Report by Jessica Harrie
On Friday, August 5 at 10:30 a.m., the newly created ICA initiative BuzzReed and its creators gave a presentation in the Spahr Auditorium of Eaton Hall. This presentation focused on showing the ICA members in attendance what the BuzzReed is all about: connecting all of the clarinet community (including music students and non-professionals). This panel was presented by Committee Chair Spencer Prewitt and members Kristy Nichols and Eric Salazar. Each member completed an interview with a clarinetist from a different walk of life with a different perspective.
First, Kristy Nichols spoke with Joshua Phillips, a senior undergraduate student performance major from California State University-Fullerton. Phillips has been making a name for himself through performances and the creation of the CSU Fullerton Clarinet Consortium. The Consortium was created to generate funding for masterclasses and has been extremely successful, recently bringing in Stanley Drucker, Yehuda Gilad and other famous clarinetists. Joshua finished his interview by offering advice to those on the fence about pursuing clarinet: “Just do it…Nothing will come of it if you don’t put in the work.”
The second clarinetist that was interviewed came from a completely different experience. Stephen Max spoke with Eric Salazar about his long and fascinating career, which has led him to be principal clarinet with the Overland Park Civic Band and Orchestra. Stephen shared stories of the clarinetists he’d worked with along the way and spoke candidly about his joy of the clarinet. He said learning the clarinet has helped him in his other non-music career by increasing his attention to detail. In perhaps one of his more poignant remarks, Stephen pointed out that though he gets paid very rarely, he doesn’t think he “could stand not playing the clarinet. Not making music.”
The final interview was with ASU Professor of Clarinet Dr. Robert Spring. Spring also shared stories of his journey in finding the clarinet. He spoke of having a lesson with former University of Michigan clarinet professor John Stubbins. After the lesson, Spring recalled Stubbins remarks: “Wow, you’re pretty bad. Have you ever thought about playing a different instrument?” After several great stories, Spring left the audience with his best advice: “You’ve got to love the clarinet.”
The BuzzReed will be an ever-present asset for clarinetists of all walks of life within the International Clarinet Association. Look for future content at clarinet.org and find their page on Facebook for content on education and engagement within the clarinet community.
Dr. Jessica Harrie serves as the coordinator of the ICA e-Newsletter. She is a recent DMA graduate of Michigan State University, and currently lives and teaches in the Columbus, Ohio area.