CSB/SJU Wind Ensemble to perform at prestigious music conference

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February 2, 2017

The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University Wind Ensemble is doing something it hasn’t done in 32 years.

The 56-member ensemble has been accepted to perform at the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) Midwinter Clinic at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, at the Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom. The performance is free and open to the public.

It’s the first time the group has performed at the Midwinter Clinic since 1985 – a year that saw No. 1 records released by Dire Straits, the soundtrack from the TV show “Miami Vice,” Phil Collins and Tears for Fears. Taylor Swift wasn’t even born yet.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for the musicians,” said Justin Zanchuk, director of the Wind Ensemble and instructor of music (brass) at CSB and SJU. “For the musicians, this prestigious performance invitation serves as a scholarly presentation of their creative research and is a testament to their dedication to the process of music-making.”

Their concert presentation will consist of a six-piece, 35-minute set before a group pf music educators from the elementary, middle school, high school and college levels.

“There’s a pressure of being in front of a crowd of music educators, all trained musicians,” Zanchuk said. “But in the end, all ensembles performing at this type of conference are celebrated for their commitment to sharing their passion and artistry.”

The ensemble will be playing “In This Broad Earth,” by Steven Bryant; “Only Light,” by Aaron Perrine; “Lollapalooza,” by John Adams, transcribed by James Spinazzola; “The ‘Gum-Suckers’ March,” by Percy Aldridge Grainger, edited by Mark Rogers; “… At Twilight,” by Tyler S. Grant, and “Profanation,” from “Jeremiah, Symphony No. 1” by Leonard Bernstein and arranged by longtime University of Minnesota director of bands Frank Bencriscutto.

Both Bryant and Perrine worked with the ensemble Jan. 30-Feb. 3 on their compositions.

The Wind Ensemble was selected to play at the Midwinter Clinic through an application and audition process. Zanchuk submitted recordings of the group from the 2015-16 academic year.

“I selected the best representations of the ensemble, for consideration to perform at MMEA,” Zanchuk said. “Over 70 applications for performance were submitted this past year representing a wide range of quality ensembles from across the Upper Midwest, and only a few were selected to perform.”

Ten members of the ensemble are music majors (either music studies, music performance, music education or music composition).

“The Wind Ensemble embodies the liberal arts tradition,” Zanchuk said. “Our members represent a wide variety of disciplines, all who excel and enjoy making music. A performance at this clinic is a regional and statewide opportunity to showcase their work. It also raises the profile of CSB and SJU amongst the most dedicated members of the local and regional music education community. It’s an honor to represent our institutions.”

The Wind Ensemble will also hold a preview concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at Escher Auditorium, Benedicta Arts Center, CSB.

“The purpose of the preview concert is to offer members of the CSB/SJU community who cannot attend our MMEA performance at the Convention Center a chance to hear the group and the work they’ve accomplished. I hope everyone comes out and enjoys the concert. It will be a great evening of music,” Zanchuk said.  

Wind Ensemble

The 56-member wind ensemble will give a concert presentation at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, at the Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom.