Waltzing with woodwinds

The School Of Music’s latest production, “Dancing with the Winds,” is exactly what it sounds like: dance music set to the melody of the winds – woodwinds and brass,


that is. The program, which will be on Sunday in Theatre I, will span different time periods and regions and will include music from the Renaissance as well the waltz and flamenco.

Associate Professor and Florida Orchestra Principal Clarinet Brian Moorhead describes the series as a “community engagement showcase for the USF performing music faculty.” Moorhead will be one of several featured faculty members performing in “Dancing with the Winds.”

The music performed in this – as well as all performances in the Resident Artist Series – aims to be different. Wade Weast, director of the School of Music, said the series is “trying to explore more contemporary, somewhat experimental themes.”

“We are not just playing to pretentious old folks that like Beethoven,” Moorhead said. With words and phrases such as Tarantella and Valse volante, it is easy to get bogged down in musical terminology. Moorhead does not want the public to be discouraged – there will be program notes to aid in the comprehension of what may be a foreign language to some.

Though no actual dance will be featured in “Dancing with the Winds,” Moorhead said there will be some “visually interacting surprises. The final piece is a flamenco suite featuring trumpet, clarinet, percussion and student hand-clappers.”

Moorhead also emphasizes the importance of dance in music as a unifying theme.

“If we think of ourselves before we were born, it’s very likely that we danced and moved in rhythm before we made music. Dancing music may actuate these dancing impulses in our lives and what we respond to in music,” Moorhead said.

Due to the need for a larger stage space, “Dancing with the Winds” will be held in Theatre I instead of the Music Recital Hall, where most Resident Artist Series performances are showcased. The performance will also be the largest music recital in the past two years. It involves seven music faculty, six students and a guest pianist.

Moorhead said that Theatre I was the more logical choice since there were several other music recitals going on at the end of the semester in need of the Music Recital Hall and the stage space will accommodate the large number of performers. It also serves as an opportunity for increased attendance.

“The college and I have worked hard to make this available to more students,” Moorhead said. “It serves as an opportunity to go to a professional music event, perhaps as a part of a requirement.”

There are a few goals to the Resident Artist Series. Not only does it serve to feature faculty talents, but it also serves as a recruiting tool for future students. Moorhead said that he has been in touch with dozens of high school students interested in USF’s music program.

“It’s a good means of raising attention on and off campus,” said Justin Clermont, a music composition major.

There will be a reception at the end of Sunday’s performance.

“The reception adds to the atmosphere as a place to absorb great music played by great artists,” Weast said. Refreshments will be served to those that stick around to mingle with the artists and the community. For more information on the Resident Artist Series or the School of Music’s upcoming performances, visit ResidentArtistSeries.arts.usf.edu or Music.arts.usf.edu.