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February 20, 2009
By Natalie Savidge
This year’s Fifth Annual Bassoon Ensemble Concert, “Rock-n-Roll Retrospective,” rocked the Nightingale Concert Hall Tuesday evening, Feb. 17
The University of Nevada, Reno musicians played to their largest Spring semester crowd ever since those first notes together five years ago in a themed concert.
“It takes a lot to throw me off of my game, but I was completely taken aback when I took the stage prior to the finale to welcome and thank our largest audience ever,” Assistant Professor of Bassoon Christin Schillinger said. The audience has grown from 30 in the first year, leveled off at 75 and this year the crowd was estimated at 200.
“As a collective group, we reached people who had never listened to, seen, or even heard of a bassoon before,” said Schillinger. “They left Nightingale enthusiastic about one of the most ‘classical, stuffy, high-brow’ instruments in the orchestra.”
In addition to music, Bassoon Ensemble shows are humorous and traditionally include costumes, sets, and theatrics with dancers performing a variety of medleys. This year, Elvis made an appearance, as did the Beatles, and some the Spice Girls. The finale, a recreation of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, included fog and tombstones littering the stage, while two monstrous dancers moved to some familiar choreography.
The Ensemble is comprised of students from the Bassoon Studio in the Department of Music and Dance. Students represented are freshmen in college through graduate students, non-majors through performance majors. The Ensemble also includes a community member, Bassoon Bob (Bob Hiestand), who is an adopted member of the Studio. He hosted a reception for the audience after the performance.
The concert connected with young students as well as seasoned orchestra ticket holders who enjoyed the sounds of the bassoon and finding humor in an unsuspected place.