Students and choir not in concert

Ashley Misner’s head rocked back and forth Sunday night as the sounds of trumpets, trombones, tubas, drums and cymbals filled the air.

Some members of the USF Brass Choir played their shiny instruments while others waited their turn, staring either at sheet music or the conductor.

Misner, a sophomore majoring in premedical sciences, isn’t a classical music enthusiast. Like many others in attendance at the Music Recital Hall in the Fine Arts building, she was taking notes for a paper she must write about the concert for her Arts and Humanities class that satisfies the Fine Arts portion of USF’s general education requirements.

She took turns focusing her attention on the choir and the notepad in her lap. After the concert, she rushed back to her car, unsure whether she would have to return to the restaurant where she works in downtown Tampa.

The members of the choir, on the other hand, are there because they love to play music, according to choir conductor Tom McNair. The choir rehearses once a week and will play a few more concerts in December.

“They enjoy getting together with their friends,” said McNair, also a Teacher’s Assistant in the Fine Arts department.

While the choir played, many in the audience scribbled in notebooks while others clicked away on laptop computers they brought along. A few young children played with the retractable desks attached to their seats. On stage, the choir members sat up straight, dressed in pressed slacks and colored button-down shirts.

Jeremy Gautier, who plays the French horn, looked up from his sheet music and gazed into the audience.

“When we were playing up there I could see that a lot of people weren’t as interested as others,” Gautier said. “But I guess we were just trying to entertain them because I think that’s all music is about: to entertain you.”

In her car on the way to the theater, Misner listened to rap and hip-hop. She said she soaked in what she could from what was her first classical concert.

“The second piece was slower and it was more depressing,” she said. “It wasn’t as upbeat (as others). I liked the first one better.”

She said it would be hard to squeeze a one-page paper out of what she saw at the concert because she came from work and missed the first two pieces. Just making it to the concert was hard for her since she goes to school five days a week and works seven days a week, she said.

“They want you to experience different types of music,” she said. “They want you to experience different things to make you a better person. That’s what they think and maybe you’ll enjoy it and listen to it again.

“I enjoyed it, but I probably wouldn’t go to one again because I don’t have time.”

McNair was not unaware that many students in attendance were only there because their classes require it. His last words to the audience were, “Good luck with the papers you have to write.”