In today’s society where pop and alternative music dominate the charts, the Keene community’s support for classical music is alive and well, as there was nothing but praise for it this past weekend. 

Keene State College students and the Keene community got a taste of classical music at the Ensemble Recital Series Nov. 15 and 16.

The two day series involved instrumental’s with stringed and woodwind instruments.

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

The composers ranged from Mozart to Johan Halvorsen and more.

The series was directed by Marcia Lehninger, Jim Sharrock, Heather Gilligan and Chris Swist and showcased work students had been working on throughout the semester.

A member of the woodwind section, bassoonist Justin Young, a music performance major intending to graduate in 2017, said his favorite piece was Passacaglia, a duo originally written for violin and viola composed by Johan Halvorsen.

According to the playbill, Halvorsen was a composer, violinist and conductor from Norway.  He conducted everything from orchestral concerts to operas in the 20th century.

The piece the ensemble performed is considered to be, “Very demanding on the performers; part of its virtuosity entails having the two instruments simulate the sonority of a string quartet, through the use of double stops.”

This means playing two or more tones simultaneously on the violin and related string instrument, in this instance a viola, according to the playbill.

Also according to the playbill, Halvorsen’s piece was composed as a form of baroque music deriving from a Spanish dance, including a “usually in moderately slow triple meter, with a slow harmonic rhythm changing generally with the measure.”

Young and others agreed that this was the best rendition of many of the songs they had been preparing for the event.

“That was awesome, they were on fire. They did really awesome,” Young said.

The performance separated the pieces by instrument sections like woodwind and stringed instruments.

Their concert consisted of a flute, a clarinet, an oboe, violins, a viola, a cello, a saxophone, guitars and percussion instruments.  Many of the students played Saturday and Sunday and performed to a large audience both times.

Clarinet player Abby Desharnais, an elementary education and math major, echoed Young’s enthusiasm for the performance. “I think it went really well, that’s the best we’ve ever played that piece,” Desharnais said.

Audience member and mother of one of the performing musicians, Lynette Goss said she enjoyed the concert.  “Awesome, The strings were great, just amazing.  My son plays and so I’m partial to it,” Goss said.

Lucia Martin an oboe player, junior and a general science for middle school education major likes performing in music concerts at KSC because, “I like the smaller groups because you feel like everyone in the room has a real voice,” Martin said.

Danielle St Amand, a sophomore and music education major enjoyed the series as well.  “I think it went really great,” St Amand said.

After a semester’s worth of preparation, music students were finally able to show off what they had learned and worked on, “The hard work definitely paid off, we can breathe now,” Young said.


Hannah Sundell can be contacted at

Share and Enjoy !