Regardless of major, many students wish to continue their music education in college. For SE student Keila Baez, this meant playing the violin in SE Campus’ Chamber Ensemble.
SE Campus is home to the chamber ensemble and jazz band. The two groups performed their first concert of the semester on Oct. 10.
Both ensembles are open for anyone to join no matter their skill level. Music professor Gregory Dewhirst accounts for the various levels of experience in the group.
“I shaped and tapered the class to just about from beginners up to music majors,” Dewhirst said. “It pushes some students more than others.”
Because the groups are filled on a volunteer basis, instrumentation can often be unbalanced. It can present a challenge when picking pieces for Instructor of Music William Pratt.
“In this case, we got really lucky because we have horn players, we have trumpet, I’ll be playing in the trumpet quartet,” Pratt said. “It actually worked out really well.”
The size of the Chamber Ensemble forced players to utilize skills they usually wouldn’t have to.
“The main focus has been playing with each other,” Pratt said. “Having a violin match with a trombone, which you don’t normally have to do unless you’re in the context of the full orchestra.”
Each ensemble holds two concerts per semester. The first concert is held halfway through the semester and the second is toward the end. Baez described the process of getting their program together.
“Normally, we just get a bunch of pieces and then we sift through and see which ones we like, which ones work together for all of us, and see which ones we can all play together instead of just half of us,” Baez said.
Baez has played violin for around 10 years. Although she isn’t a music major, Baez knew that she still wanted to play at TCC.
“As soon as I graduated from high school, I wanted to look for programs within TCC that had music,” Baez said. “That I could play music and still be able to play violin.”
SE student Gia Huy Ha is a vocalist music major and recently started learning the piano in jazz band.
“I just started jazz and [I want to] see if I can learn anything and start to write my own music and bring it back to my home country,” Ha said.
Dewhirst ultimately hopes that the groups have the opportunity to expand in the future.
“To grow,” Dewhirst said. “The way enrollments work, and the way career plans work, it’s really difficult to get students here and enrolled simply because they have a lot of obstacles.”