This morning’s Shaver Theater recital featured two clarinet choirs, the New Horizons Clarinet Choir, and the Licorice Sticks Clarinet Orchestra.
The New Horizons Clarinet Choir, hailing from Rochester, NY, is a very fine amateur clarinet choir. New Horizons was founded 22 years ago by retired Eastman School of Music professor, Roy Ernst, as a fine arts educational program for senior citizens. Their performance was well prepared, expertly executed, and fun to hear! New Horizons presented a varied program, including music ranging from Mozart (Rondo alla Turca from Gran Partita), to Fred Fisher (Chicago), to Brahms (Hungarian Dance No.5), and W.C. Handy (Beale Street Blues). Each selection was well-balanced and stylistically appropriate. The reviewer particularly enjoyed their charming rendition of Chicago, complete with vocal effects!
The Licorice Sticks Clarinet Orchestra truly needs little introduction, as they are known as much for their creative attire as their enthusiasm for all members of the clarinet family. Their wonderfully eccentric flapper-inspired wardrobe looked right at home in the Art Deco inspired Shaver Theater. Regarding their garb, artistic director and showman extraordinaire, Rick Kissinger, cheekily said, “Black is black, and black is boring!” The ‘Sticks opened with Matt Johnston’s (Alry Publications) rollicking arrangement of Danse Macabre. Of most interest, (apart from the members’ fantastic hats and shoes), was the feature of their newest addition, an Albert system A-flat sopranino clarinet! The program also included Moonlight Serenade (with percussion feature), and Alexis Ciesla’s Klezmer Suite. The ‘Sticks weren’t out of surprises, as they substituted the second movement of the Ciesla for a Matt Johnston arrangement of the Cantina Music from Star Wars for E-flat Clarinet Quintet (a hilariously appropriate instrumentation). Needless to say, the audience greeted this with great applause!
–Notes by Nora Shaffer
Nora Shaffer, a recent DePaul University graduate (CER ‘14, MM ‘12), is a passionate performer and dedicated teacher in the ChicagoLand area. Additionally, she is Principal and E-flat Clarinetist with the Lake Effect Clarinet Quartet.