A note from the melody makers

By The Beacon | February 26, 2014 10:43pm
Photo by Spencer Young

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Photos by Kristen Garcia and Spencer Young

Emily Neelon |

With Junior Parents Weekend came a swell of musical performances from various groups on campus. Behind the melodies and instruments are the people who put hours of time into learning and rehearsing the pieces they play. Here’s a look at three forces of music at UP.

A musical quintet  

Senior Corrine Hester is in great musical demand at UP. Hester, who plays the clarinet and alto saxophone, is a member of five musical groups on campus.

Hester was involved in music throughout high school. Upon auditioning for Wind Symphony her freshman year of college, Hester was put into contact with the jazz band. The following year, she was recruited for the orchestra, chamber ensemble and pep band.

 Playing clarinet for the wind symphony, chamber ensemble and orchestra, and the alto sax for the jazz and pep bands, is purely for fun, said Hester. As a biochemistry major, music is a healthy distraction for the graduating senior.

“It’s my stress relief from my science classes,” Hester said. “Going to various rehearsals for a few hours a day is my way of blowing off steam.”

Hester has been playing the clarinet since fifth grade and the alto sax since eighth grade. With so much experience in musical performances, she sees the value in participating in so many live shows.

“There’s something about live performances that are nice,” she said.

Music writer

Senior Peter Chamberlain has an impressive musical background. In addition to performing, Chamberlain has been writing his own music since high school. The seven pieces he composed have been performed by various choirs.

“I actually have one piece published, ‘Magnificat,’ which is actually the first choral piece I ever wrote,” Chamberlain said.

Junior Parents Weekend also marked the beginning of Chamberlain’s conducting career. A member of University Singers, Chamberlain co-conducted the group during their shared performance last weekend.

“I’ve (only conducted) in church, but never in a formal setting,” Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain has been a part of University Singers for three years, taking a break from the group his sophomore year to focus on his studies.

“I’ve been in choir my whole life, and I wanted to continue that in college,” Chamberlain said. “Music in college is a lot different than in high school. You have a lot more music (to learn) and more concerts.”

A mechanical engineering major and music minor, Chamberlain began singing as a toddler and learned to play the piano in second grade. Along with his participation in University Singers, Chamberlain is involved in a jazz combo and UP’s acapella group “Call Our Bluff.” Chamberlain is also involved in various engineering groups on campus. Although engineering takes up much of Chamberlain’s life, he enjoys making time for music.

“Music is my favorite hobby,” he said.

Can’t abandon the music   

For sophomore Dave Wanner, music is not just his major, it’s his passion. Wanner, who plays French horn and sings base, participates in Wind Symphony, Chapel Choir and University Singers.

Wanner began singing in a choir at age 9 and playing the French horn at age 11. Even though he enjoyed performing, Wanner began UP as a secondary education and French major.

“Then I applied for a music scholarship and you could only get the scholarship if you were a music major or minor,” Wanner said. “So I said ‘screw you’ to education and became a music major.”

Wanner participates in Wind Symphony as part of his major requirement, but sings in Chapel Choir for fun.

“On the weekends I enjoy singing and playing music in churches,” Wanner said. “I sang throughout high school and I missed it, so I auditioned this year.”

Being a part of three different musical groups is a large time commitment, but Wanner believes it will be beneficial in preparing aspiring musicians like himself for the future.

“It’s a very good segue into professional performances,” Wanner said.

Outside of class and rehearsal, Wanner enjoys writing his own music, performing pieces for hall masses and acting.

“Currently I’m acting as a guest in St. Mary Academy’s performance of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” Wanner said.

Wanner hopes to turn his passion for composing and performing music into a career.

“I hope to work for Walt Disney Pictures and write music for their movies,” he said.

Listen to performances from Wind Symphony and Chapel Choir

Recordings by Kate Stringer

Senior Kylie Pybus, undergraduate conducting associate, conducts University of Portland’s Wind Symphony in their performance of “Hymn of St. James.”

Wind Symphony performs “The King of Love My Shepherd Is,” conducted by junior and undergraduate conducting associate, Brian Carter.