New Conductor looking forward to coming season with RDC's Symphonic Winds
The season is set to begin for RDC’s Symphonic Winds concert band, and the coming year brings exciting changes, as Dr. Karen Gustafson takes leadership of the group as the new Conductor.
“We are very pleased to have Karen Gustafson take on the Conductor role, following Steve Sherman’s retirement,” says Jason Frizzell, Dean, School of Creative Arts. “Dr. Gustafson has taught at universities throughout Canada and the United States, and she has extensive performance experience, so she brings a wealth of experience to lead the Symphonic Winds and to teach in our School.”
For Gustafson, the first Symphonic Winds performance on November 3 will be a wonderful opportunity for the group to showcase their musical versatility. “We’ve been working really hard on great literature,” she explains. “Our first performance will feature a variety of genres from Latin dances to an Italian march in the style of an opera, and we’ll also perform Canadian works and traditional concert band music by Gustav Holst.”
This diverse musical score adds interest for the audience and for the Symphonic Winds musicians, who are made up of students, community members and RDC staff and faculty. “I’ve always believed that it’s so important for musicians to be versed in many different genres. For the students, in particular, learning these skills is a big part of their growth and development,” Gustafson says, adding that this diversity and the opportunities for collaboration were some of the reasons she was drawn to RDC. “The School format here allows the different avenues of arts to work together, and this is important for students to learn now, as they’ll be able to apply this to their future careers.”
In addition to the collaborative nature within RDC, Gustafson is also looking forward to connecting with the larger community. “Central Alberta really is ‘band central’ in Canada,” she says. “There are so many bands in schools and in the community. As the new Conductor for Symphonic Winds, I certainly feel there is a lot of support, and I look forward to giving back through community collaboration.”
One example of this collaboration will take place on Sunday, November 6, when Symphonic Winds will perform in the “Lest We Forget” concert at RDC’s Mainstage. This community concert is led by Director Michael Mann and the Red Deer Royals, and Gustafson is pleased that Symphonic Winds will also perform at this event, carrying on the tradition of community contributions.
Looking to the future, Gustafson is excited to be at RDC, taking on her new role as Conductor, Trumpet Instructor and instructor for a variety of music courses. “Symphonic Winds is a tremendous, diverse group of musicians who are dedicated to their music and to engaging with their audiences,” she says. “I look forward to paying homage to this concert band’s past, while also planning for an exciting future.”
The Symphonic Winds perform on the Mainstage at RDC’s Arts Centre on Thursday, November 3, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online through the Black Knight Ticket Centre.
For complete details on the 2016-17 season, please visit School of Creative Arts Showtime.
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