Faculty Artists Engage Michigan Youth

Spartan Wind Quintet offers lively outreach performance and Q&A with 7th – 12th grade students.

Millford High School students pack their auditorium to watch and learn from the Spartan Wind Quintet.

Milford High School Band director and MSU College of Music alumna Katy Sare says that if a picture is worth a thousand words, than a live musical performance is worth a thousand or more.

That turn of phrase was validated in late 2014 when the Spartan Wind Quintet fielded dozens of questions from junior and high school band students following a performance in Sare’s school.

“The kids had some great questions and were so inspired,” says Sare. “They took away a greater understanding of the intricacies of chamber music from seeing it professionally done.”

Sare occasionally enlists MSU faculty soloists, bands, and ensembles to provide insights on professional performance and collegiate study. Last fall, Sare reached out to her former teacher and Professor of Flute Richard Sherman to see if he could perform at her school. As they talked, Sherman suggested that the newly formed Spartan Quintet could pay a visit instead.

“We had been on hiatus for many years, but recently started up again,” says Sherman of the quintet that was originally called the Richards Quintet and involves faculty from MSU’s woodwind and brass studios. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to bring the music to them so they could see what we do and interact with us, too.”

Members of the Spartan Wind Quintet are MSU College of Music faculty members Richard Sherman, flute; Jan Eberle, oboe; Guy Yehuda, clarinet; Michael Kroth, bassoon; and Corbin Wagner, horn. 

The quintet played for nearly 400 band students in the Huron Valley School District, including 7th through 12th grade students from Muir Middle School, Lakeland High School, and Milford High School. Quintet members shared historic perspectives on the repertoire as well as insights on how players interact within a small chamber group. After the performance, the auditorium “turned up the lights” to encourage a lively question and answer session.

“Students were enthusiastic and genuinely interested in the music,” says Michael Kroth, the quintet’s bassoonist and associate dean of the college. “Many stayed after the performance to meet us and ask follow-up questions about the College of Music.”

He added that the visit was among the College’s various outreach efforts to bring music and educational activities to K-12 schools and other organizations.

“We hope students come away from these kinds of performances with a greater appreciation for music that they may not otherwise have had the opportunity to hear,” says Kroth. “Additionally, we hope that exposure to music at this age will generate interest in the musical arts and create future audiences.” 

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