Faculty showcase creates engaging experience

Sookkyung Cho
Courtesy / GVSU

Sookkyung Cho Courtesy / GVSU

Allison Rafferty

Grand Valley State University’s Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance put on its 2020 Faculty Showcase on Monday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Taking place in the ​Park Congregational Church in downtown Grand Rapids, the showcase featured performances from faculty and students alike, creating a great opportunity  to engage with the Grand Rapids music scene.

All faculty showcases are arranged by Associate Professor and Director of GVSU Orchestras Henry Duitman. The event was free to the public and included performances from the Grand Valley Winds, Associate Professor Sookkyung Cho and a chamber orchestra composed of both faculty and students members.

Associate Professor Marlen Vavrikova first joined the university’s Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance back in 2005 and performed in the showcase as a member of the faculty chamber music ensemble Grand Valley Winds. Other members of the faculty wind quintet include Christopher Kantner on flute, Gary June on clarinet, Victoria Olson on bassoon and Richard Britsch on horn.

With Vavrikova on Oboe, the faculty wind quintet performed the movements ​Woodwind Quintet No. 2 ​by Vaclav Nelhybel and ​Quintet No. 1​ by Jean Francaix.

Vavrikova said the concert had a great atmosphere and that “​It was a truly inspirational evening for everybody involved.”

Following the Grand Valley Winds, Cho performed a piano solo of Mozart’s ​Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major. ​The student and faculty chamber orchestra performed with Cho during her solo, and she said she loved performing with the orchestra and that “it was really great to perform with great musicians.”

Cho said that her favorite part of the 2020 Faculty Showcase was “sharing this beautiful piece of music with everyone there.”

Vavriokova said that she hopes audience members could feel the passion for music in the performances. She also hopes that they were able to feel how beautiful and special it is to connect with music, especially with some of the pieces being written centuries ago.

“Music has the ability to transport us to different time and space, taking us on a journey where we feel various emotions and experience something extraordinary,” said Vavrikova.

Vavrikova has been a recipient of the Presser Musical Award and the Kate Neal Kinley Musical Fellowship. Cho has received the ​Grace Clagett Ranney Prize in Chamber Music.

“​While performing I felt very fortunate to be able to collaborate with such incredible musicians, who have vast performing experiences and are so much fun to work with,” Vavrikova.

Cho explained that a lot of GVSU’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance performances take place on the Allendale campus, “but as all the Lakers do, we want to meet and communicate with a wider audience, so (the faculty showcase) was a great opportunity to meet the audience in Grand Rapids.”

Vavrikova said putting on events like the 2020 Faculty Showcase “is our way of showcasing the world-class faculty and excellent students that come to GVSU.”