Hi guys, I’m Nikki and I’ll be telling you about my involvement in the music programs at Caltech. But first, a little about how I got into music here.
My involvement with music started when I joined band in 6th grade on the clarinet and continued playing through high school. Our school had a rigorous band program, with daily marching rehearsals starting at 7 AM two hours before classes began, an hour of band class every day, and weekly evening sectionals. Although band tended to make my life very stressful in high school, it was also my favorite class and when I chose Caltech, I didn’t want to give up the clarinet just because I was going to a “Tech” focused school.
Luckily, Caltech has several programs for musicians who want to continue performing on their instrument. During the club fair in orientation, I met the band director, Bill Bing, and the chamber music director (his wife), Delores Bing. Band was an obvious choice for me. Chamber music, which is geared around small ensembles of 3 to 4 musicians on different instruments, was not something I had tried before, but I decided to give it a shot. Both groups required a short audition for placement purposes, where I performed a brief selection from a work of my choice and sight-read a few lines. Then, when the school year started, I was placed into a chamber music group and placed on a part for band.
During the school year I have rehearsal once a week for each group. I play for an hour with my chamber music group, and for two hours with band. Chamber music groups perform twice a year, and the groups change for each performance. Band performs a major concert about once a term.
Chamber music groups are made up of Caltech students, and each meeting is led by either Delores or a private music teacher, who often plays with the group. My group this term is made up of Mitch, a professional Bassoon player, Keshav, a freshman oboe player, and me. We selected a piece at the beginning of term, and we perform this coming Sunday.
The Caltech-Occidental Band is made up of Caltech undergraduates and graduate students, Occidental students, alumni and community members. Bill leads us through rehearsal almost every week, but we occasionally have sectionals led by our section leaders instead. The Caltech Bandorama performances are coming up this weekend, where the two Caltech jazz bands and the concert band perform a free show.
In addition to these groups, the clarinet section in the band, with the help of our section leader, Lynne, decided to start a clarinet choir this term. We now have approximately 9 clarinets, and we play together twice a month for about two hours. Although we started out just playing some fun music in our spare time, we now have a joint performance with the trombone choir scheduled for early June.
That’s all for now, but hopefully I’ll be able to share some of my performance preparation experiences with you later this week, and I’ll have pictures of my concerts after the weekend.