2016 TTU Clarinet Day

2016 TTU Clarinet Day Group Photo

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. 

World Premiere performance of Jeff Brooks's "Life's A Celebration" by Wonkak Kim and Jeff Brooks, clarinets with Grace Choi, piano

Dr. Jeremy Reynolds Guest Artist Recital

    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.

RoAnn Romines rehearsing the TTU Festival Clarinet Choir

    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. 

Exhibition Area

Participating students trying out clarinets

    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.

Dr. Wonkak Kim Master Class

Dr. Jeremy Reynolds Master Class

    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. 

Members of Cookeville Community Band Clarinet Choir trying out samples

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

Lena Fomenko, TTU Sophomore Clarinet Major, is awarded the inaugural TTU-Buffet Clarinet Prize!

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.

Final Concert!

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.

A Sneak Preview: 2015 TTU Clarinet Day

I've been very busy during past several days putting together various details for the upcoming Clarinet Day at Tech. Scheduled for April 17th and 18th of 2015, this is the fourth and the largest Clarinet Day I am hosting since my arrival at TTU. The line-up of guest artists are truly unique and impressive: Sqwonk, the world's most exciting bass clarinet duo based in San Francisco, and KoMo Quartet, a recently formed projects by renowned clarinetists from South Korea and Montana. Like previous years, the event will provide many opportunities for our students and participants to attend guest artist recitals and master classes, try out the newest line of clarinet products by leading vendors, play in the clarinet choir, and interact with each other (and perhaps make some new friends)!

While the official flyers and schedule are being finalized, I wanted to leak some exciting details here:

2015 Guest Artists


Jeff Anderle (San Fransico Conservatory of Music) 

Jonathan Russell (Princeton University) 

KoMo Clarinet Quartet



Friday, April 17, 2015 at 7:30pm - Sqwonk will present an astounding and genre-defying recital

Jonathan Copeland's Semi-Annual TTU Visit

Jonathan Copeland, the clarinet specialist and repairman at Onks Woodwind Specialist

Keeping one's instrument in optimum condition should be one of the top priorities for both professional musicians and music students. With our diligent practicing and playing schedule (hopefully...), our instruments' mechanism can only withstand so much. Keys will bend, pads will wear out, screws will become loose, and various debris will collect even with regular cleaning and maintenance. For younger students who do not take proper care of their instruments, the problems are often exacerbated. To give a few examples:


  • the instrument's performance will be drastically reduced
  • lead to far serious issues such as crack, etc.
  • difficulties in execution and inconsistent intonation
  • unsanitary and disturbing accumulation of things you don't want to see
  • frustration and much hinderance to expressing one's artistic vision
  • bad habits will form by struggling with instruments that are not finely tuned


We already have enough to worry about aside from the mechanical issues of our instruments. Therefore, It is highly recommended that everyone should take his/her instruments to a professional repairperson (hopefully a specialist) at least once or twice a year. It can be challenging to find a time to send off the instrument for repair or overhaul. The costs associated with repair/adjustment also can be a reason that some people (especially students) put it off. 

Since few years ago, I have partnered with Onks Woodwind Specialist in Smyrna, TN to provide my studio a bit easier access to a skilled repairman. Jonathan Copepland, the company's clarinet specialist visit TTU each semester to work on various adjustment and minor repair works for our students. After signing up for time slots, students can drop off their instruments to Jonathan who works on them throughout the day in our music building. He also gives each students personalized advices and helps them to schedule a full overhaul if necessary. Since we bundle this together, students can enjoy the streamlined repair service and relatively affordable costs (most works are done in around 30 minutes, and their instruments play far better in the end). 

Many thanks to Jonathan for his visit, and we all look forward to seeing him again in April!

Jonathan doing his repair work on our students' instruments

Now I have a lot of sticky notes. Want some? Stop by at my studio for one. First come, first serve!

Now I have a lot of sticky notes. Want some? Stop by at my studio for one. First come, first serve!