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Music Ensembles Featured During New York State Band Directors Association Symposium


Two of the College’s Music Ensembles had virtual audiences from across the state recently when they were featured during the New York State Band Directors Association (NYSBDA) Virtual 40th Annual Symposium. 

The Wind Ensemble’s performance of March from the Second Suite in F by Gustav Holst and the Brass Ensemble’s performance of Orinoco Cocoa by Vince Gassi were shown as part of the “Concert Hour” during the second evening (March 6) of the symposium. Both ensembles are directed by Dr. Allyson Keyser, Associate Professor in the School of Music.

The NYSBDA is comprised of band directors from elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, as well as community (and military) organizations in New York State.

All of the students in the ensembles performed the pieces in their homes last semester as the College continues with virtual online instruction. They then submitted the recordings to Dr. Keyser. Percussion students were able to record on campus, following safety and social distancing protocols.

“We really had a blast putting these pieces together last semester,” Dr. Keyser said.

“The key for keeping the excitement going in virtual ensembles was to treat the class as a group recording project instead of trying to make it what it used to be. The students really enjoyed learning new ways to practice and learning more about recording techniques. I changed up the goals for the class every few weeks and it kept the students on their toes and engaged in the process. They have all improved their playing drastically and are really proud of the way the recordings came together from afar.”

The music continues this semester with the Wind Ensemble finishing the rest of the movements from Holst's Second Suite in F. They are also working on a piece called A Mother of A Revolution! which was written by Omar Thomas in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and celebrate the bravery of Marsha P. Johnson and other LGBTQ+ activists.

“I could not be happier with the progress these students have made both musically and socially in such trying times. We are having a blast working on this music and working together, and we can't wait to share it with the community at the end of the semester.” Stay tuned…