Arts at Noon faculty performance aims to educate students

Members of the GVSU Brass Quintet performed holiday music for students and faculty on Dec. 2 in Allendale, MI.

Kasey Garvelink

Members of the GVSU Brass Quintet performed holiday music for students and faculty on Dec. 2 in Allendale, MI.

Mary Racette

Grand Valley State University’s Faculty Brass Quintet comprised of Alex Wilson, Richard Britsch, Mark Williams, Paul Carlson and visiting professor Paul Hardaker intends to “inspire, relax and artistically recharge the audience” during their Arts at Noon performance on Feb. 27.

Carlson, the quintet’s tubist, shared that the set list will contain a diverse selection of pieces. The performance will open by taking the audience back in time with a Renaissance piece by Giovanni Gabrieli and a piece from the Baroque period. They plan to close the performance with contemporary music and light pops. He said they intend to provide the audience with “a preview of all of the things a brass quartet does.”

A significant portion of the 50-minute performance will consist of a piece by the 20th century composer Jan Koetsier. Wilson, the quintet’s trumpeter, described the piece as “very humorous and playful.”  He noted that the piece begins with a serious tone but progressively lightens up. 

“We not only perform the music we want, but also the music we think our audience wants to hear,” Carlson said.

The faculty members in the quintet stressed the importance that live performances by professors hold for their students, as well as the entire GVSU community. Williams, the quintet’s trombonist, acknowledges the unique experience which comes from watching one’s professors perform and the value gained by observing the different elements in the protocol and execution of the performance as “a part of a student’s educational training.”

As an alumnus of the GVSU music program, Wilson emphasizes the value he found from attending his professors’ performances as a student.  He described the experience as “tremendously motivating.” He elaborated by sharing how his professors’ high skill level and talent influenced him to pay attention in class and practice diligently in order to be a successful musician.

The entire GVSU community is encouraged to attend the performances and enjoy the benefits of the free performance. The concerts in the Arts at Noon series take place on Wednesdays from noon to 12:50 p.m. 

As a consistent event which takes place in the middle of each week, Williams said that the goal for this series is to “leave people feeling a little bit happier.”

“Whenever I perform, I hope that I can help people forget about their everyday life,” Wilson said. “I want to bring the entire audience into the music.”

In addition to their services to the GVSU music program and student body as a whole, the quintet’s community outreach efforts include performing concerts at high schools and providing resources for students to learn more about GVSU and the music program.  Through this service, the quintet intends to expose high school students to a higher caliber of live performances.  After high school concerts, the quintet welcomes the students to ask any questions about a career in music or specific questions about the university, added Williams.  

“Something that our department believes philosophically is that music and art is an important part of education and we want to support these teachers and students,” Williams said.

The GVSU Faculty Brass Quintet will perform in the Cook-DeWitt Center on Feb. 27 at noon.