ClarinetFest 2014 started to wrap up on Sunday afternoon with a marvelous performance by the Festival Choir, consisting of many eager performers who were registered for the conference. Students, professionals, and aficionados alike all took the stage to form one of the largest clarinet choirs seen at the conference this year. Conductors Mitchell Estrin and Raphael Sanders were warm and friendly with both the audience and the choir, and the variety of music performed was sure to leave everybody with a new favorite piece.
The choir opened with a commission, Paul Basler’s Dr. Boda’s Magical Spinning Machine. Professor Estrin mentioned that the work was specifically composed for this year’s Festival Choir. The work’s tonal language was dense and constantly swarming, making interesting use of all different sections of the choir. This was quickly followed by an arrangement of Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite. The performance was no less effective than the standard band arrangement, with each and every line brought forth easily through the choir’s balance.
Raphael Sanders then took the stage to replace Professor Estrin, and the choir continued with a charming arrangement of Jan Van Der Roost’s Rikudim, a set of Israeli folk dances in two movements. Mr. Sanders’ warm personality lent itself nicely to the piece, as he encouraged the audience to chant along with the choir itself during the rousing tune. The remainder of the concert consisted of an arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody, a Guido Six arrangement of Mugssorsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, and a spritely rendition of William Krell’s Mississippi Rag. The hard work of these choir members during ClarinetFest was very noticeable!
–Notes by Joel Auringer
Joel Auringer is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He currently maintains a private studio in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas metroplex, and will begin doctoral study at the University of North Texas in the fall.