Sometimes, having a leading role in an orchestra can serve as the first step to musical exploration. The Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra, which recently completed its 80th season, is a starting ground for several chamber ensembles, one of which recently visited WMUK for music and conversation with Cara Lieurance. The KJSO Woodwind Quintet is: flutist Emma Temple, a sophomore at Gull Lake High School; clarinetist Kaoru Murai, a senior from Portage Central High School; oboist Mei Lanting, a senior at Kalamazoo Central; bassoonist Jackson Crause, a senior at Portage Central; and horn player Andrew Burhans, a sophomore at Portage Central.
In the Takeda Performance Studio at WMUK, the musicians talk about everything from how they chose their instruments, to whom they study with, to what it was like to visit South Africa with the Junior Symphony in June of 2018. Crause shares his appreciation for Andrew Koehler, the conductor of the KJSO, and Temple says being in the quintet has given her confidence in more situations. Musical expression has advantages over verbal, says Murai, and Lanting looks back on her seven seasons with the KJSO. Burhans embraces the horn's dual nature as a woodwind and a brass instrument.
Together, the quintet plays J.S. Bach's "Little" Fugue in G minor, BWV 578, the second movement, "Columbines (Snowmass Lake)" from the Roaring Fork Quintet by Eric Ewazen; and the "Shanty No. 3" from Three Shanties by Malcolm Arnold.