Guitar ensemble’s evening of classics
Four student guitarists recently came together to produce an enchanting evening of classical guitar music.
The Cameron University Guitar Ensemble performed at 7:30 p.m. on April 22 in the McCutcheon Recital Hall. The group, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Kirsten Underwood, is composed of Senior Music Major Ashim Bohara, Junior Music Majors Shane Rutherford and Wesley Stafford and Freshman Music Major Jeremy Redbird. Becoming a part of the ensemble is a degree requirement for all music majors with a focus in guitar.
The evening’s program featured works from four different composers: “Orchestral Suite No. 2, BWV 1067” by Johan Sebastian Bach, a collection entitled “Impressionen” by Jaime M. Zenamon, “Ballade pour Anne” by Guy Bergeron and “Scherzo Humoristique, Op. 12, No. 9” by Sergei Prokofiev.
Underwood said the program is something that she and the group came up with together. Having first picked out a variety of songs that would represent different styles and periods of music, Underwood then helps the group decide which songs would best showcase their talents and techniques. For Redbird, the performance gave him the opportunity to show what he has learned.
He said: “I am only just now getting into learning the classical style of guitar playing and getting that formal training. Being self-taught up to this point, it’s nice to be able to get into the more theoretical concepts of what I’m doing.”
As the only senior of the group, Bohara was featured prominently in the program. Besides being a great performer and strong member of the ensemble, Bohara was also entrusted by Underwood to be a leader and mentor for the younger students.
“I want the upperclassmen to be leaders for the lowerclassman,” Underwood said. “They take most of the first and second parts of the music, and there’s no conductor leading the group, so they have to run the recital themselves. It’s a very challenging position to be in.”
Bohara said he was pleased to have had the opportunity to be a leader in the group.
“You learn a lot when you’re put into a leadership position within an ensemble,” he said. “I think that’s something that every musician should experience.”
Rutherford said he is looking forward to following in Bohara’s footsteps next year when he will be the senior member of the group.
The recital started with the Bach pieces, giving the evening a very classical start.
Moving on to the Zenamon portion of the evening, the music shifted to a slightly more contemporary feel and sound, almost like America’s “Ventura Highway” or “A Horse with No Name.” Each section of Zenamon’s “Impressionen” was a thematic piece, with the title giving a hint as to the picture the composer was trying to create. “The Source” was mystical, “In the Reeds” had an innocent air and “The Market” was busy and bustling.
Next, Bohara and Stafford played a duet piece which included a section which allowed Bohara to showcase his improvisation skills.
Stafford said he has enjoyed getting the chance to round out his musical education at Cameron.
“I started off playing rock and heavy metal. I came to Cameron from Western Oklahoma State College where I studied jazz,” Stafford said. “Now I’m here learning the classical technique.”
The evening ended with the ensemble’s final song. The piece was memorable for moments when all four guitars would hit a single chord that resonated through the recital hall and the ensemble’s use of “call and response” technique in which a section of the song is played by one guitar and then repeated by another.
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