Guitar Ensembles

Samantha Jenkins, Arts Staff

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         The Guitar Ensemble began with a beautiful duet between Lauren Baucum (‘21) and Jacob Spangler (‘21). As they played comforting melodies and harmonizing chords, the audience on the floor watched intently. They were older adults, most of them parents. From the balcony, students listened, captured by the romantic piece. 

         The event took place on Nov. 6, at 7:30 PM in Lee Chapel. Just like all performance ensembles, performances are held throughout the semester to debut the hard work of the students. Students do not have to be music majors to participate in ensembles, although most are. The director, Dr. Stephen Robinson, conducted the pieces performed by the entire ensemble, but otherwise the students worked together to start and end simultaneously, and keep the beat in between. 

         The rest of the pieces alternated between quartets and entire ensembles. They varied in tone, but each song was uniquely memorable and carried the pride of the performers and their parents. Most of the pieces also included some stylistic moments where the performers would hit the guitar in various ways to achieve different sounds. Audience member Travis Kramer (‘22) said, “I didn’t know guitars could often produce such interesting sounds. In today’s music, their range of abilities isn’t really prominent.” That seemed to be a common thought because Aaron Stewart (‘23) also said, “I never really thought of guitars playing classical music, but it’s really nice.” This ensemble was unlike many of the others in that it gave people like Stewart and Kramer a new outlook about music and taught the audience a few things about classical guitar playing.

         The penultimate piece was “Night on Bald Mountain,” a piece appropriate with the fall season. Despite the lack of instrumentation, the performance still captured the tone and feeling of the popular piece. Kari Smith (‘23), a School of Music student, said, “I just came for the music credit, to be honest, but I got really excited when I saw ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ on the setlist. They did a really good job with it.” This piece was the longest in the performance, but the audience stayed engaged throughout. 

         The performance ended with the entire ensemble performing “Guitarchestra No. 10”. The complex piece finished with applause and a standing ovation. Parents and friends made their way to the exit and congratulate their performer. The next Guitar Ensemble performance will be April 8, 2020.