Dana School goes outdoors
Dana School of Music students and faculty traditionally do 120 concerts each school year.
Some of those shows still happened in 2020-21, but the students mostly played in empty performance spaces and the listeners enjoyed them through a computer screen or a cellphone.
But students will get a few opportunities to play for people, and the community will get a chance to enjoy some free live music as Youngstown State University’s music school plans three outdoor concerts on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and a YSU Wind Ensemble performance is in the works for May 1.
Dana Director Randall Goldberg called it vital for music students to gain concert experience.
“Playing in front of an audience is a very different experience than playing in a practice room or in front of a camera,” he said. “With the weather warming up, playing outdoors is safer than having concerts indoors. Sitting outside and listening to music is a really great pleasure.”
Goldberg joked that he wouldn’t go so far as to rewrite the famous quote of football coach Vince Lombardi and say, “Performing isn’t the most important thing; it’s the only thing.”
“But it’s important for students when they come out of here that they’re professional performers,” he said.
Harrison Common, a green space on Walnut Street, has been used in the past for live performances, but the first outdoor performance will use a nontraditional venue — the M30 parking deck on Wick Avenue across the street from the Butler Institute of American Art.
Two brass quintets, Breakout Brass Quintet and Sunset Brass Qunitet, will perform on the parking deck’s lower level at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“Surprisingly, most have really enjoyed performing down there,” Goldberg said. “We ran classes down there until he end of October, and everyone told me they really liked being down there. Yeah, it might be a little boomy, but it was nice walking out and hearing a saxophone or a choir singing there. It was kind of novelty for a while.”
Both brass quintets are coached by Andrew Mitchell. The quintet will alternate back and forth performing a repertoire by such composers as Victor Ewald, Morley Calvert, George Gershwin, Frank Ticheli, Franz von Suppe, Elmer Bernstein, Eric Ewazen, Kevin McKee and Anthony Plog.
Breakout Brass Quintet features Maria Mangine, trumpet, Lowellville; Nick Mattiussi, trumpet, Austintown; Katie Berlin, horn, Erie, Pa.; John Fitch, euphonium, Lowellville; and Connor Remington, tuba, Bethel Park, Pa.
Sunset Brass Quintet includes Darren Thompson, trumpet, Meadville, Pa.; Ryan Bowden, trumpet, New Castle, Pa.; Severino Paredes, horn, New Kensington, Pa.; Brandon Hackimer, trombone, Pittsburgh; and Zak Rahal, bass trombone, Plymouth, Mich.
The parking deck also could be used as a backup venue in the event of rain for the two shows planned for Harrison Common — Misook Yun’s voice studio students 2:30 p.m. Sunday and the YSU Flute Ensemble 6 p.m. Monday.
Rain isn’t the only threat to the flute ensemble concert. Woodwinds don’t do well in colder weather, and temperatures need to be above 60 degrees on Monday for the flute ensemble to be able to perform outdoors, Goldberg said.
Yun’s voice students will perform music by Henrik Lilljebjorn, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arthur Walter Kramer, George Frideric Handel, Felix Mendelssohn, Aaron Copland, Ludwig van Beethoven, Hugo Wolf, Celius Dougherty and Leo Delibes.
Participating students are Lauren Faber, Greenville, Pa.; LaNae’ Ferguson, Warren / Youngstown; Emily Gerak, Poland; Marlina Karimi, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Jaelynn Mack, Dayton; Sierra McCorvey, Warren; Caroline Mclaughlin, Toronto, Ohio; Alexa Mosca, Hubbard; Zoe Nocera, Steubenville; and Joseph Spurio, Hubbard.
Members of the YSU Flute Ensemble, directed by Kathryn Thomas Umble, will perform music by Faustin Jean-Jean, David Stiver, Claude Debussy, Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach and Michael Colquhoun, and the full ensemble will play Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumble Bee.”
Students participating are Olivia Benna, Pittsburgh; Kayla Gilmore, Chester, W.Va.; Mia Heron, Murrysville, Pa.; Andriy Lassowsky, Pittsburgh; Kaitlyn Livingston, Lakewood; Megan Ochs, Freedom, Pa.; and Jordan Pope, Youngstown.
“We’ve accomplished a lot this year considering the situation,” Goldberg said. “I’ve heard some of groups rehearsing, and they’re still making great music. We have a dedicated faculty that understood the situation and made sure students are still progressing and that they’ll be where they need to be at the end of the year.”
Dana School of Music outdoor concerts
• Saturday — The Breakout Brass Quintet and Sunset Brass Quintet on the lower level of the M30 Wick Avenue parking deck at 7 p.m.
• Sunday — Misook Yun’s voice studio students at Harrison Common on Walnut Street at 2:30 p.m.
• Monday — Youngstown State University Flute Ensemble at Harrison Common at 6 p.m.
Admission is free. Those attending are encouraged to bring their own chairs. Masks are required, and social distancing will be enforced.