A Place of Musical Opportunity

by Stephanie Huynh | Contributor | smh2026@jagmail.southalabama.edu

Photo by: Lauryn Gunn | Photographer

Flute. Oboe. Clarinet. Bassoon. USA Faculty members Andra Bohnet, Amy Selkirk, Kip Franklin and Kristina Nelson took to the stage on March 9 for their first woodwind quartet recital together. 

Held in the Laidlaw Performing Arts Center Recital Hall, it was the fiftieth concert of the 2021-2022 academic year. They played pieces by Karl Geopfart, Igor Stravinsky, Jean Françaix and Gordon Jacob.

Both Dr. Selkirk and Dr. Nelson are new faculty members this year. The four faculty members began playing with each other last semester, and the new quartet chose the pieces they would play as well as the concert date.

“If you’re a musician, it’s pretty obvious to you if a piece is well-written or not,” said Bohnet. “It’s not good if one person has a melody the whole time and everyone else has a boring part, so I think everything we played gave everyone a chance to do something, which makes it fun.”

Even though the ensemble is composed of professionals, it can be a shock to some when it’s revealed that they only had about 8 or 10 50-minute rehearsals on the music.

Faculty recitals take place for a variety of reasons, and one of them is to satisfy the requirements for a creative activity. Instead of publishing books and articles based on research, the musical faculty gets professional development credit by performing.

“Playing is kind of what we live for; it’s a passion,” said Bohnet. “One of the nice things about playing in an academic setting is that we’re playing more for ourselves than for an audience; our goal for things like this is not to sell tickets.”

Being exposed to music is a key component of receiving a holistic education, and being part of a tight-knit campus like South’s makes it easy to study, or even just enjoy, music and all it has to offer.

“An academic environment is a safe sandbox to just explore and see what things are all about,” Bohnet said. “You’re always looking for more challenges, and it doesn’t matter what artistic medium you’re in because there’s always something new.”