Fifteen students from the Fine Arts Department at Santa Fe College got to explore what it’s like to be professional musicians at the Florida College System Activities Association’s Winter Music Symposium in Jacksonville. Held at the University of North Florida (UNF) Jan. 28-30, 2016, the annual event brought over 300 music students from 18 colleges together to audition for seats in eight different ensembles, to rehearse, and finally to perform in concert. Faculty and staff members of the UNF School of Music served as festival directors.
“This was a priceless experience for our students,” said Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands Steve Bingham, Ph.D. “The auditions and rehearsals were rigorous and Saturday’s final concert ran from 11:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon.”
Bingham’s students placed well in the over 100-member Symphonic Band. Out of 11 students from 11 different colleges, Alex Desmond placed first chair of French horn. David Daza and Michael Gray placed third and fourth alto saxophone, Travis O’Neal placed second tenor saxophone, and Kristin Hunt placed third clarinet.
In the Percussion Ensemble, music scholarship students Zach Brown and Berea Etherton placed fifth in the battery and second in the keyboard sections, respectively.
In the Guitar Ensemble, music scholarship student Manuel Robles placed second in electric guitar. Matt Dobrzanski audited the Jazz Band on bass guitar.
Associate Professor of Music Lynn Sandefur’s vocal students—Nelson Baquerizo (baritone), Andrea Garcia (soprano), Naomi Glaser (alto), and Tucker Washburn (tenor)—all auditioned and placed in the 150-piece Festival Chorus. Baquerizo, who also participated in the Vocal Concerto Competition, was selected to read translated verse of the Spanish text the choir sang to the audience.
Two piano students of Associate Professor of Music Mitch McKay, D.M.A.—Gerald Gramer and Liam Frank—competed in the Piano Concerto Competition and performed for the 30 students in the piano master class.
“I thoroughly enjoyed working with Professor Mabrey, the percussion instructor,” said percussionist Berea Etherton. “She taught music from the bottom up, including the historical context behind the marimba and the importance of understanding your instrument. It was great interacting with other musicians around Florida and experiencing the University of North Florida’s music building and campus.”
The trip was made possible by funding from Student Leadership and Activities at Santa Fe College. “Many thanks to Teresa Lanier and Teri Osoba for their help,” Bingham concluded.