From marimbas and bassoons to a “Laptop Symphony,” students were able to perform and show their music compositions on Saturday, Dec. 6 in the Recital Hall of the Redfern Arts Center.

Elaine Ginsberg, professor of music at Keene State College, enjoyed the performance,

“I think it went very well, there were a lot of pieces and a lot of work went into these pieces,” Ginsberg said. Ginsberg also performed on piano in the first student-composed work of the night, created by student Sam Irvine.

Tim Smith / Equinox Staff

Tim Smith / Equinox Staff

Ginsberg explained the process that leads up to the final performance, “Each student is required to write a work throughout the semester and perform it at the end of the semester, so these composers have been very busy.”

Student composers Dane Haupt-Renaud and Sam Irvine worked with Ginsberg throughout the semester on their pieces. “I helped them in the compositional process,” Ginsberg said.

Ginsberg continued, “My approach is, I work with the students, what they want to write and I help them make it better.  When they come in with an idea, when Sam came in and said he wanted to write this brass ensemble piece, I was very excited.  He already had a beginning and then we decided in the middle of the piece, he was stuck and didn’t know where he wanted to go, I said, ‘How about if you put in a fugue?’ and he said, ‘What’s a fugue?’  And I said, ‘Well, let’s learn what a fugue is,’ and pretty soon his piece turned into a fugue,” Ginsberg said.

Irvine’s piece was entitled “The Inner Light,” which he and Ginsberg created together and was based off of a Star Trek Next Generation episode.  According to the program the piece is split up into five different sections, all having to do with different parts of the episode.

Ginsberg’s other student, Haupt-Renaud, had two pieces in the program, “Trio for Flute, Oboe and Keyboard” and “Homage in Bach.” One he worked on over the summer with Ginsberg and the other he completed over the current semester, explained Ginsberg.

“Bach in Homage” is inspired by Composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s piece “Two Part Invention No. 4,”  according to the program. Haupt-Renaud describes his piece as one that “Takes Bach’s original theme to the brink of madness, juxtaposing it against itself in a variety of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic  contexts.”

Christian Raabe, a bassist, first-year and music

education major enjoyed performing.  “It went really well, there are a lot of good pieces and a lot of good players,” Raabe said.

He said his favorite student compositions were, “Waltz in the Midnight Sun,” written by Jameson Foster and “The Inner Light,” by Sam Irvine.  “They were all really great,” Raabe said.  He performed in Foster’s piece.    

Micayla Mahoney, a KSC first-year, member of the brass ensemble and music education major echoed Raabe’s sentiment.

“There were a couple little hiccups, but I thought overall it sounded really good,” Mahoney said. She performed in Irvine’s piece.

As first-years, Raabe and Mahoney performed in the concert, but were not composers. Upperclassmen in the music department typically compose while other students and faculty perform — sometimes composers did both.

Scott DeMeo, a music major and a junior watched the concert.  His favorite piece from the night was composed by KSC student Justin Young, entitled “Hildaland (The Vanishing Island).”

“I think it went pretty well, it was a long program, but it went by pretty quickly, which is usually a good thing.  I like that there was a lot of variety, especially with the laptop piece they performed.  I thought it was a nice way to end the season as well,” DeMeo said.

Hannah Sundell can be contacted at

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