IS THERE A CLARINET PLAYER IN THE HOUSE?
Deborah Andrus, artist-lecturer in clarinet at Moravian college, won't go so far as to say that the clarinet is the greatest of all woodwind instruments. But it does have a lot going for it. "The clarinet has a four octave range," she says, "And it has more tone colors than some other instruments. And clarinet players can fade their sound to pretty much nothing, like a voice can." In a combination like the Moravian clarinet choir, which she directs, the instrument's capabilities are even more impressive. "The choir can be as powerful as a brass group or as delicate as a string group," she says. Music-likers will have an opportunity to experience this first hand on Saturday (December 1), when the choir performs at Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem. It's the latest in the group's many performance and outreach events, which have included everything from playing on North and South campus to visiting local grade schools and retirement homes.
Clarinet choir has proved increasingly popular at Moravian, growing from 4 to 15 members during the four years that Andrus has served as director. At least some of that is due to word of mouth about the positive experiences the students have in the choir. "With the outreach activities we do, the students really feel like they're doing something that matters," she says. "And many of them are music education majors, so it's a chance to gain skills they'll need to teach. They get to talk to kids about the music and about the instruments." The choir members also seem to appreciate the collaborative nature of the group. "I direct, but I don't conduct," she says. "Everybody has a leadership role. And we rotate positions on every piece we play, so instead of just playing the third clarinet part, you get a chance to play the first part too." Given the opportunity, she adds, her players inevitably rise to the occasion. "It blows my mind how much ownership they take of the project, how much fun they have with it, and how willing they are to share with audiences or students. They're a really good group and I'm really proud of they've done."
The Moravian Clarinet Choir performs at Christkindlmarkt on December 1 from 3:30-5:30 pm. Also performing will be the Moravian Woodwind Trio and the Lehigh Clarinet Choir. Details on Christkindlmarkt are here.