Clarinet Festival: 10/10, Would Go Again

Clarinet Choir on display. (Mark Rash)

This year, the University Clarinet Choir started the school year off with a bang. While it is custom to have the Brandon University Clarinet Festival in the second term (April), the well-known and renowned clarinetist James Campbell was on campus for a concert on October 24th. To take advantage of this special occasion, everyone worked their socks off to pull together the Clarinet Festival in time. It was especially difficult this year due to it being held mid-week and having such little preparation time, but the challenge was accepted. The festival was held on October 24th and 25th, led by Dr. Wood and her BU clarinet students. If you’ve every been to anything like Comic Con, Clarinet Festivals are sort of like a professional convention for clarinetists.

During the Clarinet Festival, students from across Manitoba came to attend numerous events, such as the Repair Workshop (with Ed Machado), Master Class and Interview (with James Campbell), Mass Clarinet Choir (for all) rehearsal and concert, professional concerts (with James Campbell and Tori Okwabi), and the Toy Room. This year’s toy room had the pleasure of including Midwest Music Imports with Tori Okwabi. Because of this, three students (including myself) were able to adopt their own babies (clarinets). We now welcome 2 A clarinets and 1 Bb clarinet into our family, where Dr. Wood jokingly said this now makes her a grandma.

James Campbell has preeminent knowledge of not only clarinet but of all working music and gave a lot of input for chamber work in his masterclass. Watching the concerts and being at the interviews with James Campbell over the two days was very humbling, especially to see a professional performer sit down to play; only to have his pants rise to reveal music-notes on his socks. It just goes to show that no matter the age and rank of a musician, we are all just quirky kids at heart with a passion for music. Ed Machado’s distinguished wisdom was brought out in his Repair Workshop, where he went into depth demonstrating and explaining repair procedures including when to do it yourself and when to take it to a professional.

Although I feel as though most of my time was spent trying out clarinet models, this year’s festival was a very enjoyable social and learning experience. The Brandon University Clarinet Festival is an annual on-campus event that we hope to see some new faces at next year, so be on the lookout for next year’s posters! To celebrate the success and hard work of the festival, the Brandon University Clarinet Studio/Choir will be taking a break from rehearsal for some spooky Halloween activities, including haunted house exploring! As of now, it’s all over and the clarinet choir can finally relax, unless of course… the cake is a lie.