Symphonic Sounds Fill the Chapel

Symphonic Sounds Fill the Chapel

The Colgate Chamber Players stunned audience members on Sunday, March 8 at one of their four main concerts of the year. Small groups of performers, between three and eight per group, played a wide repertoire of songs that ranged from Franz Schubert’s Trio No. 1, Opus 99 to Felix Mendelssohn’s Octett, Opus 20.

Professor of Music and Africana/Latin American Studies Laura Klugherz has been the director of the Colgate Chamber Players for the past 20 years and devotes much of her time to the continued success and growth of the group. However, the individual groups do not have a conductor, thus emphasizing the main goal of the Chamber Players-communication between musicians. Klugherz’s main role is organizing and teaching the groups. She also makes a point of performing with every musician at some point during his or her four years in the group.

In this particular program, the pieces were picked based on “what kind of goals I have for each individual group, what will make a good balanced program and what may be reflective of a great moment in history,” Klugherz explained.

“For me, the most rewarding aspect is watching each individual find their own voice as a performer and as an individual,” Klugherz said.

And the feeling is mutual, according to members of the Chamber Players.

“Professor Klugherz is an inspiration to us all,” sophomore Christopher Chang said. “She brings all of her excitement and knowledge to every rehearsal and performance and we learn something new every time.”

Chang picked up the violin at age seven, but switched to the viola when he was ten.

“[I] realized too many people play the violin and it’s cooler to play something that less people play,” Chang explained.

Since joining the Chamber Players, Chang has grown immensely as a performer.

During the concert, Chang was part of the group that performed French composer J. Bodin de Boismortier’s Sonate, Opus 34, No. 3, a beautiful piece that featured the flute as a key motivating force.

“It was fun to play something that shows off the incredible talent and passion of our group,” Chang said.

The second group Chang was a part of played Mendelssohn’s Octett, Opus 20 that began with a serene and peaceful melody and eventually merged the entire group of eight performers to create a rich, full sound.

First-year Annette Shantur, another member of the Chamber Players, joined Chang in the group performing the Octett, Opus 20. Shantur, who has been playing the violin since she was three years old, commented that the Mendelssohn piece, involving a larger group of performers, proved especially challenging.

“In an ensemble as large as eight musicians, it can be very difficult for the group members to hear each other on stage, making communication among the musicians even more essential,” Shantur said. “I love playing in small ensembles because it requires a personalconnection among the musicians.”

Shantur was also a part of the group that played Ludwig Spoher’s Sextett, Opus 140. Like fellow musician Chang, Shantur also praised Klugherz.

“[Klugherz] is incredibly knowledgeable and the perspectives she brings,includingGerman andLatin American culture, musichistory and movement of the body, bring music to life in a multidimensional and interdisciplinary way,” Shantur said.

Ultimately, Klugherz believes that by performing in smaller groups as opposed to a larger orchestra, each person can take on the individual responsibility as a soloist and the communal responsibility as a collaborator. The orchestra is too large to include all of its members in the decision making, so by breaking off into smaller groups, the students are allowed more creative license and can learn how to collaborate with their peers.

“I am extremely proud of all of them,” Klugherz concluded. “I think that they work very hard and are extremely dedicated. It is just a joy to work with them.”