OBOHIO teaches students, performs free concert
Courtesy / Robert Sorton
For five Grand Valley State University music students, their Feb. 25 lessons will be a little different than normal class.
The Double Reed Master Class, led by Robert Sorton on oboe and Emily Patronik on bassoon, will be in the Cook-Dewitt Center from 9-11 a.m., in front of an open audience.
Sorton, an associate professor of music at Ohio State University, will teach the three oboe students, while Patronik, a doctoral student at OSU, teaches two bassoon students.
“What the class will basically be about is, there’s gonna be certain oboe players and bassoon players that are gonna be presenting pieces that they’ve worked on and they’re going to be playing it for us,” Sorton said. “And then we’re gonna basically give them a critique of what’s going on, and so that’ll basically be the way the master class is.”
While Sorton and Patronik will critique the students’ work, they will also give feedback from a professional point-of-view after the students perform.
“We’ll talk about basic stuff also, not just what they play, but there will be a lot of general information that comes from that, also,” Sorton said. “It’s one of those things where it kind of has a life of its own depending on the level of the students that are playing, the information that they need and things like that. So you know, not every master class is the same, it all depends on the students that are there.”
He hopes that students leave the class with more information on their pieces and a better understanding of their instruments, including issues they might have had with tonguing or embouchure.
Because anyone can attend the master class, non-music students will be able to see what it’s like to play an instrument.
“For non-musicians attending the class, it’ll probably be kind of cool for them to just see,” Patronik said. “Like, I mean, they’ll learn some basic things about the instruments. Just kind of hear how they sound, and kind of what if they were interested in playing the instruments, what they’d be getting into when they got a little bit more advanced.”
In addition to the master class, the two will perform along with Sorton’s wife, Bailey, and Stephanie Kunz, a doctorate student at OSU. The “Guest Artist Series: OBOHIO, The Double Reed Consort” is a free performance Feb. 24 from 2-3:30 p.m., also in the Cook-Dewitt Center.
Together, the Sortons co-founded OBOHIO in 1990, a double reed consort that features Sorton on oboe, Bailey on oboe d’amore, Patronik on bassoon and Kunz on English horn.
The group’s unique instrument makeup helps set them apart from others and is “what makes us a little more, like, more special in a sense, we use one of the members of the oboe family that people don’t use, which is the oboe d’amore,” Sorton said.
And OBOHIO has worked well together during the more than twenty years.
“It’s been a fun group, we’ve had a great combination of people that enjoy working together and that’s really a delight,” Bailey said. “I mean sometimes you know you get with a group and there’s somebody who you don’t get along with, we’ve never had that problem.”
For more information on the master class or the concert, go to www.gvsu.edu/music