Baldwin Wallace Invitational: A Celebration of Community in Music


Upon returning from New York City and Carnegie Hall, my mind is a bit scattered, so bear with me here! I had a blast performing movements from Joel Love’s Solace: A Lyric Concerto, but the relationships and camaraderie around the performance take a much more prominent place in my mind this evening.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, Destinee Siebe is an incredible person. Logistically speaking, taking an entire collegiate ensemble on tour is no small feat. She created itineraries, did headcounts, answered phone calls, texts, and emails from confused students and faculty, was the primary chaperone figure for one the buses, kept spirits high among her peers, and so much more (seriously, a lot more). This is not a one time effort on her part. We see her dedication everyday. I’m astounded and really inspired by her hard work, dedication, and multifaceted commitment to excellence. Any of my students and colleagues at BW would agree. She performs well as a bassoonist and speaker, is an exemplary student, and, if you dig deep enough, seems to be at the heart of a great number of the Conservatory’s happenings (as an undergrad student, no less). Not to mention, she’s had outside jobs and service projects all along.

I also want to give a big shoutout to my students that played beautifully on tour: Nabil Abad, Andrew Buckley, Jonathan Custer, Katie Sciolino, and Steven Zeleznik. I’m proud of their growth and dedication, but also their willingness and eagerness to work and improve, even on the day of the performance. We were backstage in Carnegie Hall having an intense sectional the morning of to make sure that the performance would be everything it could be. I applaud their positivity and work ethic.

I have to congratulate Dr. Brendan Caldwell for his vision and realization of the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Invitational. There are so many pedagogical, artistic, and collaborative opportunities to dream about and execute with an event like this, and the conception was strong and meaningful in every way. There were so many deep connections in the programming between the repertoire, musicians, soloists, guest conductors, and American culture at large. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Brendan and all of the students in the BW Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

I remember Joe Lulloff, saxophone guru and professor and Michigan State University, saying “that’s the kind of music I like to play” in reference to the music of David Maslanka. Well, I find myself feeling the same way about the music of Joel Love, my friend, and the composer of Solace. There is something about the language of the piece that just clicks with me and my way of expression. I told Joel (Joey) after the performance that it was the least nervous I had ever been for a concerto performance. I believe that comfort with the stylistic and emotional demands of the piece really had something to do with this feeling. Take some time to check out his music if you can!

A huge and sincere congratulations to all of the other collaborators involved with this project. Dr. Matt Schlomer and the Interlochen Arts Academy Wind Ensemble sounded fantastic. They, along with the Factory Seconds Brass Trio, gave a moving performance of Dr. Clint Needham’s Resolve!, and performed an artistically and technically challenging set of pieces by Frank Ticheli. My BW colleagues Dan McKelway and Anthony Fuoco performed Leonard Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs in a way that I’m sure would make Bernstein proud.

It was also amazing to supported by my family and friends that could make it to the performance. I love being able to share what I love with the people I love the most!

This amazing sense of community is what I will remember most about the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Invitational experience. It is also what I value more and more each day about being a musician in general. Onward!

Steven BanksComment