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MSU Double Reed Day: A Celebration of Bassoon and Oboe

December 14, 2010

For the Daily News

The Fifth Annual Mississippi State Double Reed Day was heldrecently in Colvard Student Union on the MSU campus.
A generous grant from the Starkville Area Arts Council supported the event, which was attended by more than 30 students and instructors.  
Dr. Elaine Peterson, who teaches double reeds at MSU, hosted the Double Reed Day.
The guest clinicians were Dr. Caterina Bristol, oboist and professor at Alabama State University, and Darryl Harris, bassoonist and conductor of the orchestras in the Hattiesburg Public Schools.
Jon Wenberg, principal bassoonist of the Starkville Symphony, and Bonnie Oppenheimer, principal oboist of the Starkville Symphony, also offered instruction and insights on reedmaking and performance during afternoon masterclasses.
Abby Riffell, a fourth grader with the Starkville Homeschool Music Cooperative, was the youngest participant in the day-long clinic.
"My daughter really enjoyed being surrounded by other double reeds," said Dr. Angie Riffell, director of the Cooperative and Abby's mother. "She liked having an opportunity to play onstage with everyone.  I really appreciated the quality of the guest instructors."
The majority of participating students came from the Grenada Middle School and High School Bands.
Their band director, Joe Presley, arranged for an official school field trip, bussing in 13 oboists and bassoonists from 6th through 12th grade.  
“Our students enjoyed the double-reed day ay MSU," Presley said. "They loved hearing the great performances throughout the day and especially loved the question/answer sessions. Some of them have literally been waiting for years for such a wonderful opportunity.”
Among the day’s events:  a faculty performance of trios by Dr. Bristol, Dr. Peterson and Mr. Harris; separate oboe and bassoon masterclasses; massed ensemble directed by MSU conducting students; chamber music playing; question/answer sessions covering such topics as reeds, vibrato and scales; and a special break-out session for college music education students preparing to take the Praxis II exam.
“I am very pleased with the day’s events," Dr. Peterson said. "The guest instructors were great and the participating students were enthusiastic and talented. We were impressed with their dedication to oboe and bassoon playing, and impressed with the commitment the Grenada school system has to their double reed program. As Dr. Bristol noted, this is a lot of scholarship money standing on that stage! Bravo everyone!”
Watch for the MSU Woodwind Day this coming spring, taking place on April 1. This event will be open to all flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe and bassoon players of all ages and levels of playing ability.
For more information, contact Dr. Peterson at or 325-3070.

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