The Fourth Annual Delta State University Chamber Ensemble Competition was held on February 21 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center Recital Hall on the campus. First Place was awarded to the DSU Flute Quartet. The DSU Flute Quintet won Second Place, and Third Place was awarded to the DSU Clarinet Quartet.
“We had to practice a lot on our own and then had very productive rehearsals together. We grew closer as friends and as a performance ensemble through the whole process,” said clarinetist Courtney Weir. The students received coaching from the faculty, said Weir. “One thing I love about Dr. Bret Pimentel, our clarinet professor, is that he asks questions to help us to think on our own.” Some students were responsible for choosing their own repertoire, said flutist Jessica Egdorf: “Our flute professor, Dr. Shelley Collins, gave us an assignment to research flute repertoire on YouTube and then to post our favorite pieces to our Facebook group. We then listened to all of the selections and chose our competition pieces together.” Flutist Robyn Rouse described rehearsals as intense. “In addition to listening to recordings and practicing on our own, we had to practice from the score so that we learned to read and listen to each other’s parts better.” Clarinetist Darius Jones explained that playing chamber music is much different than performing a solo. “Everyone has to be individually responsible for their own part so that we can make music together as a group.”
The competition was coordinated by Dr. Kumiko Shimizu, Associate Professor of Music. Shimizu is the faculty collaborative pianist at Delta State and started the competition to encourage students to develop organizational skills and to experience the collaborative process through creating a small ensemble, scheduling rehearsals and coaching sessions, and performing. Awards were provided by the Delta State University Foundation.