kovacs’ Hommage a J. S. Bach, and Malcom Arnold’s Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano.
After the guest recital, all the participants were assembled in Wattenbarger Auditorium in the Bryan Fine Arts building for a rehearsal with the mass Clarinet Day choir lead by and Dr. Kim, and Ms. RoAnn Romines, clarinet artist from Knoxville, Tennessee.
Following the morning rehearsal, all the participants were dismissed for a brief lunch break, and were given the opportunity to look at and try instruments, accessories, and have instruments serviced by Jonathan Copeland, a specialist from Onks Woodwind Specialists, and Jeremy Brooks, from Brooks Clarinet Servies.
Following the break, clarinet repair specialist Jonathan Copeland gave a lecture concerting clarinet maintenance and repair. Copeland covered topics from assembling and disassembling the instrument to avoid damage, how to properly swab out and clean the instrument, and the topic of clarinet bore oiling.
After the lecture, the participants were reconvened into Wattenbarger Auditorium for a master class sponsored by Buffet-Crampon. The master class began with Dr. Kim as clinician. Berean Christian School student Renae Dishman performed Concert Fantasia on Motives from “Rigoletto” composed by Luigi Bassi and Giuseppe Verdi. After Dishman’s performance, Dr. Jeremy Reynolds took the adjudicating position, and listened to TTU students James Rutledge, Dalton Swallows, and Sarah McMichen. Rutledge performed André Messager’s Solo de Concours, Swallows performed orchestral excerpts from Felix Mendelssohn’s Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Johannes Brahms’ Andante from Symphony No. 3, and McMichen performed Carl Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto. After all the participants of the master class gave a spectacular performance of his or her respective pieces, the master class concluded and the mass clarinet choir met again for a final rehearsal joined with the Cookeville Community Band Clarinet Choir.
To finish off the day, the Cookeville Community Band Choir, conducted by Dan Hearn, began the final concert. The community band clarinet choir began the program with the first movement from W. A. Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Edvard Grieg’s Norwegian Dance, Roland Kernen’s Gershwin Favorites, and concluded their program with Paul Harvey’s Happi Jazz. After the community choir’s exciting program, the TTU clarinet choir, directed by Dr. Wonkak Kim, took the stage and performed W. A. Mozart’s Overture to Marriage of Figaro, and Alexis Ciesla’s Fantasia featuring graduating TTU Music Performance senior Sarah McMichen. After the TTU’s clarinet choir’s lively performance, the mass Clarinet Day choir took the stage. The mass choir’s performance began under the direction of Ms. RoAnn Romines with G. F. Handel’s La Rejouissance from the Royal Fireworks Music, and Claude Debussy’s La Fille aux Cheveux de lin. Dr. Kim then took the stage as director for Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer, and Clare Grundman’s Caprice for Clarinets.
Following the last piece, the winners of the 2016 Clarinet Day were announced. This year, a silent auction for a Silverstein Cryo4 ligature which was won by Cookeville High School student, Brianna Owens. Also, Buffet-Crampon was generous enough to donate a brand new Buffet-Crampon E12F clarinet. All contestants were to write an essay to be judged by an outside party explaining how this instrument would help him or her in a musical career. The winner of this prestigious award was TTU Music Education freshman, Lena Fomenko.
Overall, this year’s Clarinet Day was a huge success, and would not have been made possible without the hard work from Dr. Kim, the guest artists, guest technicians, Buffet-Crampon, the participants, and the entire TTU Clarinet Studio & Society of Clarinet.