Report by Melissa Morales
The final event for ClarinetFest® 2016 took place on Sunday, August 7 at 3 p.m. in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre. The Festival Clarinet Choir was comprised of 35 members and was led by conductor Raphael Sanders. The choir opened with Claribel (2000) by Roland Cardon. They played with a full, lush sound and brought the melodies to life, accentuating the fun and comical character.
Following the Cardon was a quartet feature piece Concertante for 4 clarinets and Orchestra (1833) by L.A.B. Schindelmeisser. The choir was accompanied by four esteemed clarinetists: Julianne Kirk Doyle (Suny Potsdam), Blake Arrington (United States Air Force), MUCM James Logan (United States Navy Band), and Mary Alice Druhan (Texas A&M University Commerce). The quartet played with great ease and facility, supported by the sonorous ensemble behind them.
After the expert playing from the quartet, virtuosos Ricardo Morales and Benjamin Lulich joined the stage for Mendelssohn’s Concertpiece No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 114. The pair played in perfect tandem, complimenting each others energy and matching each others musicianship. The audience was thrilled by their performance, beckoning them back to the stage multiple times with their applause.
The final work of the conference was a Luc Note work titled Suppe Meets Offenbach (2004). The jazz-inspired work was the perfect ending to an inspiring conference. Several choir members took short solos, displaying their skill both on their instruments and small percussion toys. The audience was invited to join in the piece with several joyous interjections of “Hey!” throughout. Sanders led the clarinet choir masterfully and gave an enjoyable and diverse concert for all in attendance.
[Edit: Many of the festival choir appearances on Sunday were devoted to the memory of Guido Six. He was a great friend and leader within the clarinet community. He will forever be missed and honored for his contribution to the clarinet community through his choirs and his teaching that lives through his students.]
Melissa Morales served as adjunct Music Education faculty at DePaul University for 2015-2016 as well as clarinet faculty and project manager at The People’s Music School from 2013-2016. She currently serves as the Director of Education for the Chicago Symphonic Winds and performs with the Chicago Summer Opera.