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Music students take their talent on the road

Amanda Hurlbutt '13 and Danielle Green '11 practice their music in advance of this weekend's New England Intercollegiate Band Festival.
Amanda Hurlbutt '13 and Danielle Green '11 practice their music in advance of this weekend's New England Intercollegiate Band Festival.

Connecticut College music students are taking their talent on the road this weekend. Erik Caldarone '12 and Currie Huntington '11 will be presenting at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research at Ithaca College, while Alyssa Bouthot '11, Nick Gorgone '11, Danielle Green '11, Amanda Hurlbutt '13, Jamil Jorge '13 and Anne Kearney '12 have been selected to perform at the 2011 New England Intercollegiate Band Festival.

"It's a true honor for a liberal arts college to have two students presenting at such a prestigious conference and six performing with the region's premier honors ensemble," professor Margaret Thomas, chair of the Music Department, said. "This is a very exciting weekend for us." Caldarone and Huntington will travel with music professor Dale Wilson to Ithaca College for the March 31-April 2 conference, which is designed to promote undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity in all fields of study. Huntington, who will present original research from his honors thesis on the choral music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, said he is excited and honored.

"The research and work for this project has occupied the last year of my college career, and I'm glad to share that work with a wider audience," said Huntington, a music major with a concentration in music history. Caldarone, a music major with a self-designed double major in jazz, will present an original jazz composition he wrote and arranged for a nonet, or a group of nine musicians. He will be speaking about the process of writing and recording the piece. "I am in my element when speaking extemporaneously, especially about music," Caldarone said. "It's comforting knowing that no one knows this piece better than me, and I'm excited to see how it goes over with a new set of ears."

The New England Intercollegiate Band Festival, which this year is hosted by Gordon College, brings together more than 50 talented student musicians selected from colleges and universities throughout New England. The festival includes two days of practice and concludes with a public performance at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 1. Bouthot, who will be performing at the festival for the fourth consecutive year, said it is a great opportunity to meet other college musicians and play under a renowned guest conductor. "The music is difficult and the process is challenging, but it is a great learning experience," she said. Gorgone, an astrophysics major and mathematics minor, has been playing the clarinet for 11 years and says he loves the opportunity to play with such a large band. "Intercollegiate Band is like the All-State of college," he said.

"The size and sound always blows me away with its intensity." Adjunct assistant professor of music Gary Buttery, who directs the College's concert band and jazz ensemble, said to have so many students selected for an elite ensemble is a testament to the quality of Connecticut College music students and professors. Jorge, a music education major, agrees. "Connecticut College has a really great music program. The faculty and staff are absolutely fantastic - always knowledgeable, social, helpful and tons of fun," he said.

March 31, 2011