Home Arts & Entertainment GRCC student Thaddeus J. Milne

GRCC student Thaddeus J. Milne

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Performance Hall - Courtesy of Wenger and JR Clancy

By: Matt Meyle – The Collegiate Staff

This Saturday, Grand Rapids Community College music student, Thaddeus J. Milne, will perform at the Albert P. Smith Music Building featuring a recital of Clarinet and Composition.

The performance by Milne will demonstrate his lifelong clarinet abilities. “I originally started playing clarinet in 5th grade,” Milne said. “I’m a bit older than most students, so that was all the way back in 1991.”

Milne, 37, is in pursuit of an Associate of Music Degree, after a near decade hiatus from music due to health issues. The completion of this recital establishes his learning of both clarinet and composition throughout his time in GRCC’s music program and will bring Milne closer to becoming another GRCC Music program graduate. Milne is a student of Stephanie Hovanian for clarinet and a student of Dr. Debora DeWitt for composition.

“I already had a strong musical background,” Milne said, referencing why he choose to pursue music as a career after giving it up for so long. However, he couldn’t keep music out of his life forever. Milne returned to his life of music just two years ago and made the decision to enroll in GRCC’s music program.

“As a musician, performing and presenting your work to people is an important and difficult thing, and getting to the point where you can just go out and do it takes a lot of discipline and effort,” Milne said about his upcoming recital. “It means a lot. It gives me a chance to prove to myself that I can really pursue this successfully as a career. Having sung in a semi-professional capacity, studied piano and music theory, and written my first compositions in the last few years. It feels great to be back at it.”

The performance will open with Milne playing an unaccompanied solo piece on clarinet called “Abyss of the Birds”, which was written by the 20th-century French composer Olivier Messiaen. Following the solo rendition, Milne will be accompanied by piano and will perform all four movements of Brahms’ first Sonata. The second half of the concert will feature three original compositions by Milne.

Milne plans to treat the audience to two short pieces of electronic media, as well as a solo piano piece called “span(syntheticFlutter).”

“I’ve spent most of the last year preparing for this performance,” Milne said. “It gives me time to carefully consider and reconsider all the aspects of what I’m presenting. I’m never truly satisfied with my work, which I hope helps move me forward. Music is such a broad field, and there are always ways to improve.”

In his final semester at GRCC, Milne wants to display to the GRCC community what he has learned. “It is really important to me,” Milne said. “This is my last big opportunity to present my work to this community, which has supported me for the last two years. I feel like I’ve had this role in the music department of being the weird, old composer guy, and this is the only chance I’ll have to show many of my fellow students what that’s really all about.”

In the fall, Milne plans to attend Western Michigan University and will be in pursuit of a double major in Composition and Clarinet Performance.

“Life can take a lot of unexpected and strange turns,” Milne said. “I plan to push this music thing as far as I can make it go. Whatever shape that may take.”

The hour-long concert will start at 2 p.m. in the Linn Maxwell Keller Recital Hall and is free of charge. However, seating is limited to 104 audience members, so be sure to arrive with plenty of time to find a seat. Parking is available in the main ramp located across from the Music Building on Ransom.

Can’t find the time to see the performance over the busy holiday weekend? Make sure to check out the performance by the GRCC Wind Ensemble on Tuesday, April 10, which will feature Milne on Clarinet. On April 17, more of Milne’s original compositions can be heard during the Student Composers Forum Concert, in addition to the other GRCC students of composition. Both events are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. and will also be held in the Linn Maxwell Keller Recital Hall.