A typical wind ensemble consists of 50-60 members. EMU’s has less than 30. However, the program’s director John Dull is not allowing this fact to discourage the group. “We are small, but happily in balance,” says Dull. “With small numbers you don’t get “wall of sound” performances- you get more intimate interpretations of the music. I have selected repertoire for this semester that takes advantage of this more intimate setting.”
Dull has also created subsets of the group, forming small chamber music ensembles whose music at concerts will add layers to the entire Wind Ensemble’s performance.
In conversation, Dull’s excitement and passion for his work with the Ensemble is evident. “I like being able to look into the eyes of a performer when they are realizing notes on a page and when they get to that place where real music is being brought to life,” the conductor says.
This palpable passion exists in the students as well; shown in their choice to participate and their rave reviews of Dull. Junior Autumn Berry says, “Our director just makes it so much fun.”
“He’s hilarious,” agrees First-year Charlie Good. What may surprise students is that the members of the Wind Ensemble are mostly involved because they want to be, not because they have to be.
“For me it’s purely educational. I want the experience with the sounds of brass instruments,” says Senior Kelley Schroeder.
The ensemble practices every Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. and Thursday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Dull begins each session by having the musicians tune their instruments, but not always to the same instrument.
“Sometimes he’ll have us tune to a tuba, so that we can hear the lowest sound in the ensemble,” says Junior Abigail Carr. “Other times we’ll tune to a flute. I like when we use a clarinet, because that’s my instrument.”
The group’s enthusiastic conductor puts it simply: “I am excited to be able to work with people who want to come together for the common purpose of playing music beautifully and simply.” Keep an eye out for upcoming concerts by this passionate group!
Lauren Sauder, Sports Editor