It’s easy sometimes to forget where professional musicians come from. You see an orchestra on stage, dressed in black — the seasoned professionals. You know these folks went to college for music, and you assume they “had a knack for music” as a kid and followed that passion. Saturday night at CCM provided a glimpse of those kids with the knack, followed by the college students grinding it out, and the professionalism it can yield.
I rarely pre-read about events I’m going to review — I like to be surprised and uninfluenced. Settling down in my seat in Corbett Auditorium, I was stunned by how young the CCM students looked on stage. They looked like high school students. For a few minutes I felt like I had suddenly become 100 years old: they were high school students. Led by music director Richard Canter, the Walnut Hills Wind Ensemble opened the concert.
Most exposure to high school music happens at parades in the form of sweating, stomping marching bands. It’s an altogether different experience when you’re all sitting still and focusing on the music. They performed wonderful music and the audience loved them. Their own oboist, Joshua Rudnick, set the stage for the upcoming highlight of the night, CCM professor Mark Ostoich.
The wind ensemble from Walnut Hills finished their show and were replaced by CCM students on stage. It was almost a natural progression, I suspect many of the students who took their seats in the first three rows of the Corbett Auditorium will one day very soon find themselves often on the stage that they observed.
Dr. Mark Ostoich played the oboe in Oscar Navarro’s “Legacy” Concerto for Oboe and Wind Band. The musical acrobatics on display during this piece cannot be overstated. There’s something entrancing and ever-so-slightly nasal about great oboe playing. Dr. Ostoich played effortlessly and confidently, bringing the CCM Wind Symphony to soaring heights.
I jotted down notes about what the piece sounded like — “Home Alone” meets “Arabian Nights” meets Paramount Pictures. After a quick googling of “Legacy” composer Navarro, it all made sense: he’s often written for Paramount and other studios, including television. I love live, contemporary music for exactly that cultural thread. Anything that connects me with an adolescent Macaulay Culkin beating the crap out of Joe Pesci is a win.
When you get the opportunity to see concerts like this, you have to take them. You’ve got aspiring high school students, ascending collegians and professionals all crossing the same stage. It’s like seeing entire careers condensed down into 2 ½ hours. Check here for upcoming CCM concerts.
John David Back is a Cincinnati native who lives and works in OTR. He’s an avid reader and a mediocre writer who loves the experience of art and beauty. Tell him what he should experience and send fan mail to email@example.com.