Students perform in fall’s Chamber Ensembles Concert


By Jasmine French

Students, staff and families came out to enjoy music sounding in the Varner Recital Hall.

The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance presented performances by students in chamber ensembles Sunday, Nov. 9.

Brett Hoag, special lecturer of classical guitar, welcomed the audience and introduced the concert. He discussed the motive for students participating in the chamber ensembles concerts.

“The main motive is for them to learn how to operate in a chamber music environment and how these concerts work,” Hoag said. “Performance feels a lot different than practice, and this is a good experience for them to learn with that aspect of what it’s like.”

“You have to always find a way to enjoy the work that you’re doing,” he said.

Flutist Kaitlin O’Connell and guitarist David Johnson performed a piece entitled “Standchen” by Franz Schubert, an Austrian composer, in a duet.

“One challenge is doing a duet in general,” Johnson said. “It’s because you’re really relying on two players to sync up at really important times.”

“I’ve liked music my whole life, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” O’Connell said. “How you present yourself on stage has always been a tougher subject, especially handling stage fright. I mean, I battled that kind of stuff when I was younger and it just kind of becomes more natural the more you perform.”

Some students who study music begin very young.

“I started piano lessons when I was about nine years old, and then I started the flute once I got into fifth grade,” O’Connell said.

“I didn’t know I wanted to be a guitarist for a long time,” Johnson said. “I got a degree in something else, but I’ve been playing since I was 10, so the answer has been right underneath my nose the whole time and I’ve finally decided to come to school and learn more of the theoretical end of things.”

Johnson studied film and video at the University of Michigan and later chose to study classical guitar at Oakland.

“I worked in the industry out in Los Angeles for a while, and then I happened to live near here, and so it was just a perfect fit,” she said.

“There’s a lot of different ways to have a career doing this and in the arts in general,” Hoag said. “At the end of the day, I want them to be phenomenal musicians.”