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22nd Annual Gala Benefit recognizes scholarships, students

22nd Annual Gala Benefit recognizes scholarships, students

Amanda Goering

Singing a story of tragic romance, Anna Ryan, and Scott Wichael, perform at the Gala Benefit Concert held by the music faculty Friday, Sept. 13 at Heath Recital Hall. The duet sang the song “The Pirates of Penzance” written by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Music filled the air as the music department celebrated the 22nd annual Gala Benefit Concert featuring Emporia State faculty and a last minute addition of a few students.

“We’ve been doing this since 1992 as a way to provide a really outstanding concert at the beginning of the year, and of course to raise scholarship money, and to honor an individual here into the Frank A. Beach Hall of distinction,” said Allan Comstock, chair of the music department. 

This year’s Gala featured performance by four groups – the Mid-America Woodwind Quintet, Anna Ryan and Scott Wichael, Kanza Tronada and the Faculty Jazz Combo.

The Woodwind Quintet performed three movements of Franz Danzi’s Wind Quintet in B-Flat Major, Op. 5, No. 1.

“I think I like the slow movement because it gives you a chance to do espressivo,” Said William Clamurro, who played oboe in the group.

Anna Ryan and Scott Wichael, two members of the voice faculty, sang a comical four song set from The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan, about a couple who are engaged to be married, but cannot until he turns 21 and is released from his servitude to the pirates- but since he was born on leap year, he won’t turn 21 for more than 50 years.

Kanza Tronada, a duo featuring Dawn McConkie on clarinet and Tracy Freeze on vibraphone and marimba, played Claude Lenners Poeme for clarinet and vibraphone and an arrangement of Julie Spencer’s Tree Song for marimba and B-flat clarinet. The latter featured “…a lot of dialog between the clarinet and marimba emulating sounds from nature. A lot of wind movements, bird calls,” Tracy Freeze said when introducing the piece.

The final group on the program was the Faculty Jazz Combo, who played three charts in three distinctive styles- Cold Duck Time- a funk chart, How Insensitive- a Latin chart, and Oleo- an upbeat swing tune.

During intermission, Comstock recognized Augusta Shepherd as the inductee into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction. Shepherd and her family donated the money to have renovations done to Beach music hall in 1998, providing the music department with classrooms use to conduct large ensembles.

“I have considered it a privilege to have graduated from the Kansas State Teacher’s College 70 years ago… may ESU last another 150 years,” Shepherd said.

A plaque honoring her will be hung in front of Heath Recital Hall, and her biography will be posted on the department of music’s webpage.

This annual event raises between $5,000 and $12,000 for scholarship students.

“Scholarship students must audition. And then it’s based on the strength of their audition, and to some extent it’s based on the need for the instrument, too, oboes, bassoons, and horns and violas. Obviously, we have fewer people that audition on those,” Comstock said.

There are about 85 students with music scholarships, music majors and non-majors alike.

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