Wind Ensemble director highlights senior in show

By Deanna Frances

DeKalb | Featuring a faculty guest soloist at a School of Music concert is common; but it’s rare when a concert features a student as the highlighted soloist.

The Wind Ensemble performs 8 p.m. Thursday in the Music Building’s Boutell Memorial Concert Hall and will feature senior music performance major Darian Freeman as a featured trombone soloist.

Ronnie Wooten directs the performance and has directed the ensemble for 15 years. The concert will feature a variety of music for all audience members to enjoy. Aside from older classic repertoire, the band will perform works by current American composers.

“This concert has combined the best of both worlds,” Wooten said.

Wooten enjoys being able to perform works by current composers. One of the pieces being performed was written specifically for Wooten by his college roommate.

“I believe in performing pieces [of] original music written for band[s],” Wooten said. “Sometimes it’s interesting to find band music from living composers.”

Being able to feature a student as a guest soloist is also a highlight of the performance, Wooten said; it makes the set varied from typical concerts.

“When I have the opportunity to feature a student, it’s spectacular,” Wooten said. “Darian [Freeman] is someone that’s always gone above and beyond.”

Some students in the ensemble are looking forward to the performance because of the varied repertoire. Students enjoy being in the ensemble because of the energy Wooten brings to the group.

“Dr. Wooten is a wonderful conductor,” said Cory Ellis, junior music education major. “He’s very passionate about the music. It makes him a great conductor.”

Nicholas Lambert, freshman music education and music performance major, said he is excited about his first year with the Wind Ensemble and working with Wooten has been a highlight of the year.

“Dr. Wooten has so much drive,” Lambert said. “It’s the kind of devotion that every professor should have.”