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UD Wind Ensemble to represent American bands at international conference

The UD Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Chad Nicholson, rehearses for its upcoming performance at an international band and orchestra conference in Taiwan.

The University of Delaware Wind Ensemble is in the final stages of preparation for an overseas performance of a lifetime as members prepare to travel to Taipei, Taiwan, to participate as special guest performers at the 2015 Taiwan Clinic: An International Band and Orchestra Conference.

The Taiwan Clinic, which is set to take place April 25-26, features performances by wind bands from across the Asian continent, as well special guest performances by ensembles spanning the globe.

The UD Wind Ensemble, made up of 51 students under the direction of Chad Nicholson, assistant professor of music, was selected for this year’s special guest ensemble over a year ago. The ensemble will perform through the clinic as representatives of American band culture and music education.

“Our real responsibility as performers at this clinic is to represent what we, as an American wind band, can be,” says Nicholson. “We’re traveling not only to observe what band can be in other cultures but also to demonstrate the value that we give to band and music in American culture, as well.”

Nicholson, who has received degrees in music from the University of Oklahoma (bachelor’s in music education), New Mexico State University (master’s in wind conducting) and Indiana University (doctorate in wind conducting), is in just his third year as a member of the faculty at UD. 

In addition to directing the UD Wind Ensemble, he also teaches instrumental conducting to graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Music.

Nicholson’s tireless work with the Wind Ensemble has brought great acclaim and an outstanding reputation. Under his direction, the Wind Ensemble has had the honor of touring in guest performances along the East Coast and the privilege of performing world premieres of new pieces for wind band, and has been honored to have visits from esteemed guest conductors and composers.

Michael D’Avino, the Wind Ensemble’s graduate assistant conductor, can’t contain his excitement for the upcoming voyage to Taiwan. “I’ve been looking forward to this, ever since the idea was thrown around last year, and I’m completely excited to be a part of this,” he says. 

D’Avino is a second-year graduate student at UD, where he studies wind conducting under Nicholson’s instruction. As he spends much of his time with Nicholson, he was a part of the inner circle during the Taiwan Clinic application process, which involved submitting performance recordings of the ensemble as well as a biography and personal resume of Nicholson himself. Despite the odds of being selected from countless ensembles across the globe, D’Avino had complete faith and confidence in Nicholson.

“He is an absolutely incredible band director. He cares about each of his students, and to say that he is passionate and enthusiastic about music and teaching would be an understatement,” said D’Avino. “I could not ask for a better teacher, mentor and friend.”

Michael Swiren, a first-year graduate student who studies wind conducting under Nicholson, could not agree more. Swiren performed under Nicholson in the Wind Ensemble during his undergraduate career at UD, where he graduated last May with a bachelor’s degree in music education, tuba concentration. When he was looking into graduate schools, Swiren could only think of one person he wanted to study with.

“Without a doubt, Nicholson is the reason why I’m here,” he says. 

Sw

iren, who will also accompany the Wind Ensemble on their voyage to Taiwan, describes Nicholson as being a charismatic and inspiring individual who always pushes his students to be at their best. Hoping to be a music teacher in public schools one day, Swiren says he believes that this experience will help him to see the impact of band in other cultures, which he can help apply to his career.

A performance of a lifetime, an impact forever

For the Wind Ensemble’s performances in Taiwan, the musical repertoire allows for alternating moments of excitement, beauty and energy between contrasting works. From a highly energetic and articulated opening piece, to a soothing and beautiful chorale, and finished by a surprise encore reminiscent of bright jazz melodies, each section of the ensemble is able to show their musical capabilities over the course of the performance.

“The repertoire is difficult,” says trombonist Andrew Roberts, “but we’re up to the challenge and it will be a great showcase to introduce us to audiences overseas.” 

Roberts, a first-year graduate student who studies trombone performance, is looking forward to the experience that will come from the Taiwan Clinic, which will include his first time traveling outside of the United States. “Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter where we perform. Our end goal is always the same -- to create an awesome musical product that we’re proud of, and share that product with others,” he says.

Josh Baker, a junior music education major who plays euphonium in the Wind Ensemble, is looking forward not only to the performance but also the future impact that being at this clinic will have on his career path. “We’re getting the chance of a lifetime, to witness a wider world of music. It’s going to be a real eye-opening experience, and one I hope helps me to evolve as a future music educator,” he says.

Nicholson knows that each student will leave Taiwan with something important to use in their futures as musicians and as educators. “What I hope that they all take away from this experience is that music is all about connecting and communicating with others,” he says smiling. He also adds his desire for his students to understand the ways other cultures make, respect, and celebrate music.

After the UD Wind Ensemble’s Taiwan performances in April, the ensemble will return to Newark to put on their final concert of the semester, which will take place at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 9, at the Roselle Center for the Arts.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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UD's Wind Ensemble will be special guest performers at the 2015 Taiwan Clinic: An International Band and Orchestra Conference.

The University of Delaware Wind Ensemble will travel to Taipei, Taiwan, in late April to be special guest performers at the 2015 Taiwan Clinic: An International Band and Orchestra Conference.

4/10/2015
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