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GRCC’s music department embraces new technology to give their students a chance to perform

Tenor and alto saxophones line the back wall of the Pekar Music Company shop, Wednesday, July 17, 2019 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

By Paige Bodine

On Nov. 3 at 7:30, Grand Rapids Community College will be hosting a virtual concert, featuring the Student Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, and Guitar Ensemble. 

Professor Kevin Dobreff, the music department program director, has been working at GRCC since 1991. He has been working tirelessly to give his students the opportunity to perform again. 

“We have embraced the technology so that our students can actually perform,” Dobreff said. “We know that is not perfect but we have certainly come a long way.”

Each ensemble has been practicing since early September to perfect the music that will be performed Tuesday night. The concert will be posted at GRCC Music, and consists of all pre recorded performances. 

“The music that the orchestra plays is anywhere from the Baroque to the Classical period,” Dobreff said. “The wind ensemble is like a concert band. The guitar ensemble is like a guitar orchestra, the jazz band is a standard big band so we have sections of trumpets, trombones, and saxophones plus a rhythm section.”

All of the ensembles vary in size and how they meet. 

“We are not allowed to do anything with an audience,” Dobreff said. “The orchestra and the wind ensemble rehearses in the recital hall every week. The guitar ensemble rehearses virtually.”

If you can’t make the Nov. 3 concert make sure to check out the Honors recital on Nov. 5 at 3:15 p.m. It highlights standout soloists from GRCC’s music department. One soloist in particular, Gabriela Ramonell Santos, is currently living in the Dominican republic. 

COVID-19 has had a big effect on the performing arts. Even though it has been difficult to figure out how to perform, the music department has not given up. 

“It has been a challenge because performing arts rely on collaborative performance. We have adapted like every other department at this college to this situation and the faculty has really embraced the technology,” Dobreff said. “The music department faculty are extremely creative people and they have gone out of their way to learn new ways to collaborate with our students.”


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