On Friday evening, May 10, at Hidden Valley Seminars in Carmel Valley, Youth Music Monterey County (YMMC) presented a concert by Woodwind & Brass Ensembles. It was very inspiring to see these young musicians coming together to perform a wide variety of music, most of which is totally unfamiliar, unless you are a brass or woodwind player, of course. In a society where so many young high school students’ free time is dominated by various sporting activities, it is indeed gratifying to also see the fruits of many hours, spent not on the playing fields, but in practice rooms developing musical skills that often reached a very high professional level.
Although much of the credit for what we heard last night goes to woodwind coach Erwin Irvine and brass coach Suzanne Mudge, let it be known that they didn’t just sit on the sidelines as spectators, for they both participated during the performance and occasionally spoke to the audience about the pieces being performed.
Leading off the program was a performance of works by Daniel Speer, Anton Bruckner and Giovanni Gabrieli featuring a brass ensemble composed of Daniel Shapiro, Jake Garneau, Daniel Regalado, Cassidy Novack, Bennett Bishop and Elias Osorio. We heard spirited playing that displayed rhythmic precision, instrumental mastery and a nice attention to the various style periods of works spanning several centuries. Following this we heard selections by the woodwind ensemble consisting of Cayden Bloomer, Robert Gomez, Stevie Dean, Giada Scattini, Bernadette Razo, Amadeus Soria, Mitah Chowdhury, Erin Irvine and Daniel Regalado.
One of the most interesting and entertaining portions of the program was a performance of a Bassoon Trio by Julius Weissenhorn performed by Erin Irvine, Mitali Chowdhury and Amadeus Soria. Speaking to the audience, Erin Irvine told us that the bassoon is considered the clown of the orchestra. However, the playing of the three musicians was totally captivating and went way beyond the level of amusement.
The brass ensemble presented some lovely mysterious playing in the Fantasy No. 4 by Alan Hovhaness, followed by a masterful performance of theAllegrofrom Beethoven’s mighty Wind Octet in E-flat Major. Most of us in the audience might have been wondering why nine musicians were performing an octet, however “not for us to reason why” since it was a very successful performance.
The finale of the program involved a lot of shuffling of chairs and music stands as both ensembles joined together to perform Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite. It looked like a cast of thousands as they all played their hearts out and gave us a grand performance.
Kudos to all!