Cornerstone University Symphonic Winds Ensemble gets off to a good start
By Jordan Faustrum
Saturday, Oct. 22 was Cornerstone’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s first concert of the year.
They performed at the St. Cecilia Music Center in downtown Grand Rapids, a free event for anyone who wished to attend.
“Over the years St. Cecilia has brought some of the world’s finest artists to perform on its Royce Auditorium stage and has introduced young and old alike to the joys of listening to and making music,” according to the St. Cecilia official website. “St. Cecilia Music Center is the only organization of its kind in West Michigan.”
While the ensemble goes to various venues, this particular one is directly focused on providing music education and presenting musicians.
According to students, the performance went very well.
“We even got an encore,” said junior Adam Klimt.
Klimt plays the euphonium — a brass instrument — for the Symphonic Winds group. He’s been playing this particular instrument for four years.
He practices in his free time during the week, usually between class periods.
During the concert, a lot of people came out to support the ensemble, including friends, family, students and faculty members.
They performed several standard wind ensemble works and some new works, including “Xerxes ” by John Mackey and “Variations on a Korean Folk Song” by John Barnes Chance.
A wind ensemble consists of woodwinds, brass and percussion instruments.
There are 40 people in the ensemble.
Members have had a lot of musical experience, some playing various instruments for many years.
For instance, Adam Klimt has been playing the tuba for four years, the trombone for 11 years, and the piano for 14 years, on top of the euphonium that he plays for Symphonic Winds.
The ensemble is made up of mostly students and a couple of faculty members including Gerald Longjohn, vice president of Spiritual Formation, who plays the tuba, and Peter VanDessel, associate professor of music, who plays trombone for the group.
The band rehearses together for four hours a week and starts when classes do. However, practice takes up a lot of the ensemble members’ own time as well.
“Personally, I practice whenever I can find free time in my schedule, which is usually between seven and 10 hours a week,” said senior Brandon Alberda.
Alberda is a Music Education Major and has been playing trombone for 11 years.
He also commutes to CU fulltime from Wyoming to go to class, practice and all of the performances.
“Performances used to make me nervous, but one amazing thing that I have learned since coming to CU is that eating bananas help. The potassium actually is proven to help calm performance anxiety,” Alberda said.
The ensemble creates a smaller community within a community.
“As the first performance of the year, it went really well. This is one of the best groups I have performed with in my four years here,” Alberda said.
Performances vary, but there are usually around two to three concerts per semester, which can be looked up on CU’s events calendar online.
The ensemble’s next concert is Dec. 4 at North Park Baptist Church, which is across the street from St. Cecilia’s on Coit Ave. in downtown Grand Rapids. The concert is free for everyone.