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The University of Memphis's Wind Ensemble performs live after COVID-19

Even during a pandemic, music has slowly begun to bring people together. On October 27 evening the Scheidt School of Music was the host of a Wind Ensemble concert. 

The concert consisted of a range of instruments from flutes to oboes and a cello at the far right corner. The luminous sounds of a live performance gave hope for a brighter future after COVID-19 dies down, if it does.

Dr. Albert Nguyen, Conductor for the Wind Ensemble, said the theme of the concert was West Side Story, “The inspiration was dance and inspiration because we’re getting to do this again. The second part of the idea was the West Side Story remake that is coming out in December.” 

Nguyen has earned plenty of credibility throughout his music career, but also knows how to put on a show. It takes discipline, time and energy to keep an ensemble flowing smoothly and he does just that.

“[This group] contains the best graduate and undergraduate students. So in order to play in this group, you have to have high command of your instrument.” 

Taking on this kind of feat is no easy task, but can be rewarding. It takes days and consistency to make sure you perform at your best. The long hours of copious study and practice build up for the grand finale or the performance of a lifetime. This leads to the tour that the Wind Ensemble will be taking this semester. 

“I went a couple years back, and we went to four schools and played some really good pieces. I’m really excited to see what we’re going to do this time,” Sam Ortiz, an oboe instrumentalist said. 

Playing music allows Samantha Hall, another oboe instrumentalist, to be more creative. 

“It’s really cool and a creative outlet for me. I’m an Engineering major, so it gives me left brain time, meaning I get to do something a little different from what I would normally do,” she said.

The ensemble features students from a range of classifications, talents and cultures. People come from other parts of Memphis, and around the nation, to not only play in the Wind Ensemble, but to study music at the University of Memphis. 

Diversity and inclusion is a very imperative and important aspect for Nguyen and the Scheidt School of Music. It is a change that is breaking barriers for the music industry.

“I think that, as a school, we are very focused on making sure our student population is diverse and that we are giving access to great teaching for anyone. We are trying to make sure that we go to places where people may not realize that there is talent, and we find it and bring it here,” Nguyen said.

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